The Best Credit Cards of September 2020

The Best Credit Cards of September 2020

Whether you aim to earn cash back, travel the world, finance a new purchase or pay down a credit card balance, we offer a list of top cards to help you meet your financial goals.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Citi is an advertising partner

Life is full of complex choices. From big decisions like where to live or what profession to pursue to smaller ones like what to wear and where to go for dinner, the decisions add up like change in a piggy bank. If your actual piggy bank isn’t as full as you’d like it to be, however, one of the most important choices you can make is which credit card to put in your wallet. Having the right card can help you achieve your financial goals, whether it's earning cash back, traveling on points and miles, paying down a new purchase with a 0% APR or transferring and paying down a balance.

To make choosing the right card easier, we’ve analyzed credit cards on ValuePenguin as well as on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best credit cards available right now.

Best credit cards 2020

Recommended cardsBest for ...Credit needed
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardRewardsExcellent
Citi® Double Cash Card
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offerCash backExcellent
Apply Now
  • On Citibank's Secure Website
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Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Capital One® Spark® Cash for BusinessBusinessExcellent/GoodRead Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®TravelExcellent
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressLuxury travelExcellent/GoodRead Review
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardAirlinesExcellent/Good
Apply Now
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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardHotelsExcellent/Good
Apply Now
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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Citi® Diamond Preferred® CardBalance transfersExcellent
Discover it® Secured
Discover it® SecuredBuilding creditLimited/Bad/PoorRead Review
Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Cash BackRotating categoriesExcellent/GoodRead Review
Wells Fargo Platinum card
Wells Fargo Platinum card0% intro APRExcellent/GoodRead Review
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit CardRestaurantsExcellent/GoodRead Review
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressGroceriesExcellent/Good
Apply Now
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Recommended cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Apply Now
  • On Citibank's Secure Website
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Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressRead Review
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Apply Now
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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Apply Now
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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Discover it® Secured
Discover it® Cash Back
Wells Fargo Platinum card
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Apply Now
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Best credit card for rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Excellent

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Our thoughts

Unfortunately, rewards cards aren’t always rewarding. But the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card is. In exchange for a very reasonable $95 annual fee, it offers high-value points that are easy to earn and easy to redeem, not to mention solid benefits and an enticing sign-up bonus. Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of rewards cards or a rewards veteran whose wallet is flush with points-earning plastic, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card inherent flexibility makes it easy to turn today’s purchases into tomorrow’s perks – especially if you spend heavily on travel and restaurants.

If you’d rather not keep track of bonus categories, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card card might be a better choice; for the same annual fee, its straightforward-earning structure allows you to earn rewards at the same flat rate regardless of purchase category. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card remains a superior choice, because its points are worth more – up to 1.25 cents per point compared to 1 cent per mile for the Venture® card.

Benefits:

  • Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
  • Receive 25% more value when you redeem rewards for travel – e.g., airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises – through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards® portal. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000.
  • Transfer points to a number of travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. Travel partners include airlines like British Airways Executive Club, JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® and United MileagePlus®, as well as hoteliers like Marriott Bonvoy™, IHG® Rewards Club and World of Hyatt®.
  • Offers primary rental car insurance when you put the cost of a car rental on your card. Most cards offer only secondary insurance policies that kick in after your personal insurance.
  • You also get trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement in case you need to stay overnight at a hotel due to a delayed flight.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Unique partner benefits, including a year's free subscription for DoorDash and 5 points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Drawbacks:

  • The card has a $95 annual fee – which isn’t cheap. And yet, it’s actually quite reasonable relative to premium rewards cards, which generally charge annual fees up to five times as high.
  • The card requires spending $4,000 within three months in order to receive the sign-up bonus. Depending on your budget and spending habits, that might be a stretch.

Best cashback credit card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

$0

13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Excellent

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Our thoughts

If you think cash – or rather, cash back – is king, then the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer card is royalty. Although it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, its cashback benefits are incentive enough to open an account: Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

The card doesn’t offer any unique perks, but it does have at least one major benefit for cardholders who are carrying a balance on another card: It promises an introductory APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers (a 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR applies thereafter), provided transfers are completed within four months of opening an account. A balance transfer fee – of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater – applies, and transfers don’t receive cash back. Nevertheless, it’s an attractive offer that makes this a worthwhile cashback card for anyone who wants to both save and make money.

Benefits:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • One of the highest flat-rate cashback cards.
  • Receive an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers (13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) thereafter).
  • No caps and no category limits.
  • You can redeem your rewards in the form of a statement credit, direct deposit or check, or you can convert them to Citi ThankYou® points – which you can redeem for gift cards, merchandise or travel – at a rate of $1 per 100 points.

Drawbacks:

  • There is no sign-up bonus.
  • The card offers no meaningful perks or benefits.
  • Half of your cash back isn’t earned until purchases are paid for.
  • Your rewards expire if your account is inactive for 12 months.
  • You must have a cash rewards balance of at least $25 to redeem your cash rewards for a check, statement credit or direct deposit.

Best business credit card

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Our thoughts

From payroll and inventory to hiring and marketing, small business owners have a lot of balls in the air. Credit card rewards shouldn’t have to be one of them. That’s why the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card is such a good business credit card. Simple and straightforward, it offers 2% Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, with no limit on how many rewards you can earn and no spending categories to keep track of.

A couple of core benefits notwithstanding – reimbursement for rental car damage, for example, and up to $10,000 in purchase security for items that are damaged and stolen within 90 days of purchase – there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles to entice you. But that’s kind of the point. What business owners need most is one versatile, uncomplicated card that they can use for all of their business purchases in order to make money while they’re spending it. And that’s exactly what the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card is.

Benefits:

  • Receive 2% Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.
  • Cash back doesn’t expire and can be redeemed at any time and in any amount.
  • Business owners receive free employee cards.
  • Comes with auto rental damage waiver, purchase protection and extended warranty benefits.

Drawbacks:

  • The card comes with a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee.
  • It has a high, 20.99% (Variable) APR.
  • In case travel is important to you, this card lacks the travel benefits that are common to many other rewards cards.

Best travel credit card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$550

16.99%-23.99% Variable

Excellent

  • 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®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
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Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Our thoughts

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is many a traveler’s favorite card thanks to its substantial features and benefits. The card’s hefty $550 annual fee gets returned to you in the form of valuable rewards. For starters, you get 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. On top of that, you get a $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel-related expenses, reimbursement for enrollment in trusted traveler programs like TSA Precheck, a Priority Pass™ Select membership that gives you complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges, trip and baggage delay insurance, a year of free food deliveries via DoorDash, a complimentary Lyft Pink membership that entitles you to discounts and benefits on Lyft rides and 10 points per dollar spent on those same rides through March 2022.

And when it’s time to use your points, you get 50% more value when you redeem them for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards® portal – 50,000 points redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards® are worth $750 – plus the ability to transfer points to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio.

Benefits:

  • The card offers a large sign-up bonus whose value – $750 when it’s redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® – exceeds the first year’s annual fee.
  • The card offers a generous 3X rate on travel and dining purchases.
  • The card’s high-value rewards are worth 1.5 cents per point when they’re redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Transfer points to a number of travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. Travel partners include airlines like British Airways Executive Club, JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® and United MileagePlus®, as well as hoteliers like Marriott Bonvoy™, IHG® Rewards Club and World of Hyatt®.
  • The card offers substantial travel benefits, including a $300 annual travel credit, TSA Precheck/Global entry reimbursement, complimentary airport lounge access and trip and baggage delay insurance.
  • For a limited time, cardholders receive special benefits from food delivery service DoorDash (a year of free food deliveries and $120 in statement credits) and ridesharing company Lyft (10 points per dollar spent and a complimentary Lyft Pink membership that unlocks ride discounts and benefits).

Drawbacks:

  • The $550 annual fee is substantial.
  • The card does not offer a 0% introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers.

Best luxury travel credit card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

$550

See Pay Over Time APR

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,000 properties. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
{"annualFee":"$550","apr":"See Pay Over Time APR","bannerDisclaimers":["\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.americanexpress.com\/us\/credit-cards\/card-application\/apply\/prospect\/terms\/platinum-charge-card\/26129-10-0\/?print#terms-details\"\u003ESee Rates & Fees.\u003C\/a\u003E Terms Apply.","On American Express' Secure Website"],"buttonColor":"primary","buttonIcon":"lock","buttonText":"Apply Now","creditNeeded":"Excellent\/Good","creditNeededTooltip":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions.","details":"\u003Cul\u003E\u003Cli\u003EEarn 60,000 Membership Rewards\u00ae points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003EEnjoy VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003E5X Membership Rewards\u00ae points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003E5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003EEnjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003EReceive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts\u00ae program at over 1,000 properties. Learn More.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003E$200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003EGet up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card\u00ae. That\u2019s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003E$550 annual fee.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003Cli\u003ETerms Apply.\u003C\/li\u003E\u003C\/ul\u003E","editorRating":"\u003Cdiv class=\"StarRating--root\"\u003E\u003Ci class=\"FontAwesome--root fa fa-star\" aria-hidden=\"true\"\u003E\u003C\/i\u003E\u003Ci class=\"FontAwesome--root fa fa-star\" aria-hidden=\"true\"\u003E\u003C\/i\u003E\u003Ci class=\"FontAwesome--root fa fa-star\" aria-hidden=\"true\"\u003E\u003C\/i\u003E\u003Ci class=\"FontAwesome--root fa fa-star\" aria-hidden=\"true\"\u003E\u003C\/i\u003E\u003Ci class=\"FontAwesome--root fa fa-star-o\" aria-hidden=\"true\"\u003E\u003C\/i\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E","editorRatingTooltip":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers.","featuredTitle":"Luxury","hideTitle":false,"imageURL":"https:\/\/cdn.comparecards.com\/uploads\/images\/items\/4334.jpg","isUnavailable":false,"link":"\/redirect\/credit-cards\/54?isLightrail=true&url=_best-credit-cards","name":"The Platinum Card\u00ae from American Express"}

60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Our thoughts

In exchange for its $550 annual fee, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers significant value.

That value starts with a generous, pro-travel earning structure: Cardholders receive 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. They also receive 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases. You can use points to pay for all or part of an upcoming trip when you book it on amextravel.com, to buy merchandise or gift cards, and to cover your card charges. You can even transfer points to participating airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Ultimately, though, what makes a luxury card are its benefits, and The Platinum Card® from American Express offers plenty of them. For example, you get complimentary access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, including Amex Centurion lounges, Delta Sky Club® and Priority Pass™ Select lounges; up to $200 per year in statement credits to cover airline incidentals, like checked-bag fees and in-flight refreshments; reimbursement for enrollment in trusted traveler programs like TSA Precheck; complimentary upgrades and benefits at partner hotels; Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status; VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings per year on rides or eats orders; and up to $100 per year in statement credits for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue. You also get trip delay and trip cancellation insurance, 24/7 emergency travel assistance services, car rental upgrades and insurance and free concierge services. The list goes on.

Benefits:

  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Receive significant travel perks, including access to airport lounges, a $200 annual airline fee credit, up to $200 per year in Uber credits, travel insurance, concierge services, and free status at Marriott and Hilton hotels.
  • The card’s introductory bonus is generous.
  • Get up to $100 per year in statement credits for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards or card charges, or transfer them to a participating airline or hotel loyalty program.
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks:

  • The card’s $550 annual fee is high.
  • The card’s annual $200 airline fee credit is inferior to similar cards’ credits, which in some cases are not only higher, but also more flexible.
  • To maximize the card’s travel benefits, you must book travel through amextravel.com.
  • Terms apply
  • For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Best airline credit card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • NEW! Earn now. Travel when you're ready. After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to inspire your next travel.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta Flights.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
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35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of opening your account.

Our thoughts

Airline credit cards that bind you to a single carrier can sometimes hinder instead of help your travel goals, limiting your ability to shop around. A notable exception is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card card, which offers substantial value not only to diehard Delta acolytes, but also to the casual traveler who flies Delta Air Lines only occasionally.

That’s because the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card makes it easy to earn miles when you’re not flying Delta, and to redeem miles for elite Delta benefits when you are. Case in point: You earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. That means you can rack up miles at home and on the road regardless of whether you’re flying and with what airline. When you eventually do fly Delta, your card entitles you to a free checked bag and priority boarding. And when you spend $10,000 on your card during a calendar year, you get a $100 Delta credit for future travel. Although the card charges a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.

If you fly Delta often, it’s a no-brainer. And if you don’t, it’s still a good value that can make a coveted trip more affordable and more comfortable when you eventually decide to take it.

Benefits:

  • You receive double miles on Delta purchases, as well as on purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
  • You get a free checked bag and priority boarding when you fly Delta.
  • The annual fee is waived for the first year.
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks:

  • The card charges an annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • If you’re a frequent Delta flyer, you probably have elite status already; that means the card’s benefits – a free checked bag and priority boarding – will be of little value to you.
  • Although the card offers a $100 flight credit, that’s small relative to the $10,000 in annual spending that’s required to receive it.
  • Terms apply
  • For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

Best hotel credit card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

$95

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Our thoughts

If you’re the kind of traveler who would rather upgrade your destination than your journey, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is easily one of the best hotel credit cards there is.

What makes the card so great are its generous rewards structure and elite status benefits. The card lets you Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. Those points eventually can be redeemed for free nights at Hilton hotels, or to reduce the rate you pay if you’d rather use a mix of points and cash. As for status, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card automatically gives you Hilton Honors Gold status, which entitles you to complimentary breakfast, room upgrades when they’re available and extra points on hotel stays. And if you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year, you get bumped from Gold to Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.

Cardholders also get 10 free visits per year to Priority Pass airport lounges, as well as a free weekend night upon spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within a calendar year.

Benefits:

  • The card offers a generous rewards structure, including 12X points per dollar on Hilton purchases.
  • Cardholders automatically receive free Hilton Honors Gold status, plus the opportunity to achieve Diamond status by making $40,000 in purchases during the calendar year.
  • Cardholders enjoy 10 free visits per year to Priority Pass airport lounges.
  • The card promises a free weekend night when you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the calendar year.
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks:

  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee.
  • The benefits only apply to Hilton properties.
  • Terms apply
  • For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.

Best balance transfer credit card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

$0

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Excellent

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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Get an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers and 0% for 18 months on Purchases (14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) thereafter).

Our thoughts

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a strong balance transfer proposition: You get an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, provided that the balance transfer is initiated within four months of opening an account (14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) thereafter). Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay a standard balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer, whichever is greater. If you’re carrying a large balance on another card, however, that means you can move it to the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card and hold it interest-free for more than a year. That’s a long time, and it can give you a major leg up on paying down your credit card debt. Because it has few other benefits, you probably won’t want to retain the card long term. But as a means to a debt-free end, it’s invaluable.

Benefits:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • New cardholders receive an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) thereafter).

Drawbacks:

  • Cardholders must pay a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer, whichever is greater.
  • After the introductory period expires, the card charges a much higher variable APR of 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable), depending on creditworthiness.
  • The card lacks meaningful benefits beyond its welcome incentive.

Best credit card to build credit

Discover it® Secured
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Discover it® Secured

Earn cash back while building credit; plus, Discover will automatically match all the cash back that you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Our thoughts

The Discover it® Secured card is one of the best options for cardholders trying to establish or rebuild credit, not only because it makes it easy to build credit, but also because it allows you to earn valuable cash back.

Here’s how it works: If you’re approved for a card, you’ll be asked to provide a refundable cash deposit that’s equal to your credit line – for example, a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line, or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. As you use the card, you’ll earn 2% cash back on purchases at restaurants and gas stations, up to $1,000 per quarter, plus unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The cherry on top: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year for new cardholders. Finally, if you use credit responsibly (i.e., you consistently pay off your balance in full), you may eventually reclaim your deposit and transition to an unsecured line of credit.

Benefits:

  • You receive 2% cash back on purchases at restaurants and gas stations, up to $1,000 per quarter, plus unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Drawbacks:

  • The card requires a cash deposit of at least $200.
  • The card has a low maximum credit line of just $2,500.

Best rotating category card

Discover it® Cash Back
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Discover it® Cash Back

Dollar for dollar, Discover will automatically match all the cash back that you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Our thoughts

Credit cards are supposed to make it easy to spend money. Some cards, however, also make it easy to earn money. The Discover it® Cash Back card is one of those cards, as it offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in a different category every quarter, and 1% cash back on everything else. As long as you don’t mind keeping track of the categories – you might earn 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases one quarter, for example, 5% cash back at grocery stores the next quarter and 5% cash back at restaurants the quarter after that – that’s a substantial benefit. Plus, cash back never expires, and Discover will automatically match every dollar you earn at the end of your first year.

Benefits:

  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in a new category every quarter, and 1% cash back on everything else.
  • Cash back never expires and can be redeemed in any amount.

Drawbacks:

  • Maximizing cash back requires keeping track of preferred purchase categories that rotate every quarter and adjusting your spending habits in response.
  • Fewer merchants accept Discover cards.

Best 0% intro APR credit card

Wells Fargo Platinum card

Wells Fargo Platinum card
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Get an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers and 0% for 18 months on purchases (15.49%-24.99% (Variable) thereafter).

Our thoughts

“Platinum” credit cards have a reputation for over-the-top opulence, but the Wells Fargo Platinum card is an exception to the rule. It’s a simple Visa card that’s geared toward people who want to take control of their finances and eliminate debt.

The card’s principal benefit is an introductory APR of 0% for 18 months (15.49%-24.99% (Variable) thereafter). That’s over a year of interest-free existence during which time you can either finance a big-ticket item or pay down debt that you accrued on other, less forgiving cards.

As with most balance transfer cards, you’ll have to pay a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer, whichever is greater. In return, however, you’ll get the opportunity to make valuable progress toward your financial goals – not to mention a few other benefits, including up to $600 of cell phone protection, roadside dispatch and auto rental protection.

Benefits:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • New cardholders receive an intro APR of 0% for 18 months (15.49%-24.99% (Variable) thereafter).
  • Receive up to $600 of cell phone protection, as well as roadside dispatch, auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance and travel and emergency assistance services.

Drawbacks:

  • Cardholders must pay a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer, whichever is greater.
  • After the introductory period expires, the card charges a much higher variable APR of 15.49%-24.99% (Variable), depending on creditworthiness.
  • Cardholders do not receive cash back or rewards points.

Best restaurant credit card

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Our thoughts

If you love dining out, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card belongs in your wallet. Designed for anyone who spends a lot of money on restaurants, sports, concerts and theater, it offers unlimited 4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through Jan 2022. Cardmembers also Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Not to mention all the other benefits for food and entertainment nuts, including access to exclusive culinary experiences and VIP tickets to concerts and sporting events. The card’s annual fee ($0 intro for first year; $95 after that) is a small price to pay for these benefits.

Benefits:

  • Get unlimited 4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through Jan 2022.
  • Get access to exclusive culinary experiences and VIP tickets to concerts and sporting events.

Drawbacks:

  • The card has an annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • There is no 0% introductory APR.
  • Useful only to consumers who have interest – and spending – in food and entertainment.

Best credit card for groceries

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

$95

13.99%-23.99% Variable

Excellent/Good

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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$250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Our thoughts

If there’s one thing everybody needs, it’s groceries. That’s what makes the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express card such an attractive card: It offers serious cash back on everyday purchases that almost everyone makes, including groceries and gas. Indeed, cardholders receive 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

There’s an annual fee of $95, and cash back typically can only be redeemed as statement credits (although American Express sometimes lets you redeem rewards for gift cards or merchandise, instead). Though its redemption options aren't as flexible as, say, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, it’s a solid offering for anyone who wants to profit from their most frequent purchases.

Benefits:

  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Get an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months (then 13.99%-23.99% Variable).
  • Terms apply

Drawbacks:

  • The card has a $95 annual fee.
  • The 6% cash back at supermarkets is limited to $6,000 in purchases per year; after that, you earn only 1% cash back.
  • There is a $25 minimum for cashback redemption, and cash back typically can be redeemed only in the form of statement credits.
  • Terms apply
  • For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

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How do credit cards work?

On its face, a credit card is a piece of plastic that you can use to pay for things. If you’re new to credit cards, however, it’s important to understand not just what they are, but how they work.

When you use a credit card to make a purchase, you’re borrowing money from the institution – a bank, for example, or credit union – that issued you the card. Every time you make a purchase, it’s like taking out a loan. When you make a credit card payment, you’re paying that loan back. You can pay it off in full immediately or piecemeal over time. If you choose the latter, interest will accrue each month, such that your purchase becomes more expensive the longer you take to pay for it.

Aside from being a convenient form of payment, credit cards frequently offer additional benefits. There are many different types of credit cards, depending on the benefits offered, including:

Travel

A travel rewards credit card is designed for frequent travelers, who can earn rewards when they use the card for travel expenditures and/or later redeem those rewards for travel-related perks, like free or discounted airline tickets and hotel rooms.

Cash back

A cashback credit card gives you a percentage of your purchases back to you in the form of cash rewards. Depending on the card, you might earn a flat-rate of cash back across all your purchases or a variable rate that’s higher or lower according to the purchase category – for example, 4% cash back at supermarkets and 2% cash back at gas stations. Although options vary by card, cardholders typically have a number of redemption choices, including cash rewards for travel, gift cards or merchandise; a deposit into a bank account; or credits against charges on your credit card statement.

Balance transfer

A balance transfer credit card is geared toward people who want to consolidate credit card debt for the purpose of paying it down. Balance transfer cards typically offer a 0% introductory APR for an extended period of time during which you can transfer balances from other cards and allow them to sit – interest-free – while you pay them off. If you don’t pay them off, however, transferred balances begin accruing interest as soon as the introductory APR expires.

0% intro APR

When a credit card offers a 0% introductory APR, that means its issuer promises not to charge you interest on purchases and/or balance transfers for a limited time. During that time, you can carry a balance – i.e., defer paying your bill – with no penalty. This can be useful if you need to consolidate and pay down debt from other credit cards, or if you want to make a large purchase and pay for it over time instead of all at once.

Student

A student credit card is designed especially for college students to help them learn how to use and manage credit. Because students typically have no or little credit history and very low incomes, they tend to have higher interest rates and lower credit limits than regular credit cards, and may require a cosigner if the applicant doesn’t have sufficient income – from a part-time job, for example – to meet the card issuer’s requirements.

Building credit

Some credit cards are designed especially for people who need to build credit, including young people who are establishing credit for the first time and people who are seeking to rebuild their credit after previously damaging it. Such cards often are “secured” cards, which means they’re backed by collateral in the form of a cash deposit. If you use credit responsibly for a period of time, the issuer eventually will return your deposit and allow you to graduate to an unsecured credit card.

Because they may be easier to obtain and often have more restricted uses, store credit cards – credit cards issued by a retailer for use only at their stores – also can be useful for building credit.

How to find the best credit card for you

Not all credit cards are created equal. To find the one that’s best suited to your needs and goals, ask yourself the following questions:

What is your credit score?

Some credit cards are reserved only for applicants who have an excellent credit history. In order to qualify, you’ll need to have a high credit score, which credit card issuers use to determine your creditworthiness.

The most common credit score is a FICO® Score, which is calculated using variables such as the length of your credit history, your track record for on-time payments and your credit utilization (i.e., how much of your available credit you use), among other things. FICO® Scores range as follows:

  • Poor credit: Under 580
  • Fair credit: Between 580 and 669
  • Good credit: Between 670 and 739
  • Very Good credit: Between 740 and 799
  • Excellent credit: 800 and above
FICO score components

What type of card do you prefer?

You should choose a card that is suited to your spending habits and financial goals. A travel rewards credit card makes perfect sense if you’re a frequent traveler, for example, while a cashback credit card is ideal if you’re saving up to buy new clothes or Christmas presents for your kids. If you’re struggling with debt, meanwhile, a balance transfer card might be a better choice. And if you’ve just bought your first home, a credit card with 0% introductory APR might help you afford new appliances or furniture.


Do you prefer points, miles or cash back?

Assuming you can qualify for one, a rewards credit card is a great way to make money while you spend it. But rewards come in many different shapes, including miles, points and dollars. You might choose one over the other because it’s easier to track – if you’re considering cash back versus miles, for example, cash back might seem more straightforward. Or, if you do the math, you might find that miles are worth more to you than cash back or points.


How much do you spend each year, and what do you spend the most on?

Your personal spending habits should shape your search for a credit card. For example, if a credit card offers significant cash back on groceries and gas, but you eat most of your meals at restaurants and take the bus everywhere you go, that’s probably not the right card for you.

Likewise, many credit cards come with attractive welcome bonuses that require you to spend a certain amount of money within a certain timeframe. If a welcome bonus mandates that you spend $5,000 in three months, but you typically only charge $1,000 per month, then it may not be worthwhile.

Still other cards charge hefty annual fees. If you spend enough money to accumulate sufficient rewards, the annual fee can pay for itself; but if you don’t, the annual fee might prove beyond your reach.


What other card benefits are valuable to you?

Like all businesses, credit card issuers compete for customers. Therefore, they often offer a slew of value-added benefits designed to sway you to do business with them instead of their competitors. Common benefits, for example, include car rental protection that covers you in the event of a rental car collision, cell phone protection that reimburses you for a lost or damaged phone, travel insurance that covers you in case a trip is delayed or canceled, travel credits that you can use toward baggage fees or in-flight refreshments, and purchase protection that reimburses you in the event that your newest treasure is accidentally damaged or stolen. Shop around – if you’re going to get a new credit card, you might as well as choose one with benefits that appeal to you.

How to compare credit card offers

Once you know what you’re looking for in a credit card – what kind of card you want, for example, what rewards appeal to you and which benefits you want to avail yourself of – you can begin comparing cards to determine which ones offer the best value. Specifically, you should consider the following variables and use your yearly credit card spend as a barometer to gauge potential returns:

  • Earning rate: If you’re comparing rewards cards, it’s important to understand how many miles or points your spending can earn you with a given card, or how much cash back.
  • Redemption value: Earning rewards is one thing; redeeming them is another entirely. Often, rewards are worth 1 cent per point or mile. That can vary, however, according to the card and even according to redemption preference (e.g., for travel versus merchandise or gift cards). Calculating rewards value requires doing some research and some math.
  • Sign-up bonus: Many cards offer a welcome or sign-up bonus; a side-by-side comparison can help you determine which offers are the most lucrative.
  • Annual fee: Some of the best credit cards for rewards charge an annual fee. A higher fee, however, often translates to better rewards, in which case the price of admission might be worth it.
  • Net return: When you add up the value of a card’s rewards and bonus and subtract the sum of its fees, you end up with a net return by which to perform an apples-to-apples comparison between cards.
  • Value of other benefits: Don’t forget to consider cards’ ancillary benefits, which can add significantly to their value proposition. If a card offers a $200 travel credit, for example, that’s like having $200 in your pocket. And if your card offers car rental insurance, that means you can decline the rental company’s expensive coverage when it’s offered.

Here’s an example comparison between two cards – the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. As you can see, though the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges a $95 annual fee, it can be a better value in the first year than the Citi Double Cash card, depending on your spending:

Citi® Double Cash Card
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Earning rateEarn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Redemption value (e.g., on $5,000 in supermarket purchases and $15,000 in other purchases)$20,000 x 2% = $400$15,000 x 1% = $150
$5,000 x 6% = $300
Welcome offerNone$250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Annual fee$0$95
Net return in first year$400$605
Other benefitsNo other significant benefits
  • Car rental insurance
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection
  • ShopRunner membership

How to apply for a credit card and get approved

Once you’ve decided what kind of credit card you want, it’s time to set about getting it. Here’s how:

Find a card that matches your credit score range

When you’re applying for a credit card, you can set yourself up for success by pursuing a card that complements your credit score. Here are our top picks for each credit score range:

Make sure your credit application is complete

When an issuer is deciding whether to grant you a credit card, your credit score is a big factor. But it’s not the only factor. Typically, credit card applications also ask you to supply information about your debts and income. Although you shouldn’t overstate your income or understate your debt, you can improve your chances of being approved by making sure the information on your application is accurate, comprehensive and complete. If you earn income outside of your primary employment, for example – from a side gig, perhaps – be sure to include it. Likewise, include income from your partner or spouse; if you’re 21 or over, credit card issuers are allowed to consider overall household income as part of your application.

Don’t apply for too many cards at once

Be judicious about applying for credit cards. When you apply for a card, the issuer checks your credit history, which creates what’s known as a “hard inquiry” on your credit report. If you apply for too many cards at one time, it will create multiple hard inquiries, which can have a negative impact on your credit report by suggesting either that your applications for credit are being denied or that you’re preparing to take on a large amount of debt that you might be unable to repay.

Check for prequalified offers

If you apply for credit cards whose requirements are beyond your reach, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot. Not only will your application be denied, but you’ll also generate a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can lower your credit score to the detriment of the next application you submit. You can reduce the risk by embracing prequalified offers. Such offers often arrive by mail, but you can also check for them online via bank and issuer websites. Simply enter your information and the issuer will conduct a “soft inquiry” on your credit report that does not impact your credit score; the issuer will then present you with a list of prequalified offers based on your creditworthiness. Prequalification is not a guarantee that your application will be approved, but it’s a good indicator that you might be.

Try applying through your bank

You can apply for a credit card by mail, online or over the phone. You also can apply in person at your bank. If you have a poor or limited credit history, that might be the way to go – especially if you have a good relationship with your banker, in which case they might be willing to personally shepherd your application through the review process and advocate internally for its approval. Major credit card issuers include:

How to use a credit card

A credit card can be a valuable tool with which to build a strong financial future. Or, it can be a flamethrower with which to torch said future. The difference lies in how you use the credit cards that you have. Here are a few tips to help you wield your plastic responsibly:

  • Avoid getting too many cards: Applying for too many credit cards at once can hurt your credit score by making it look like you’re having a hard time getting approved, or like you’re amassing credit in order to make a big purchase you can’t afford. Moreover, having multiple cards means having multiple balances to keep track of. If you limit yourself to just one or two cards, it will be easier to keep tabs on your spending and payments.
  • Use credit often, but sparingly: It’s not enough to just have a credit card; if you want to establish a good credit history, you’ve also got to use it. Doing so shows lenders not only that you can qualify for credit, but that you know how to use it responsibly. You should therefore use your credit card regularly – at least a few times a month. Be careful, though: Credit utilization (i.e., the amount of available credit that you actually use) is a major factor in your credit score, and you should aim to keep it low. How low, exactly? Under 30% is a good rule. If you have a credit limit of $5,000, that means you should never have a credit card balance of more than $1,500 at any one time.
  • Pay your bill on time: Using a credit card is like taking out a loan. Every month, you’ve got to repay the loan by paying your bill. Your card issuer will give you a minimum amount that’s due, and you must pay that amount by the due date; if you don’t, your interest rate might go up and you may have to pay late fees, both of which can keep you from reaching your financial goals.
  • Avoid carrying a balance: Although you don’t have to pay your balance in full every month, you should. If you don’t, the remainder will accumulate interest, which will cost you money and create a debt hole that might be hard to climb out of. Imagine, for example, that your credit card interest rate is 18%, and that you owe $1,000. Your minimum monthly payment is $50. If you stop using the card and only pay the minimum, it will take you five years to pay off the balance, during which time you’ll accrue $360 in interest. That means paying $1,360 for $1,000 worth of purchases. Now imagine that you owe more than $1,000, and that you continue using your card; it’s easy to see how debt spirals begin.

If you still have questions about credit cards – or about choosing the best one for you – browse the following FAQs.

How many credit cards should I have?

Experts say two or three is a good number of credit cards for most people to have. But the truth is: There is no magic number. You can have one card or five. What’s most important is that you only charge your credit cards what you can afford to pay back in full every month.

What is a secured credit card?

A secured credit card is a credit card that’s backed by collateral, typically in the form of a cash deposit. If you use credit responsibly over time, the credit card issuer eventually will return your deposit and allow you to graduate to an unsecured credit card for which no collateral is required.

What is a good APR for a credit card?

APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Essentially, it’s the amount of interest you are charged per year for carrying a balance on your credit card. Credit card issuers determine APR based on your creditworthiness

the better your credit, the better your APR. With that in mind, the best APR is the lowest. The following chart can help you gauge whether your APR is low, high or typical for the type of card you have:
Credit card typeLowHighOverall
Travel rewards cards15.27%23.30%19.29%
Airline cards15.95%24.16%20.06%
Hotel cards15.58%23.99%19.79%
Business cards13.33%20.08%16.00%
Cash back cards15.03%22.18%18.61%
Student cards15.26%21.66%18.46%

How can you get a credit card with bad credit or no credit?

If you have bad credit, or no credit at all, you may still be able to qualify for a credit card. The best credit cards for someone with bad credit are secured credit cards, which you obtain by making a cash deposit that can serve as collateral. Alternatively, you might be able to obtain a card by applying with a cosigner who has good credit and agrees to share responsibility for the card’s balance.

What is the best credit card?

There is no single “best” credit card for everyone. There are, however, cards that are better or worse for you depending on your unique situation, preference and goals. Use the tips in this guide to help you find and choose the card that suits you best.

Which bank credit card is best?

Banks are just one type of credit card issuer. Credit unions also issue credit cards, as do payment networks like American Express and Discover. The information in this guide can help you evaluate and compare all credit cards, regardless of who’s issuing them.

What is the best first credit card?

If you’re looking for your first credit card, a student card is a good choice – provided you’re in school. Check out the Discover it® Student Cash Back Card, which offers solid rewards, an enticing welcome bonus and application terms that are geared toward first-time credit cardholders. If you’re not a student, consider an entry-level rewards card like the Discover it® Cash Back, or a secured card like the Discover it® Secured.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

Not long at all: You can get approved for a credit card within minutes of submitting an application online. Your new card typically will arrive in the mail seven to 10 days later.

What are the easiest credit cards to get approved for?

Because they’re backed by a cash deposit, secured credit cards generally have the fewest barriers to entry. Ultimately, though, ease of approval depends on your credit score and credit history. Someone with excellent credit, for example, generally will qualify quickly and easily for almost any card they want, while someone with poor credit might struggle to qualify for even the least stringent cards. If you’re concerned about being approved for a card, look for prequalified offers: In exchange for some basic information, issuers will conduct a “soft inquiry” on your credit report – which doesn’t affect your credit score – and present you with a list of cards that you are likely to be approved for based on your creditworthiness.

How do credit card miles work?

If you have a travel rewards card, you’ll likely accrue rewards in the form of credit card miles. You earn miles every time you make a purchase–typically at different rates for different spending categories, depending on which card you have. When you have accrued enough miles in your account, you can redeem them for free or discounted flights, or sometimes even for hotel rooms. How many miles you need before you can redeem them will depend on what card you have, what airline you wish to fly and where you’re flying to/from.

How old must you be to get a credit card?

The minimum age to get a credit card of your own is 18, although parents may make children under 18 authorized users on their accounts if they wish.

Should I get a credit card?

For most people, getting a credit card is a good idea. If you use it responsibly, it can help you build a strong credit score that will serve you later in life by making it easier to qualify for a mortgage, get a car loan and maybe even secure a job. And if you have a rewards card, having a credit card can even help you save money. For some people, however, a credit card is more harmful than helpful. If you’re prone to debt, lack control over your spending and generally have trouble managing money, it might serve you better to abstain from having a credit card.

What credit cards give you access to airport lounges?

If you’re a frequent traveler, airport lounges can be home away from home. Unfortunately, membership can be expensive. That is, unless you have a credit card that grants you lounge access as one of its benefits. Such cards include The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Does applying for a credit card affect your credit?

Yes. Every time you apply for a card, the issuer checks your credit history. That creates what’s known as a “hard inquiry” on your credit report. If you apply for too many cards at one time, it will create multiple hard inquiries, which can have a negative impact on your credit score by suggesting either that your applications for credit are being denied or that you’re preparing to take on a large amount of debt that you can’t afford.

The information related to the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, Discover it® Secured, Discover it® Cash Back, Wells Fargo Platinum card, Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Matt Alderton is a freelance journalist who writes about money, business, culture, science, technology and travel. Originally from Denver, he now lives in Chicago with his partner, Jeff, and their Boston terrier, Lucy.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).