Updated on Jan 15, 2018

Best Credit Cards for 2018

What is the best credit card for you? We can help you decide.
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The best credit card is the one that helps you achieve your financial goals — and earn some rewards in the process. We reviewed hundreds of the best credit cards to find this year’s greatest offers. Take a look at our rundown and apply online for your perfect fit in minutes.

Most versatile

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Signup bonus 50,000 points
Rewards overview 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. Terms Apply.

Redeem for... Travel, eDeposit, statement credit, gift card, cash
Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 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.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Annual Fee: $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% - 24.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best credit cards available today. Customers who want a generous signup bonus will appreciate the 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also features a wide array of redemption options for travel, gift cards, and more.

How to use it
  • Spend $4,000 within the first 3 months to earn 50,000 bonus points
  • Redeem bonus points for airfare, hotels, and more
  • Use card on travel expenses and dining worldwide to earn 2x points
  • Add an authorized user within first 3 months to earn 5,000 bonus points
Consider this

The cardholders who are going to be able to make the most of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are the ones who do a lot of traveling and dining out. For an alternative, we recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, which lets cardholders earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, not just travel and dining.

Why you'll love it

If you find yourself traveling and dining out more often than not, you will enjoy earning rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In addition to the generous signup bonus, you’ll also love getting 25% more value when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. (Just to give you an idea of what that looks like: 50,000 bonus points are worth $625 toward travel.)

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Best overall

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
Signup bonus First year cash back match
Rewards overview 5% cash back at different places each quarter; 1% on all other purchases Terms Apply.

Redeem for... eDeposit, statement credit, charitable donation, or Amazon purchases
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash 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.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 6 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 18 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone looking to chip away at mounting credit card debt will find what they’re looking for in the Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer card. Just as the name suggests, you’ll get 18 months of interest-free bliss to pay off an outstanding card debt for balance transfers. The Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer card also comes with a dollar-for-dollar Cashback Match™ at end of the first year.

How to use it
  • Transfer an outstanding credit card balance and pay it off without accruing interest for 18 months.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Get an automatic dollar-for-dollar match on cash back at end of your first year.
Consider this

The intro APR of the Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer is one of the best credit card offers of its kind. However, if you’re trying to finance a new purchase instead of transferring a balance, the Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® (currently unavailable) might be a better choice. Its 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases is significantly longer than that of the Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer’s (6 months).

Why you'll love it

The Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer is one of our top credit cards because of its generous window of 0% for 18 months intro APR on balance transfers. So, you can finally have the wiggle room to pay off an outstanding balance with ample time to avoid accruing interest. In addition, many cardholders will appreciate the 6 months of 0% intro APR on purchases.

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Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best for families

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Signup bonus $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Rewards overview 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply.

Redeem for... Reward Dollars (redeemed as a statement credit)
Annual Fee $95
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Rewards Details: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $95 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone who wants rewards for everyday spending, families in particular, should look into the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. With this card, you can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets for up to $6,000 in purchases (per year; drops to 1% after). The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express also offers 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores.

How to use it
  • Pay for your groceries at U.S. supermarkets and earn 6% cash back (up to $6,000 per year; 1% after).
  • Fill up at a U.S. gas station and earn 3% cash back on your purchase.
  • Spend $1,000 in purchases within first 3 months and earn $200 statement credit.
Consider this

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can be a little restricting as your earnings can generally be redeemed just as statement credits. For more flexible redemption options, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great alternative. This card lets you rack up the points and redeem them for cash back, discounted travel, and more.

Why you'll love it

Imagine a card with a rewards program that lines up with the regular spending habits of a typical family. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one such card, allowing you to earn high-rate rewards at many stops on your daily journey. It’s a credit card that makes earning cash back both fast and easy.

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Partner Offer Apply Now On American Express's secure website

Best for everyday cash back

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Signup bonus $150
Rewards overview 3% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%); 2% at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores; 1% on other purchases. Terms apply.

Redeem for... Reward Dollars (redeemed as a statement credit)
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Rewards Details: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 15 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 15 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a leading choice for anyone who wants to earn cash back on their everyday spending. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (drops to 1% after). You can also earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores.

How to use it
  • Use on everyday purchases and spend $1,000 within the first 3 months for a $150 bonus.
  • Earn cash back at the grocery store, gas pump, and more with this everyday spending card.
  • Lower your monthly bill when you redeem your rewards as statement credits.
Consider this

If you don’t use your credit card on everyday purchases (groceries, gas, etc.), then you might not get the most out of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. In that case, you might benefit from a card with high-rate rewards in rotating categories. The Chase Freedom® can offer you 5% cash back on rotating categories (on up to $1,500 in purchases, quarterly).

Why you'll love it

What’s not to love about a credit card that features a straightforward cash back rewards program? The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express comes with a rewards plan that falls in line with everyday spending habits. No rotating categories, no elaborate spending strategies – just use the card and start earning cash back.

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Best overall

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0% for 18 months
Ongoing APR 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Overview

5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Signup Bonus Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash 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.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 6 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 18 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

For anyone who likes a nice, long window of 0% interest on transferred balances as well earning rewards, the Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer card might just be what you’re looking for. This credit card’s big feature is the year-and-a-half period of 0% interest on balance transfers. That’s longer than most cards on this list and there’s no annual fee.

How to use it
  • Transfer balances that are subject to high APRs, and pay off as much as you can during the intro period.
  • Keep the account open to monitor your FICO® Credit Score.
Consider this

If you like the rewards that you can earn with the Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer and you think it’s worth the 3% transfer fee, then this is the card for you. If, however, you aren’t as interested in earning rewards and would rather waive the transfer fee, then the has a $0 intro transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open.

Why you'll love it

The Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer card lives up to its name with a generous 18-month intro APR period for balance transfers. Access to a rewards program is just the cherry on top with 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Start your application now Back to top
Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best for families

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0% for 12 months
Ongoing APR 14.24% - 25.24% Variable See Rates & Fees

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Annual Fee $95 See Details
Signup Bonus Earn $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms apply.
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Rewards Details: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $95 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone who wants a credit card for both a balance transfer and everyday use should consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. With the card, you’ll enjoy 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases (terms and limitations apply).

How to use it
  • Transfer balances that are subject to high interest rates; budget to pay them off during the intro APR period.
  • Keep this card after you pay off your balance to earn extra cash back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, and select U.S. department stores.
Consider this

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is great for earning cash back. Just make sure you’re budgeting to pay everything off within 12 months. Otherwise you’ll have to pay the full interest rate.

Why you'll love it

While the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express may not have the longest introductory APR, it makes up for that with high-rate rewards. Use a budget, and you could save money on interest on both your balance transfers and your cash-back earning purchases.

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Learn More On Bank of America's secure website

Low upfront costs

BankAmericard® Credit Card
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days for 15 billing cycles
Ongoing APR 13.24% - 23.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Balance Transfer Fee $0 Intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open.  After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
Annual Fee $0.00
Highlights Provided by Bank of America Show Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 13.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
  • $0 Intro balance transfer fee during first 60 days of account opening. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
  • Issuer: Bank of America
  • Rewards Details: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0.00
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0 Intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open.  After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Introductory APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: 15 billing cycles
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 15 billing cycles
  • Ongoing APR: 13.24% - 23.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Penalty APR: none

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone who doesn’t want to deal with upfront costs should consider the BankAmericard® Credit Card. The card offers a $0 intro transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future transfers is 3% (min. $10). This makes it a great option for anyone with large or multiple balances they’d like to transfer. Additionally, you’ll enjoy no annual fee, and no penalty APR in the event of a late payment.

How to use it
  • Benefit from the $0 introductory transfer fee by transferring one or multiple balances within 60 days.

  • Keep an eye on your credit score with FICO® credit score reporting (free of charge) through online banking or your mobile banking app.
Consider this

While the BankAmericard® Credit Card is great for decreasing upfront costs, especially when you transfer large or multiple balances, it doesn’t offer a rewards program. If you’re interested in an option that offers lower fees with rewards, consider the Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer.

Why you'll love it

The BankAmericard® Credit Card is a useful tool for paying down debt. You’ll have peace of mind while paying off your debt thanks to introductory $0 transfer fees for 60 days, no penalty APR, no annual fee, and free credit score reporting. All of these features make the BankAmericard® Credit Card a great choice.

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Learn More on Capital One's secure website

Best for fixed-rate cash back

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0% intro on balance transfers for For 9 Months
Ongoing APR 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your Quicksilver card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • 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 9 months; 14.24%-24.24% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 14.24%-24.24% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day. 150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: For 9 Months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: For 9 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone who wants to pay down debt and/or a large purchase should consider the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. As a card member, you’ll enjoy introductory 0% APR for nine months on both transfers and purchases. Additionally, purchases will earn you unlimited 1.5% cash back. If your purchases add up to $500 or more within the first three months, you’ll earn a $150 cash back bonus, which can be applied to your balance.

How to use it
  • Transfer balances or make large purchases soon after you open your account to enjoy nine months of introductory 0% APR.
  • Earn the $150 signup bonus when you spend $500 within the first three months.
  • Enjoy 1.5% fixed-rate cash back on every purchase with no limit or changing categories.
Consider this

Transfers from existing Capital One® accounts are not allowed. So, if you have balances on other Capital One® cards (includes branded cards, such as Kohl’s, Sony, GM, BuyPower Card, Union Plus, and Teamster Privilege), you won’t be able to do a balance transfer to this card.

Why you'll love it

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card may have one of the shorter introductory 0% APR periods, but it serves as a low-interest card, balance transfer card, and rewards card all in one! Plus, the signup bonus is the easiest to obtain of any card on this list.

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Best cash back bonus

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Cash back details 5% cash back at different places each quarter; 1% on all other purchases
Redeem for... eDeposit, statement credit, charitable donation, or Amazon purchases

Signup bonus First year cash back match
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ is great if you’re looking for an easy-to-earn bonus because there’s no minimum spending requirement — you’ll get a dollar-for-dollar match of your first-year earnings automatically. It’s also ideal if you have a big purchase in mind thanks to its 14-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers.

How to use it
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all your earnings at the end of your first year.
  • Use the above-average 14-month 0% intro-APR period to pay for larger purchases without incurring any interest.
Consider this

If your spending habits don’t line up with rotating bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® will help you maximize your earnings. It has a 1.5% rewards rate for all purchases and no annual fee. (It also offers a longer 15-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers and purchases.) Note: You’ll have to spend $500 in the first three months to earn the $150 signup bonus.

Why you'll love it

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ doesn’t have a spending requirement for its bonus — you’ll get a dollar-for-dollar match of your earnings at the end of the first year. This card also offers a 14-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers.

Start your application now Back to top
Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best for families

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Cash back details 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000, then 1%) (Terms apply)
Redeem for... Reward Dollars (redeemed as a statement credit)

Signup bonus $200
Annual Fee $95
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Rewards Details: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $95 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you have a large family, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an excellent choice — spending just $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 cash back per year. It also earns unlimited rewards at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, which is also a big win for shoppers.

How to use it
  • Use this card when you’re grocery shopping and filling up your tank to maximize your earnings.
  • Plan to spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first three months to earn a $200 statement credit.
  • Redeem your Rewards Dollars as statement credits that can be applied to any purchase you make.
Consider this

If you don’t want to pay an annual fee but still want high-rate rewards for grocery shopping, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express can be a better fit. It earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, all without an annual fee.

Why you'll love it

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express’ extremely high-rate rewards make it a first-rate choice for frequent shoppers or large families. And if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months you’ll qualify for a $200 statement credit that you can use to pay down your balance.

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Learn More on Bank of America's secure website

Great for Bank of America customers

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Cash back details Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas
Redeem for... Cash Back

Signup bonus $150
Annual Fee $0.00
Highlights Provided by Bank of America Show Highlights
  • No annual fee
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases AND for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
  • Issuer: Bank of America
  • Rewards Details: 1% cash back on every purchase. 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. 3% cash back on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
  • Sign Up Bonus: $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Annual Fee: $0.00
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the amount of each transaction or $10, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Introductory APR: 0% Introductory APR on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 billing cycles
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 billing cycles
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great entry-level card for Bank of America customers. Depending on your Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program status, your rewards rates could climb up to 75% higher.

How to use it
  • Earn 3% cash back on gasoline, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on all other purchases (for up to $2,500 in combined purchases every quarter)
  • Spend $500 or more in the first 90 days to get a $150 cash back bonus.
  • Redeem cash back rewards.
Consider this

If you don’t bank with BofA, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is worth considering. Most notably, it earns a much higher reward rate at U.S. supermarkets than the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, but it does have a $95 annual fee.

Why you'll love it

The rewards structure, signup bonus, and no annual fee all make the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card an attractive choice. If you have a Bank of America® account or a qualifying Merrill Lynch Cash Management Account®, the potential for customer points bonuses make this card an obvious choice.

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Learn More on Capital One's secure website

Best for fixed-rate cash back

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Cash back details Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Redeem for... Statement credit or check

Signup bonus One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your Quicksilver card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • 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 9 months; 14.24%-24.24% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 14.24%-24.24% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day. 150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: For 9 Months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: For 9 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is for those who love simplicity. It has a flat 1.5% rewards rate, no annual fee, and a $150 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months on any type of purchase. And when you earn rewards, you can redeem them for any amount.

How to use it
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Spend $500 in the first three months to earn the $150 signup bonus.
  • Take advantage of Visa Signature® Benefits like travel and emergency assistance, auto rental coverage, and fraud coverage.
Consider this

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ has a much higher rewards rate (5% on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter), though you’ll have to focus your spending on rotating bonus categories, like restaurants and gas stations. One perk: There’s no spending requirement to earn a bonus — Discover will award you a dollar-for-dollar match of your first year earnings automatically.

Why you'll love it

There aren’t any rotating categories or annual fees to worry about, so you’ll earn 1.5% cash back no matter how you use your Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. And if you spend around $170 a month for the first three months (over $500 in total), you’ll earn a one-time $150 cash bonus.

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Most versatile

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Rewards summary 2X points on travel and dining; 1 point/dollar on all other purchases Terms apply
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus 50,000 points
Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Featured perk Get 25% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 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.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Annual Fee: $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% - 24.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The globally-accepted Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the safest spending options for anyone traveling abroad. Cardholders won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees, and the rewards potential is truly something to write home about. Whether you’re at home or abroad, you can benefit from 2X points on travel and restaurants the world over as well as 1X on all other purchases.

How to use it
  • Cardmembers earn 1x points per $1 spent on most purchases, so use it as often as you can.
  • Use it while you’re eating out for 2X points on dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • Even use it while you’re travelling for 2X points on travel by air, taxi, or train.
  • Use it ASAP: Cardmembers earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.
  • Travel often. You’ll get 25% more per point when redeeming points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, including transport and hotel costs.
Consider this

Chase waives the annual fee for the first year. After that, membership costs $95 a year. If you’re not a frequent patron of restaurants, then you’re likely to miss out on one of the card’s biggest benefits. And if you’re not the travelling type, then you might want to consider a card with more flexible benefits.

Why you'll love it

What’s not to love about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card? It has, arguably, the most generous rewards structure of any other card on this rundown. Not only can you earn 2X points on travel and restaurants worldwide, but you can get a 25% point bonus when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. And, of course, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

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Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best hotel card with no foreign transaction fee

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Rewards summary 2X Starpoints® at SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels; 1X Starpoints for other purchases Terms apply
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus 25,000 Starpoints®
Annual Fee $95 (Waived first year)
Featured perk Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries.
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Planning a road trip? Rent your car, fill up your tank, book your hotel, and pay for it with your American Express® Card.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 20.49% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone looking to become a preferred guest of Starwood Hotels & Resorts will find plenty to appreciate about the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. It’s really all in the name with its rewards program that grants 2X Starpoints® at SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels (1X for other purchases). If you travel often and like to sleep in comfort, this is the card to get.

How to use it
  • Use this card often. Members earn 1 Starpoint® for everyday purchases, redeemable at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts, located in 100 countries (a number that’s likely to grow).
  • You’ll earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of purchases made at participating Starwood® and Marriott Rewards® hotels, so use it whenever you travel.
  • Earn points while you fly: Members can redeem points for frequent-flyer miles on over 150 airlines.
  • Don’t just sign up for the card. If you become a Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), you’ll gain access to a ton of additional benefits! Use Uber? As an SPG member, you can earn 1 Starpoint® per every $2 spent with Uber at home, and per every $1 spent while travelling.
Consider this

Benefits aren’t necessarily flexible. Starpoints® are only redeemable at SPG hotels, and only transfer at a 1:1 ratio for certain airlines. If you’re looking for a wider variety of airline redemption options, consider the Discover it® Miles card.

Why you'll love it

Not only is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express one of our top picks for no foreign transaction fees, but it’s also the top hotel card on this list. And it’s not just a great card for those who want to stay in fabulous hotels, it’s also perfect for travel. As a cardholder, you have the ability to transfer Starpoints® to participating frequent flyer programs.

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Best cash back bonus

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Rewards summary 5% cash back at different places each quarter; 1% on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus First-year Cashback Match™
Annual Fee $0
Featured perk Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you want a card that continues to reward you even when you get back from overseas, then the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card might just be the one for you. With this card, you’ll have no problem saving up for your next big jaunt as you’ll be earning 5% cash back on purchases in rotating quarterly categories that include gas, groceries, restaurants, and more (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate).

How to use it
  • Maximize your rewards during your first year. Discover’s Cashback Match™ program gives members a dollar-for-dollar match of all the rewards they’ve earned after one year of membership.
  • Use this card for everything. From groceries, to movies, to travel, you’ll receive 1% cashback on all purchases.
  • Take your time. Rewards never expire.
Consider this

There’s nothing more flexible than cash, but members only earn 1% back on the majority of their purchases. So if you spend $100, you’ll earn $1 back.

Why you'll love it

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ card is not strictly a travel rewards card but, if you love to travel, then there’s plenty to love about this card. Beyond the $0 foreign transaction fees, this card makes it easier to save up for your next trip with its signature Cashback Match™ feature. Not to mention the 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate).

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Best no annual fee international credit card

Discover it® Miles
Rewards summary 1.5X Miles on every purchase
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus First-year mile-for-mile match
Annual Fee $0
Featured perk Redeem miles as a travel statement credit for airline tickets, hotel rooms, online travel sites, and more.
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 Miles per dollar on all purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re looking to bank travel rewards with no annual fee, then the Discover it® Miles card should be your top pick. Members earn 1.5x Miles per dollar on every purchase, with no annual fee to reduce the rewards they earn. You’ll be able to earn miles simply by buying coffee in the morning. Or shopping. Or traveling. And Discover will double all the miles earned at the end of your first year of membership!

How to use it
  • Each purchase earns 1.5X miles per dollar spent, and there’s no limit. So if you’re trying to save money on expensive airfare, use the card for everyday expenses. They’ll add up.
  • Everybody’s got a dream vacation, and with the Discover it® Miles card, you can actually make it happen. Discover will automatically match all miles earned at the end of your first year, seriously reducing transportation costs.
  • Don’t worry about when or where you want to travel. Rewards come without blackout dates. You’ll be able to fly any airline, to any location. That’s because rewards are redeemable for a travel statement credit, so you can book however you’d like.
Consider this

While the Discover it® Miles is one of the most user-friendly miles-based cards on the market today, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to redemption. Members can redeem miles as statement credits towards travel-related purchases: Lodging, train tickets, etc. But miles can’t be transferred towards frequent flyer programs. If transferring miles to airlines is important to you, we recommend the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Why you'll love it

If you’re an independent, pay-as-you-go type of traveler who likes flexibility, consider packing the Discover it® Miles for your next trip. You can redeem your rewards for a statement credit towards travel purchases after you get home instead of committing to a particular airline or hotel brand months in advance. At the end of your first year, you can also look forward to Discover matching the rewards you’ve earned mile for mile.

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Most versatile

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Rewards Summary 2X points on travel and restaurants worldwide; 1X points on other purchases. Terms Apply.
Redeem for... Travel, gift cards, statement credits, eDeposit

Signup bonus 50,000 points
Annual Fee $95 (waived first year)
Special offer:

Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.

Perks include
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • 25% more value when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 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.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Annual Fee: $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% - 24.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Jetsetters will love the flexibility of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns unlimited points on travel and dining worldwide, and there’s no foreign transaction fee. Points are redeemable for options including discounted travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®, and they’re transferrable to 11 top travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio.

How to use it
  • Focus your spending on dining and travel purchases across the globe to earn 2X points per dollar — the earnings are unlimited, and there’s no foreign transaction fee. Use it for everything else to earn 1X point per dollar.
  • Get 50,000 bonus points (worth $625 toward travel when you redeem via Chase Ultimate Rewards®) once you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of opening your account.
  • Transfer your points to 11 different top travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio.
Consider this

If you don’t travel often but want to earn rewards toward travel, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® might be a better pick. It earns 2X miles on all purchases, not just travel and dining. Its 40,000-mile bonus (if you spend $3,000 in the first three months) isn’t anything to sneeze at either — especially since this card also has flexible redemption options.

Why you'll love it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our pick for the most versatile credit card rewards because it earns points on a wide range of travel options that aren’t usually included with travel cards and it has some of the most flexible redemption options available. You’ll also love the signup bonus: 50,000 bonus points (worth $625 toward travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®) if you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months.

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Best cash back bonus

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Rewards Summary 5% cash back at different places each quarter; 1% on all other purchases.
Redeem for... Statement credits, eDeposits, gift cards, charitable donations

Signup bonus First year Cashback Match™
Annual Fee $0
Perks include
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months
  • Dollar-for-dollar Cashback Match™ at the end of your first year
  • Free FICO® Credit Score
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

Looking for a card with no annual fee and an impressive first-year bonus? With the Discover it® Cashback Match™, you’ll get automatic match of all the cash back you earn in your first year, effectively doubling your rewards potential.

How to use it
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all your first-year cash back earnings thanks to Discover’s Cashback Match™ program. (If you earn $150 cash back, you’ll get $300.)
  • Utilize the 14-month 0% intro APR to pay off purchases and balances transfers without accruing interest.
Consider this

The Chase Freedom® is a great alternative because you won’t have to wait all year to earn the bonus. As long as you spend $500 in purchases within the first three months, you’ll get a $150 statement credit. It earns the same high-rate rewards (5% in bonus categories on up to $1,500 per quarter) and points can be redeemed for discounted travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Why you'll love it

True to its name, the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card will match your cash back earned at the end of your first year dollar for dollar, automatically. Another cool perk: You can use your cash back for part or all of Amazon.com purchases (redeem instantly at checkout).

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Learn More on Capital One's secure website

Best no intro fee rewards card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Rewards Summary Unlimited 2X miles per dollar
Redeem for... Travel statement credit; travel booked through CapitalOne.com; gift cards; and more

Signup bonus 50,000 miles
Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Perks include
  • Complimentary concierge service
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty protection for purchases
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • 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 unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Get a metal Venture Card when you apply today
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. 50000 Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great choice if your goal is to earn credit card rewards you can redeem for a free or low-cost trip for yourself or your family. Every eligible purchase you make earns 2X miles per dollar that you can use to book all sorts of travel and vacation packages through CapitalOne.com.

How to use it
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on all purchases.
  • Spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months to get 50,000 bonus miles.
  • Redeem your miles via the Capital One Rewards Center for travel, account credits, gift cards, and more.
Consider this

This card has a relatively low annual fee, but if you don’t want a fee at all, consider the Discover it® Miles. It has a lower earning rate (1.5X miles per dollar), but otherwise it’s a comparable travel card: unlimited rewards on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees, and flexible redemption options. You also get a mile-for-mile match of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Why you'll love it

No matter how you use your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn unlimited miles that you can redeem for a variety of travel rewards. And no matter where you go, you won’t be hit with a foreign transaction fee. Plus, it has a reasonable annual fee ($95) that’s waived for your first year.

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Chase Freedom®
Rewards Summary 5% cash back in bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases); unlimited 1% cash back on other purchases (Terms apply)
Redeem for... Cash back

Signup bonus $150
Annual Fee $0
Perks include
  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 15 months
  • Extended warranty & purchase protection
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.24-24.99%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 15 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 15 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 16.24% - 24.99% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Chase Freedom® is an excellent rewards credit card for all types of shoppers because it earns high cash back on everyday spending. It also has one of the most easy-to-earn signup bonuses on the market: spend $500 within the first three months to get a $150 bonus. Holders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can benefit by pairing their card with the Chase Freedom® too, because points are transferrable between cards.

How to use it
  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500, plus unlimited 1% cash back on everything else. (Previous bonus categories have included gas stations, restaurants, local commuter transportation, and drugstores.)
  • Spend over $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account to snag a 15,000 bonus points that can be redeemed for $150 cash back.
  • Pay attention to the bonus categories — you’ll need to activate them each month in order to earn 5% cash back.
  • Get an extra $25 bonus after adding your first authorized user and making your first purchase within the first three months.
Consider this

If you want a more flexible approach to cash back, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases instead of high-reward bonus categories. What doesn’t change? The signup bonus and annual fee: Spend $500 in the first three months to earn a $150 statement credit, and there’s no annual fee.

Why you'll love it

The Chase Freedom® earns some of the highest credit card rewards in the industry — as long as you keep up with the rotating categories. It doesn’t have an annual fee, and you’ll get a 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers. Plus, it’s one of the only cash back cards that lets you redeem for travel (via Chase Ultimate Rewards®).

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Best overall

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Reward details Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year
Redeem for... Travel, cash back, gift cards, and more

Signup bonus 80,000 points
Annual Fee $95
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select 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
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% - 22.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re looking for the business credit card with the best signup bonus on this list, look no further than the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. You get 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Any business that makes a lot of purchases can reach this threshold in no time. All the while, you could be earning 3 points per every dollar spent on combined purchases in categories that include travel and advertising purchases (up to $150,000).

How to use it
  • Planning any large purchases? Make them upfront to grab that huge welcome offer. (Of our favorite business cards, this one offers the most generous signup bonus!)
  • Charge your core business expenses to this card.
  • Bring this card when you travel overseas to skip foreign transaction fees.
  • Redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® to get a 25% bonus.
Consider this

You might not be able to make the most of the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card if you don’t make a lot of business-related purchases. Be sure to review your particular needs to determine if you will be making purchases in any of the card’s eligible categories. The hefty signup bonus is hard to pass up as well as the 3X points you could earn. It’s definitely a business credit card worth a second look.

Why you'll love it

If the 80,000 bonus points you get after spending $5,000 within the first three months weren’t enough, you could also get a bonus of 25% when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This business credit card also features a points rewards categories that can appeal to businesses of all sizes.

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Best for small business

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Reward details 5% cash back on select business expenses and 2% on gas and restaurants
Redeem for... Cash back, gift cards, and travel

Signup bonus $300 cash back
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn $300 bonus cash back when 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 cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV 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 and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV 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.
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.49% - 20.49% Variable
  • Penalty APR: See Terms

Our two cents

Who should get it

For small businesses, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is one option definitely worth considering. It comes with a modest signup bonus of $300 cash back after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. Additionally, there’s a nice year-long window of 0% intro APR, allowing for some big-time spending and time enough to pay it all back. Smaller businesses will likely not have to worry about the $25,000 cap on larger rewards, leaving them free to enjoy the 5% and 2% cash back within said threshold. And, if you need further proof, just look at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (September 2016), which named the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card as “A Great Card for Small Businesses.”

How to use it
  • Use this card for all costs that fall into your bonus reward categories.
  • Anticipate big business expenses and take care of them in the first three months. Then collect your $300 cash back bonus.
  • Planning a large purchase? Pay it off during your first 12 months to take advantage of 0% intro APR.
Consider this

It’s always important to take your regular business spending habits into account when opting for a business credit card. If you think those purchasing habits will ensure you make the most of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, then this is the card for you. Some larger businesses often find themselves reaching the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card’s rewards cap and might benefit from something with more room to grow. The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN offers the holder the opportunity to pick a 3x points category from a list of five options and the rewards cap is higher (up to $100,000 in the 3x and 2x categories).

Why you'll love it

For any small businesses, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is an attractive option. It’s a substantial, no frills, low maintenance solution with high-rate rewards and no annual fee.

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Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best hotel card for business owners

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Reward details 2x points for purchases at SPG® Marriott Rewards® hotels; Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
Redeem for... Stays at 1,300+ hotels and resorts; flights with 150+ airlines

Signup bonus Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
Annual Fee $95 (Waived first year)
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® for free nights at over 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights. Some hotels and resorts have mandatory service charges.
  • Free, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 20.49% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

For business owners who like to travel and sleep in comfort, there’s the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Cardholders can earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Furthermore, business owners who make eligible purchases with this card at SPG® Marriott Rewards® hotels can also earn back 2 Starpoints® per dollar spent and 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases. Business travelers will also be happy to know that, along with the earning potential, there are no foreign transaction fees. However, there is a pretty standard $95 annual fee that comes with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, but it’s also waived for the first year.

How to use it
  • Book with at participating SPG® Marriott Rewards® hotels to earn 2X Starpoints®. Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for airfare via SPG Flights.
  • Take advantage of travel perks like free Boingo Wi-Fi at airports and in-room internet access.
  • Bring this card when traveling abroad to avoid foreign transaction fees.
  • Spend $5,000 in your first 3 months to earn the 25,000 bonus Starpoints®.
Consider this

If you’re looking for a card that lets you redeem points for cash back, then the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express might not be for you. Another thing that might be a deal breaker is that points on redemption rates for airfare will vary depending on the airline you book with. A comparable card would be the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. As a more straightforward alternative, this card sports a 1:1 points transfer rate with Chase airline partners. Furthermore, you can redeem points for cash back along with travel and other options through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Why you'll love it

There isn’t much that can compare with the affordability and flexibility of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, especially if your business involves a lot of travel. Valuable cardmember perks like baggage insurance help take some of the hassle out of business travel. You can also use this card to earn your way toward free nights at high-end hotels – even overseas. With over 1,300 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries, you’ll have no shortage of options when it’s time to redeem your points.

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Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Choose your own rewards category

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
See Rates & Fees
Reward details 3x and 2x points on select categories; 1x points on everything else (Terms apply)
Redeem for... Travel, merchandise, entertainment, gift cards

Signup bonus 50,000 points
Annual Fee $175 (Waived first year)
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Rewards Details: 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Sign Up Bonus: Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $175 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A*
  • Cash Advance APR: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: See Details
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A*
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A*
  • Ongoing APR: N/A
  • Penalty APR: N/A

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is most ideal for business owners who do a lot of spending and, most importantly, want the power to choose their own rewards categories. This card’s hefty welcome offer comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. Cardholders can also select the rewards categories that fall in line with their professional spending in order to earn 3x points in one category and 2X points in the remaining four categories. When used properly, it’s easy to earn points and rewards with The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN without having to adjust your everyday business purchases. One important thing to keep in mind, however, is that this is a charge card. That means that you must pay off your statement in full every month.

How to use it
  • Spend $5,000 in the first 3 months to claim your big signup bonus.
  • Choose your rewards categories wisely. Then spend as much as you can (up to the $100,000 limit) on your 3x and 2x points categories to collect rewards on types of purchases you make most.
  • Take advantage of cardmember perks like Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, and Premium Roadside Assistance. (Terms apply; see Offer Terms for details.)
Consider this

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is a charge card. This means that you’ll have to pay off your statement every month; something to consider along with the no pre-set spending limit. This card also comes with an annual fee of $175. While the annual fee is waived for the first year, you’ll need to factor in that expenditure when you’re paying your bills. In fact, if your business costs are not high enough to warrant these expenses, you might benefit from a card geared more toward smaller businesses like the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. You’ll get higher-rate rewards including 5% on up to $25,000 per year on internet, cable, and phone services as well as participating office supply stores. Also, there’s no annual fee.

Why you'll love it

If you run a large business, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is a strong choice. It offers high-rate rewards on big-ticket purchases like travel expenses, hardware, and software. We’re talking 3x points on purchases in a variety of categories and a generous signup bonus to boot. Furthermore, you can actually choose which types of purchases will yield the greatest rewards. The ability to choose your own 3X points category will help you maximize rewards potential on the types of purchases you make most.

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Best rewards potential

Discover it® for Students
Rewards Summary Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Redeem for... Merchandise; restaurants; ground transportation

Ongoing APR 14.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back 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.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.24% - 23.24%.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases. $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 6 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 6 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 23.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

For students starting out, the Discover it® for Students card is as good a place as any to begin understanding and building a good credit history. With this card, any penalties that would normally be incurred by a late payment are forgiven the first time. This is an invaluable second chance for first-timers who already have enough on their plates with college.

How to use it
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Keep your GPA up to a 3.0 or higher to earn $20 cash back during the school year.
  • See where your money is going and improve your spending habits with Spend Analyzer.
Consider this

While a good all-around credit card for students, the Discover it® for Students may not be the best option to start with for students with poor or no credit. In situations like these, starting with the may improve your likelihood of approval. Sometimes it’s all about getting your foot in the door, and this card provides a powerful tool to achieve just that.

Why you'll love it

Discover it® for Students is our top pick for its flexibility, lack of fees, and generous rewards program. Its $20 bonus for students who maintain a 3.0 GPA may not sound like much, but it is an extra bonus for students who focus on their studies.

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Best for dining out and gas

Discover it® chrome for Students
Rewards Summary 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 quarterly; 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Redeem for... Cash back

Ongoing APR 14.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back 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.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.24% - 23.24%.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. 1% cash back on all other purchases. $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 6 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 6 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 23.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Discover it® chrome for Students card rewards students who need to fill up at gas stations or want to eat out with friends. Cardholders can also earn 2% cash back at participating restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases on a quarterly basis (1% on all other purchases).

How to use it
  • Get 2% cash back when you use this card to dine out with classmates or fill up your gas tank (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter).
  • Receive $20 for each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher (for up to five years).
  • Misplaced your card? Protect your account using the Freeze It® on/off switch.
  • Take advantage of the free monthly FICO® Credit Score† and keep track of your blossoming credit score.
Consider this

Make sure that the rewards structure of the Discover it® chrome for Students matches up with your everyday spending. If you don’t do a lot of driving because you live on campus or you tend not to eat out in order to save money, then this might not be the card for you. However, this card does offer some valuable perks including extra incentive to stay on the ball when it comes to education.

Why you'll love it

For students who do a lot of driving on campus and dine out with classmates, the Discover it® chrome for Students makes it easy to earn rewards getting around campus and making friends. It’s also a great starter card for anyone who wants to keep track of their credit score.

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Learn More on Capital One's secure website.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Rewards Summary N/A
Redeem for... N/A

Ongoing APR 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • 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, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • 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
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Students who have never used credit, or didn’t use credit responsibly in the past (it’s a learning curve), should consider the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®. It’s not as flashy as some of the other cards — no rewards and a security deposit is required. However, you’ll have a lot of tools at your disposal to learn about and understand credit to establish or rebuild your credit profile.

How to use it
  • Depending on your creditworthiness, put down a $49, $99, or $200 refundable deposit to establish a $200 line of credit. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line.
  • Make your payments on time for the first five months, and you could qualify for a credit line increase — no additional cost.
  • Take advantage of Capital One® tools, such as personalized payments and CreditWise®, to set your own due date, view your credit score, and monitor your credit profile.
Consider this

Making payments on time and in full is vitally important to improving your credit. Miss a payment? You may have to pay a late fee of up to $35 and may not qualify for a credit line increase. Set a reminder on your phone to ensure you’re never late!

Why you'll love it

The Capital One® Secured MasterCard® may not have rewards, but using the card responsibly will let you take control and rebuild or establish credit. If you want a no-nonsense approach to increase your credit, this card may be right for you!

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Learn More on Capital One's secure website

Best for developing responsible credit habits

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Rewards Summary 1% cash back on all your purchases; 1.25% cash back for the month (when you pay on time)
Redeem for... Cash back

Ongoing APR 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • 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
  • There's no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards won't expire for the life of the account
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 1 % Cash Back on all purchases. 0.25 % Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

For anyone wanting to get into the habit of using a credit card responsibly, we present the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® card. This card incentivizes the act of paying your monthly bill on time by boosting the percentage of cash back you can receive on purchases. It can go from 1% to 1.25% and, after five consecutive months of on-time payments, you could even increase your line of credit.

How to use it
  • Use credit responsibly by paying on time each month to see your 1% cash back boosted up to 1.25%.
  • Access the CreditWise program to chart the trajectory of your credit score (and make smart, financial decisions accordingly!)
  • Since there are no foreign transaction fees, this is a great card to take with you while studying abroad.
Consider this

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® card is great for developing good credit habits, but what if you’re already responsible with your card? What if you want higher rewards and maybe even a little incentive to keep that GPA up? If this sounds like you, then we recommend Discover it® chrome for Students as an alternative. This card features 2% cash back on restaurants and gas while rewarding GPAs of 3.0 or higher with $20 cash back each school year (for up to five years).

Why you'll love it

One of the best lessons you can learn in college is how to be responsible with your money. The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® further drives home this lesson by incentivizing responsible credit use. Sure, a boost from 1% cash back to 1.25% doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but it gets you in the habit of paying on time — and gives you bonus cash back for your trouble. You’ll also get access to their CreditWise program, which makes it easy and free to monitor your credit score.

Start your application now Back to top
Learn More on Capital One's secure website.
Secured

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Upfront fees $0 annual fee
APR 24.99% Variable

Pre-qualification available? No
Previous bankruptcy OK? Not specified
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • 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, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • 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
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone who wants to rebuild or establish their credit with minimal upfront costs should consider the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®. There’s no annual fee, and you can put down as little as $49 to establish a $200 line of credit (depending on your creditworthiness). Use your card responsibly, and you could get a refund on your deposit, plus an increase in your credit line — no additional deposit needed!

How to use it
  • Put down a $49, $99, or $200 refundable deposit (based on your creditworthiness) to establish your line of credit. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line.
  • Make payments on time and in full each month to avoid interest and potentially qualify for a credit line increase.
  • Take advantage of CreditWise® from Capital One® to view your credit score and monitor your profile as you make progress.
Consider this

In order to qualify for the credit line increase with no additional deposit, you need to make your first five monthly payments on time. Capital One® lets you pick your own monthly due date so you can make payments in full and on time each month on your schedule.

Why you'll love it

Don’t let the security deposit deter you — the costs are minimal, there’s no annual fee, and you could receive a refund, plus a credit line increase, with responsible use. You can take advantage of Capital One® feature (such as personalized payments and CreditWise®), so you can take control of your credit.

Start your application now Back to top
Apply Now on Genesis Bankcard Services' secure website.
Unsecured

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®
Upfront fees $0 – 99 annual fee
APR 23.9%

Pre-qualification available? Yes
Previous bankruptcy OK? Yes
Highlights Provided by Genesis Bank Show Highlights
  • Pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Previous bankruptcy OK
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Free online account access (mobile friendly)
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
  • Issuer: Genesis Bank
  • Sign Up Bonus: Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Annual Fee: $0 - $99
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.9%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of each transaction.
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 23.9%

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone who has previously filed for bankruptcy should consider the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®. While fewer people are filing for bankruptcy, anyone who has filed in the past knows that a bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years, making it difficult to move past it and rebuild your credit. Fortunately, in these cases, there are cards with relaxed guidelines when it comes to a previous bankruptcy. The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® won’t disqualify you for a previous bankruptcy and can even check if you pre-qualify before applying.

How to use it
  • Answer a few pre-qualification questions to find out if you’re likely to be approved.
  • Pay your balance on time each month to strengthen your credit score and avoid the high penalty APR.
  • Once your credit score is where it needs to be, consider switching to a card that offers a rewards program.
Consider this

If you’re still not sure if you’ll qualify, the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® offers a pre-qualification option to let you know the likelihood of getting approved. Even if they can’t match you to an Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®, they’ll offer you the chance to apply for a credit card from another bank.

Why you'll love it

Anyone who’s filed a bankruptcy knows that it can limit your credit options. That’s why the forgiving guidelines from the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® make it a desirable option. There’s no security deposit required, and the small annual fee makes this card an affordable option for improving your credit score.

Start your application now Back to top
Apply Now on Credit One Bank's secure website.
Unsecured

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®
Upfront fees $0 – 99 annual fee
APR 16.99% - 24.99% Variable

Pre-qualification available? Yes
Previous bankruptcy OK? Not specified
Rewards program 1% cash back on eligible purchases. (Terms apply.)
Highlights Provided by Credit One Show Highlights
  • No security deposit required. Get a 100% unsecured card that can help grow and build credit.
  • Focused on growing or rebuilding your credit? We report account activity to all three major credit bureaus each month to help keep your credit score up-to-date.
  • Find out if you're Pre-Qualified without harming your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Looking for more credit? Get credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply
  • Get 1% cash back on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • Your account is safeguarded against unauthorized charges with Zero Fraud Liability at no additional charge
  • Stay in-the-know about your account with custom email and text alerts that remind you of your payment due date, notify you when a payment posts, or warn you if your available credit runs low
  • Show off your style with a premium card design, a fee may apply.
  • Issuer: Credit One
  • Rewards Details: Get 1% cash back on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0-$99
  • Cash Advance APR: 18.90% - 25.90% Variable
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.99% - 24.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® is our top pick for a reason – we’d recommend it to anyone with bad credit! It’s not every day that an unsecured credit card for bad credit comes along that also includes rewards, but with this card, you get just that. As a cardholder, you can earn 1% cash back on everyday purchases, such as gas, groceries, mobile phone service, internet service, cable and satellite TV service, dining, and more. Your cash back rewards will come in the form of an automatic statement credit helping you to pay off your account balance. Remember to pay on time and in full to build positive credit!

In case you missed it

Want to change your payment due date to be closer to payday? With the Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®, you can! After your initial billing period, call customer service to request your payment due date change to either six days before or after the current date.

How to use it
  • Get pre-qualified without harming your credit score.
  • Don’t charge anything you couldn’t pay for outright. Budget to pay off your entire balance each month to build credit and avoid interest payments.
  • Use this card on eligible purchases like gas, groceries, and internet to earn cash back.
Consider this

Your annual fee may affect the amount you have available in credit with the Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® since the annual fee is billed to your account when it is opened. For instance, if your annual fee is $75 and your credit line is $500, then your actual available credit is $425.

Why you'll love it

If you’re searching for a credit card that’s more forgiving of a bad credit score and offers rewards, then the Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa® is one to consider. The combination of great features provided by this card makes it easy to earn rewards while also building your credit in the process.

Start your application now Back to top
Apply Now on Genesis Bankcard Services' secure website.
Unsecured

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
Upfront fees $35 – $99 annual fee
APR 23.90%

Pre-qualification available? Yes
Previous bankruptcy OK? Yes
Highlights Provided by Genesis Bank Show Highlights
  • Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Choose your custom card design - Free
  • Free online account access
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
  • Previous bankruptcy OK
  • Issuer: Genesis Bank
  • Annual Fee: $35 - $99
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.90%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of each transaction
  • Ongoing APR: 23.90%
  • Penalty APR: 29.90%

Our two cents

Who should get it

Another card to consider if you have a previous bankruptcy is the Milestone® Gold Mastercard® since they won’t necessarily disqualify you for having one on your credit report. Milestone also offers a pre-qualification option that won’t impact your credit score and assesses your annual fee based on your credit score. Depending on your creditworthiness, you may qualify for an annual fee of as low as $35, $59, or $75 during your first year (then $99 after that). There may also be an account opening fee of $5, $25, or $50. Luckily, though, your first-year annual fee and account opening fee won’t total more than $75.

How to use it
  • Take advantage of pre-qualification to check your eligibility without a hard inquiry on your credit score.
  • Budget to pay off your balance monthly (or bi-monthly!) to build credit and avoid the higher penalty APR.
  • After your credit score improves, make the switch to a card with a rewards program.
Consider this

While the Milestone® Gold Mastercard® does have low account opening fees, you will want to keep an eye out for other fees. If you add an authorized user, there’s a $25 fee. If you make a late payment or go over your limit, there’s a fee of up to $38 as well.

Why you'll love it

The Milestone® Gold Mastercard® has a lot of attractive features. It’s forgiving of a past bankruptcy, it offers $0 cash advance fees the first year and 1% foreign transaction fees, it doesn’t require a security deposit, and it’s backed by MasterCard®, allowing you to use it just about anywhere.

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Additional credit card research

How do you know what card to apply for? If you’re looking for any easy way to compare the best credit cards, check out our search tool below:

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Credit card pro tips

Among the common questions we try to answer are “What are the benefits of a credit card” and “What are points on a credit card?” Both the former and the latter can vary based on which card you’re talking about, so we’ve done our best to cover these subjects in broader detail.

Hidden benefits

Although the best credit cards offer a slew of obvious benefits including cash back and travel rewards, other perks aren’t always advertised prominently. Examples include:

  • Zero liability for fraudulent purchases
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Rental car coverage
  • Free FICO® Score
  • Extended warranties
  • Roadside assistance

You might have to dig deeper to find them, but these features can truly come in handy. If used correctly, they can even help you save money, travel safer, and protect yourself from undue risk.

Understanding points and other rewards

Rewards come in a variety of flavors — points, miles, cash back, etc. — and it always pays to understand how these rewards work from card to card. To do that, you’ll need to hit the fine print.

Take this for example: You might see that a particular airline card offers the first checked bag free on every flight. It’s a great perk, but without scrutinizing the fine print, you might not learn that cardholders also get checked baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, discounts on eligible in-flight purchases, or other goodies. If you aren’t aware of all the features, you probably won’t get the maximum benefit from even the best credit card.

Always treat your card like cash

Sometimes emergencies happen. We get it. But unless the situation is dire, you should never use available credit to justify making a purchase. Try your best to restrict card use to purchases that you can afford to pay off in the same month. Otherwise, you could seriously jeopardize your long-term financial health.

When should I pay off my credit card bill?

Always strive to pay your credit card balance in full by your statement due date. There’s no better way to build a solid credit history and healthy credit score.

Credit is a powerful tool when seasoned with self control, but left unbridled, it can wreak havoc on your financial future. Case in point: The average American household has $16,000 of credit card debt. If your card has an 18% APR and you’re only making the minimum payment (usually around 3% of the total balance) you’ll rack up over $2,000 in interest charges every month and continue to lose ground.

Paying your credit card off in full also helps to keep your credit utilization ratio low. Your credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your available credit that you have used. Credit bureaus use this metric to gauge how responsible you are.

When it comes to credit utilization ratio, low is best. Credit cards can negatively affect your credit utilization if you continuously run large balances.

We recommend keeping your credit utilization for each credit card below 30%. You can track your credit utilization on your credit card with some simple math — (balance ÷ credit limit = ratio).

Pro tip

Most card issuers report your balance and activity to the credit bureaus once per month. The problem is that the report might be issued before your monthly statement is due. So even if you pay your card in full each month, it will appear to credit bureaus that your utilization ratio is higher than it actually is.

If you’re committed to keeping your credit utilization ratio low, call your credit card help line, ask when your credit activity is reported, and make sure to pay your balance before that date. (Paying off charges immediately isn’t a bad idea either.)

What credit card should I get?

It all comes down to your everyday spending habits. Ideally, you want a card that rewards those spending habits rather than one that forces you to adjust how you purchase things. These cards we’ve covered are some of the best on the market and a great place to start.

Further reading: The Simple Dollar’s guide to choosing a budget.

Can you ask for a lower rate on your credit card?

Yes, you can. In fact, a survey of 952 American cardholders found that 69% of people who asked their credit card issuer for a lower interest rate were successful. What’s equally as interesting is that only 25% of people ever take the time to try.

Your interest rate isn’t the only thing you can haggle over. Late payments, annual fees, and credit limits are fair game too. Of all the survey participants who asked:

  • 87% got a late payment fee waiver
  • 69% got a lower interest rate
  • 89% got a higher credit limit
  • 82% had their annual fee waived or reduced

Here’s how to lower your interest rate

Negotiating better rates doesn’t have to be scary. Follow these three primary tactics to improve your chance of success:

  1. Leverage your loyalty. It’s simple: Companies are more willing to work with longtime customers. Your best play is with the company you’ve been doing business with the longest.

  2. Do your homework. Find a better deal and use it to your advantage. Credit card companies need your business. Remember: Over half of the people in the survey scored a better rate simply because they called and asked.

  3. Be persistent. You probably shouldn’t call day after day, but there’s nothing wrong with a little persistence. If at first you’re told “no,” ask to speak to a manager.

Is it better to have a zero balance on a credit card or close it?

Just because your card has a zero balance doesn’t mean you should close it. Before you take action, consider the impact that closing your account might have on your credit score.

How credit utilization affects your credit score

There are five factors that influence your credit score: payment history, age, mix of credit, inquiries, and your credit utilization — which can impact up to 30% of your score. Credit utilization (sometimes referred to as your credit utilization ratio) represents the percentage of your available credit that is currently active.

Imagine you have two credit cards with a total credit limit of $20,000; one with a $5,000 limit and another with a $15,000 limit. On the first card, you have a $3,200 balance, and on the second you have a $0 balance because you just paid it off.

Right now, your credit utilization is at a healthy 16%. If you cancel the second card, your total credit limit will drop to $5,000 and your credit utilization will rise to a whopping 64%. That’s important, because experts say that once your utilization ratio exceeds 30% your credit score may be at risk.

Should I close my card?

It all boils down to how comfortable you are weathering a drop in your credit score. Canceling a card won’t necessarily sabotage your credit report, but we recommend avoiding any scenario that puts your credit at risk before applying for a mortgage, car loan, or apartment. Otherwise, you might not score the best interest rate possible.

How can I raise my credit score?

If you’re eyeing one of the best credit cards on our list, but your credit score isn’t quite there yet, don’t fret. There are steps you can take to improve your credit score.

First, you need to understand what goes into a credit score. FICO® develops their credit scores based on the following criteria:

  • 35% payment history
  • 30% amounts owed
  • 15% length of credit history
  • 10% new credit
  • 10% credit mix

As you can see, more than two-thirds of your credit score is composed of how much you owe and how diligently you’re making payments. This means that two of the most important things you can do to improve your credit score are to pay off your balances in full and on time each month.

Amounts owed refers to your credit utilization, which is a measure of how much you owe across all debts compared to your total credit limit. In general, you should only be charging about 30% of your total credit limit at any time.

The payment history refers to whether or not you’re paying on time or missing a payment altogether. Missing even one payment could stay on your credit report for up to seven years, so be sure to set payment reminders.

Credit scores don’t improve overnight, but by reducing the amount of debt you have and making payments on time, you can start to move the dial in the right direction.

Here are the Best Credit Cards of 2018

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Discover it® – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • BankAmericard® Credit Card
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  • Discover it® Miles
  • Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
  • Discover it® for Students
  • Discover it® chrome for Students
  • Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
  • Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
  • Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®
  • Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®
  • Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our rankings and recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.