12 Best Credit Cards for Everyday Use

12 Best Credit Cards for Everyday Use

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: December 17, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

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 card for everyday use, this means choosing a card that rewards you for the purchases you make most frequently, while also providing those rewards in a form you’ll be most likely to use.

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 and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 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
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
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
16.74-25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more 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.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
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

★★★★★
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 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • 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
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • 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
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74% - 23.74% variable APR after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+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.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • 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
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

+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 and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 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
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
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
16.74-25.49% 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 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 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
16.74 - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 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 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; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.74% - 25.74% (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.