10 Best Credit Cards (2016 Reviews)

Below are our experts' brand-new rankings of 2016's best credit cards. Whether you prefer low APRs, cash back, or any other perk, these top 10 credit cards are the best of the best:

Average APR
17.04%
Average Annual Fee
$28.80
Rate Trend
0.05%
since last month
All Cards | Air Miles | Cash Back | Points | Gas Rebate | 0% Intro APR | 0% Bal Transfer | Business | Fair Credit | Limited / No Credit

2016's Best Credit Card

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Discover it® Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover'ssecure website

  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. We'll automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.
  • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements and online.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
14 months
0%
14 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

#1 in "Air Miles"

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit

#1 in "Points"

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 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
16.24%-23.24% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Excellent Credit

#1 in "Cash Back"

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Discover it® Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. We'll automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.
  • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements and online.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
14 months
0%
14 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

#1 in "Gas Rebate"

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

GAS REBATE 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 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Redeem for cash — any amount, anytime
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
15 months
0%
15 months
14.24%-23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

#1 in "0% Intro APR"

Chase Slate®

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard for free
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
15 months
0%
15 months
13.24%-23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

#1 in "0% Bal Transfer"

Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. We'll automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.
  • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements and online.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
6 months
0%
18 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

#1 in "Business"

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • Rewards don't expire, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount, anytime
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit

#1 in "Fair Credit"

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

#1 in "Limited / No Credit"

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

Review Summary

What is the best credit card to have for 2016? Below is a simple summary of our top credit card reviews, along with current features for each offer. Simply click the card name to visit the issuer's official site and apply for the card that's right for you.

Here are the best credit cards of 2016:

Best Credit Cards 2016
Best For Card Name Feature Expert Rating
Best Overall Discover it® Cashback Match™ 5% cash back ★★★★★ 5.0
Air Miles Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 2X miles per dollar ★★★★★ 5.0
Points Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 50,000 bonus points ★★★★★ 4.9
Cash Back Discover it® Cashback Match™ 1% cash back ★★★★★ 5.0
Gas Rebate Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ 1.5% cash back ★★★★★ 5.0
0% Intro APR Chase Slate® $0 Annual Fee ★★★★★ 5.0
0% Bal Transfer Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer No annual fee. ★★★★★ 5.0
Business Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Unlimited 2% cash back ★★★★★ 4.9
Fair Credit Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back ★★★★★ 4.9
Limited / No Credit Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card 1.5% cash back ★★★★★ 4.9

More About: Best Overall Credit Cards

4 Tips for Choosing the Best Credit Card

Alexandra Leslie
By: Alexandra Leslie
Finance Contributor
4 Tips for Choosing the Best Credit Card
CardRates.com Guide: Best Credit Cards

With so many hundreds of credit cards available on the market, it may be hard to decide which piece of plastic is right for your wallet. Use these tips to help you choose the best credit card for your needs.

1.
Determine your goals

It’s important to understand why you want a credit card. Do you want to score free flights? Are you interested in earning cash back? Are you looking more for a safety net when cash is low? Or perhaps you want to consolidate high-interest debt from other cards?

Depending on your goals, and particularly whether you plan to carry a balance or not, your needs will be very different. Rewards cards have higher interest than non-rewards cards, making them less ideal for carrying balances, and they often have an annual fee.

If you are only interested in transferring a balance or plan to carry a large balance, you may be better off applying for a non-rewards card with no annual fee.

2.
Want rewards? Decide what kind

If you’ve decided to go with a rewards card, you have several options. There are cash back credit cards, where you earn a percentage of your spending back in cash. There are points cards, where you earn points based on the dollar amount you spent. These can usually be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel, merchandise, events and more. Then there are travel cards, where your rewards are free flights or hotel stays.

Get the type of card that will benefit you most. If you aren’t a frequent traveler, don’t go for a travel card just because there is a large bonus offer for applying.

3.
Consider introductory offers

Do you need to transfer a balance from a high-interest credit card to a low-interest card? Look for a credit card with an introductory APR offer of 0%. Thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, these introductory offers must be at least six months long, though many introductory balance transfer offers are for a year or longer in an effort to be competitive. This gives you a generous window for making headway on paying off your balance without accruing more interest (temporarily). Pay close attention to balance transfer fees, however, to make sure it’s still a good deal.

Are you looking to make a big purchase such as a television or sofa, or do you plan to carry a large balance? You may want to apply for a card with a 0% introductory APR offer on purchases (though some cards offer an introductory period on both purchases and balance transfers). The same six-month minimum rule applies, though many offers are much longer, giving you plenty of time to pay down your debt before interest kicks in.

4.
Figure out the fees

It’s important to determine which credit card fees will be worth it for you. It is now common for rewards cards to have annual fees, though many now have two tiers of cards: one card with no annual fee and one card with a high annual fee (often close to $100) but better rewards. For example, you may find a credit card with no annual fee and three percent cash back on all purchases and then another tier with a $95 annual fee but six percent cash back on all purchases.

Before you get a card with an annual fee, do the math to make sure the rewards and benefits will add up enough that the fee is worth it. If you won’t be able to earn enough rewards to cover the cost of the annual fee, it isn’t worth it.

Additionally, if you plan to do a balance transfer with your new credit card, you should read the fine print and determine the balance transfer fee before you apply.

Photo source: abcnews.com

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Alexandra Leslie

* Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which CardRates.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. See the credit card issuer's website for specific terms and conditions of each card.