The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, April 15, 2021

What Credit Card is Best for Me? Choosing a Card in 2021

What Credit Card Is Best For Me

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Updated: June 17, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

When people learn that you write about consumer credit for a living, the conversation seems to almost inevitably circle around to, “So, what’s the best credit card?” Unfortunately, people are rarely happy with the true response, which is: there isn’t one.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of credit credits on the market, each with its pros and cons, its own costs and rewards. Furthermore, there are millions of credit cardholders out there, too — each with their own wants, needs, and spending habits.

In the end, if you find yourself chatting with someone in-the-know, the question to ask isn’t, “What’s the best credit card?” Instead, what you really need to know is, “What credit card is best for me?” With that being said, let’s explore a variety of our picks for some of the top credit cards available today, including cards for a variety of credit scores, competitive APRs, appealing rewards, and more.

Find Cards By: Credit Score | APR | Rewards | Specialty

A Quick 4-Question Quiz to Narrow Your Card Options

As with many things in consumer culture, credit cards are often designed and marketed with a specific demographic in mind. This may be a certain credit score or income range, or a particular type of card user. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card is a rewards card that targets travelers with high incomes by offering big bonus rewards on travel-related purchases but charging a high annual fee.

To find the best credit card for you, the first step will be to decide on your wants and needs, and then determine into which demographic they likely fall. You can narrow down your options fairly significantly by taking a look at your credit and spending habits, then answering the four questions below.

  • 1. Is your FICO credit score below 670? One of the most important factors determining whether you are approved for a particular credit card will be your credit score. Those with good to excellent credit — FICO scores of 670 and above — will typically be able to qualify for just about any consumer card (though higher credit scores will generally earn higher credit limits). If your credit score is below 670, you’ll find the best luck getting approved for cards if you apply for those specifically aimed at your credit score range.
  • 2. Do you tend to carry a balance from month to month? Most credit cardholders tend to fall into one of two groups: those who compulsively pay off their balance every month, and those who tend to carry a balance from month to month. Since interest charges are one of the biggest costs associated with using a credit card, balance-carriers should consider a card designed just for them, i.e., one that comes with an introductory 0% interest rate offer or low ongoing APR.
  • 3. Do you make most of your purchases at the same places? With so many credit cards on the market today, one of the easiest ways to choose one over another is by picking a card that offers the rewards best suited to your personal spending habits. For instance, if a large portion of your budget goes to groceries each month, a card that offers bonus rewards for grocery store purchases may be the best fit. Keep the redemption options in mind, as well; if you know you won’t bother with a complicated points redemption process, for example, get cash back instead.
  • 4. Are you a business owner or student? For business owners or students, the process of narrowing down a credit card may be the simplest of all. That’s because many issuers have specialty cards aimed at these specific users, both in terms of qualifying requirements as well as card perks and purchase rewards.

While no individual question or answer will likely point you to a single card, answering each question can help you put together a short list of options. Things like the credit requirements, rewards, and APR can all contribute to choosing a specific card — but you may also want to consider a few other factors, too, including extraneous fees and the processing network.

Find the Right Card for Your Credit Score

Contrary to popular belief, the typical consumer doesn’t have a single credit score; they can have dozens of credit scores, which can vary based on the credit bureaus supplying the information and the specific model used to calculate the score. Of them all, the FICO Score 8 is the most frequently used scoring model by far, though the credit bureau(s) used will vary by credit card issuer.

The FICO Score 8 operates on a range of scores from 300 to 850, with 850 being the highest possible credit score — and, thus, the most desirable. Although 300 is technically the lowest possible score, few subprime consumers have scores this low, instead typically scoring in the low to mid 500s. Your credit score is considered “poor” if it falls below 580.

Excellent | Good | Fair | Poor | No/Limited

Best Cards for “Excellent” Credit

FICO credit scores of 740 and above are generally dubbed as “excellent,” and they show that you can responsibly handle credit. Since those with excellent credit tend to get their pick of credit cards (and other financial products), perhaps the only downside to having excellent credit is that it won’t really help you narrow down the field of card options.

With the full field of awesome rewards cards and lengthy intro-APR offers available, finding the best card means moving on to Questions 2, 3, and 4. Find the rewards that best match your individual spending habits and redemption preferences, or the card with the lowest APR if you often carry a balance. Our favorite cards for excellent credit cover the gamut of rewards and benefits.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.9
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
EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • 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
EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 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%.
  • 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% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Excellent Credit

Best Cards for “Good” Credit

With credit scores between 670 and 739, good-credit consumers have nearly as many options as their excellent-credit counterparts, albeit often with lower credit limits. While some cards aimed specifically at those with excellent credit may be out of reach, the rest of the prime credit card market will typically be up for grabs.

While the same basic advice applies to good-credit applicants as excellent-credit ones — i.e., use Questions 2, 3, and 4 to better narrow the options — you may want to pay special attention to the APRs charged by each card. Those with good credit will generally receive higher interest rates than those with excellent credit, particularly as you get closer to the bottom end of the range.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.9
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
GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • 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
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on 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%.
  • 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% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Good Credit

Best Cards for “Fair” Credit

Not quite poor credit but not quite good, credit scores between 580 and 669 fall into the “fair” credit score range. Like their scores, these consumers exist in a bit of a middle ground, with the potential to qualify for a limited array of prime credit cards — but by a narrow margin.

Selecting a card with fair credit will definitely start by identifying cards designed for credit-builders, be it a flexible prime credit card or a subprime card. Pay special attention to any annual, processing, and/or maintenance fees, as well as the APR charged by the card, to keep your costs down as you build credit. And of course, building credit is an essential step in planning for the future and moving up into the next tier of “good” credit consumers. This will open up more card options for you and potentially make you eligible for lower interest rates and better rewards offerings.

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
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
Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
OVERALL RATING
4.1/5.0
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% – 29.99% (Variable)
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

Best Cards for “Poor” Credit

Whether from defaulted accounts, multiple late payments, maxed out credit cards, or a bankruptcy discharge — or some combination of them all — when a credit score drops below 580, it is in the “poor” credit range. Since most creditors are wary of the credit risk presented by poor-credit applicants, perhaps the only useful thing about poor credit is that it definitely helps to narrow down the options.

The cards likely to approve someone with poor credit all tend to have a catch. Secured credit cards are the easiest to get but require a deposit to open and use. Unsecured card options are limited to closed-loop store cards that can only be used on branded purchases, and subprime credit cards that will likely charge high fees and interest rates. Start comparing with our top-rated cards.

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
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
Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
OVERALL RATING
4.1/5.0
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% – 29.99% (Variable)
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit
Indigo® Unsecured Mastercard® - Prior Bankruptcy is Okay Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Pre-qualifying today will not affect your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit histories can qualify, even with prior bankruptcy!
  • Mobile friendly online access from anywhere
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$0 - $99
Fair/Good

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

Best Cards for “No/Limited” Credit

Although some confusion may exist around the origins of your credit profile, you aren’t born with one nor is it automatically established by turning 18. Instead, it takes about six months of credit use — such as with a credit card or loan — to build enough credit history for a FICO credit score to be calculated.

Credit card issuers will be wary of extending you significant credit before you establish enough credit history for a credit score. While not as limited as those for poor credit, the selection of cards available to those with no/limited credit will likely resemble that of those with fair credit. Similarly, keep an eye on APRs and extraneous fees to reduce your credit-building costs.

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
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
NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.6
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT 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

+See More Cards for No/Limited Credit

Find the Right Card for Your Interest Rate Needs

Although every potential credit card applicant should look at the APR charged by a new credit card, those with fair, poor, or limited credit will have fewer options for finding low interest rates than those with good credit or better. Consumers with higher credit scores, on the other hand, can use a card’s APR as a deciding factor when selecting the best credit card.

In particular, two main aspects of a card’s APR may be of interest: the introductory APR and the ongoing APR. Many credit cards will come with an introductory APR offer, the best of which offer 0% APR for the duration of the promotional period. Once any intro period expires, the ongoing APR will determine what interest rate is charged for purchases carried from month to month.

0% New Purchases | 0% Balance Transfers | Low Ongoing APR

Best Cards for 0% Intro-APR on New Purchases

At most times, making large purchases with your credit card that you can’t repay right away is a horrible idea. Interest charges will start to accrue after the grace period passes, and those charges can get quite expensive over time. However, there is a solution: an introductory 0% APR offer, which can provide six months or more of interest-free purchases.

The better your credit score, the better the intro-APR offer you can obtain, with offers of up to 18 months available to well-qualified applicants. Keep in mind that any balance remaining when your promotional period is over will start to accrue interest according to the card’s default new purchase interest rate. See some of our favorite offers below.

0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 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%.
  • 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% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
0% INTRO APR 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; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • For a limited time, get a special 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles, then a variable APR applies
  • Enjoy Cell Phone Protection Coverage when you pay your monthly cellular bill with your U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
  • View your credit score anytime, anywhere in the mobile app or online banking. It's easy to enroll, easy to use, and free to U.S. Bank customers.
  • Fraud Protections detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud
  • Choose your payment due date
  • $0 Annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 20 billing cycles
0% for 20 billing cycles
14.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

+See More Cards for 0% APR on New Purchases

Best Cards for 0% Intro-APR on Balance Transfers

Introductory APR offers for new purchases can be convenient when you have a large purchase coming up, but what about those who have already accumulated a balance on their cards? That’s where balance transfer introductory offers can be handy. By transferring your balance from high-interest card to one with a 0% APR introductory offer, you can enjoy a number of interest-free months to pay down your balance.

The main thing to consider when it comes to intro-APR offers for balance transfers — other than the fact that introductory offers eventually expire — is that balance transfers often come with balance transfer fees. While the occasional card without balance transfer fees does exist, many intro-APR offers may be worth the transfer fee.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • For a limited time, get a special 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles, then a variable APR applies
  • Enjoy Cell Phone Protection Coverage when you pay your monthly cellular bill with your U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
  • View your credit score anytime, anywhere in the mobile app or online banking. It's easy to enroll, easy to use, and free to U.S. Bank customers.
  • Fraud Protections detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud
  • Choose your payment due date
  • $0 Annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 20 billing cycles
0% for 20 billing cycles
14.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit
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
Wells Fargo Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING
★★★★★
4.6
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Introductory 0% APR offers for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Account protection features such as Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions, alerts, and cell phone protection
  • My Money Map – tools to help you manage spending and create a budget with ease
  • Access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Overdraft Protection by linking your credit card to your Wells Fargo checking account, finance charges apply
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good

+See More Cards for 0% APR on Balance Transfers

Best Cards for Low Ongoing APRs

As valuable as intro-APR offers can be for reducing or eliminating interest payments on new purchases and balance transfers, these offers are, of course, temporary. If you’re likely to carry a balance on your credit card for more than just the first year or so, then an introductory offer will only be so useful. The focus for these consumers should be finding a card that offers a low APR all the time.

The trick here is twofold. One, build your credit. The better your credit score, the lower the average interest rate you’re offered. And two, find a card with a lower overall APR range. For example, a card with an APR range of 10% to 15% will always offer lower APRs than one with a range of 16% to 21%. The cards below offer lower APRs than many of their competitors.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR 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
Discover it® chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • 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. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn cash back on your next road trip with 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.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. Based Customer Service available any time.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • 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
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

LOW APR 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

+See More Cards for Low Ongoing APRs

Find the Right Rewards Credit Card for You

At the heart of the modern credit card lover is often a consumer who loves to save. That’s because credit card rewards can be a valuable way to save with every swipe, earning you purchase rebates, free travel, and/or remarkable experiences for your everyday spending.

And that’s where you should start narrowing down your rewards card selections: the type of rewards you want to earn. If you like things simple, a cash back rewards card can provide straightforward savings. On the other hand, frequent flyers and hotel jockeys will often appreciate a good travel rewards card, and those who want the best of both worlds tend to prefer a flexible points credit card.

Cash Back | Travel | Points

Best Cards for “Cash Back” Rewards

Cash back rewards are typically the simplest type of rewards to redeem, with options for redemption as a statement credit or as a deposit into an eligible bank account (typically accounts held with the issuing bank). As simple as they are to redeem, however, cash back rewards can be as complex as any rewards type when it comes to maximizing your earnings.

While most cash back cards will offer an unlimited flat rewards rate, usually 1% to 2% on all purchases, some cards will also offer a higher rewards rate for purchases made in specific bonus categories. So, if your regular spending falls into the same categories each month, choosing a card that rewards you for those categories will net you the best rewards. Otherwise, an unlimited flat-rate card can still be a valuable savings tool.

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; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (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
CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • 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; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Cash Back Rewards

Best Cards for “Travel” Rewards

As with cash back rewards, travel rewards come as either single, unlimited flat-rate rewards, or as bonus rewards for category-specific purchases. But while cash back rewards are almost always fairly straightforward to redeem, travel rewards can have as much — or as little — complication as you like.

For example, some travel cards will have cash-back-like redemption as a flat-rate statement credit for travel-related purchases. However, other programs will have a variable redemption value based on how you redeem them, with options for direct redemption via a travel portal or through a transfer to an eligible hotel or airline partner. Our top cards include a mix of both redemption types.

AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • 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
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover will automatically match 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.
  • New! 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 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

+See More Cards for Travel Rewards

Best Cards for “Points” Rewards

Credit cards that earn rewards points are essentially a combination of cash back and travel rewards cards, with a little extra thrown into the mix. Like the other rewards cards, you can earn points at a single, unlimited rate, or at a bonus rate for specific category purchases.

Unlike the other card types, generic rewards points can be redeemed for anything from cash back to travel — and a few things in between. The per-point value of your rewards will depend on how you redeem them, with cash typically providing the lowest value and travel redemption the highest. Many points cards, including our expert picks, also come with lucrative signup bonuses.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.7/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 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.
  • 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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 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
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 60,000 points are worth $900 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 Rewards Points

Find the Right Specialty Card for You

While all credit cardholders have their own needs, some have more specific needs than others. In particular, business owners and students both need certain things out of their credit cards that may not be offered by the bulk of the field, making it even more important for these users to find just the right card.

On the bright side, many issuers have developed cards with these specialty groups in mind, offering a range of business-centered and student-focused cards. And if you can narrow your list to these specific types of cards, you can use Questions 1 through 3 to pick the perfect one off the short list of potential fits.

Businesses | Students

Best Cards for Businesses

From advertising costs to shipping expenses, business owners tend to have expenses that regular consumers simply don’t even consider, let alone have the need to earn rewards for them. Designed for business owners, business credit cards often cater to these unique needs, offering rewards for things like office supplies and digital marketing that can help bolster your business’s bottom line.

Even better, business credit cards have a secret superpower: the ability to help your business establish and build business credit. As with the consumer credit world, the business credit world relies on a solid credit history to judge whether to lend to your business in the future. A good business credit card, like our favorites, can two-birds your business finances and credit, all while earning you lucrative rewards.

BUSINESS CARD RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.7/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
  • Purchase above your credit limit with no hassle and no over-limit fees
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
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
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
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.99% - 23.99% variable APR after that
  • No annual fee
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
N/A
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Businesses

Best Cards for Students

Being a student can be both a great adventure — and a great challenge. To start, college students aren’t typically the most well-paid workers (meals of ramen noodles and mac & cheese are the stereotypical staples of college life for a very good reason), nor do they generally have very well-established credit profiles. Combined, these attributes mean students can’t apply for just any old credit card.

Happily, the credit card industry isn’t without sympathy for the credit plights of students. A number of issuers offer credit cards specially designed for students who want to establish and build credit — without paying an arm and a leg in annual fees. What’s more, many student cards, including our options below, include valuable purchase rewards.

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 Students

Audit Your Cards Regularly to Ensure You Have the Best Ones

As anyone who works in an advisory capacity knows, most people can’t help but ask for a professional opinion when they get the chance. But, as is also well known, the quality of the advice you get from someone often depends on the quality of you the questions you ask.

For example, should you ask a credit card expert to tell you about the best credit card, you’ll often get mixed results. That’s because few things are so cut-and-dry in personal finance — hence the “personal” part of the term. To get a quality answer about the best credit cards, the proper question to ask is, “What is the best credit card for me?”

Additionally, since the best credit card for an individual depends on their specific needs and spending habits, it’s important to regularly re-evaluate your current credit card collection. Our specific financial needs and habits tend to change over time, just as we do, meaning the best card for you today may not be the best card next year.

You should perform an annual audit of your credit cards — preferably before any annual fees are charged for the year — to ensure you have the best cards for your current needs and that you aren’t paying for cards you don’t use. If you haven’t used a card lately and/or can find a card with significantly better rewards, you should consider upgrading your card.

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