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Best Credit Cards 2024

How to choose the right credit card

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Credit cards can play an important role in how you make purchases and manage your finances. They can be used for everyday purchases like groceries or gas, as well as big-ticket items like vacations. And many credit cards offer you extra benefits so you can earn and save more, and lead your desired lifestyle. The best credit cards offer cash back, miles, or points; offer protection on purchases; and provide interest-free financing opportunities and other valuable benefits. When used responsibly, credit cards can also help you build credit. However, with so many credit cards to choose from, it can be challenging to find the right card for your situation. That's why Investopedia's list of best credit cards can help guide the way. To find the best credit cards for our list, we evaluated each card based on its fees, rewards, welcome bonuses, introductory offers, features, and benefits.

Best Credit Cards 2024

Best Overall, Best Cash Back Credit Card :  Capital One Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card


Overall Rating
4.9
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 (%) 19.99% - 29.99% 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 during the first 15 months that your account is open or at a promotional APR Capital One may offer. After 15 months, none for transferred balances at the purchase APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros and 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 and 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

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

Best Travel, Best Rewards Credit Card : Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Overall Rating
4.1
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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 (%) 22.49% - 29.49% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 10x total points on chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5x total points on flights and 3x on other travel worldwide. Earn 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar 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 and Cons
Why We Chose It

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is our best credit card for travel and best for rewards because of its competitive one-time point bonus, high rewards earning rate, and its suitcase-full of travel perks and benefits. Points are worth 50% more if you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and you can transfer points on a 1:1 basis to a long list of eligible hotel and airline partners.

While the annual fee is high, if you're an avid traveler, the $300 annual travel credit can help justify the expense. Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers numerous other premium travel-related benefits and flexible redemption options through Chase's Ultimate Rewards program.
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining
  • Complimentary Airport Lounge Access plus Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Annual travel credit
Cons
  • $550 annual fee
  • Limited high-rewards categories
  • Strong credit is recommended

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card review.

Best Airline Credit Card : United℠ Explorer


Overall Rating
3.6
United℠ Explorer Card
Current Offer Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Offer ends 1/24/2024.
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 (%) 21.99% - 28.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges. 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, including eligible delivery services. 2 miles per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. 1 mile 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 and Cons
Why We Chose It
Based on our analysis, the United Explorer Card offers the one of 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 your primary airline in order to maximize the benefit from the card.

The card's compelling introductory bonus really adds to the card's value because of the high value placed on redeeming those miles 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 an excellent choice for international travel.

United has announced that it has 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 and Cons
Pros
  • Annual fee is waived the first year
  • Earn two miles per $1 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
  • Balance transfer fee of 5% (min $5)

Read the full United Explorer Credit Card review.

Best Hotel Credit Card : World of Hyatt Credit Card


Overall Rating
3.5
World of Hyatt Credit Card
Current Offer Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.
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 (%) 21.49% - 28.49% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4 Bonus points per $1 spent on purchases at all Hyatt hotels. Plus, 5 Base points for Hyatt per eligible $1 spent for being a World of Hyatt member. Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships. Plus, earn 1 Bonus 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 and Cons
Why We Chose It

Our choice for the best overall credit card for hotels is the World of Hyatt Credit Card because it offers an attractive introductory one-time bonus of 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. World of Hyatt cardmembers also earn an automatic award night at a category 1-4 Hyatt property upon each anniversary, which alone can justify the card's modest annual fee of $95.

As for the World of Hyatt Credit Card's rewards earning rate, cardmembers can enjoy 4 Bonus points per $1 spent on purchases at all Hyatt hotels. Plus, 5 Base points for Hyatt per eligible $1 spent for being a World of Hyatt member. Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit, and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships. Plus, earn 1 Bonus Point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Investopedia values World of Hyatt points higher than any other hotel brand.
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Outstanding introductory rewards bonus
  • Superior points value among hotel reward cards
  • Anniversary award night good for a stay at category 1-4 Hyatt properties
Cons
  • Annual fee isn't waived first year
  • Hyatt hotels are not as widespread as other hotel chains
  • Rewards earning structure can be confusing

Read the full World of Hyatt Credit Card review.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card : 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 (%) 18.24% - 28.99% 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 and 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 21 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 18.24% to 28.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. The card does not charge an annual fee.
Pros and 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
4.5
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 (%) 18.24% - 28.24% 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 15 Statement Closing Dates
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Statement Closing Dates
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transaction.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros and 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 add 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. The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card also offers excellent credit education and monitoring services.
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited 1.5x rewards on all purchases
  • Pay off purchases for 15 billing cycles with no interest
  • Friendly to foreign travel
Cons
  • Rewards aren't transferable
  • 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 review.

Best Business Credit Card : Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card


Overall Rating
3.6
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Current Offer Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 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 (%) 21.24% - 26.24% 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 (%) 29.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros and 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 $8,000 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 and 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

Read the full Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review.

Best Groceries Credit Card :  Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express


Overall Rating
3.9
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Current Offer Earn $250 Back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive the $250 back in the form of a statement credit.
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 (%) 19.24% - 29.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6% back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% back on eligible transit and US gas stations, and 1% back on other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 2.7%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros and Cons
Why We Chose This Card

Grocery shopping is more rewarding with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. You can earn a full 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% back on eligible transit and U.S. gas stations, and 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, you'll earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 within six months.

New cardholders can also use the 0% APR introductory offer on purchases for 12 months. There is a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year. So, you can enjoy the cash back features of this card during that period to experience its benefits before paying an annual fee in year two.
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Ability to earn 6% cash back on groceries, streaming services and gas station purchases
  • Annual fee is waived the first year
  • 0% APR promotion on purchases for 12 months
Cons
  • 6% grocery cash back is limited to $6,000 in purchases per year
  • High penalty APR for late and returned payments
  • Foreign transaction fee of 2.7%

Read the full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

Best Online Shopping Credit Card :  Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card


Overall Rating
4.9
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after 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 (%) 19.99% - 29.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases.
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 during the first 15 months that your account is open or at a promotional APR that we may offer you at any other time.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros and Cons
Why We Chose It
The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards credit card is an excellent choice for shopping online, including groceries (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) and take out food as well as for charging online entertainment streaming services like Netflix, HBO, Disney+, and Hulu. Specifically, it earns a full 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and on grocery store purchases, plus 1% on all other spending. So, you can earn extra cash back rewards whether you're shopping online, out with friends, or enjoying a quiet night at home.

New cardmembers receive a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within 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 and Cons
Pros
  • Ability to earn 3% cash back for dining, entertainment, and streaming service 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

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

Best Secured Credit Card : Capital One Platinum Secured


Overall Rating
3.1
Capital One Platinum Secured
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
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 30.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $49
Pay deposit in installments Yes
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros and Cons
Why We Chose This Card
The Capital One Platinum Secured Card is Investopedia's choice for best secured card due to its lack of an annual fee and its security deposit flexibility, allowing customers to make installment deposits over time rather than all upfront. Capital One also provides automatic credit line increases over time with responsible card use and offers an array of non-secured card options that customers can consider once they have built up their credit scores. No annual fee makes the Capital One Platinum Secured Card an affordable on-ramp to establishing a positive credit history.
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Credit limits can be larger than the required security deposit
  • Security deposit can be paid in installments
  • No annual or foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Requires a bank account
  • Relatively low initial credit limits
  • No bonus offers or rewards program

Read the full Capital One Platinum Secured 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

Best Overall Credit Card
$0 1.5% cash back on every purchase

Best for Travel Credit Card
$550 Earn 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5x total points on flights and 3x on other travel worldwide. Earn 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Best Cash Back Credit Card
$0 1.5% cash back on every purchase

Best Airline Credit Card
$95 Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages, and Wi-Fi, and other United charges. 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, including eligible delivery services. 2 miles per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Best Hotel Credit Card
$95 Earn 4 Bonus points per $1 spent on purchases at all Hyatt hotels. Plus, 5 Base points for Hyatt per eligible $1 spent for being a World of Hyatt member. Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships. Plus, earn 1 Bonus Point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card
$0 0% for 21 months balance transfer

Best Student Credit Card
$0 1.5 points for every $1 spent

Best Business Credit Card
$95 3 points per $1 on first $150,000 spent on eligible purchases
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Best Groceries Credit Card
$95 Earn 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases)
Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card
Best Online Shopping Credit Card
$0 Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases.

Best Rewards Credit Card
$550 Earn 10X total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5X total points on flights and 3X on other travel worldwide. Earn 3X points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Capital One Platinum Secured
Best Secured Credit Card
$0 Flexible and inexpensive with lower security deposit requirement compared to other secured cards, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

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.

    However, the most appealing credit card may not 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 and reflect 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 not to 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/Exceptional” (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 card issuers 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.Some travel credit cards offer rewards for travel in general, which can be redeemed for purchases with any airline of hotel; other travel cards are co-branded with specific airlines or hotels, in which case they offer partner-specific points or miles. 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 Entry 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. You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.

Meet Our Credit Cards Expert

Ben Woolsey is Investopedia's Associate Editorial Director for financial products. 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 and earned media for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com.
Best Credit Cards
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