Best Credit Cards of May 2023

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Our experts answer readers’ credit card questions and write unbiased product reviews (here’s how we assess credit cards). In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners; however, our opinions are our own. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.

If you’re considering opening a credit card to earn points for vacation or prefer earning cash back to offset your expenses, it’s a great time to open one of the best credit cards. Many of the most rewarding credit cards on the market are currently offering limited-time elevated welcome bonuses or long intro 0% APR offers that can help you save money on interest.

It’s impossible to name one single best credit card, given the wide range of benefits, rewards, and annual fees available. But if you’re looking to find the best credit card for you, breaking it down by category is a good way to approach your search.

This guide highlights the best credit card option for several different types of users. If you want a to-the-point recommendation for maximizing your spending and enjoying benefits like an intro APR period, this guide will help you find a quick answer.

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Best Credit Cards of 2023

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card – Product Name Only: Best card for flat-rate cash rewards earningChase Freedom Unlimited® – Product Name Only: Best cash-back card for everyday spendingWells Fargo Autograph℠ Card – Product Name Only: Best rewards card for high earning in everyday categoriesChase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Product Name Only: Best travel rewards card overallCapital One Venture Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best travel rewards card for beginnersCapital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best premium travel cardBlue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Product Name Only: Best cash-back card for familiesCiti Custom Cash℠ Card – Product Name Only: Best card for automatically customizing rewardsChase Sapphire Reserve® – Product Name Only: Best premium card for travel and diningAmerican Express® Gold Card – Product Name Only: Best card for earning travel rewards on dining and groceriesCapital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best cash-back card for dining, groceries, and entertainment with no annual feeU.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card – Product Name Only: Best card for gas (including EV charging)Chase Freedom Flex℠ – Product Name Only: Best card for rotating categories and flexible redemptionsDiscover it® Cash Back – Product Name Only: Best card for rotating cash-back categoriesU.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card – Product Name Only: Best card for choosing your own cash-back categoriesCapital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best cash-back card for fair or average creditCiti® Double Cash Card – Product Name Only: Best cash-back card for balance transfersCiti Premier® Card – Product Name Only: Best card for earning travel rewards in multiple categoriesWells Fargo Reflect® Card – Product Name Only: Best for long intro APR on purchases and balance transfersDiscover it® Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best secured rewards card for building creditInk Business Preferred® Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best business credit cardCapital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best card for college students

Methodology: How We Chose the Best Credit Cards

Our list of the best credit cards is the result of an in-depth comparison between credit cards in each sub-category. We looked at America’s largest credit card issuers, as well as cards frequently recommended by blogs, forums, and travel communities.

The values we prioritized when coming up with this list were:

Simplicity — not everyone wants to invest lots of time and energy into maximizing their credit cards, so we focused on cards that make things as straightforward as possibleAffordability — while there’s a case to be made for paying a high annual fee when you’re getting high value in return, most credit card users aren’t looking for a card that costs $450 or moreValue — whether we’re talking about a credit card with or without an annual fee, it’s important that the benefits and features are worth it

The best credit card for you very much depends on your financial situation, spending habits, and how you like to redeem rewards. For example, if you’re just getting started with credit, a student credit card or a card that doesn’t require a high credit score is an ideal pick. If you’re looking to earn travel rewards, on the other hand, you’ll want to look at cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Read Insider’s guide to points and miles valuations to find out what your credit card rewards are worth.

See our full methodology for rating credit cards »

Credit Card Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best credit card?

The best credit card is hard to choose, because there are so many options for so many different types of users. A credit card that earns travel rewards could be the best option for one person, but if you’re looking to earn cash back, you’ll be better served by another pick.

For most people, a no-annual-fee cash rewards card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a good choice if you have to pick just one card.

What is the best credit card company?

The best credit card company for you comes down to what kind of rewards you want to earn, what benefits you value, and what annual fee you are willing to pay. 

For example, if you value high-end travel benefits like airport lounge access and statement credits, an American Express card could be the right choice. But if you just want to earn cash back, a card from Capital One, Citi, Chase, Discover, or Wells Fargo could be the best choice, depending on what bonus rewards categories you want. Learn more about the different US credit card companies.

What are the most popular credit cards?

The most popular credit cards are Chase credit cards according to search data, compared to cards from other issuers such as Citi and Amex. Among Chase cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are particularly well-known thanks to high-profile advertising campaigns. Some store credit cards are also very popular with consumers, including the Best Buy Credit Card and the Home Depot Credit Card.

Best Card for Flat-rate Cash Rewards Earning

Why the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is worth it: Between a flat 2% cash rewards rate on purchases and a generous welcome bonus for a no-annual-fee card, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is an excellent choice if you prefer simplicity in earning and redeeming rewards.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card tops our list for its straightforward rewards structure and compelling intro bonus offer. Cardholders earn 2% cash rewards on purchases with no caps and no complicated categories to juggle. That’s why it tops our list of best Wells Fargo credit cards.

It comes with a Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, and you can redeem Wells Fargo Rewards for statement credits, gift cards, travel, and more. For new cardholders, there’s a Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (followed by a Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card APR), which can be helpful if you have big expenses you want to pay off over several months.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card also offers a decent range of benefits, including cell phone protection, travel emergency assistance services, roadside dispatch, and Visa Signature Concierge access. Keep in mind this card adds foreign transaction fees, so if you’re traveling internationally, it’s best to use a different card.

What the experts love: High rewards rate across all purchases, good welcome offer, no annual fee

What the experts don’t love: Foreign transaction fees

Read our review: Wells Fargo Active Cash card review

Best Cash-back Card for Everyday Spending

Why the Chase Freedom Unlimited is worth it: Along with a generous intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns up to 5x rewards in popular categories with no annual fee.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers a long Chase Freedom Unlimited®, after which there’s a 14.99%–23.74% variable APR APR.

Not only does this card help you pay down credit card debt with a generous introductory APR period, but it also offers solid ongoing rewards. You’ll earn 5% cash back (5x points) on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal, 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2025, 3% back (3x points) on drugstores and dining, and 1.5% back (1.5x points) on everything else with no cap.

If you have a Chase card that earns transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can combine your rewards balances and gain the option to redeem your rewards in more ways, including transferring points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners.

What the experts love: Great earning rates and decent benefits with no annual fee

What the experts don’t love: Foreign transaction fees

Read our review: Chase Freedom Unlimited review

Best Rewards Card for High Earning in Everyday Categories

Why the Wells Fargo Autograph is worth it: The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, but earns high rewards in terrific categories, including travel, dining, and gas.

The latest in Wells Fargo’s card lineup, the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card, is an excellent choice if you want to earn useful rewards in a broad range of categories without paying an annual fee. There’s a solid welcome bonus too: Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card. That’s equal to a Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card cash redemption value.

You’ll earn an uncapped 3x points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The card also offers decent benefits, including a Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card (then a Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card APR), cell phone protection, and car rental insurance.

What the experts love: No annual fee, generous bonus and earning rates, no foreign transaction fees

What the experts don’t love: No points transfer partners

Read our review: Wells Fargo Autograph credit card review

Best Travel Rewards Card Overall

Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent choice for travel credit card beginners and experts alike, with a moderate annual fee, substantial bonus, and great redemption options.

If you want to earn travel rewards, you’ll find that Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the most user-friendly of the various bank currencies, which are also referred to as transferable points because you can transfer them over to various airline and hotel partners. In the case of Chase points, you can transfer them to partners like British Airways, Hyatt, United Airlines, and Southwest, or you can book travel directly through Chase. If you choose the latter, your points are worth 1.25 cents apiece — a 25% bonus.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card starts you off with a welcome bonus offer of 60,000 points. Those points are worth $750 in travel booked through Chase, or potentially up to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card if you decide to redeem with the program’s transfer partners per Insider’s valuations.

Insider values Chase points at 1.8 cents apiece, but it’s often possible to get an even higher rate of return when you transfer points to airline partners and book business- or first-class award flights.

You’ll earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (2x points on all other travel purchases), 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2025, 3x points on dining, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), 3x points on select streaming services, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Beyond the rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers some valuable travel insurance, including primary car rental insurance, trip delay insurance, and baggage delay insurance.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a 10% anniversary points bonus and up to $50 per year in statement credits for hotels booked through Chase. If you maximize this credit, you can shave off more than half of the card’s annual fee.

What the experts love: Lucrative welcome bonus offer, excellent transfer partners and travel insurance

What the experts don’t love: No airport lounge access or Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit

Read our review: Chase Sapphire Preferred card review

Best Travel Rewards Card for Beginners

Why the Capital One Venture is worth it: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is ideal for beginners to travel rewards because of its straightforward earning structure, easy redemption options, and good perks for a moderate annual fee. Plus, like all Capital One credit cards, it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Whether you’re a loyalty program expert or brand new to travel credit cards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers an easy-to-navigate rewards program and a valuable welcome bonus offer that make it well worth its Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card annual fee.

New cardholders start out with a welcome bonus offer of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, worth $750 in travel when you redeem miles at a fixed rate toward travel purchases, or potentially Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card when you transfer miles to Capital One’s airline and hotel partners (based on Insider’s valuations). You’ll also earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on all other purchases.

Capital One miles are worth 1.7 cents each on average, because you’re often able to get extra-high value when you transfer them to hotel and airline partners for award travel.

The easiest way to use your Capital One miles is by redeeming your miles toward eligible travel purchases made with your card at a rate of 1 cent apiece. It’s possible to get even more value, however, when you transfer miles to partners like Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. 

Cardholders also receive numerous travel and shopping benefits, including up to a $100 credit toward the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, two one-time Capital One Lounge passes per year, car rental insurance***, lost luggage reimbursement***, extended warranty***, and purchase protection***.

What the experts love: Big welcome bonus offer, ability to get outsized value from rewards, decent benefits

What the experts don’t love: No US-based airline transfer partners

Read our review: Capital One Venture card review

Best Premium Travel Card

Why the Capital One Venture X is worth it: With an annual fee lower than most other premium cards, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers incredible value between a high welcome offer, airport lounge access, anniversary bonus, and up to $300 in travel credits each year.

When the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was launched late in 2021, it immediately became popular — and for good reason. Its annual fee of Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is far lower than similar cards, but it comes with premium benefits — including Capital One, Priority Pass, and Plaza Premium airport lounge access, up to $300 in annual credit toward travel booked through the Capital One Travel Portal, and a 10,000-mile bonus each card anniversary worth at least $100 in travel.

Venture X cardholders can access the new Capital One Premier Collection hotel booking program, which offers elite-like perks at hundreds of luxury hotels around the world.

Combined, these perks more than offset the annual fee, and the card’s welcome bonus offer is generous, too — Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, worth at least Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card in travel.

What the experts love: Relatively low annual fee for a premium card, excellent travel benefits, substantial bonus

What the experts don’t love: Annual travel credit doesn’t apply to all travel purchases

Read our review: Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card review

Best Cash-back Card for Families

Why the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is worth it: If your preference is earning cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the highest rate for grocery spending, and it earns bonus rewards in other useful categories as well.

Grocery spending can be a big part of the budget, especially for families, so earning rewards for this expense can help save a significant amount of cash. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% back on your first $6,000 in U.S. supermarket spending each year (then 1% back), and offers a welcome bonus of a Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

Cardholders can also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back on U.S. gas stations and transit, and 1% back on all other eligible purchases (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits). There’s an annual fee of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, but if you spend a lot in the bonus categories, it’s easy to earn much more than that in rewards. 

What the experts love: Great rewards rate in bonus categories, generous welcome offer

What the experts don’t love: Annual fee

Read our review: American Express Blue Cash Preferred review

Best Card for Automatically Customizing Rewards

Why the Citi Custom Cash card is worth it: For those who want to maximize rewards based on where they spend the most but don’t want to fuss with activating categories or rotating bonuses, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is hard to beat for earning up to 5x rewards.

A relative newcomer to the rewards credit card space, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a terrific choice if your spending habits change periodically and you don’t want the hassle of switching from card to card to earn the most rewards. It offers 5% cash back on up to $500 in purchases in the eligible category you spend the most in each billing cycle (then 1%), and 1% on all other purchases.

The eligible 5% back categories with the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card are quite broad: restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.

For a no-annual-fee card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card comes with a good welcome bonus offer: Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. Even though it’s marketed as a cash-back credit card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card actually earns Citi ThankYou points. Redemption options include cash back, travel booked through Citi, gift cards, merchandise, and more, all at a rate of 1 cent per point.

You can potentially get more value from your points if you also carry the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available to new applicants). When you have one of these Citi credit cards, you can combine your points into that account and then transfer them to Citi’s travel partners, including JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Choice Hotels.

What the experts love: Automatic maximizing of rewards, no annual fee, plenty of redemption options

What the experts don’t love: 5x earning capped at $500 per billing cycle, foreign transaction fees

Read our review: Citi Custom Cash card review

Best Premium Card for Travel and Dining

Why the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is worth it: Frequent travelers who spend a lot in the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s bonus categories and who can take advantage of generous perks can get a value that far exceeds the card’s Chase Sapphire Reserve® annual fee.

Paying a high price for a premium credit card isn’t for everyone, but if you’re able to make the most of the card’s benefits, you can often make up for the annual fee — and then some. That’s the case with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which charges a hefty Chase Sapphire Reserve® per year. In return, cardholders get a huge list of perks, including some of the best travel protections of any credit card.

The card has an excellent welcome bonus offer of Chase Sapphire Reserve® (worth around Chase Sapphire Reserve® in travel, based on Insider’s valuations). Each year, cardholders receive up to $300 in statement credits toward travel purchases, 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (excluding the $300 travel credit), and 3x points on all other travel and dining.

As for benefits, you’ll get Priority Pass airport lounge access, access to Chase Sapphire by The Club airport lounges (including the newest Chase Sapphire Lounge in Boston), access to the new Chase Sapphire Terrace at Austin airport, top-notch travel coverage including primary car rental insurance and trip delay coverage, and a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS application fee credit.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a wide variety of redemption options, including booking travel through Chase (1.5 cents per point — a 50% bonus), transferring points to travel partners like United, Air Canada Aeroplan, and Hyatt, or cashing in your rewards for statement credits.

What the experts love: High-earning bonus categories, easy-to-use $300 travel credit, unparalleled travel protections

What the experts don’t love: Very high annual fee might not be worth it for the average traveler

Read our review: Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review

Best Card for Earning Travel Rewards on Dining and Groceries

Why the Amex Gold card is worth it: Foodies can do very well with the American Express® Gold Card because it earns 4x on dining and on up to $25,000 in spending per calendar year at US supermarkets (then 1x), and other benefits nearly offset the card’s entire American Express® Gold Card annual fee.

It’s hard to beat the American Express® Gold Card if you enjoy dining out. With an earning rate of 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery) and a slew of other useful perks, this card is a must for any foodie’s wallet. And it’s got a great welcome offer: American Express® Gold Card.

Amex points are worth 1.8 cents each, on average, according to Insider’s valuations, because you can transfer them to American Express’ airline and hotel partners and potentially get a high value.

Cardholders get up to $120 per calendar year (up to $10 per month) in Uber Cash credits that can be used toward eligible US Uber rides or Uber Eats purchases (the Gold Card needs to be added to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit). The card also comes with up to $120 in annual dining credits** (up to $10 per month) valid toward purchases with Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Milk Bar, Goldbelly, Wine.com, and participating Shake Shack locations.

What the experts love: Strong earning rate on dining and at US supermarkets, useful statement credits

What the experts don’t love: Credits are split monthly, high annual fee

Read our review: Amex Gold card review

Best Cash-back Card for Dining, Groceries, and Entertainment With No Annual Fee

Why the Capital One SavorOne card is worth it: Few no-annual-fee cards offer a high, uncapped 3% cash-back rate in broadly useful bonus categories — and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card tops our list.

If you’re a foodie, like going out, or both, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is hard to beat for earning big cash-back rewards. Cardholders earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Additionally, the card recently added 5% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel and 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases. You can also earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through November 14, 2024. 

You won’t pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and there’s a solid welcome bonus offer, too: Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. New cardholders also receive a Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (then a Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card APR), which can save you a lot of money on interest if you have big purchases planned you want to pay off over time.

You might expect a no-annual-fee card to be lean on benefits, but there are a few good perks that can come in handy, like extended warranty***, travel accident insurance***, and travel emergency assistance services***. 

What the experts love: Excellent earning in top categories, no annual fee

What the experts don’t love: Non-bonus categories only earn 1% cash back

Read our review: Capital One SavorOne card review

Best Card for Gas and EV Charging

Why the US Bank Altitude Connect card is worth it: Earning 4x points at gas stations with the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is the best uncapped flexible points rate around, and you’ll earn bonus rewards at EV charging stations, too. This card ranks highly on our list of best US Bank credit cards for its earning rates and generous welcome offer.

A relative newcomer to the credit card scene, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is a great card to use at gas stations and EV charging stations, earning 4x points with no limits. You’ll also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Altitude Rewards Center, 4x points on other travel, and 2x points on dining, groceries, and streaming, making this an excellent all-around card. 

New cardholders can earn U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card (worth U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card in cash back, gift cards, and more). The card also offers perks like a $30 annual credit for streaming service purchases, Priority Pass airport lounge membership with four free visits per year, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and cell phone protection. The annual fee is U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card.

What the experts love: Great earning rates, good benefits, card earns bonus rewards on EV charging as well as gas

What the experts don’t love: Annual fee

Read our review: US Bank Altitude Connect card review

Best Card for Rotating Categories and Flexible Redemptions

Why the Chase Freedom Flex is worth it: With a solid welcome bonus offer, opportunities to earn up to 5% cash back, and surprisingly good benefits for a no-annual-fee card, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a great addition to any wallet.

Chase’s lineup of Freedom cards is among the best for earning substantial rewards without incurring an annual fee, and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has the potential to be the most rewarding. Along with a welcome bonus offer of Chase Freedom Flex℠, cardholders can earn 5% (or 5x) in rotating categories each quarter (once activated) on up to $1,500 spent in combined spending. From April 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023, these categories are Amazon and Lowe’s.

The card also offers 5% cash back on travel purchases made through Chase, 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2025, 3% back on dining and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else.

Because it’s a World Elite Mastercard, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ comes with an array of top-notch benefits, many of which you don’t often find on no-annual-fee cards. These include cell phone protection, purchase protection, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and extended warranty.

What the experts love: High earning rate in rotating bonus categories, good benefits

What the experts don’t love: Foreign transaction fees, required activation of quarterly bonus

Read our review: Chase Freedom Flex credit card review

Best Card for Rotating Cash-back Categories

Why the Discover it Cash Back is worth it: Along with great rotating bonus categories, the Discover it® Cash Back has a trick up its sleeve that can be very lucrative for big spenders in the first year of account opening. And, like all other Discover credit cards, it doesn’t add foreign transaction fees.

The Discover it® Cash Back is a winner for its ability to earn lots of cash back in popular bonus categories and for its first-year rewards. Instead of a traditional intro offer, the card comes with a delayed bonus of sorts: After the first 12 months of account opening, Discover will match all of the rewards you earn from the card through its Cashback Match program.

Cardholders earn 5% cash back in popular rotating quarterly bonus categories when they activate, on up to $1,500 in combined spending (then 1%), and 1% back everywhere else Discover It Cashback rotation. In the first year, this effectively translates to 10% and 2% back, respectively — an incredible rate of return, if you’re able to maximize the quarterly categories.

New cardholders can also take advantage of a Discover it® Cash Back, followed by a Discover it® Cash Back APR. As long as you have the ability to pay off your balance before the intro APR period expires, this can save you a ton of money on interest.

Like other Discover cards, the Discover it® Cash Back doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. On the downside, there aren’t many other notable benefits to speak of — but if you’re solely interested in earning cash back and don’t care about extra frills, the Discover it® Cash Back is a solid pick.

What the experts love: Rotating bonus categories, first-year Cashback Match, intro APR offer

What the experts don’t love: No extras like purchase protection or travel insurance

Read our review: Discover it Cash Back card review 

Best Card for Choosing Your Own Cash Back Categories

Why the US Bank Cash+ card is worth it: Among cards that allow you to customize your rewards earning, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is the most generous, offering up to 5% cash back from a long list of eligible categories to choose from.

Picking a card that the most rewards in the categories where you spend the most is one of the best ways to maximize your spending. The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card makes it extra easy by allowing you to pick two eligible categories (from a list) of your choice that earn 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1% back). 

You can also choose one “everyday” category to earn 2% cash back (gas and EV charging stations, restaurants, or grocery stores,), and you’ll earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

You can choose from the following 5% cash back categories: prepaid air travel, hotel stays, and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center online portal, fast food, home utilities, TV, internet, and streaming services, department stores, electronic stores, cell phone providers, sporting goods stores, furniture stores, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, ground transportation, and select clothing stores.

Even better, the card doesn’t charge an annual fee, so there’s no cost to keep it for the long term. New cardholders can earn a U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, and also qualify for a U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card (then a U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card APR). 

This is a Visa Signature card, so it comes with built-in perks including access to the Visa Signature concierge and Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, roadside dispatch, and travel and emergency assistance.

What the experts love: Ability to customize 5% and 2% cash-back categories from a big list, no annual fee

What the experts don’t love: 5% cash back is capped at $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter

Read our review: US Bank Cash Plus card review

Best Cash-back Card for Fair or Average Credit

Why the Capital One QuicksilverOne card is worth it: Many credit cards designed for folks with fair or average credit offer modest rewards (or none at all). But with the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can earn up to 5% cash back on your purchases.

When you’re new to credit cards or rebuilding your credit, it can be challenging to get approved for a rewards-earning card. One exception is the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and a very respectable 1.5% cash back on all other purchases, with no bonus categories to keep track of.

If you have a credit score in the “fair” range (580-669, according to FICO), you have a good chance of being approved for the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. While there’s no welcome bonus and a modest Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card annual fee, this card could be the stepping stone to more lucrative rewards cards once you’ve built your credit score a bit more.

What the experts love: Solid earning rate on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees

What the experts don’t love: No welcome bonus offer, annual fee

Read our review: Capital One QuicksilverOne card review

Best Cash-back Card for Balance Transfers

Why the Citi Double Cash card is worth it: The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of only a few cards that effectively earns 2% back (1 point per dollar when you buy, and 1 point per dollar when you pay) on every purchase — with no annual fee and a solid intro APR offer to boot. 

Not only does the Citi® Double Cash Card offer one of the longest introductory APR periods, but it’s also a great option for earning cash back. In fact, it’s one of our top picks for the best cash-back cards thanks to its straightforward earning structure — you effectively get 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% back when you pay your bill. 

The Double Cash card earns Citi ThankYou points instead of cash back directly. But you can still redeem your points for cash back (as well as travel, gift cards, and more) and get the same rate of return.

As a new cardholder, you get a Citi® Double Cash Card (which must be completed in the first four months from account opening). After that, there’s a 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR. 

If you also have a premium Citi card like the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card (no longer open to new applicants), you can combine your rewards from the Citi® Double Cash Card with one of those accounts for the opportunity to transfer them to all of Citi’s airline and hotel partners.

What the experts love: Generous and straightforward earning on all purchases, rewards awarded as Citi ThankYou points

What the experts don’t love: Foreign transaction fees, doesn’t always offer a welcome bonus

Read our review: Citi Double Cash card review

Best Card for Earning Travel Rewards in Multiple Categories

Why the Citi Premier card is worth it: Beyond the welcome bonus offer, the Citi Premier® Card offers great 3x earning categories that just about anyone can take advantage of — and the rewards it earns are incredibly flexible.

Among rewards credit cards, the Citi Premier® Card flies under the radar a bit. Despite not being packed with fancy perks, it’s a valuable card to have if you like earning and using Citi ThankYou points. Cardholders earn a very respectable 3x points in some of the most popular bonus categories: air travel, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar.

It also comes with a strong welcome offer of Citi Premier® Card (worth at least $600 in cash back, and potentially Citi Premier® Card in travel based on Insider’s valuations). Cardholders also get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) booked through thankyou.com once per calendar year.

The value of Citi points varies depending on how you redeem them. On average, when you transfer them to Citi’s travel partners, you can get a value of around 1.6 cents per point.

As far as redemptions go, you’ll typically get the most value from your points when you transfer them to Citi’s airline and hotel partners to book award travel. But if you prefer a simpler approach, you can always cash in your rewards at a rate of 1 cent each for travel through the Citi ThankYou Portal, statement credits, gift cards, and more.

There’s a Citi Premier® Card annual fee, but you won’t pay foreign transaction fees with this card. Unfortunately, Citi removed most travel protections from its cards a couple of years back, but you’ll still get purchase protection, extended warranty, and World Elite Mastercard benefits from the Citi Premier® Card.

What the experts love: Great bonus categories, rewards flexibility, annual hotel credit

What the experts don’t love: Few travel protections

Read our review: Citi Premier card review

Best for Long Intro 0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers

Why the Wells Fargo Reflect card is worth it: If you’re looking for an ultra-long 0% APR offer for both purchases and qualifying balance transfers, you won’t do much better than the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card.

You might wonder why a card that doesn’t earn rewards appears on our list of top credit cards — and if that’s your priority, you can probably give the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card a skip. Where the card does excel, however, is with its intro APR offer. New cardholders receive a Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card (then Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card). Balance transfers must occur within 120 days of account opening to qualify for the intro 0% APR rate and come with a fee of Wells Fargo Reflect® Card – Balance Transfer Fee. 

There are a few other cards that come with a balance transfer offer of the same length, but a shorter duration (or none at all) for purchases. And while many similar cards are skimpy on benefits, the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card does come with cell phone protection against damage and theft. That can be a good reason to keep using the card after the intro period ends — especially since it’s unusual to see no-annual-fee cards with that benefit.

What the experts love: Extra long 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, no annual fee

What the experts don’t love: No welcome bonus offer or rewards, and few benefits aside from cell phone protection

Read our review: Wells Fargo Reflect credit card review

Best Secured Rewards Card for Building Credit

Why the Discover It Secured credit card is worth it: Only a handful of secured credit cards on the market offer cash-back rewards, including the Discover it® Secured. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade to a non-secured card after showing a history of responsible use.

If you have a very limited credit history or are looking to repair bad credit, many of the cards on this list won’t be available to you. Most of the top rewards cards require credit scores in the 600s or higher — if that’s not where your credit is, you may need to consider a secured card to help repair your credit

Secured credit cards are easy to get approved for because they require a cash deposit upfront, which minimizes the issuer’s risk. Your credit limit is equal to the cash deposit you put down. 

If a secured card seems like the right option for you, the Discover it® Secured is an especially good option, because it’s the rare secured card to offer rewards. You’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases. Plus, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of the first year.

With this card, automatic reviews start at seven months to see if Discover can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.

What the experts love: Ease of approval, rare opportunity to earn cash-back rewards on a secured card

What the experts don’t love: No traditional welcome bonus offer, other cash-back cards earn higher rewards

Read our review: Discover it Secured credit card review

Best Business Credit Card

Why the Chase Ink Business Preferred is worth it: For a moderate annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card comes with a terrific welcome bonus offer, useful bonus categories for small-business owners, and top-notch benefits including cell phone insurance.

This sits high on our list of the best small-business credit cards, but if you travel constantly, it could be worth paying the high annual fee for a more premium option like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. But if you just want a card that maximizes your returns in popular business spending categories, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a great choice. 

You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 you spend each cardmember year in select categories, including travel, shipping, internet/cable/phone, and advertising on social media sites or with search engines, such as Google Ads. Purchases after you reach $150,000, or in any other category, earn 1 point per dollar. Also, through March 2025, this card offers 5x points on Lyft rides.

What the experts love: Massive welcome bonus offer, great transfer partners and travel coverage

What the experts don’t love: No airport lounge access or TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit

Read our review: Chase Ink Business Preferred card review

Best Card for College Students

Why the Capital One SavorOne Student card is worth it: Earning 3% cash back in student-friendly categories with the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card can add up quickly, and because it’s geared to students, it can be easier to qualify with limited credit history.

There are quite a few student credit cards on the market, including some meant for students with no credit at all. Of those that actually earn rewards, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is most aligned with typical college student spending habits. You’ll earn 3% cash back on dining (including restaurants, bars, cafes, and lounges), at grocery stores (except superstores like Walmart and Target), entertainment (such as movies, professional sporting events, and amusement parks), and popular streaming services (like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+). 

On top of that, it also earns 10% cash back on Uber and Uber Eats (through November 14, 2024), 5% cash back on car rentals and hotels booked through Capital One Travel, 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases. All other purchases earn 1% back.

New cardholders can earn a Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. That minimum spending requirement is easy to reach for most students, and less than most other student credit cards that have a welcome offer.

You might expect a student credit card to be a little thin in the benefits department, but that’s not the case here. Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card cardholders receive price protection***, extended warranty***, car rental insurance***, roadside dispatch***, and travel accident insurance***. And because the card doesn’t add foreign transaction fees, it’s a great choice to use if you’re studying abroad for a semester or taking a backpacking trip overseas during summer break.

What the experts love: Excellent categories for students, good benefits, no annual or foreign transaction fees

What the experts don’t love: There’s not always a welcome bonus offer

Read our review: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Student credit card review

Credit Card News This Week

Three Southwest credit cards are offering an elevated bonus that includes a flight discount on top of more points. With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Product Name Only, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – Product Name Only, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Product Name Only, you can earn Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card — but only until June 26, 2023.Read about why you should consider opening a new credit card for an upcoming vacation to maximize rewards.Check out Insider’s ultimate guide to turning cash back into travel rewards to help you get the most from your credit card earnings.

Other Top Credit Cards We Considered

We evaluated dozens of credit cards to narrow down the best picks in various categories. Some of these cards didn’t make our list for one reason or another — for example, only appealing to a very specific group of consumers, or charging an exceptionally high annual fee.

We’ve listed some of our favorite runners-up here, and why they didn’t make our final list:

The Platinum Card® from American Express — With a jaw-dropping The Platinum Card® from American Express annual fee, The Platinum Card® from American Express is certainly not for everyone. But if you’re a frequent traveler who can maximize its ever-growing list of benefits, it’s possible to get thousands of dollars in value from the card each year. Read our American Express Platinum Card review to find out why it could be worth it.The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — The Business Platinum Card® from American Express charges The Business Platinum Card® from American Express per year. It, too, is packed with valuable perks, but they’re only appealing to certain types of small-business owners. Here’s our Amex Business Platinum card review for all the details.Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card — It earns a respectable 1.5% cash back on most purchases and doesn’t charge an annual fee, but the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card lost out to cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which have the potential to earn even more cash back. Find out if the card is a fit for you in our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card review.Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card — This card comes with an extra-long intro APR on balance transfers, but it’s not as generous for purchases (Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, then a Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card). It got edged out by the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card (which also comes with more benefits). However, if you’re looking for a Citi balance transfer card, it’s a solid pick. Check out our Citi Diamond Preferred credit card review to learn more.Discover it® Student Cash Back — This card earns 5% cash back in popular rotating bonus categories when you activate, on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter (then 1% back), as well as 1% back everywhere else with no limits Discover It Cashback rotation. That’s a good deal, but you’ll have to remember to activate the bonus and keep track of new categories every three months. You can get the full rundown in our Discover it Student Cash Back card review.Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card — Amazon Prime members can earn 5% cash back at Amazon and Whole Foods with this card, plus 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and on local transit and commuting. But if you’re not a Prime member or don’t make a lot of Amazon purchases, you’ll probably do better overall with a different card. Here’s our Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card review for more details.

Other Insider Credit Card Guides

If you want to go deeper into analysis of a certain kind of card, check out our in-depth credit card guides for the following categories:

Best rewards credit cardsBest cash-back credit cardsBest 2% cash back credit cardsBest 5% cash back credit cardsBest travel rewards credit cardsBest premium credit cardsBest metal credit cardsBest small-business credit cardsBest small-business rewards credit cardsBest small-business cash-back credit cardsBest no-annual-fee small-business credit cardsBest no-annual-fee credit cardsBest credit cards with no foreign transaction feesBest credit cards for bad creditBest secured credit cardsBest credit cards for average creditBest credit cards for good creditBest credit cards for excellent creditBest credit cards for studentsBest credit cards for students with no creditBest credit cards for new college graduatesBest hotel credit cardsBest airline credit cardsBest credit cards for Amazon purchasesBest credit cards for gas purchasesBest credit cards for EV charging stationsBest credit cards for diningBest credit cards for grocery shoppingBest credit cards for streaming servicesBest credit cards for online shoppingBest Mastercard credit cardsBest Visa credit cardsBest high limit credit cardsBest credit cards to rebuild credit

Reading credit card reviews to look closely at factors like benefits, award redemption options, and fees can also help you decide if a card is right for you. You might also consider checking online credit card forums like Reddit (r/creditcards) and MyFICO to learn tips and tricks from actual cardholders.

Everything to Know About Getting a Credit Card

Why should you get a credit card?

Credit cards can be powerful tools for improving your credit score and earning rewards — if you use them responsibly.  It’s important to only spend what you can afford to pay off each month so you don’t end up in debt and start amassing steep interest fees.

Provided you’re in a position to pay off your credit card statements and spend within your means, there are several reasons opening a credit card could be a good idea. For one, credit cards offer better fraud protection than debit cards or cash — if an unauthorized purchase is made with your card, you won’t be on the hook.

Using a credit card responsibly can also help you build and repair your credit, since your on-time payments will be reported to the credit bureaus. Finally, a credit card can help you maximize every dollar you spend, by earning you cash back, points, or miles. 

Focus on your priorities, and be realistic about what cards you’re able to get approved for. Many of the best credit cards require credit scores in the high 600s at a bare minimum, so if your credit score isn’t there yet, you’ll want to look at options for bad to fair credit scores so you can focus on building your credit back up. 

Beyond that, decide what annual fee you’re comfortable paying. Some people avoid paying credit card annual fees completely, and there are several great cards in the no-annual-fee category, but it could be worth paying a modest annual fee of $95 to $99 for a travel or cash-back card that earns you higher rewards. Also, decide whether you want to earn cash back or travel rewards. Keep in mind that redeeming rewards for travel is more work than simply getting cash back in your account – the payoff can be big, but focus on what is the best option for you.

How many credit cards should you have?

There’s no one answer to how many credit cards you should have — it’s possible to have more than 20 cards and maintain an excellent credit score, but this would probably entail several annual fees. Go slowly, space out your applications, and never bite off more than you can chew. Make sure you’re able to pay off your balances in full each month, because earning rewards is never worth going into debt.

What do you need to apply for a credit card?

Nowadays, there are lots of different ways to apply for a credit card, including online, by phone, by mail, through the bank’s app, or in person at a bank branch.

Regardless of how you choose to apply, you should have an idea of your credit score before you open a new card to be sure you have a chance of qualifying. In your application, you’ll be asked for personal details like your full name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, and income. 

 

 

 

 

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