The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

12 Best Credit Cards for Everyday Use

12 Best Credit Cards for Everyday Use

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: December 5, 2019
Advertiser Disclosure

For many of my friends, the search for the perfect partner centers around the idea of finding someone who isn’t “crazy.” What I always advise them to remember, of course, is that everyone is crazy, in their own ways. The key to a successful relationship isn’t searching for someone “normal,” but finding someone whose particular brand of crazy complements your own craziness.

Coincidentally, my sagest bit of relationship advice parallels one of my most well-worn pieces of credit card wisdom. Every credit card has its ups — and its downs. Instead of focusing on finding the “perfect” credit card (which doesn’t exist), you should look for a card that’s perfect for you.

In terms of finding the best cards for everyday use, this means choosing cards that reward you for the purchases you make most frequently, while also providing those rewards in a form you’ll be most likely to use. In the list below, we’ve compiled some of the cards that what we believe to be likely contenders to be perfect cards for a wide range of consumers, whether they are looking for cash back or travel rewards, points, or a 0% APR.

Cash Back | Travel Rewards | Points | 0% APR

Best “Cash Back” Cards for Everyday Use

If there’s any type of reward sure to appeal to just about anyone, it’s probably cash back rewards. Cash back programs offer simple, straightforward rewards that you can typically redeem for statement credits, gift cards, or physical checks. Since these cards are effectively the same as getting a rebate on everything you purchase, they are a great choice for everyday cards.

To really make the most of your everyday card, you should select one with a rewards program that works best for your particular shopping habits. If you tend to do a lot of spending in certain popular categories, like gas or groceries, then you may fare best with a bonus category card. If your spending is more general, however, a flat-rate unlimited rewards card might be more lucrative overall. Explore our favorite cash back cards to explore both options.

CASH BACK 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 unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • There's no annual fee and your cash rewards don't expire. Each month, as you plan for future purchases, you can change your 3% choice category online or through our mobile app.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cash Back Cards

If you choose to go with a card that offers bonus cash back in specific categories, be sure you understand the specifics of the program. Many bonus categories will have purchase maximums (e.g., only your first $1,500 in category purchases per quarter qualify for 5% cash back with the Chase Freedom® card). After you hit the cap, you’ll typically earn unlimited 1% cash back on category purchases.

Some other things to look for when comparing cash back cards include the annual fee — the smaller the better, and zero is the best — any applicable expiration dates for your rewards, and if the card has cash back redemption minimums. Redemption methods may also vary by card; for example, Discover cardholders can redeem their cash back rewards directly toward an Amazon purchase during the Amazon checkout process.

Best “Travel Rewards” Cards for Everyday Use

For many of us, the everyday grind is all about getting to those few weeks of vacation that (hopefully) make it all worthwhile. You can get yourself a little closer — financially, that is — to that dream vacation every day with the right travel rewards credit card. With every dinner purchase, car fill-up, and utility payment, you could be earning miles or points that will get you out of the everyday and into the extraordinary.

As you compare travel rewards cards, you’ll need to make several choices, the first of which is whether you want a bank-branded or co-branded card. Cards that are co-branded with specific airlines or hotels, such as the Gold Delta SkyMiles® card from Amex, will limit your travel to that brand (and its partners). Bank-branded cards, like those on our list below, are more flexible, as they don’t limit you to specific brands or travel times.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and no expiration on points
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees while earning points to use for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees
  • Introductory 0%† APR for your first 12 billing cycles for purchases.  After that, a Variable APR that's currently 14.99% to 22.99% will apply.
  • 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening – which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Preferred Rewards members earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend, everywhere, every time.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles
N/A
14.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed 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
15.99% - 20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Travel Rewards Cards

Although most travel rewards cards offer pretty decent earning rates, the easiest way to start traveling sooner is to choose an everyday card with a great signup bonus. These one-time bonuses, typically consisting of tens of thousands of points or miles, can often be enough for a free flight or hotel stay in and of themselves. The majority of credit card signup bonuses will require you to meet a specific spending requirement within a set period of time.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to signup bonuses is that you should never spend more than you can afford to repay simply to meet a signup bonus (or ever, really). The interest fees you’ll likely be charged for carrying a balance on your card can quickly cancel out any value you receive from the signup bonus. (High annual fees can have the same effect.)

Best “Points” Cards for Everyday Use

If you typically don’t travel enough to make a travel credit card worth having, but you’d still like the option to redeem your rewards for travel — or gift cards, merchandise, or once-in-a-lifetime experiences — then a points card may be for you. Points cards offer the most versatile rewards experience, providing a wide variety of redemption options, even cash back in most cases, making them a flexible everyday credit card option.

As with other rewards credit cards, the majority of points programs tend to be structured in one of two ways: unlimited flat-rate rewards, or bonus-category rewards. Selecting between the two types will come down to where you tend to make the most purchases, with common categories including everyday necessities, like gas and dining. Our expert-rated points cards include a variety of program types to start your search.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
$0
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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 $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

+See More Points Cards

Potential cardholders who may wish to use their points for travel redemption should investigate potential travel partners before choosing a card. Many points programs, such as Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, will allow you to transfer and convert your points into loyalty rewards with popular travel brands. This will often give you a better per-point value than simply redeeming the points for a travel credit or cash back would provide.

Best “0% APR” Cards for Everyday Use

While credit card rewards, like cash back and points, can be, well, rewarding, they’re not the only way to get a little extra value out of your everyday card. A credit card with a robust 0% APR intro offer could be significantly more valuable to those who tend to carry a balance on their card month to month, providing 12 months or more of interest-free purchasing.

For the best of both worlds, look for a credit card offering both a solid intro APR offer and purchase rewards. Additionally, you can get even more value from your card by looking for one without an annual fee, starting with many of the options on our list of top-rated picks.

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 unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

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 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • There's no annual fee and your cash rewards don't expire. Each month, as you plan for future purchases, you can change your 3% choice category online or through our mobile app.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 15 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More 0% APR Cards

It’s vital to understand one thing about your intro APR offer, however: no interest doesn’t mean no payments. Regardless of your interest rate, you’ll need to make at least your minimum required credit card payment by (but preferably before) your due date each month to avoid the fees and credit damage associated with late and missed payments.

You’ll also want to repay as much of your balance as you can before the intro period expires, as your APR will revert to its default value at the end of your intro term. Since the default purchase rate will likely be in the double-digits, the fees can add up quickly.

Save on Life’s Daily Necessities with the Right Card

Despite our species’ tendency to look forward to life’s biggest moments, truly making the most of life often means finding ways to enjoy the everyday experiences. And a big part of that is finding the right person to share them with. In the end, there is no perfect person — just the person perfect for you.

Similarly, making the most of your financial life will usually involve making smart financial decisions each and every day, which starts with selecting the right credit card for those everyday purchases. But just as there is no one-person-fits-all partner, the right credit card for you will depend on your individual habits and preferences.

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