*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Apr 22, 2012, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
Is there such a thing as a good emergency credit card? Credit cards should be a last resort when it comes to needing money. Having an emergency fund is a better way of handling those situations for when you need cash right away. However, credit cards can be a good resource for those times when you just do not have the cash on hand.
For those who want to protect themselves without having money in the bank, consider the option of getting an emergency credit card. This card is one you keep on hand but don't use unless there's an emergency. It is a good way to have money to cover unexpected expenses. And, if you choose a low interest rate credit card without an annual fee, you'll have no problem managing the credit line long term. Just don't use it unless there's really a time for it.
The following is the best emergency credit card on the market today, as determined by CompareWallet. You may not have heard of it before, but I'm going to do my best to convince you this card belongs in your wallet.
PenFed Promise Visa
The PenFed Promise Card is the best kept secret in the credit card industry. Pentagon Federal Credit Union doesn't promote itself much but they offer a great line of credit cards. This particular card is the easy pick for best emergency credit card because it offers the following benefits to cardholders:
- 7.49% APR for the first three years you own the card; a 9.99% APR thereafter
- 4.99% APR promotional balance transfer rate for life of balance on transfers made between October 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012
- 9.99% variable APR for No-fee cash advances
- No fees of ANY kind (annual, late payment, over limit, balance transfer, cash advance, etc.)
That's it! Now you may be saying "Michael, this card barely offers any benefits" and you're right. But when you're looking for a credit card to use only for emergencies, do you want a lot of bells and whistles? Rewards programs will only entice you to use the credit card more and when you NEED a credit card, chances are you don't have enough cash on hand. This card offers one of the lowest interest rates around so you pay the least amount of interest.
The one "catch" to owning the PenFed Promise Card is that you must be a PenFed Credit Union member. This can be done by making a $20 donation to the Military or Red Cross or by being associated with the Military (either directly or indirectly). The money will surely be used for a good cause so it's not much of a catch at all.
Did you know – According to Consumer Reports, about 1/3 of all Americans do not own a credit card. Even if you do not own a credit card for regular purchases, do have one as a backup or emergency. Credit cards don't have to cost you anything if you don't use them but they can come in handy when you need one.
*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.