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How to Build the Best Credit Cards for January 2024

The best credit cards on the marketplace change over time as card issuers update their promotions and new card offers are introduced. That’s why we created this list that’s updated regularly. Here you can find out which credit cards are the most promising at the moment, including travel credit cards, cash-back credit cards, 0% APR credit cards, and other credit card categories.

Read on to learn about the best credit cards in 2024, why we picked them, and how each card we selected can help you reach your goals.

Best credit cards 2024

Card NameBest ForMinimum credit requiredAnnual fee
Citi Double Cash® CardBest for Flat-Rate Cash BackExcellent, Good, Fair$0
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card Best Cash Back Card with Rotating/Tiered Reward CategoriesExcellent, Good$0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Best for General Travel RewardsExcellent, Good$95
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card Best for Premium Travel RewardsExcellent$395
American Express® Gold CardBest for Dining Out and Delivery
Good/Excellent$250
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressBest for GroceriesGood/Excellent$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Citi Custom Cash® CardBest for Gas PurchasesExcellent, Good, Fair$0
Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardBest Small Business CardExcellent, Good$95
Citi® Diamond Preferred® CardBest Balance Transfer OfferExcellent, Good$0
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressBest for Luxury PerksGood, Excellent
$695
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit CardBest Student Credit CardAverage, Fair, Limited$0
Discover it® Secured Credit CardBest Card for Building Credit/Low Credit ScoresNew, Rebuilding$0

Our recommendations for the best credit cards

Best cash-back credit card: Citi Custom Cash® Card

  • Citi Custom Cash® Card
    Details

    The Bonus: Spend $1,500 on purchases within the first six months of opening an account and you’ll receive 20,000 ThankYou® Points, worth $200.

    Ongoing APR: 19.24% – 29.24% (Variable)

    Annual Fee: $0

    Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%

    Rewards Rate: Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (1% cash back thereafter) – there are no category enrollments to worry about or no need to juggle reward tiers. On everything else you purchase, you’ll get 1% cashback. Eligible 5% categories include restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, fitness clubs, live entertainment, drugstores, and home improvement stores.

    Credit Needed: Excellent, Good, Fair

    PROS & CONS:
    • This is a good card if you have a large purchase on the horizon, or if you need some time to pay off an existing balance interest-free, thanks to the intro 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months (then 19.24% – 29.24% (Variable) applies).
    • This card is a nice option if you don’t want to worry about rotating categories or category enrollments as it automatically earns you bonus rewards in the eligible category where you spend the most, whether that’s on gas or in one of the other eligible bonus categories.

    CONS:

    • If you’re willing to keep up with rotating categories or a tiered rewards structure, you may stand to earn more rewards with another card. That said, this card could complement other cards very nicely.
    • This isn’t a good card to travel internationally with as it charges a fee on foreign transactions.

    Citi Custom Cash® Card

    Credit Score – Excellent, Good, Fair

    Annual Fee – $0

  • Why We Choose this Card: This card offers 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (1% cash back thereafter). As gas is an eligible spending category, that means you can earn up to $25 each billing cycle on bonus rewards alone. More (at that 1% rate) if you spend over $500 each billing cycle. This is one of the best rates earned on gas purchases we’ve seen!

    Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back – Citi Double Cash® Card 

    • Citi Double Cash® Card
      Card Details

      The Bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

      Rewards Rate: Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, and an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.

      Intro APR Offer: Take advantage of an 18-month, zero-interest offer on balance transfers.

      Balance Transfer Fee: Intro fee 3% of each transfer ($5 min) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, 5% of each transfer ($5 min).

      Ongoing APR: 19.24% – 29.24% (Variable)

      Annual Fee: $0

      Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

      Credit Needed: Excellent, Good, Fair

      PROS & CONS:
      • Some balance transfer credit cards don’t offer ongoing rewards, so earning unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases, and no annual fee is a great offering.
      • Similarly, a 0% intro period on eligible balance transfers is generally the “bonus” with balance transfer credit cards. This card, however, takes things a step further with a cash rewards bonus for new cardholders.

      CONS:

      • Savvy shoppers willing to employ a little more strategy might prefer cards with rotating bonus categories.

      Citi Double Cash® Card 

      Credit Score – Excellent, Good, Fair

      Annual Fee – $0

Why We Choose It: This no-annual-fee card is a simple card to earn rewards with, and it encourages responsible financial habits to boot! Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, and an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
    Details

    The Bonus: Earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases on your new card within the first 90 days of account opening.

    Ongoing APR: 18.24% – 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

    Annual Fee: $0

    Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

    Rewards Rate:  Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice – now with expanded categories, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. Newly expanded 3% categories for gas (to now include electric vehicle charging (EVC) stations) and online shopping (to now include cable, streaming, internet and phone services).

    Credit Needed: Excellent/Good

    PROS & CONS:
    • The freedom to choose the category in which to earn the highest rewards makes this customizable card an excellent option for many people’s spending habits.
    • If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you can earn even more: 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase.
    • Take advantage of 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and balance transfers made in the first 60 days (then, 18.24% – 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers).

    CONS:

    • The cash-back opportunities are good, but they’re great for Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients. If that’s not you, you might want to look elsewhere for higher cash-back earnings.
    • Be aware that this card charges foreign transaction fees, so you’ll want to carry another option along when you travel abroad or when you shop in foreign currency from home.
    • You can only adjust your 3% cash-back earning category once per calendar month. If an unexpected expense arises in a different category after you’ve already made your choice, you’re out of luck for the 3% on that purchase until the following month rolls around.

    Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

    Credit Score – Excellent/Good
    Annual Fee – $0

Why We Choose It: Cardholders have the power here. You choose where you can earn the most cash back from among a list of popular categories. That makes this an incredibly flexible (and possibly lucrative!) card for a wide range of card users.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
    Details

    The Perks: Obtain a bonus of 60,000 points (equivalent to a value of up to $750 in travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal) by spending $4,000 within the initial three months of card membership. You have the flexibility to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to various airline and hotel loyalty programs, potentially increasing the value of the bonus when converted into rewards within your existing loyalty accounts.

    Membership Cost: $95 annually

    Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

    Reward Structure: Earn five points per $1 on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal; three points per $1 for dining (including eligible takeout and delivery), online grocery store purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), and select streaming services; two points per $1 on travel; and one point per $1 on other purchases. Your points gain a 25% boost in value when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, making each point worth 1.25 cents in such instances.

    Moreover, receive an annual points bonus equal to 10% of your total purchases from the preceding year.

    Credit Requirement: Excellent, Good

    PROS & CONS:


    PROS:

    1. Benefit from a yearly $50 hotel credit for a reservation made through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
    2. The 60,000-point bonus, earned after spending $4,000 in the initial three months, translates to a $750 value when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. This is a substantial bonus, especially for a card with a modest annual fee.
    3. This card complements other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited® or business cards such as Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card exceptionally well. Pooling all your points into a single account allows for potential increased value, depending on the card under which they are consolidated. Find further details in our Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

    CONS:

    1. The reward structure of this card is tailored for a specific type of spender, potentially limiting its appeal to everyone. Bonus rewards are only earned in select categories, so if these categories do not align with your typical spending, another card might be more suitable.
    2. Take into account the $95 annual fee; ensure that you earn and redeem enough rewards to offset this cost-effectively.
    3. This card lacks an introductory 0% APR offer.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

    Credit Score – Excellent, Good
    Annual Fee – $95

Why It Appeals to Us: A compelling signup bonus, impressive continual rewards, and versatile redemption options contribute to the card’s excellence. Chase Ultimate Rewards points offer the flexibility of redemption through the Chase travel portal or direct transfers to various renowned airline and hotel loyalty programs. It consistently stands out as a recommended “starter” card for individuals looking to initiate the accumulation of travel rewards.

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
    Card Details

    The Bonus: Obtain 75,000 bonus miles by spending $4,000 in the initial three months of card membership. When redeemed as a statement credit to cover travel expenses, these miles hold a value of $750. Additionally, there’s the option to transfer the miles to various hotel and airline loyalty programs, potentially unlocking even more value.

    Annual Fee: $395

    Foreign Transaction Fees: None

    Rewards Rate: Earn 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and unlimited two-times miles on all other purchases.

    Is Venture X Worth the Annual Fee?: With an annual fee lower than most in the premium/luxury category, the card presents a strong starting point. Factor in perks like complimentary access to Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network, a statement credit of up to $100 for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, an annual $300 credit for travel booked through Capital One Travel, and an additional 10,000 bonus miles (equivalent to $100 in travel) each year after your account anniversary. It’s evident how you can nearly offset the entire annual fee, and this is before delving into the day-to-day rewards earning.

    Credit Needed: Excellent

    PROS & CONS:

    PROS:

    1. Enjoy the appreciation of your loyalty each anniversary year, as this card rewards you with 10,000 bonus miles.
    2. The substantial 75,000-mile bonus, earned after spending $4,000 in the initial three months, easily covers your annual fee for the first year.
    3. Experience exceptional flexibility in redeeming your miles – simply convert them to cover travel purchases charged to your card. With a growing list of loyalty program partners, explore potential value in this redemption path. Learn more in our Guide to Capital One miles.

    CONS:

    1. Despite the generosity of the $300 annual travel credit, it’s limited to purchases made through Capital One Travel, introducing a degree of restriction.
    2. While the annual fee is lower compared to other cards in its class, the $395 fee should be carefully considered. Ensure your earnings and redemptions justify the fee.
    3. Capital One’s travel loyalty partners may not be as popular or extensive as those offered by other cards. While having options is beneficial, their utility depends on your specific travel habits.

    Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

    Credit Score – Excellent

    Annual Fee – $395

Why It Appeals to Us: This card signifies Capital One’s venture into the premium travel rewards card arena, and it lives up to expectations. Boasting an impressive welcome offer, consistent ongoing rewards, a comparatively lower annual fee for its card category, and a variety of valuable additional perks, this card is unquestionably deserving of attention.

  • American Express® Gold Card
    Card Details

    The Bonus: Acquire 60,000 Membership Rewards points after making eligible purchases totalling $6,000 within your initial six months as a cardholder.

    Ongoing APR: Refer to the Pay Over Time APR

    Annual Fee: $250

    Foreign Transaction Fee: None

    Rewards Rate: Earn 4X the Membership Rewards points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.; 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in supermarket purchases, then one point per $1); 3X the Membership Rewards points on flights directly booked with airlines or on amextravel.com; and 1X point per $1 on your other qualifying purchases.

    Credit Score Needed: Good, Excellent

    PROS & CONS:

    PROS:

    1. Specially designed for those who prefer dining out, this card offers an impressive 4X points for every dollar spent on dining.
    2. A delightful additional perk is the annual $120 ($10 per month) dining credit. Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when using your card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations (enrollment required).
    3. For those who enjoy cooking at home, the card provides the opportunity to earn 4X points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per year.

    CONS:

    1. While membership comes with privileges, there’s a substantial annual fee that may not be justified if you don’t plan to use the card regularly.
    2. American Express encourages members to pay off their

    American Express® Gold Card

    Credit Score – Good, Excellent

    Annual Fee – $250


Why It Appeals to Us: This card stands out by providing an impressive 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. Additionally, it features a $120 dining credit, translating to $10 in statement credits each month when used at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations (enrollment required). American Express is featured as an advertiser on CardRatings.

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American
    Card Details


    The Welcome Offer: Receive $250 in statement credit after spending $3,000 within the initial six months.

    Intro APR Offer: Enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months from the date of account opening. A balance transfer fee is applicable, either $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, whichever is greater.

    Ongoing APR: Variable, ranging from 19.24% to 29.99%.

    Annual Fee: No annual fee for the first year, then $95.

    Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

    Rewards Rate: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, including parking, tolls, taxis, bus fares, and more; and 1% back on all other purchases.

    Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

    PROS & CONS:

    PROS:

    1. This card boasts one of the most generous reward rates for U.S. supermarket purchases, making it a potentially lucrative choice for regular shoppers in this category.
    2. Benefit from a low introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months from the account opening date. Afterwards, the variable APR ranges from 19.24% to 29.99%. A balance transfer fee applies either $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, whichever is greater.
    3. Ideal for families, this card offers significant rewards for purchases at U.S. supermarkets (6% cash back, up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%), select U.S. streaming subscriptions (6% cash back), U.S. gas stations (3% cash back), and transit (3% cash back), covering categories commonly frequented by many families.

    CONS:

    1. As an American Express card, it may not be as widely accepted as those issued by Visa or Mastercard, although the American Express network continues to expand both in the U.S. and internationally.
    2. Using this card abroad is not recommended due to the associated foreign transaction fees, which can be avoided with many other cards.
    3. The annual fee should be carefully considered, and it’s crucial to evaluate your spending habits to ensure that the rewards earned outweigh the annual fee.

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Credit Score –  Good, Excellent

    Annual Fee – $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Why It Appeals to Us: This card stands out as the sole card we are aware of that provides a remarkable 6% cash back (up to $6,000 spent annually) in a category universally frequented by nearly every family: U.S. supermarkets.

  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
    Card Details

    The Bonus: Acquire 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points – equivalent to $1,250 in travel – upon spending $8,000 within the initial three months.

    Annual Fee: $95

    Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

    Rewards Rate: Earn three points per $1 spent on up to $150,000 combined annual spending for travel expenses, shipping costs, Internet, cable, and phone services, as well as advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. Once the spending cap is reached, and on all other purchases, you’ll earn one point per $1.

    Additional Perks: By paying your mobile phone bill with this card, you benefit from protection for the primary phone on the account, as well as all other phones on the account, including employee phones, against covered damage and theft.

    Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

    PROS & CONS:

    PROS:

    1. Boasting the highest signup bonus among Ultimate Rewards-earning cards, this card offers 100,000 bonus points after spending $8,000 on purchases within the initial three months. When redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, this bonus is valued at $1,250.
    2. The spending cap in the bonus categories is substantial at $150,000, catering to both newly established businesses and those already in full swing.
    3. Paying your cellular bill with this card provides cellular phone insurance for the primary line and all other phones on the account, offering additional protection.

    CONS:

    1. Consider the annual fee, ensuring that the rewards categories align closely with your business needs to justify the fee.
    2. Keep in mind the spending cap in the bonus categories; exceeding the combined $150,000 annual limit on travel and other select business categories will result in earning only 1% back on additional spending.
    3. This card is most advantageous for frequent travellers, so if travel does not constitute a significant portion of your business spending, exploring alternative small business credit card options may be advisable.

    Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

    Credit Score – Excellent, Good

    Annual Fee – $95

Why It Appeals to Us: This card stands out because it offers the opportunity to earn substantial cash back in categories ranging from fairly common to somewhat unconventional. With a high spending cap, it becomes a reasonable choice for many small businesses. The added perk of mobile phone protection enhances its appeal, potentially saving businesses money.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Your rewards are distributed as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and their value increases by 25% when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal. Additionally, you have the option to transfer these points to various airline and hotel loyalty partners. Another noteworthy aspect is the complementing presence of the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, a no-annual-fee card that enables business owners to earn a consistent 1.5% cash back on every purchase. A strategic approach would involve using your Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card for all purchases that do not earn a higher rate with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

  • Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
    Card Details

    Intro 0% Offer Details: Seize the opportunity of an introductory 0% APR period lasting 21 months from the date of your initial transfer for balance transfers (all transfers must be completed within 4 months), and 12 months for purchases. Following this period, the variable APR ranges from 18.24% to 28.99%.

    Balance Transfer Fees: A balance transfer fee applies to this offer, set at 5% of each balance transfer with a minimum of $5.

    Annual Fee: $0

    Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

    Rewards Rate: While this card does not offer traditional rewards, the considerable savings on interest charges during the introductory 0% APR period for purchases and qualifying transfers can be viewed as a noteworthy benefit.

    Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

    PROS & CONS:


    PROS:

    1. Enjoy one of the lengthiest introductory 0% APR offers available with 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months (when made in the first four months) and on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 18.24% – 28.99%.
    2. Keep the membership experience enjoyable with Citi Entertainment®, offering cardholders exclusive access to purchase tickets for thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more.
    3. Stay informed about your credit with complimentary access to your FICO® score online.

    CONS:

    1. As this card is not a rewards card, those seeking a prolonged 0% intro offer coupled with rewards may want to explore alternative options.
    2. While the 21-month introductory 0% APR for balance transfers is extensive, be mindful of the subsequent APR, which can increase significantly based on your creditworthiness.
    3. If you require a suitable credit card for international travel, this card may not be the best choice due to its foreign transaction fees.

    Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

    Credit Score – Excellent, Good

    Annual Fee – $0

    Why It Appeals to Us: This card stands out as a robust choice for individuals looking to transfer existing debt, offering an extensive introductory period of nearly two years. During this period, cardholders have the opportunity to pay down their debt without incurring interest charges.

  • The Platinum Card® from American
    Card Details

    The Welcome Offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases with your new card in the first six months of card membership.

    Annual Fee: $695

    Foreign Transaction Fees: None

    Rewards Rate: Receive 5X Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 spent on these purchases per calendar year); 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com; and one point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.

    Is The Platinum Card® from American Express Annual Fee Worth It? The concise answer is yes, but it depends on the individual. Cardholders enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection of airport lounges and are eligible for up to $200 annually in statement credits to cover incidental airline charges, such as baggage fees or in-flight refreshments, on one qualifying pre-selected airline. Additionally, there’s either $100 or $85 in credit to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, respectively. For those who would have purchased an annual airport lounge membership, this alone significantly offsets the annual fee. Moreover, these perks are in addition to numerous other features and benefits typically associated with a luxury card. Select benefits require enrollment.

    Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

    PROS & CONS:

    PROS:

    1. Positioned as a luxury card, this travel-oriented option comes with an array of valuable benefits, including a $200 airline fee credit (with one pre-selected airline), Uber VIP status, monthly Uber Cash credits for rides and Uber Eats orders in the U.S., a $100 or $85 credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, access to the Global Lounge Collection (including Centurion Lounge locations worldwide), no foreign transaction fees, and car rental loss and damage insurance.
    2. A substantial welcome bonus of 80,000 Membership Rewards points is offered to new cardholders who spend $8,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership.
    3. With 5X Membership Rewards points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, this card provides a quick way to accumulate rewards.
    4. Terms apply, and enrollment is required for select benefits.

    CONS:

    1. The $695 annual fee is significant, but given the luxury card status, the numerous beneficial perks help offset this cost.
    2. Many of the card’s perks are travel-related; if you don’t travel frequently, it may be challenging to justify the annual fee and maximize the card’s rewards.
    3. If you anticipate carrying a balance, consider other options. While this card allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, not all charges are eligible for this feature.

    The Platinum Card® from American Express

    Credit Score – Good, Excellent

    Annual Fee – $695

Why It Appeals to Us: Given the substantial annual fee, this card’s worth is truly justified by its extensive array of perks alone, even before considering the rewards it offers.

  • Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
    Card Details

    The Bonus: Receive an early spend bonus of $50 when you spend $100 within the first three months.

    The Annual Fee: $0

    Foreign Transaction Fees: None

    The Rewards: Earn a consistent 1.5% cash back on purchases. Additionally, earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, and enjoy complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024.

    Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

    PROS & CONS:

    PROS:

    1. With no annual fee, this card serves as an excellent introductory option, especially for individuals new to the realm of credit cards.
    2. The straightforward and enduring rewards, coupled with the fact that they don’t expire for the life of the account, make it a user-friendly card for earning rewards.
    3. The card offers a welcoming bonus, providing college students with a desirable perk to start with.

    CONS:

    1. While the rewards earned are appealing, they may not be exceptionally high. Some student cards offer greater opportunities for rewards if you are willing to strategically plan your spending.
    2. The elevated APR of 19.99% – 29.99% (Variable) can be a cause for concern if you don’t consistently pay your balance in full and on time.

    Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

    Credit Score – Average, Fair, Limited

    Annual Fee – $0

Why It Appeals to Us: Navigating college life can be challenging, and this card simplifies the earning process for students. With a straightforward structure, it offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, without caps or spend categories—making it easy for students to earn rewards effortlessly.

  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card
    Card Details
    • No credit score is required to apply.
    • No Annual Fee, so earn cash back and build your credit history.
    • Your secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit, and your credit line will equal your deposit amount, starting at $200. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
    • Automatic reviews start at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
    • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Discover could help you reduce exposure to your personal information online by assisting in its removal from select people-search sites that may sell your data. It’s free, and you can activate this feature with the mobile app.
    • Receive an alert if your Social Security number is found on any of thousands of Dark Web sites. Activate this service for free.
    • Terms and conditions apply.
    PROS & CONS:

    PROS:

    1. A distinctive secured credit card that provides cash-back rewards, offering 2% back on the first $1,000 spent each quarter at gas stations and restaurants (then 1%), and 1% on all other purchases.
    2. Notably, it offers a welcome bonus—a unique feature for secured credit cards. Discover matches all the cash back earned at the end of the first year, effectively doubling your rewards.
    3. After seven months, Discover conducts automatic monthly reviews to assess eligibility for transitioning to an unsecured credit card.

    CONS:

    1. While there is no annual fee, the minimum security deposit requirement of $200 might be challenging for some individuals. If this deposit amount is not feasible, other secured credit cards with lower deposit requirements may be considered.
    2. While the allure of cash-back rewards may attract potential users, approval for this card depends on credit history and other financial factors. Not every applicant may be approved, and if uncertain about approval and wanting to avoid a hard credit inquiry, exploring other secured credit card options might be prudent.

    Discover it® Secured Credit Card

    Credit Score – New, Rebuilding

    Annual Fee – $0


Why It Appeals to Us: This secured credit card is unique in that it allows cardholders to earn rewards. The opportunity to accumulate cashback while rebuilding credit adds a positive incentive. While the primary focus with secured credit cards should be on building credit and establishing a positive credit history, the added benefit of potential rewards, along with the automatic account reviews after seven months for potential transition to a non-secured card, makes it a noteworthy option.

Our Approach

Identifying the top credit cards poses a challenge due to the diverse rewards programs, unique perks, and evolving terms offered by credit card issuers. To determine the best credit cards, we assessed card offers using the following criteria:

  1. Rewards rates (if applicable)
  2. Welcome offers (if applicable)
  3. Rewards flexibility
  4. Introductory APR offers
  5. Variable APRs
  6. Annual fees
  7. Included consumer protections
  8. Travel benefits and perks
  9. Travel insurance benefits
  10. Required credit rating

Our focus was on selecting the Best credit cards with the most attractive reward structures and welcome offers, emphasizing flexibility within their designated rewards programs. For cards without rewards, we considered alternative factors such as fee structures, introductory interest rates, and regular variable APR. Throughout the evaluation, we also factored in benefits such as consumer protections and travel insurance perks.

Various categories of credit cards cater to diverse financial needs.

This ranking of the best credit cards encompasses different types to provide a comprehensive overview. When evaluating card offers to find the most suitable option for your financial profile, it’s essential to consider the following types of credit cards:

  1. Rewards Credit Cards:
    • Earn points, cash back, or miles for purchases.
  2. Travel Credit Cards:
    • Geared towards frequent travellers, offering travel rewards, airline miles, and hotel perks.
  3. Cash Back Credit Cards:
    • Provide a percentage of cash back on eligible purchases.
  4. Balance Transfer Credit Cards:
    • Designed for transferring high-interest balances to a card with a lower interest rate.
  5. Low-Interest Credit Cards:
    • Offer lower-than-average interest rates, beneficial for carrying a balance.
  6. Secured Credit Cards:
    • Ideal for building or rebuilding credit, requiring a security deposit.
  7. Student Credit Cards:
    • Tailored for students with features like lower credit limits and educational resources.
  8. Business Credit Cards:
    • Aimed at business owners, providing expense tracking, rewards, and business-related perks.
  9. Charge Cards:
    • Require full payment of the balance each month, often with no preset spending limit.
  10. Retail Credit Cards:
    • Issued by specific retailers, offering rewards and discounts for store purchases.
  11. Prepaid Debit Cards:
    • Not technically credit cards, but they can be used for purchases and often have fees.

Understanding these credit card types will help you pinpoint the one that aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle.

Guidelines for Selecting the Right Best Credit Card

The abundance of top credit cards listed here might seem overwhelming, and numerous other cards narrowly missed making our ranking. To assist you in identifying the ideal credit card amidst the multitude of choices, consider the following steps:

  1. Define Your Objectives: Before settling on the best credit card, it’s crucial to contemplate your goals. The choice of a credit card for earning rewards differs from one aimed at consolidating high-interest debt. Reflect on your credit card objectives, whether it involves earning cash back, accumulating travel rewards, or securing a temporary 0% APR.
  2. Evaluate Rewards Programs: For those interested in rewards, scrutinize credit card earning rates and explore the redemption options for your points. Note that travel rewards programs can be intricate, necessitating research to identify the most suitable travel credit card for your preferences.
  3. Specify Desired Cardholder Perks: Determine the cardholder perks that align with your preferences, such as consumer protections like cell phone insurance or extended warranties. Whether it’s early boarding, free checked bags, or airport lounge access, one of the best credit cards likely offers the perks you seek.
  4. Examine Card Fees: While paying an annual fee may not be the most enjoyable aspect of having a credit card, it can be justified if the rewards or perks offer exceptional value. Alongside assessing annual fees, be vigilant about foreign transaction fees, balance transfer fees, and any other hidden charges.
  5. Review Credit Issuer Ratings: Recognize that credit card issuers vary significantly in their ratings, which can impact your overall customer service experience. The chart below illustrates the ratings of major card issuers based on J.D. Power’s 2022 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, encompassing the user experiences of 27,819 credit card customers from August 2021 through June 2022.

Check credit issuer ratings

It’s important to note that the ratings of credit card issuers can vary significantly, and these ratings can have a direct impact on your customer service experience. The provided chart illustrates the customer service ratings of major card issuers based on the findings of J.D. Power’s 2022 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. This study comprehensively assessed the user experiences of 27,819 credit card customers during the period from August 2021 through June 2022.

Credit card companyJ.D. Power rating (out of 1,000 points)
USAA860
American Express848
Goldman Sachs843
Discover841
Bank of America818
Chase813
Capital One812
TD Bank808
Citi808
Fifth Third806
Regions Bank806
PNC (including BBVA)806
Huntington804
Citizens Bank801
Barclays797
Wells Fargo797
FNBO795
Key Bank793
U.S. Bank791
Merrick Bank789
Truist789
Synchrony Bank786
BOM Harris771
Credit One Bank738
Premier Bankcard734
HSBC724

Consider eligibility by credit score

Additionally, take into account your credit score and assess which card issuers align with your eligibility based on their minimum credit requirements. Note from the chart below that certain card issuers exclusively extend credit cards to consumers with good-to-excellent credit, while others provide options for fair and/or poor credit, including secured credit cards.

Credit card companyCredit score range accepted
USAABad credit (or no credit) to good credit
American ExpressGood-to-excellent credit
Goldman SachsGood-to-excellent credit
DiscoverBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
Bank of AmericaBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
ChaseFair credit to good credit or better
Capital OneBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
TD BankBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
CitiBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
Fifth ThirdBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
Regions BankGood-to-excellent credit
PNC (including BBVA)Bad credit (or no credit) to good credit
HuntingtonGood-to-excellent credit
Citizens BankGood-to-excellent credit
BarclaysGood-to-excellent credit
Wells FargoGood-to-excellent credit
FNBOBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
Key BankBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
U.S. BankBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
Merrick BankBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
TruistBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
Synchrony BankBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
BMO HarrisGood-to- excellent credit
Credit One BankBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
Premier BankcardBad credit (or no credit) to good credit
HSBCGood-to-excellent credit

How to apply for a Best credit card

Once you have identified the best credit card to suit your needs, completing the application involves a few straightforward steps that can be conveniently carried out online from the comfort of your home.

  1. Check Your Credit Scores: Before initiating a credit card application, it’s advisable to have a general understanding of your credit score. Utilize free credit-check platforms such as Capital One CreditWise or Chase Credit Journey. Some credit cards even offer a “prequalification” option without performing a hard inquiry, providing insights into your approval likelihood for a specific card.
  2. Review Terms and Fine Print: Regardless of the chosen credit card, carefully review the terms, conditions, and fine print. Ensure a comprehensive understanding of applicable fees, including annual fees and late fees. Take note of the card’s interest rate and compare it to the average. If the card features an introductory APR offer, grasp the details.
  3. Gather Personal Information: Collect the necessary personal information required for credit card applications. This encompasses basic details such as your full name, address, and contact information, along with information that may need to be looked up, such as your Social Security number (SSN), annual household income, and monthly housing payment.
  4. Provide Thorough, Honest Information: Proceed with the online credit card application, supplying accurate and honest information. Click “submit application” when ready, and await the results. Many issuers process applications promptly, responding within minutes. Some may contact you via email, taking up to 30 days for approval or denial.
  5. Consider Alternatives and Future Steps: If your application is not approved, stay calm. It may be beneficial to work on improving your credit score before reapplying. Explore other credit card options suitable for your current credit profile, including those designed for fair credit and secured credit cards for credit-building.

Alternatives to Credit Cards:

  • Debit Cards: Consider the advantages of using a debit card for purchases, noting that it draws directly from your account balance and does not contribute to building credit.
  • Home Equity Loans: These loans use your home’s value as collateral, providing fixed interest rates and monthly payments. However, they typically allow access to only up to 80% of your home’s equity.
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs): Similar to home equity loans, HELOCs use your home’s value as collateral but offer a line of credit with variable interest rates.
  • Personal Loans: Also known as “instalment loans,” these loans provide a lump sum with fixed monthly payments, a predetermined repayment term, and lower fixed interest rates compared to credit cards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many credit cards should you have?

The optimal number of credit cards varies from person to person. Ideally, individuals should aim for several cards that enable them to maximize rewards and take advantage of cardholder perks, all while maintaining the lowest possible interest rates and fees.

What is the easiest credit card to get?

Generally, the easiest credit card to obtain is a secured credit card since it involves placing a cash deposit as collateral. However, in broader terms, qualifying for most credit cards becomes easier when you have good credit or a higher credit score, typically defined as a FICO score of 670 or above.

What are the best credit card offers right now?

Currently, some of the standout credit card offers include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the American Express® Gold Card, and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. It’s advisable to check this page regularly for the latest updates on credit card offers, as they may change monthly.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please visit this URL.

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