Ready to find a credit card? You have a few options:
- See our top picks of best credit cards in each category
- Ask us for help
- Follow links on this page to see cards listed by category on our parter’s site
Cash Back Cards
See our picks for best cash back credit cards
See our picks for best rewards credit cards
See our picks for best travel credit cards
Cards for Fair Credit
See our picks for best credit cards for fair credit
Cards for Bad Credit
See our picks for best credit cards for bad credit
See our picks for best hotel credit cards
See our picks for best airline credit cards
See our picks for best gas credit cards
See our picks for best small business credit cards
See our picks for best student credit cards
Balance Transfer Cards
See our picks for best balance transfer credit cards
0% Intro APR Cards
See our picks for best no interest credit cards
Low Interest Cards
No Annual Fee Cards
See our picks for best no annual fee credit cards
Choosing the Right Credit Card for You
There are so many credit cards on the market today that narrowing down your best options can seem overwhelming. The best credit cards for you may be different than the best credit cards for someone else.
Would a cash back rewards credit card, like the Citi® Double Cash Card (Review) or Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review), be the best fit? Or a travel credit card that earns miles or points that can be redeemed for travel rewards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Review)? Is it worth it for you to pay an annual fee to get better benefits and rewards, or go with a no annual fee credit card?
The credit card market is very competitive. As a result, many credit card issuers offer similar products. A credit card offer from one bank may influence another credit card issuer to release a similar product to compete, which can make it hard to objectively decide on one card over another.
If you’re looking for a major credit card accepted at the most places worldwide, you’ll likely want to get a Visa or Mastercard. If you plan to spend outside the US, you’ll want a card with no foreign transaction fees, too.
Is talking to customer service on the phone important to you? If that’s the case, you may want to consider a card from American Express or Discover — they consistently rank highly in customer satisfaction surveys, but may not be as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
One of the biggest factors that will narrow down your search is your credit history. If you’re new to building credit and have no credit, a secured credit card may be the best first credit card for you. You can use it to build up your credit scores and qualify for the best credit cards in the future. Secured cards require a security deposit to establish the credit limit (or credit line) which is the maximum amount you can spend on the card at one time. Sometimes the deposit can be less than the credit limit, like in the case of the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® (Review). Many cards now give you a free FICO® Score on your monthly statement. You can monitor your credit from month-to-month.
If you’re in credit card debt, you may want to consider credit card designed for balance transfers. The best balance transfer credit cards come with a long introductory APR and no balance transfer fee.
Certain cards will offer an introductory signup bonus, so you can earn bonus points or cash rewards for spending a certain amount within the first few months of account opening.
Some people compare credit cards by their APRs (or interest rates). With most cards, as long as you pay off the full statement balance each month, you can avoid interest completely, which makes the APR irrelevant.
The process of filling out credit card applications can be relatively fast. Usually, you can hit “apply now,” submit your application within 5–15 minutes, and get an instant decision. Other times, the credit card issuer may ask for extra information, like proof of income.
Finding the right credit card for you doesn’t need to be a daunting process. To start with our favorites in each category, check out the Best Credit Cards of 2018.