What Credit Card is Best for Me? Choosing a Card in 2018

What Credit Card is Best for Me?

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: May 24, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

When people learn that you write about consumer credit for a living, the conversation seems to almost inevitably circle around to, “So, what’s the best credit card?” Unfortunately, people are rarely happy with the true response, which is: there isn’t one.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of credit credits on the market, each with its pros and cons, its own costs and rewards. Furthermore, there are millions of credit cardholders out there, too — each with their own wants, needs, and spending habits.

In the end, if you find yourself chatting with someone in-the-know, the question to ask isn’t, “What’s the best credit card?” Instead, what you really need to know is, “What’s the best credit card for me?”

Find Cards By: Credit Score | APR | Rewards | Specialty

A Quick 4-Question Quiz to Narrow Your Card Options

As with many things in consumer culture, credit cards are often designed and marketed with a specific demographic in mind. This may be a certain credit score or income range, or a particular type of card user. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card is a rewards card that targets travelers with high incomes by offering big bonus rewards on travel-related purchases but charging a high annual fee.

To find the best credit card for you, the first step will be to decide on your wants and needs, and then determine into which demographic they likely fall. You can narrow down your options fairly significantly by taking a look at your credit and spending habits, then answering the four questions below.

  • 1. Is your FICO credit score below 670? One of the most important factors determining whether you are approved for a particular credit card will be your credit score. Those with good to excellent credit — FICO scores of 670 and above — will typically be able to qualify for just about any consumer card (though higher credit scores will generally earn higher credit limits). If your credit score is below 670, you’ll find the best luck getting approved for cards if you apply for those specifically aimed at your credit score range.
  • 2. Do you tend to carry a balance from month to month? Most credit cardholders tend to fall into one of two groups: those who compulsively pay off their balance every month, and those who tend to carry a balance from month to month. Since interest charges are one of the biggest costs associated with using a credit card, balance-carriers should consider a card designed just for them, i.e., one that comes with an introductory 0% interest rate offer or low ongoing APR.
  • 3. Do you make most of your purchases at the same places? With so many credit cards on the market today, one of the easiest ways to choose one over another is by picking a card that offers the rewards best suited to your personal spending habits. For instance, if a large portion of your budget goes to groceries each month, a card that offers bonus rewards for grocery store purchases may be the best fit. Keep the redemption options in mind, as well; if you know you won’t bother with a complicated points redemption process, for example, get cash back instead.
  • 4. Are you a business owner or student? For business owners or students, the process of narrowing down a credit card may be the simplest of all. That’s because many issuers have specialty cards aimed at these specific users, both in terms of qualifying requirements as well as card perks and purchase rewards.

While no individual question or answer will likely point you to a single card, answering each question can help you put together a short list of options. Things like the credit requirements, rewards, and APR can all contribute to choosing a specific card — but you may also want to consider a few other factors, too, including extraneous fees and the processing network.

Find the Right Card for Your Credit Score

Contrary to popular belief, the typical consumer doesn’t have a single credit score; they can have dozens of credit scores, which can vary based on the credit bureaus supplying the information and the specific model used to calculate the score. Of them all, the FICO Score 8 is the most frequently used scoring model by far, though the credit bureau(s) used will vary by credit card issuer.

The FICO Score 8 operates on a range of scores from 300 to 850, with 850 being the highest possible credit score — and, thus, the most desirable. Although 300 is technically the lowest possible score, few subprime consumers have scores this low, instead typically scoring in the low to mid 500s. Your credit score is considered “poor” if it falls below 580.

Excellent | Good | Fair | Poor | No/Limited

Best Cards for “Excellent” Credit

FICO credit scores of 740 and above are generally dubbed as “excellent,” and they show that you can responsibly handle credit. Since those with excellent credit tend to get their pick of credit cards (and other financial products), perhaps the only downside to having excellent credit is that it won’t really help you narrow down the field of card options.

With the full field of awesome rewards cards and lengthy intro-APR offers available, finding the best card means moving on to Questions 2, 3, and 4. Find the rewards that best match your individual spending habits and redemption preferences, or the card with the lowest APR if you often carry a balance. Our favorite cards for excellent credit cover the gamut of rewards and benefits.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for Excellent Credit

Best Cards for “Good” Credit

With credit scores between 670 and 739, good-credit consumers have nearly as many options as their excellent-credit counterparts, albeit often with lower credit limits. While some cards aimed specifically at those with excellent credit may be out of reach, the rest of the prime credit card market will typically be up for grabs.

While the same basic advice applies to good-credit applicants as excellent-credit ones — i.e., use Questions 2, 3, and 4 to better narrow the options — you may want to pay special attention to the APRs charged by each card. Those with good credit will generally receive higher interest rates than those with excellent credit, particularly as you get closer to the bottom end of the range.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for Good Credit

Best Cards for “Fair” Credit

Not quite poor credit but not quite good, credit scores between 580 and 669 fall into the “fair” credit score range. Like their scores, these consumers exist in a bit of a middle ground, with the potential to qualify for a limited array of prime credit cards — but by a narrow margin.

Selecting a card with fair credit will definitely start by identifying cards designed for credit-builders, be it a flexible prime credit card or a subprime card. Pay special attention to any annual, processing, and/or maintenance fees, as well as the APR charged by the card, to keep your costs down as you build credit.

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Find out if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Eligible purchases earn 1% cash back rewards automatically, terms apply
  • Get a credit line between $300 and $3,000 based on your credit history
  • Looking for more credit? Get credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 25.49% Variable
$0 - $99
Fair
FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

Best Cards for “Poor” Credit

Whether from defaulted accounts, multiple late payments, maxed out credit cards, or a bankruptcy discharge — or some combination of them all — when a credit score drops below 580, it is in the “poor” credit range. Since most creditors are wary of the credit risk presented by poor-credit applicants, perhaps the only useful thing about poor credit is that it definitely helps to narrow down the options.

The cards likely to approve someone with poor credit all tend to have a catch. Secured credit cards are the easiest to get but require a deposit to open and use. Unsecured card options are limited to closed-loop store cards that can only be used on branded purchases, and subprime credit cards that will likely charge high fees and interest rates. Start comparing with our top-rated cards.

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Fingerhut offers more than 500,000 items including the brand names you want like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Fast, easy online application process and a quick decision
  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
$0
Poor Credit
BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad
Credit One Bank® Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds—without affecting your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit card, prepaid card, or secured credit card with deposit requirements.
  • Credit One Bank automatically monitors every account for credit line increase opportunities each month. We'll notify you as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line. A fee may apply.
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
  • Zero Fraud Liability protects you if your card is ever lost or stolen. Rest easy knowing you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 25.49% Variable
$0 - $99
Poor Credit

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

Best Cards for “No/Limited” Credit

Although some confusion may exist around the origins of your credit profile, you aren’t born with one nor is it automatically established by turning 18. Instead, it takes about six months of credit use — such as with a credit card or loan — to build enough credit history for a FICO credit score to be calculated.

Credit card issuers will be wary of extending you significant credit before you establish enough credit history for a credit score. While not as limited as those for poor credit, the selection of cards available to those with no/limited credit will likely resemble that of those with fair credit. Similarly, keep an eye on APRs and extraneous fees to reduce your credit-building costs.

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
Discover it® chrome for Students Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Fair
Discover it® for Students Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Fair

+See More Cards for No/Limited Credit

Find the Right Card for Your Interest Rate Needs

Although every potential credit card applicant should look at the APR charged by a new credit card, those with fair, poor, or limited credit will have fewer options for finding low interest rates than those with good credit or better. Consumers with higher credit scores, on the other hand, can use a card’s APR as a deciding factor when selecting the best credit card.

In particular, two main aspects of a card’s APR may be of interest: the introductory APR and the ongoing APR. Many credit cards will come with an introductory APR offer, the best of which offer 0% APR for the duration of the promotional period. Once any intro period expires, the ongoing APR will determine what interest rate is charged for purchases carried from month to month.

0% New Purchases | 0% Balance Transfers | Low Ongoing APR

Best Cards for 0% Intro-APR on New Purchases

At most times, making large purchases with your credit card that you can’t repay right away is a horrible idea. Interest charges will start to accrue after the grace period passes, and those charges can get quite expensive over time. However, there is a solution: an introductory 0% APR offer, which can provide six months or more of interest-free purchases.

The better your credit score, the better the intro-APR offer you can obtain, with offers of up to 18 months available to well-qualified applicants. Keep in mind that any balance remaining when your promotional period is over will start to accrue interest according to the card’s default new purchase interest rate. See some of our favorite offers below.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 16.65%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.65%-26.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for 0% APR on New Purchases

Best Cards for 0% Intro-APR on Balance Transfers

Introductory APR offers for new purchases can be convenient when you have a large purchase coming up, but what about those who have already accumulated a balance on their cards? That’s where balance transfer introductory offers can be handy. By transferring your balance from high-interest card to one with a 0% APR introductory offer, you can enjoy a number of interest-free months to pay down your balance.

The main thing to consider when it comes to intro-APR offers for balance transfers — other than the fact that introductory offers eventually expire — is that balance transfers often come with balance transfer fees. While the occasional card without balance transfer fees does exist, many intro-APR offers may be worth the transfer fee.

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 16.65%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.65%-26.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for 0% APR on Balance Transfers

Best Cards for Low Ongoing APRs

As valuable as intro-APR offers can be for reducing or eliminating interest payments on new purchases and balance transfers, these offers are, of course, temporary. If you’re likely to carry a balance on your credit card for more than just the first year or so, then an introductory offer will only be so useful. The focus for these consumers should be finding a card that offers a low APR all the time.

The trick here is twofold. One, build your credit. The better your credit score, the lower the average interest rate you’re offered. And two, find a card with a lower overall APR range. For example, a card with an APR range of 10% to 15% will always offer lower APRs than one with a range of 16% to 21%. The cards below offer lower APRs than many of their competitors.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Low Ongoing APRs

Find the Right Rewards Credit Card for You

At the heart of the modern credit card lover is often a consumer who loves to save. That’s because credit card rewards can be a valuable way to save with every swipe, earning you purchase rebates, free travel, and/or remarkable experiences for your everyday spending.

And that’s where you should start narrowing down your rewards card selections: the type of rewards you want to earn. If you like things simple, a cash back rewards card can provide straightforward savings. On the other hand, frequent flyers and hotel jockeys will often appreciate a good travel rewards card, and those who want the best of both worlds tend to prefer a flexible points credit card.

Cash Back | Travel | Points

Best Cards for “Cash Back” Rewards

Cash back rewards are typically the simplest type of rewards to redeem, with options for redemption as a statement credit or as a deposit into an eligible bank account (typically accounts held with the issuing bank). As simple as they are to redeem, however, cash back rewards can be as complex as any rewards type when it comes to maximizing your earnings.

While most cash back cards will offer an unlimited flat rewards rate, usually 1% to 2% on all purchases, some cards will also offer a higher rewards rate for purchases made in specific bonus categories. So, if your regular spending falls into the same categories each month, choosing a card that rewards you for those categories will net you the best rewards. Otherwise, an unlimited flat-rate card can still be a valuable savings tool.

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.49%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.49%-26.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for Cash Back Rewards

Best Cards for “Travel” Rewards

As with cash back rewards, travel rewards come as either single, unlimited flat-rate rewards, or as bonus rewards for category-specific purchases. But while cash back rewards are almost always fairly straightforward to redeem, travel rewards can have as much — or as little — complication as you like.

For example, some travel cards will have cash-back-like redemption as a flat-rate statement credit for travel-related purchases. However, other programs will have a variable redemption value based on how you redeem them, with options for direct redemption via a travel portal or through a transfer to an eligible hotel or airline partner. Our top cards include a mix of both redemption types.

AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • New! Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at hotels.com/venture; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good
AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Excellent Credit
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Travel Rewards

Best Cards for “Points” Rewards

Credit cards that earn rewards points are essentially a combination of cash back and travel rewards cards, with a little extra thrown into the mix. Like the other rewards cards, you can earn points at a single, unlimited rate, or at a bonus rate for specific category purchases.

Unlike the other card types, generic rewards points can be redeemed for anything from cash back to travel — and a few things in between. The per-point value of your rewards will depend on how you redeem them, with cash typically providing the lowest value and travel redemption the highest. Many points cards, including our expert picks, also come with lucrative signup bonuses.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Excellent Credit
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

POINTS & GIFTS RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.99%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.99%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.99% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
POINTS & GIFTS RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
  • New! Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels when you pay with your VentureOne card at hotels.com/venture; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.49%-23.49% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Rewards Points

Find the Right Specialty Card for You

While all credit cardholders have their own needs, some have more specific needs than others. In particular, business owners and students both need certain things out of their credit cards that may not be offered by the bulk of the field, making it even more important for these users to find just the right card.

On the bright side, many issuers have developed cards with these specialty groups in mind, offering a range of business-centered and student-focused cards. And if you can narrow your list to these specific types of cards, you can use Questions 1 through 3 to pick the perfect one off the short list of potential fits.

Businesses | Students

Best Cards for Businesses

From advertising costs to shipping expenses, business owners tend to have expenses that regular consumers simply don’t even consider, let alone have the need to earn rewards for them. Designed for business owners, business credit cards often cater to these unique needs, offering rewards for things like office supplies and digital marketing that can help bolster your business’s bottom line.

Even better, business credit cards have a secret superpower: the ability to help your business establish and build business credit. As with the consumer credit world, the business credit world relies on a solid credit history to judge whether to lend to your business in the future. A good business credit card, like our favorites, can two-birds your business finances and credit, all while earning you lucrative rewards.

BUSINESS CARD RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Named "Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months
14.74% - 20.74% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit
BUSINESS CARD RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 22.49% Variable
$95
Excellent Credit
BUSINESS CARD RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earning unlimited 1.5% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.49% - 22.49% variable APR after that
  • No annual fee
  • Use Spark Cash Select across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
N/A
14.49% - 22.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Businesses

Best Cards for Students

Being a student can be both a great adventure — and a great challenge. To start, college students aren’t typically the most well-paid workers (meals of ramen noodles and mac & cheese are the stereotypical staples of college life for a very good reason), nor do they generally have very well-established credit profiles. Combined, these attributes mean students can’t apply for just any old credit card.

Happily, the credit card industry isn’t without sympathy for the credit plights of students. A number of issuers offer credit cards specially designed for students who want to establish and build credit — without paying an arm and a leg in annual fees. What’s more, many student cards, including our options below, include valuable purchase rewards.

Discover it® for Students Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Fair
Discover it® chrome for Students Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Fair
STUDENT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.2/5.0
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

+See More Cards for Students

Audit Your Cards Regularly to Ensure You Have the Best Ones

As anyone who works in an advisory capacity knows, most people can’t help but ask for a professional opinion when they get the chance. But, as is also well known, the quality of the advice you get from someone often depends on the quality of you the questions you ask.

For example, should you ask a credit card expert to tell you about the best credit card, you’ll often get mixed results. That’s because few things are so cut-and-dry in personal finance — hence the “personal” part of the term. To get a quality answer about the best credit cards, the proper question to ask is, “What is the best credit card for me?”

Additionally, since the best credit card for an individual depends on their specific needs and spending habits, it’s important to regularly re-evaluate your current credit card collection. Our specific financial needs and habits tend to change over time, just as we do, meaning the best card for you today may not be the best card next year.

You should perform an annual audit of your credit cards — preferably before any annual fees are charged for the year — to ensure you have the best cards for your current needs and that you aren’t paying for cards you don’t use. If you haven’t used a card lately and/or can find a card with significantly better rewards, you should consider upgrading your card.