2021: Credit Cards in Review

2021: Credit Cards in Review


2021 was a big year for credit cards. After a down year in 2020, the credit card market exploded with issuers fighting for everyone they could get. Leaving the consumer as the big winner.

Credit cards did everything they could to make their card more attractive and “worth it.” The most popular offer was the equivalent of 20% cash back if you reached a spending minimum. Other popular offers included, extending 0% interest on balance transfers for nearly two years, more miles to take you farther and stay longer and even a few new credit cards introduced.

Our experts have compiled some of their favorite offers and trends from 2021 and make their bold prediction for 2022.

Huge Cash Back Offers

Due to the pandemic and on-going workplace changes, consumer spending diverted from big purchases and vacations to groceries and home office supplies. And credit card companies responded by making their cash back credit cards as lucrative as possible. Raising introductory cash back offers to some of the highest levels, ever.

Currently five(!) credit cards are offering $200 cash back on $500 to $1000 in the first three months as a new card holder. Plus, none of these cards have an annual fee. Leaving you to only compare how you want to earn your cash back (flat across all purchases vs higher category specific rates) and what length of no interest welcome period suits you best.

You can view and compare the best of these money back credit cards here.

A Flood of New Cards Available

Wells Fargo dipped its toe into the credit card game in 2021 launching two new credit card options. First was the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, a cash rewards credit card. This card includes 2% cash rewards on purchases and 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers. After that your APR will be 14.99%-24.99% (Variable). Making it one of the best overall credit cards available right now. It is one of the cards offering new card holders the ability to Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Later, Wells Fargo launched the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card, a low-interest credit card. This card is a great option if you are looking to pay down debt or make a big purchase and pay it off interest free over time. New cardholders enjoy 0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on purchases and 0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers and 12.99%-24.99% Variable APR after that.

Citibank also introduced a new card in 2021, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. This card offers5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.. It is also a card with a Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back. And it offers an APR rate of 0% for 15 months on purchases and 0% for 15 months on balance transfers, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) after that.

Also getting in on the new card game, Bank of America launched the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. Unlike the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, this card offers a flat rate of money back of 1.5% cash back on all purchases and is another card offering $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Extended Balance Transfer Periods

Not to be outdone by the flood of new credit cards, other banks upped their introductory periods of no interest on balance transfers and purchases on its already available credit cards.

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card extended it’s no interest period for balance transfers to nearly two years – now offering 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers to go along with its 0% for 12 months on Purchases with 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) after. The Citi Simplicity® Card also extended its offer to 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers, followed by 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable).

If one of your new year resolutions is to pay off your credit card debt or you’re looking to make a big purchase in the start of the new year, all of these cards are an excellent option.

You can see a full list of our favorite balance transfer cards here.

Bold Prediction for 2022

Bottom Line

2021 was a great year if you were in the market for a new credit card (and even if you weren’t). From big cash back rewards to longer periods of time to help you pay down your debt, whatever your circumstances were, there was a great offer.

If you didn’t take advantage of these offers, there is still time, many are still offering these exceptional welcome offers and intro period rates. And if the timing isn’t right, our experts believe 2022 will have just as much opportunity.

So, whether it is now, soon or down the road, CompareCredit is here to help you compare the best credit card offers and help you make the best decision for your lifestyle.