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Best Credit Cards

How to choose the right credit card

We publish unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from our advertising partners. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.

Credit cards play an important role in how people make purchases and manage their finances. They are used for everyday purchases as well as big-ticket items. It has become common practice for customers to seek cards with extra benefits that meet lifestyle demands.

The best credit cards can earn rewards, offer protection on your purchases, provide interest-free financing, and other benefits that are valuable to you. When used properly, credit cards can also help build your credit. However, with so many credit cards to choose from, it can be hard to find the right card for your situation.

Best Overall : Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards


Overall Rating
5.0
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is our best overall credit card and best for cash back because of its combination of low fees, low interest, and high rewards earning rate. With no annual fee, you don't need to worry about making sure you're extracting maximum value from the card every year to make it worth it. The absence of a foreign transaction fee makes this a rare cash back credit card that’s worth bringing on a trip abroad and helps make a compelling case that if you're only going to carry one card, this should be it.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Simple rewards program with a solid return

  • Decent introductory offers on purchases

  • No annual or foreign transaction fees

Cons
  • No bonus rewards rates

  • One-time bonus is relatively modest

  • APR can be comparatively high

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card review.

Overall Runner-Up : Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards


Overall Rating
4.9
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards credit card is a strong contender for the best overall credit card. It earns an unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming services and grocery purchases, so you're racking up extra rewards whether you're out with friends or enjoying a quiet night at home. New cardmembers receive a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months. Plus, there is no annual fee, so all of the cash back that you earn is yours to keep. Travelers will love that there are no foreign transaction fees, so there are no surprises when making international purchases.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Earns up to 3% cash back on purchases

  • 0% APR purchase promo for 15 months

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons
  • Welcome bonus is on the smaller side

  • Bonus cash back excludes Walmart and Target

  • No balance transfer promotion

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards credit card review.

Best for Travel : Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Overall Rating
4.1
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is our best credit card for travel because of its competitive one-time point bonus and high rewards earning rate. Add to that the fact that points are worth 50% more if you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and the ability to transfer points on a 1:1 basis to eligible hotel and airline partners. While the annual fee is high, if you're an avid traveler, the annual travel credit can help justify it and it has numerous other travel-related benefits if you're not ready to commit yourself to a single airline or hotel.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining

  • Premium travel features

  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons
  • $550 annual fee

  • Limited high-rewards categories

  • Strong credit is recommended

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review.

Travel Runner Up : Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


Overall Rating
4.1
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options.
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is our choice as the best travel card runner-up because it earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. These miles can be redeemed to cover all of your travel purchases with no blackout dates. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options. New cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months, which breaks down to an average of $1,667 of purchases per month. If you don't spend that much, you'll still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 within three months. Although there is a $95 annual fee, the card has no foreign transaction fees and reimburses up to $100 in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees every four years.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High rewards rate with no cap on earnings

  • Sizeable one-time offer

  • Flexible redemption options

Cons
  • $95 annual fee

  • Poor cash-back redemption rate

  • Limited transfer partners

Read the full Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Review.

Best for Cash Back : Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card


Overall Rating
5.0
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

This card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no caps on how much you can receive. Plus, you'll earn a one-time cash bonus of $200 when you spend $500 on purchases within three months of opening your account. New cardholders will also enjoy no interest for 15 months with a 0% intro APR offer. There is no annual fee and there are no foreign transaction fees on international purchases.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Simple rewards program with a solid return

  • Decent introductory offers on purchases

  • No annual or foreign transaction fees

Cons
  • No bonus rewards rates

  • One-time bonus is relatively modest

  • APR can be comparatively high

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

Cash Back Runner Up : Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card


Overall Rating
4.9
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. You can redeem your cash back rewards for any amount and the rewards don't expire for the life of your account. When you open your card, you'll receive a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months. New cardholders can also take advantage of the 0% intro APR promotion on purchases for the first 15 months. The card has no annual fee and it does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Generous cash rewards for dining, entertainment and groceries

  • Doesn't impose some frequent fees

Cons
  • Excellent credit recommended for approval

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

Best Airline : United℠ Explorer


Overall Rating
3.9
United℠ Explorer Card
Current Offer

Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, eligible delivery services, on hotel stays, and on United purchases. Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

Based on our analysis, the United Explorer Card offers the highest value per mile earned of any airline credit card, and miles can be redeemed in multiple ways, including for flights on member participating airlines in its Star Alliance, one of the largest global airline partnerships. You'll need to be committed to United as the airline you'll primarily fly with in order to extract the maximum benefit from the card.

The card's compelling introductory bonus really adds to the value of the card because of the high value placed on redeeming those points with United. The $95 annual fee is in line with its competitors and is waived the first year. The card does not charge foreign transaction fees, which helps make it a good choice for international travel.

United has announced that they have permanently eliminated reservation change fees, which should greatly reduce any traveler anxiety around booking future award travel with earned miles and make the introductory bonus on this card that much more appealing.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Annual fee is waived the first year

  • Earn 2x miles on United, dining, and hotels

  • Exclusive perks with United, like early boarding and free checked bags

Cons
  • Fewer free checked bags than some competing airline cards

  • Welcome bonus earned in two stages

  • Balance transfer fee of 5% (min $5)

Read the full United Explorer credit card Review.

Airline Runner-Up : Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®


Overall Rating
3.8
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Current Offer

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $99
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Plus 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

Travelers looking to get away can earn 50,000 American Airlines miles when they sign up for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and spend $2,500 within three months. You'll also earn an unlimited 2x miles for every dollar that you spend with American Airlines and at restaurants and gas stations.

When you fly with American Airlines, you and up to four travel companions will get your first checked bag for free. With checked bag fees of $30 each way for domestic flights, that's a savings of $240 on a round-trip flight for a family of four. International travelers can save up to 3% on their purchases with no foreign transaction fees. This card has a $99 annual fee, but it is waived the first year so you can try its benefits free for 12 months.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Annual fee is waived the first year

  • Flight benefits when traveling on American Airlines

  • Spending helps to earn elite status

Cons
  • Maximizing rewards value requires savvy—and probably an international destination

  • No purchase or transfer offers

  • Max late fee of $40

Read the full Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard credit card Review.

Best for Hotels : Marriott Bonvoy Boundless


Overall Rating
3.7
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Current Offer

For a Limited Time, earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

Our choice for the best overall credit card for hotels is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card because new cardholders can earn five free nights after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus, they'll receive another free night on their account anniversary that can be used to book a one-night hotel stay worth up to 35,000 points. The card includes automatic Silver Elite status and 15 Elite Night Credits towards earning an even higher level of status and benefits.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Outstanding introductory rewards bonus

  • Solid rewards rate for Marriott hotel stays

  • Automatic Silver Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy program

Cons
  • $35,000 spending per year to upgrade to Gold Status

  • Bonvoy hotel rewards account (though not the Bonvoy credit card) must stay active to avoid points expiration

  • $95 annual fee may be off-putting to the fee-averse

Read the Full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Review.

Hotels Runner Up : Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card


Overall Rating
3.6
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Current Offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $450
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

Our choice for the best hotel credit card runner-up is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card because of its generous welcome offer, annual credit, and yearly free night worth up to 50,000 points. For a limited time, earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

Each year the card offers a $300 credit for eligible purchases at participating Marriott properties. Plus, there's a $100 property credit on eligible stays. While traveling, you'll also enjoy unlimited visits to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries thanks to the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Good all around for travel but most rewarding on Marriott purchases

  • Annual statement credits and Marriott Bonvoy property credits

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year

Cons
  • No introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers

  • Annual fee at the higher end of what many travel cards charge

  • Only 2 points per dollar at hotels other than Marriott

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card Review.

Best for Balance Transfer : Citi Simplicity®


Overall Rating
3.4
Citi Simplicity®
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 21 Months
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

We chose the Citi Simplicity as the best balance transfer card primarily due to its exceptionally long 21-month 0% APR introductory period along with consumer-friendly terms like no annual fee and no late fees or penalty rates. While Simplicity offers no rewards, we don't consider that a negative in the case of a balance transfer card, as rewards can tempt counterproductive additional spending when trying to dig out from debt. Citi does charge a $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater), but the length of the introductory period justifies the extra cost in terms of savings potential.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Outstanding 0% APR offer for 21 months from account opening on balance transfers

  • 0% introductory APR offer on new purchases for 12 months from account opening

  • No late fees, penalty rates, or annual fees

Cons
  • High fee for balance transfers

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

  • No rewards program or one-time bonus offer

Read the full Citi Simplicity credit card Review.

Balance Transfer Runner-Up : Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card


Overall Rating
3.4
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.74% - 23.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 21 Months
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Citi Diamond Preferred Credit Card is an excellent choice for transferring a balance. It offers a 0% introductory rate on purchases for 12 months, and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months. Balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening and incur a 5% fee (min $5) of the amount transferred. After the promotion expires, the interest rate reverts to a variable APR ranging from 14.74% to 24.74%, depending on your creditworthiness. The card does not charge an annual fee.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Balance transfers have 21 months of no interest

  • Purchases during the first 12 months are not charged interest

  • No annual fee

Cons
  • Penalty APR of up to 29.99% with a late or returned payment

  • Does not offer a welcome bonus or earn rewards

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Read the full Citi Diamond Preferred credit card Review.

Best Student Credit Card : Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students


Overall Rating
4.3
Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students
Current Offer

25,000 bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening - which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose It

The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students is our pick for the best student credit card because of the high earning rate on its rewards program that you can then redeem for all sorts of travel expenses. It also has a long introductory APR on purchases and no annual fee, which adds to the card's strong rating. Plus, the lack of foreign transaction fees makes this an ideal card for student travel outside the U.S. Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students also offers excellent credit education and monitoring services.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Unlimited 1.5x rewards on all purchases

  • Pay off purchases for 12 months with no interest

  • Friendly to foreign travel

Cons
  • Rewards aren't transferable

  • No 0% APR balance transfer offer

  • Relatively high spending required ($1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening) for 25,000-point introductory one-time bonus

Read the full Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students credit card Review.

Student Credit Card Runner-Up : Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students


Overall Rating
4.3
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students
Current Offer

$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back in the eligible category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined categories each quarter, then 1%.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Statement Closing Dates
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Statement Closing Dates
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

Students can earn excellent rewards on their spending with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students credit card. You'll earn 3% cash back on the eligible category of your choice, plus 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% everywhere else. The bonus cash back is on the first $2,500 spent in combined categories each quarter. If you need more time to pay off some of your purchases, new cardholders receive a 0% APR promotion on purchases for 15 months. There is no annual fee for this card, and students who want to learn more about their finances can utilize the excellent financial education tools that are available online.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Earn up to 3% cash back on the eligible category of your choice

  • No annual fee

  • Establish good credit habits with free FICO score and financial education tools

Cons
  • Bonus cash back is limited to $2,500 in purchases each quarter

  • Relatively high spending for students to earn welcome bonus

  • Foreign transaction fee of 3%

Read the full Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students credit card Review.

Best for Business : Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card


Overall Rating
3.6
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 20.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on shipping purchases, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, internet, cable and phone services, and travel each account anniversary year. Earn unlimited 1 Point Per $1 spent on all other purchases. Points do not expire as long as your account is open.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Cash Advance APR (%) 24.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is the best card for business owners because of its earning power. You'll earn 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 you spend each year in combined purchases of travel, shipping, online advertising, and internet, cable, and phone services. New cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within three months. That's worth $1,000 in cash back or $1,250 in travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Points earned with this card can be transferred to airline and hotel partners, redeemed for cash and gift cards, or used to book travel with a 25% bonus through the Chase travel portal. Employee cards are available at no extra cost and complimentary tools allow you to stay on top of your business. These tools include fraud protection, purchase protection, personalized account alerts, and more.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Potentially huge bonus

  • Flexible rewards program

  • High rewards on select business expenses

Cons
  • Low base rewards rate

  • Not a lot of business-related benefits

  • Chase card service to businesses has been below par

Read the full Ink Business Preferred Credit Card Review.

Final Verdict

Credit cards have a wide range of fees, interest rates, benefits, promotions, welcome offers, and more. Because each credit card is different, finding the right one depends on your budget, how much you spend and where, and what benefits are important to you. While some people avoid paying annual fees, many are willing to do so if the benefits far exceed what they pay each year.

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards is our top choice for the best credit card because it offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and a $200 welcome bonus that is earned after spending just $500 within three months.

Compare the Best Credit Cards

Credit Card Annual Fee Top Feature
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
Best Overall
$0 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards
Overall Runner-Up
$0 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming, and grocery stores
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best for Travel
$550 3x points on dining, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Travel Runner Up
$95 Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best for Cash Back
$0 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Cash Back Runner Up
$0 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming, and grocery stores
United℠ Explorer
Best Airline
$95 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, eligible delivery services, hotel stays, and United purchases
Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
Airline Runner-Up
$99 2 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and American Airlines purchases
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
Best for Hotels
$95 17x Bonvoy points per $1 spent at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Hotels Runner Up
$450 6 Bonvoy points for each dollar at eligible hotels
Citi Simplicity®
Best for Balance Transfer
$0 0% for 18 months balance transfer
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card
Balance Transfer Runner-Up
$0 0% for 18 months balance transfer
Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students
Best Student Credit Card
$0 1.5 points for every $1 spent
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students
Student Credit Card Runner-Up
$0 3% cash back on eligible category of your choice
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Best for Business
$95 3 points per $1 on first $150,000 spent on eligible purchases

Editorial Picks for The Best Credit Cards

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Best Overall

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase without needing to remember categories or registering for rewards. It has no annual fee, offers a good welcome bonus, and has no foreign transaction fees.

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards

Overall Runner-Up

This card is our runner-up for the best credit card because it earns 3% on dining, entertainment, streaming services and groceries, and 1% on everything else without an annual fee. Plus, there's a welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 within three months.

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for Travel

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns a high rewards rate on spending and offers a competitive welcome bonus. The points are worth 50% more when booking travel and can be transferred to many airline and hotel partners on a 1:1 basis. Also, earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve Review.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Travel Runner Up

This card earns 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options. The miles can be used to book travel, transfer to 10+ loyalty programs, or "erase" travel purchases with no blackout dates.

Read the full Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Review.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for Cash Back

Your purchases will earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back every day. There is no annual fee and you'll receive a $200 bonus after spending $500 within three months.

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Cash Back Runner Up

Earn an unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming services, and groceries. Plus, receive a $200 one-time cash bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months.

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

United℠ Explorer Card

Best Airline

The United Explorer offers the highest value per mile earned of any airline credit card and miles can be redeemed in multiple ways. Cardholders receive free checked bags, early boarding, and two one-time United Club passes each year.

Read the full United Explorer Card Review.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select

Airline Runner-Up

Cardholders earn 2x miles per dollar on American Airlines, gas, and restaurant purchases and qualify for a 50,000-point welcome bonus. They receive early boarding, free checked bags, and a 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases.

Read the full Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Review.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Best for Hotels

Hotel travelers receive numerous benefits from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, including automatic Silver Elite status and one free hotel night each year. New cardholders can earn five free nights when they use the card for at least $5,000 in purchases during the first three months.

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Review.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Best Hotels Runner Up

For a limited time, earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021. Cardholders get annual hotel and property credits with access to over 1,200 lounges in more than 130 countries when traveling.

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card Review.

Citi Simplicity®

Best for Balance Transfer

The Citi Simplicity card offers one of the best balance transfers at 0% interest for 21 months, with 0% APR for new purchases for 12 months. It has no late fees, penalty rates, or annual fees, so cardholders can focus on paying off their balance before the promotion expires.

Read the full Citi Simplicity Review.

Citi Diamond Preferred

Balance Transfer Runner-Up

Customers will enjoy 21 months of 0% APR on balance transfers and 0% APR for new purchases with the Citi Diamond Preferred. There is no annual fee, but balance transfers are subject to a 3% fee.

Read the full Citi Diamond Preferred Review.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students

Best Student Credit Card

This card offers a high earning rate on all travel expenses that can be redeemed for travel expenses. It includes a long introductory APR on purchases, no annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees.

Read the full Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students Review.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students

Student Credit Card Runner-Up

Students can earn up to 3% cash back on their purchases with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students. There is no annual fee, and they'll earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within 90 days.

Read the full Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for Students Review.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Best for Business

Earn 3x points per dollar on the first $150,000 you spend each year on popular business expenses. Receive 100,000 points worth $1,000 in cash or $1,250 in travel after spending $15,000 within three months.

Read the full Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Review.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Credit Card?

The best credit card for you depends on your goals, budget, and spending habits. As your financial picture evolves, the best credit card for you may also change. While credit card rewards can be valuable, if you’re focused on paying off debt, they may not be the best choice for you at this time. A card that offers a 0% APR promotion for balance transfers may be the better option until you can pay off your debt.

The most appealing credit cards may not, however, be the best one you can actually get right now. People with low credit scores may be able to qualify only for cards that carry higher interest rates and fewer rewards. Those consumers should focus on building their credit until they are eligible for the credit card they desire.

People with excellent credit generally have their choice of travel and other rewards credit cards. Credit cards aimed at those with the best credit scores typically provide the most attractive benefits. These can include lucrative one-time bonuses, significant ongoing rewards on your spending, and additional benefits like elite status, free checked bags, yearly free hotel nights, and airport lounge access.

What Credit Card Is Best for Me?

Finding the best credit card entails both self-assessment and research. You must document your creditworthiness and spending habits, along with reflecting on how you may use the card, whether that's to build credit, temporarily borrow, or simply employ it as a purchasing convenience and a way to earn rewards.

New to Credit: If you are new to credit or have impaired credit, a secured credit card can be a great option. This type of card requires a security deposit but has the advantage that activity with the card is reported to all three credit bureaus, which helps the cardholder build credit over time. Many secured cards offer an option to graduate to a non-secured card after a period of on-time payments.

Carrying a Balance: Those who are carrying a card balance should consider shifting the debt to a balance transfer card with much lower interest, or even no interest rate at all for a period. These cards provide relief in the form of an extended period of a 0% APR on the transfer, which allows you to pay down the balance more easily. While some balance transfer cards offer rewards as well, it’s best to not add to your balance on the card (or, preferably, any other card) until you have paid off the amount you’ve transferred.

If you frequently carry a credit card balance, avoid cards with high fees and interest regardless of attractive rewards and one-time bonuses. Your priority should be paying down your debt and avoiding accumulating more, not trying to earn rewards.

No Balance: People who tend to pay off their card balance each month should consider getting a rewards card that offers cash back or points rewards. These cards allow you to leverage your everyday spending to earn hundreds of dollars worth of rewards, usually with no annual fee.

Frequent travelers: For those who travel, a general travel card or one issued in partnership with airlines or hotels can make the most sense. These allow you to leverage spending on travel and in other categories to earn rewards that can be used to obtain further travel.

Entrepreneurs and small-business owners: These users can choose among a host of business credit cards designed for their needs. These cards may reward business spending in certain categories, like shipping, or with specific business-related merchants, such as office supply stores.

College students: People in school generally don’t have a credit history, but they do represent a good long-term customer for card issuers. Cards designed for students can provide online resources to instruct new cardmembers on the responsible use of credit and other tips to guide personal finances.

What Credit Scores Are Required?

The higher your credit score, the more credit cards you potentially have available to you, and the better those cards will tend to be in terms of interest rates, credit lines, and rewards programs. To understand your card choices, it’s important to know the broad range into which your credit score fits. Card issuers classify scores as “Excellent” (800+), “Very Good” (740-799), “Good” (670-739), “Fair” (580-669), or “Poor” (below 580). It’s best to only apply for cards that best match the credit recommended by the issuer to reduce the chances of being declined.

If you don’t know your current credit score, it’s available in a number of ways, and at no cost. There are two main credit score types, FICO and VantageScore, both of which have their own distinct scoring algorithms and score ranges that are used by various lenders.

Credit issues also assess other factors beyond credit score in evaluating creditworthiness, including employment status, income, and other credit and deposit accounts you own.

Is It Possible to Qualify for a Credit Card With Bad Credit?

There are credit cards designed for those whose credit is fair, poor, and even very poor or bad. In particular, a secured credit card allows those with bad credit or no credit history to build or rebuild their score. Until they’ve completed that process, they must retain the use of the card through a security deposit that usually serves as the maximum credit line for the account.

What Types of Rewards Do Credit Cards Offer?

Credit card rewards come in a variety of forms, allowing cardholders to earn cash back, points, or miles for each dollar of spending. The earnings rates for rewards often vary by purchase type, with higher rewards available for certain categories of purchases.

Cash back rewards are the most straightforward type and usually rebate a percentage of spending in the form of a check or statement credit. Rewards based on points or miles offer greater flexibility in how they are redeemed, whether as travel, gift cards, merchandise, or more.

Travel rewards credit cards may be general in type, earning points that can be redeemed for travel on any airline or hotel, or partner-specific and co-branded with a particular airline or hotel. Co-branded cards provide less flexibility in redeeming rewards but potentially more value, provided you’re comfortable favoring a particular brand of airline or hotel chain.

What Are Common Credit Card Benefits?

While issuers may prominently tout certain features of their cards, other benefits tend to be buried in cards’ fine print—including some you might not realize the card even offers.

Here’s a quick list of benefits that are commonly offered with a range of card types:

Common Rewards Card Benefits

  • $0 fraud liability
  • Primary or secondary auto-rental collision damage waiver coverage
  • Roadside assistance hotline
  • Price match
  • Purchase coverage if items are stolen or damaged
  • Extended warranties
  • Refunds in cases of merchant dispute

Common Travel Rewards Card Benefits

  • Trip cancellation/interruption/delay coverage
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Lost/delayed luggage coverage

Premium Card Benefits

  • Airport lounge access
  • TSA precheck/Global Reentry Fee Reimbursement every four years
  • Cell phone insurance coverage
  • Concierge service

Methodology

We constantly monitor credit card offers from card-issuer websites and publicly available sources to find the best credit cards for our readers. Each credit card is evaluated based on its fees, rewards, welcome bonuses, introductory offers, features, and benefits so that we can determine a winner for each category. Card issuers update their cards on a regular basis, and when that happens, we update our card listings, reviews, and recommendations so our readers have the most reliable information and advice.

Meet Our Credit Cards Expert

Ben Woolsey is Investopedia's Senior Editor for Credit Cards. He has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including marketing for banking and financial institutions such as Associates First Capital and Bank One. Prior to Investopedia, he managed credit card content for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com.

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