The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Compare Credit Cards: Comparison of the 18 Best Offers (2020)

Credit Card Comparison

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: October 2, 2019
Advertiser Disclosure

Credit card comparison these days is much easier than ever before thanks to handy websites (ahem) that aggregate card information and do a lot of the heavy lifting for consumers. Additionally, cash seems to be on its way out. According to a 2016 Gallup survey on the future of cash, a full 62% of those surveyed felt it was likely that they would see the end of cash within their lifetimes — including almost 60% of respondents 65 and older.

The modern American is relying less and less on cash, with only 46% of people using cash for half or more of their purchases, and 12% now abstaining from using cash altogether. And who can blame them? Between the convenience, security, and usage rewards that come with using alternative payment methods, like credit cards, using cash to make purchases can seem so yesterday.

Yes, instead of wondering where they can find change for a $20 bill, the average American seems to be wondering, “Which credit card should I get?” Which is, of course, an important question with so many quality credit cards available from which to choose. The best method is to compare your options side by side to see which options work best for you.

Cash Back | Travel Rewards | Balance Transfer | Business | Students | Bad Credit

Compare the Best “Cash Back” Card Offers

A good cash back program is like a coupon that’s valid everywhere your credit card is accepted, giving you a percentage of your purchases as a statement credit or gift card. When it comes to comparing cash back offers, the main factor to consider is the nature of the cash back program; you’ll need to decide whether you want your cash back to be an unlimited flat rate, or if you want to receive bonus cash back rewards for spending in specific categories.

In general, an unlimited flat-rate cash back program will offer a small percentage — 1.5% tends to be average — on any purchase made with your card. Some programs may offer a larger cash back rate in specific set categories, such as gas or restaurant purchases, while offering a smaller unlimited rate on other purchases. And another popular type of cash back program offers a large cash back rate in quarterly rotating categories, with a small unlimited flat rate on everything else.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 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!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 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 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

+Compare More Cash Back Cards

An additional factor to consider when comparing cash back offers is the signup bonus offered by the card. Many credit cards will give you a set bonus amount for reaching specific spending requirements within a certain time period, typically 90 days after account opening.

Of course, if you can’t meet the required amount without carrying that debt for months (or, worse, years) afterward, then the signup bonus loses its value. It only takes six months to negate a $200 signup bonus when you’re paying 20% interest on a $2,000 balance.

Compare the Best “Travel Rewards” Card Offers

In many ways, travel rewards operate very similarly to cash back rewards, offering a certain number of rewards points or airline miles for every qualifying credit card purchase. These programs will generally offer a flat-rate point-per-dollar reward, with some programs also offering bonus rewards for spending in specific categories such as travel and dining.

Also like cash back cards, travel rewards cards will often come with signup bonuses, granting a lump sum of points or miles for hitting specified spending requirements, so be sure to take that into account when comparing offers. You’ll also want to look at any applicable annual fees, as these can take a significant bite out of your rewards.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 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—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 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

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 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 10+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+Compare More Travel Rewards Cards

While travel rewards will be most useful for those who frequently travel, they can be beneficial to those who don’t live in the proverbial saddle, as well. In fact, redeeming your rewards for travel — and, sometimes, travel-related purchases — can often present the greatest per-point value.

For instance, the Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card can be redeemed for cash back via a statement credit, giving a value of $0.01 per point back as cash back. This means every 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for $100 in cash back.

Graph of Chase Ultimate Rewards Redemption Value

This chart from ValuePenguin shows the relative dollar-per-point value for different redemption methods of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

On the other hand, when Ultimate Rewards points are redeemed via the Chase portal for airline travel, they can net $0.0125 per point, making those 10,000 points worth $125 in travel. Particularly travel-reward-savvy users can get even more bang for their buck (or pow for their point, as the case may be) by transferring rewards to one of the dozen or so airline and hotel partners, earning up to $0.04 per point with smart transfers.

Compare the Best “Balance Transfer” Card Offers

For many, the most impactful downside to credit cards is the interest fees they charge for carrying a balance. Often ranging from 12% up to 30% (or more), interest fees can turn even a small balance into a big burden over time. Thankfully, those who need a little relief from killer interest rates can often find it with a quality balance transfer credit card.

Pretty much as it sounds, a balance transfer involves transferring the balance on one credit card to a second credit card with a lower interest rate. Thus, when comparing balance transfer cards, the main factor to consider will be the interest rate charged by the new credit card. Typically, balance transfer credit card offers will provide 0% APR on new balance transfers for a set period of time, often 12 to 18 months, so compare offers for the best introductory rate.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% intro APR offers on both purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies)
  • Choose a payment due date that works best for you — beginning, middle, or end of the month
  • Stay protected against identity theft with Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • $0 liability on unauthorized charges
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives - save time, just say "representative" when you call, to enjoy fast, personal help
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
14.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies)
  • Get free access to your FICO® score online
  • With Citi Entertainment℠, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including presale tickets and exclusive experiences for the year's most anticipated concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives
  • Enjoy the flexibility to choose the payment due date that works best for you - the beginning, middle or end of the month
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
14.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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

+Compare More Balance Transfer Cards

Another factor to consider when comparing balance transfer offers is the transfer fee charged by the credit card. Most credit cards will charge between 3% and 5% of the total balance being transferred, although the Chase Slate® credit card does not charge a balance transfer fee on transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening. The caveat with that deal, however, is that you cannot transfer the balance from one Chase credit card to another Chase card.

Compare the Best “Business” Card Offers

For the most part, comparing credit cards for your business is the same as comparing personal credit cards. Business have many of the same costs and credit cards come with many of the same perks as consumer cards, including cash back and travel rewards.

When looking at business cards, you’ll want to compare reward types and amounts, the size of (and requirements for) the signup bonus, and the annual fee you’ll need to pay. Additionally, be sure to check out the APR, especially if you know you’ll have to carry the occasional balance. If you have employees who will be using the company card to make purchases, you’ll also want to look into any fees for additional cards when comparing offers.

American Express® Business Gold Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle, including airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio), U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions, and U.S. purchases at gas stations, restaurants, or for shipping. Applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.
  • Earn 1X Membership Rewards® points on other purchases
  • Book your flight with American Express Travel using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points and get 25% of those points back
  • $295 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.24% - 22.24% Variable
$295
Excellent

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

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
  • 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
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+Compare More Business Cards

Another major comparison point for business cards will be the qualification requirements. While your personal credit can influence your ability to obtain a business credit card, your company will also develop its own business credit score and history over time. New businesses without established business credit may have a more difficult time obtaining the best business credit cards than established companies with long credit histories.

Compare the Best “Student” Card Offers

Be it academic lessons in the classroom, interpersonal lessons in the dorm room, or life lessons in the common room, your job as a student is to learn. And, as a student, one of the most important skills you can learn is to properly use and manage credit. Thankfully, while some credit card issuers may blanch at your lack of credit history, others are more than happy to help you learn.

As you compare student credit cards, you’ll learn to weigh many of the same options as do other credit card users, like deciding between flat-rate or category-based cash back rewards. You’ll also face a few options that may not be as important to other cardholders, such as whether a card offers a statement credit for good grades — or whether the issuer reports to all three of the major credit bureaus, an important part of building your credit.

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
  • 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
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your 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
  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles (3% balance transfer fee applies)
  • 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
0% for 12 billing cycles
0% for 12 billing cycles
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
None/Limited
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.4/5.0
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points ($250 value) if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere
  • No blackout dates or restrictions apply, and points never expire
  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases for 12 billing cycles
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 billing cycles
N/A
14.99% - 22.99% Variable
$0
None/Limited

+Compare More Student Cards

Credit cards that report to the major bureaus are a key comparison point for student credit cards. One of the most important reasons to get a student credit card in the first place is to use the one advantage you have as credit novice: time. The earlier you start building a positive credit history, the better off your credit will be in the long run. Specifically, it’s important to establish credit early because of the impacts of the age of your credit accounts on your overall credit score.

Credit History Length Graphic

In fact, the length of your credit history, also called the average age of accounts, represents a full 15% of your FICO credit score. This means that no matter how perfect the rest of your credit is, your credit score will never reach similar perfection without a long, well-established credit history — and the only thing that can truly increase the length of your credit history is time.

Compare the Best “Bad Credit” Card Offers

One of the many facts of life — perhaps the fact of life — is, simply, “stuff happens.” Sometimes, all the planning in the world can’t prevent or solve some problems, and the consequences can often have long-term effects. When those effects are to your finances, your credit can suffer, making it difficult — but not impossible — to obtain new credit through traditional methods — but not impossible.

When comparing credit cards for poor credit consumers, the main point of comparison will be unsecured versus secured cards. With bad credit, unsecured credit cards will be harder to obtain from prime issuers, so you will need to obtain a subprime credit card. These cards often have very high interest rates and may also have large fees. Secured cards, on the other hand, require a security deposit to open, and your credit limit will be restricted to the size of your deposit.

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee
  • Unlike a prepaid card, there is regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Accepted at millions of locations worldwide
  • Make the minimum required security deposit and you'll get an initial credit line of $200. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line
  • Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad
Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 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
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a Secured Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit - Maximum $1,000. * Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
9.99%
$48
Poor/Fair/Limited/Damaged

+Compare More Bad Credit Cards

Another option for those with poor credit will be limited brand or store credit cards. While only usable for specific locations or brands, these credit cards are often easier to obtain than unsecured credit cards from major issuers. Look for cards that report to all three credit bureaus to ensure your new credit card is helping to grow and improve your credit score.

Shop Around to Find the Best Card for You

Not so long ago, the average American toted around pocketfuls of cash and coins with which to make his or her daily purchases, often literally weighed down by the currency needed to operate in the world. Today, more and more shoppers are using plastic, not paper, for their purchases, lured by the convenience, security, and rewards represented by alternative currency formats.

Finding the right credit card is simply a matter of a little research and some solid comparison shopping. Consider each aspect of your new card, including rewards, fees, and credit requirements, to make the best choice for you and your personal needs.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.