The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, October 18, 2021

24 Best Credit Cards for Rewards in 2021

Best Credit Cards For Rewards

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: October 21, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Saving is awesome. And that’s not just an opinion. Studies have shown that coupons not only entice us to spend more and try new things but can actually decrease stress and just plain make us happier — as much as 11% happier, in fact.

That’s right, your dedication to a good deal may be due to a physiological love of savings. And that sentiment for savings is hardly limited to clipping coupons from the paper. Indeed, so many consumers have experienced the oxytocin-rich rewards of a good deal that everyone from airlines to the local zoo offers coupons and rebates to entice new customers.

Despite the discount ubiquity, however, one of the most universal of all deals is still that of the credit card rewards program. Like a rebate you can use on just about anything, credit card rewards offer nearly endless opportunities to de-stress with a great deal. In the article below, we’ll explore some of our choices for the best credit cards for rewards. These days, there is something for everyone — whether you’re looking for cards geared toward cash back, travel rewards, or students.

Cash Back | Points | Travel | Balance Transfers |
Students | Business | Fair Credit | Bad Credit

Best Credit Cards for “Cash Back” Rewards

If there is one thing that most people can likely agree on, it’s that cash is good — and more cash is better. Cash back credit card rewards put more cash in your pocket by giving you back a portion of your purchases in the form of rewards that can be redeemed for a statement credit or deposited into a qualifying bank account.

Nearly every cash back credit card will offer a low unlimited cash back rate for every purchase you make with your card, typically between 1% and 2% cash back. Many cash back cards will also offer bonus cash back rates for purchases made in specific categories, such as gas station or restaurant purchases. Start your search with our favorite cash back cards, which includes both program types.

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • 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 Active Cash℠ Card
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
14.99%-24.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 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; 14.99%-24.99% variable APR after that
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Cash Back Rewards

For those who spend a lot in a common category, cash back bonus categories can be extremely lucrative, but be careful not to overspend just for the rewards. Additionally, many cards have purchasing caps for bonus categories, meaning you’ll only earn bonus rewards on category purchases up to a specified amount, after which purchases will earn rewards at the default unlimited rate.

Best Credit Cards for “Points” Rewards

Of all the credit card rewards, points are generally the most flexible, offering redemption options that include those of cash back rewards — i.e., a statement credit or bank deposit — as well a range of other options, like travel expenses, merchandise, or special events or experiences.

As with cash back rewards, most rewards points credit cards will provide an unlimited flat rate on all purchases, typically 1X point per $1, as well as offering bonus points on purchases made in specific categories. The top points cards on our list include lucrative bonus categories like travel, dining, and restaurants.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • 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.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
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

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $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 Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99%-20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 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. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 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
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 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
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Points Rewards

Besides the direct redemption options offered by the credit card issuer, a common way to maximize the per-point value of rewards points is to transfer them to a partnering airline or hotel loyalty program. This turns your rewards points into frequent flyer or hotel points that can be pooled with your existing loyalty program points to purchase flights or hotel stays.

Best Credit Cards for “Travel” Rewards

As evidenced by just about every online dating profile ever, we all love to travel — but few of us like to pay for it. Travel rewards credit cards allow you to earn points or miles that you can redeem for a variety of travel-related expenses, including using your rewards to book flights, hotel stays, and rental cars.

Similar to other credit card rewards, most travel rewards credit cards allow you to earn unlimited, flat-rate points or miles on every purchase, and a variety of cards also offer bonus points or miles for purchases in specified categories. Many of the travel rewards cards on our list provide blackout-free travel redemption without limiting you to specific airlines or hotel brands.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.  There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
  • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 14 months
10.99% Intro APR for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$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 $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Travel Rewards

When comparing travel rewards cards, an important thing to look out for, especially if you intend to travel abroad, are cards that charge foreign transaction fees. Typically ranging from 2% to 4% of your purchase amount, foreign transaction fees are charged whenever you make a credit card purchase in a foreign currency and can add up quickly.

Best Credit Cards for “Balance Transfers” and Rewards

A successful credit card balance transfer can be a great way to reduce your monthly interest fees by transferring your balance from a card with a high APR to one with a lower APR. This is particularly effective when you take advantage of a balance transfer introductory 0% APR offer, which can provide interest-free balance transfers for 12 months or more.

While you won’t actually earn any rewards on the balance you transfer to your rewards card, you can earn rewards on any new purchases made with your card. What’s more, many great introductory APR offers — including our favorites below — will apply to both new purchases as well as balance transfers, so you won’t be charged interest on those rewards-reaping new purchases during the introductory period.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.7

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 and will have a fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • 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.
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives
  • $0 annual fee
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® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★
4.4

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Introductory 0% APR for your first 15 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 billing cycles
0% for 15 billing cycles
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards
  • The Citi Rewards+® Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening. 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 ThankYou® 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.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR Period 15 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers
0% Intro APR Period 15 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers
13.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Balance Transfers

If you’re looking at taking advantage of an introductory APR offer to save on both new purchases and balance transfers, be sure to read the terms of the offer carefully. While many offers will have the same terms for both new purchases and balance transfers, some intro-APR offers will have different rates or lengths depending on the type of transaction.

Best Credit Cards for “Student” Rewards

As a student, it can seem as though the credit card odds are stacked against you. Not only do you probably suffer from a stunted (or nonexistent) credit history, but your income level is likely not particularly exceptional, either. All is not lost, however. You can use a student credit card to establish and/or build your credit history — and earn rewards while you do so.

Indeed, while not as sought-after an applicant as someone with a well-established credit history, the rewards options for students are still quite competitive, with cards offering both unlimited flat-rate rewards, as well as some options for bonus category rewards, as well. Our list includes both types of rewards cards, none of which will charge you an annual fee.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when 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.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

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
  • Earn $5 per month for 12 months on Select Streaming Subscriptions when you pay on time. *Exclusions Apply
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • You can help build your credit with responsible use of a card like this
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 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.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

+See More Cards for Student Rewards

When considering applying for a credit card as a student, you should be aware that certain requirements will need to be met if you are under the age of 21. Specifically, the CARD Act of 2009 requires that credit card applicants between the ages of 18 and 21 must either have a parental cosigner on the account or be able to demonstrate a reasonable level of independent income to qualify for their own card.

Best Credit Cards for “Business” Rewards

Whether your business has one employee or 100, every business has something in common: expenses. From pens and paper to internet service and web hosting, even a digital small business can have its share of expenses, and bricks-and-mortar businesses only have it worse. Which means it’s probably safe to say that many business owners experience the same physiological joy in saving a few bucks as do the rest of us.

For many business owners, a business credit card is a must-have tool to keep the business going, but a good rewards credit card can be more than that — it can also be a tool for saving money. Not only do most business rewards cards provide unlimited flat-rate rewards, but many also offer business-centric bonus categories to reward you for the things you buy most. Check out our top picks to start your search.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn rewards faster with employee cards at no additional cost. Set individual spending limits for greater control.
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for the first 12 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere — with no limits or category restrictions
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account
  • Redeem your cash back rewards for any amount
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Good

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Transfer your miles to 15+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✔® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
20.99% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Business Rewards

One of the best things about obtaining a credit card for your business is that a credit card account can help you establish and build a business credit profile, which is separate from your personal credit reports and scores. Your business will need an established business credit profile to qualify for many credit products, including many business loans.

Best Credit Cards for “Fair Credit” Rewards

To paraphrase the old saying, building credit isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. In general, it can take up to six months to even establish enough history to qualify for a credit score, and twice that long to reach a good to excellent score. At the same time, it can take just 30 days to have a late payment turn delinquent and drop that good score like a meteor.

No matter how you got your fair credit score, whether you’re just starting out or recovering from a hiccup or two, you can often still find good quality credit cards — even ones offering purchase rewards. While fair-credit rewards cards may have an annual fee, including some of our cards below, if you spend enough with the card each year you can often earn enough rewards to cover the fee (and then some).

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

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
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • 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
26.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited
Blue from American Express® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

0.0

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every eligible dollar you spend
  • You can get double Membership Rewards® points on every dollar of eligible travel purchases—such as prepaid hotel stays, vacation packages, and cruises—when you use your card to book your trip through AmexTravel.com
  • Amex Offers rewards you at places you like to shop, dine, travel, and more. Simply log in to your account or use the American Express® App to add offers to your card. Then use that same card to pay and enjoy rewards directly on your statement.
  • Plan It® is a payment option that lets you split up purchases of $100 or more into clear and simple monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

21. Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa®

This card is currently not available.

Fair Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

Since your payment history is the biggest portion of your credit score, it can tank your score the easiest. While missing a card payment by a day or two won’t result in a payment being reported to the bureaus as delinquent, anything more than 30-days late will be reported. Setting up automated payments can be an effective way to ensure your credit card bill is always paid on time.

Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” Rewards

Having bad credit can be a financial bummer. Not only is it significantly harder to qualify for new credit, but the quality of that credit — including the rates, fees, and credit limits — often leaves much to be desired. But while it can be a challenge to rebuild your credit after a few missteps, it is hardly impossible. In fact, you may even earn rewards while you rebuild.

You shouldn’t expect bad-credit rewards cards to provide a high earnings rate, but several options exist for obtaining at least an unlimited 1% cash back on your purchases. You can even find some cards (mostly secured cards) that provide bonus cash back categories, though they likely have spending caps. Compare some of expert-rated rewards cards for bad credit below.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.2

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • A minimum refundable security deposit of $300 (maximum of $4,900) is required to open this account
  • Access your FICO® Score updated monthly for free, within your Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking
  • Optional overdraft protection option helps prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other overdrafts when you link your eligible Bank of America® checking account to your credit card. Transfer fees may apply.
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.99% Variable
$0
Bad/Limited

23. Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

This card is currently not available.

Bad Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

24. Credit One Bank® Visa® with Free Credit Score Access

This card is currently not available.

Bad Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

While cards for those with bad credit tend to have very flexible credit score requirements, remember that you aren’t guaranteed acceptance. Certain types of derogatory credit marks may be deal breakers for some issuers. For example, you are unlikely to find new credit if you have a pending bankruptcy filing that has not yet been discharged by the court.

Turn Everyday Errands into Rewarding Experiences

Whether you like to shop online, in stores, or merely as little as possible, it turns out most shoppers share a biological love of savings. But you may not need to clip coupons or print promo codes to get that same warm-and-fuzzy oxytocin boost of savings delight; your favorite rewards credit card can likely offer nearly universal savings on anything you purchase with plastic.

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