The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, November 22, 2019
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Best Credit Cards of 2019

Below are ratings of 2019's best credit card offers in the US based on interest rates, rewards deals, and approval rate. Compare top credit card reviews and apply for a new card online.

Average APR
17.04%
Average Annual Fee
$28.80
Rate Trend
0.05%
since last month
All Cards | Air | Cash Back | 0% Intro | 0% Bal Transfer | Points | Business | Secured | Student | Fair Credit | Limited / No Credit

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2019's Best Credit Card

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

#1 in "Air Miles"

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

#1 in "Cash Back"

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

#1 in "0% Intro APR"

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

#1 in "0% Balance Transfer"

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • 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 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

#1 in "Points & Gifts"

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

#1 in "Business"

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

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 12 months
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

#1 in "Secured"

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

#1 in "Student"

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Fair/New to Credit

#1 in "Fair Credit"

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

#1 in "No/Limited Credit"

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card Review

at Capital One'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

Review Breakdown: Best Credit Cards

What is the best credit card to have for 2019? Below is a simple summary of our top credit card reviews, along with current features for each offer. Simply click the card name to visit the issuer's official site and apply for the card that's right for you.

Here are the best credit cards of 2019:

Best Credit Cards 2019
Best ForCard NameFeatureExpert Rating
Best OverallDiscover it® Cash Back1% cash back ★★★★★ 5.0
Air MilesCapital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardFly any airline ★★★★★ 5.0
Cash BackChase Freedom Unlimited®1.5% cash back ★★★★★ 5.0
0% Intro APRChase Freedom Unlimited®0% Intro APR for 15 months ★★★★★ 4.9
0% Balance TransferDiscover it® Balance TransferNo annual fee ★★★★★ 5.0
Points & GiftsChase Sapphire Preferred® Card2X points ★★★★★ 4.9
BusinessInk Business Cash℠ Credit Card5% cash back ★★★★★ 4.9
SecuredCapital One® Secured Mastercard®No annual fee ★★★★★ 4.9
StudentDiscover it® Student Cash BackGood Grades Rewards ★★★★★ 4.9
Fair CreditCapital One® Platinum Credit CardPay no annual fee ★★★★★ 4.8
No/Limited CreditCapital One® Platinum Credit CardPay no annual fee ★★★★★ 4.8

4 Tips for Choosing the Best Credit Card

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Finance Contributor
Updated:
4 Tips for Choosing the Best Credit Card
CardRates.com Guide: Best Credit Cards

With so many hundreds of credit cards available on the market, it may be hard to decide which piece of plastic is right for your wallet. Use these tips to help you choose the best credit card for your needs.

1. Determine your goals

It’s important to understand why you want a credit card. Do you want to score free flights? Are you interested in earning cash back? Are you looking more for a safety net when cash is low? Or perhaps you want to consolidate high-interest debt from other cards?

Depending on your goals — and, particularly, whether you plan to carry a balance or not — your needs will be very different. Rewards cards tend to have higher interest rates than non-rewards cards, making them less-than-ideal for carrying balances from month to month.

If you are only interested in transferring a balance or plan to carry a large balance, you may be better off applying for a non-rewards card with no annual fee and a low interest rate. Better, choose a card with an introductory 0% APR offer to get interest-free financing for 12 months or more.

2. Want rewards? Decide what kind

If you’ve decided to go with a rewards card, you have several options. There are cash back credit cards, where you earn a percentage of your spending back in cash. There are points cards, where you earn points based on the dollar amount you spent. These can usually be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel, merchandise, events and more. Then there are travel cards, where your rewards are free flights or hotel stays.

Once you know what type of rewards you want to earn, you'll need to decide how you want to earn them. You can choose a card that offers the same flat-rate rewards on every purchase for simple earning, or you can use cards that offer bonus categories to maximize your rewards on the purchases you make the most.

No matter which type of rewards card you select, make sure you never charge more than you can afford to repay. Carrying a balance from month to month will result in interest fees — unless you have an active 0% APR offer — which will almost always be more expensive than the rewards you earn.

3. Consider introductory offers

While you can easily avoid paying interest on your credit card purchases by paying paying your balance in full each billing cycle, some purchases simply take longer to repay than others. In these cases, credit cards that offer introductory 0% APR offers can be extremely valuable. Thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, these introductory offers must be at least six months long, with some of the best offers providing interest-free financing for 12 months or more.

Most intro-APR deals are good on new purchases, though many will also apply to balance transfers. If you already have credit card debt and want to reduce your interest fees, transferring the balance to a card with a 0% APR deal can create instant savings, helping you pay down your debt faster. Keep in mind that many cards will charge a balance transfer fee, so read the terms and conditions carefully to know if you’ll be charged a fee.

4. Figure out the fees

It’s important to determine which credit card fees will be worth it for you. It is now common for rewards cards to have annual fees, though most issuers now have two tiers of cards: one card with no annual fee and one card with a high annual fee (often close to $100) but better rewards.

Before you get a card with an annual fee, do the math to make sure the rewards and benefits will add up enough that the fee is worth it. If you won’t be able to earn enough rewards to cover the cost of the annual fee, it isn’t worth it.

For example, you may find a credit card with no annual fee that offers 3% cash back on dining purchases, and then another tier with a $95 annual fee that offers 4% cash back on dining purchases. If you spend enough on dining each year that the higher rewards rate will earn you a better net return, then the annual fee may be worth paying.

Of course, annual fees aren’t the only credit card feeds you may need to pay. Interest fees are a part of credit card life, so a low APR is a big boon if you may carry a balance. Additionally, certain transaction types, like cash advances and balance transfers, also tend to come with fees on most cards.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

The information on this page was reviewed for accuracy on .

About the Author

Brittney Mayer Brittney Mayer Finance Contributor

Brittney is a Credit Strategist and Finance Expert who has spent years honing her knowledge of the credit industry both personally and professionally. Brittney applies her more than a decade of research experience to crafting in-depth consumer guides designed to help CardRates readers make better, more informed financial decisions.

Brittney Mayer

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which CardRates.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. See the credit card issuer's website for specific terms and conditions of each card.