Best Credit Cards

Selected by CardHub Editors from 1,000+ credit cards — Updated August 27, 2016

The best credit cards are those that stand out from their peers in a given category– whether that’s interest rates, rewards or tools to rebuild damaged credit. After all, there is no single credit card that offers the best possible terms across the board. Below you will find CardHub’s editors picks for the best cards in each credit segment, selected from more than 1,200 overall offers. While advertising status played no role in our selection of these cards, certain sponsored offers may be included.

This list contains a mixture of credit cards offering lucrative initial rewards bonuses, high regular rewards earning rates, and 0% introductory periods on both purchases and balance transfers. To see our best card picks arranged by type of benefit (e.g. best rewards cards or best balance transfer cards), use the drop down menu to the right.

excellent Credit

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 21 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 21 months
    Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
  • Regular APR 12.24% - 22.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0*
  • Rewards None

Best For New-Purchase Financing. The Diamond Preferred Card from Citi (one of our advertising partners) offers the longest 0% introductory term on the general-consumer credit card market, at 21 months. While the 0% rate applies to balance transfers as well as new transactions, it’s best suited to the latter purpose in light of a 3% balance transfer fee. To maximize this card’s value, use a credit card calculator to determine the monthly payments you’ll need to make in order to pay off your balance before regular rates begin to eat away at your savings. You can also check out our full review of the Citi Diamond Preferred Card for more information.

Chase Slate®

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 15 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 15 months
    Transfer Fee: $0 Intro
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0
  • Rewards None

Best For Balance Transfers. The Slate Card from Chase (one of our advertisers) is what's known as a free balance transfer credit card, as it offers a 0% introductory rate and charges neither a balance transfer fee (for the first 60 days) nor an annual fee. These unusually attractive terms stand to save the average consumer as much as $1,000 in fees and finance charges while expediting the timeline to debt freedom. A credit card calculator can give you a more-exact sense of how valuable the Slate Card will be in your particular situation. For more information, check out our full review of the Chase Slate Card.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0 for 1st yr, $59 after
  • Rewards Rate 2 miles / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles

Best For Rewards. The Capital One Venture Card is travel rewards royalty. The 40,000 bonus miles you get after spending $3,000 during the first three months can be redeemed for a $400 statement credit applicable to any travel-related charges that post to your account. And the 2 points per $1 spent that you will earn on a recurring basis equates to 2% cash back on all purchases, provided that you redeem for travel statement credits. That might be all you need to know before adding Venture to your wallet, but if not, check out our full-length review. For full disclosure, Capital One is one of our advertising partners.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 12 months
    Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Regular APR 16.24% - 20.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $89 after
  • Rewards Rate 2 miles / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles

Best For Rewards. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is one of a select few offers providing consumers with the opportunity to earn a $400 initial rewards bonus, which itself provides a great deal of flexibility given that it can be applied to any travel-related expense. This card also follows the very successful Venture Card model, providing the miles equivalent of 2% cash back across all purchases as long as users redeem for travel. As a result, this is a great option for travel-minded consumers who will be able to meet the card’s $3,000 initial spending requirement within the first 90 days. Note: Barclays is one of our advertisers.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 18 months
    Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0*
  • Rewards Rate 1% + 1% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best For Cash Back Rewards. The Double Cash Credit Card from Citi (one of our advertising partners) is one of the best everyday rewards cards on the market, offering 1% cash back on what you spend and another 1% cash back on what you pay. Plus, Citi had the good sense not to ruin the cash back party by charging an annual fee. To learn more, check out our full Double Cash review."

Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 14.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $75
  • Rewards Rate 5 - 10 points / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 85,000 points

Best For Hotel Rewards. While some people might be turned off by this card’s $75 annual fee, that fixed cost pales in comparison to the value cardholders can unlock by spending $2,500 during the first 90 days. The 85,000 bonus points that you earn by doing so can be used to book up to nine free nights at properties such as Radisson, Park Plaza and Country Inns & Suites. And the additional 40,000 bonus points that you’ll receive each year just for being a cardholder can be redeemed for another four nights. With 13 free nights the first year and at least four nights every year thereafter in your back pocket, it would be tough not to sleep soundly. Note: The card is one of our advertisers.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 14.24% - 22.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $95 after
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 30,000 miles

Best For Airline Rewards. An excellent deal for anyone who can commit to American Airlines, this card offers a 30,000-mile initial bonus, for spending at least $1,000 in the first three months after account opening. When you factor in the 2 miles per $1 earned on American Airlines purchases, the 10% redemption rebate and the fact that the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year, this card would yield nearly $1,680 in net rewards value over the first two years of use, based on the average person’s spending habits. Suffice it to say that the AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is the best American Airlines credit card available. Note: Citi is one of our advertising partners. To learn more about how we came to that determination, check out our full review.

good Credit

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 9 months
    Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $100

Best For Rewards. A great everyday credit card for people with good credit, Quicksilver brings value and simplicity to the rewards process, providing 1.5% cash back across all purchases, in addition to a $100 initial bonus for spending at least $500 during the first three months. The fact that this card does not charge an annual fee serves as the cherry on top of this attractive deal. Note: Capital One is one of our advertising partners. To learn more, check out our full review of the Quicksilver Card.

Frontier Airlines Credit Card

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 15 months
    Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Regular APR 16.24% - 25.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $69
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles

Best For Airline Rewards. The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard is an interesting option for opportunistic travelers, as the 40,000 bonus miles it provides in return for you spending at least $500 in the first 90 days you have your card are redeemable for two round-trip domestic airline flights. Opening this card is therefore a great way to drastically reduce the cost of a vacation for two. This card’s bonus perks are also more accessible than many of the other initially-rewarding credit cards on the market, which tend to require that you spend $3,000 - $4,000 in order to benefit.

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 16.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $49 after
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 5 points / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 60,000 points

Best For Hotel Rewards. The 60,000 bonus points that you stand to receive after spending at least $1,000 during the first three months you have this card are worth up to 12 free nights at IHG hotels, which include the Holiday Inn family and Crowne Plaza, among others. This initial bonus is especially beneficial considering that the card’s $49 annual fee is waived for the first year. Your ability to earn does not stop there, however, as you will earn 5 points per $1 spent at IHG locations; 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1 point/$1 everywhere else. Plus, you’ll get an annual rebate for 10,000 of the points that you redeem and an additional free night each year on your account anniversary. There is no foreign transaction either, which means you can travel internationally without incurring extra costs. Note: The card is one of our advertisers. More information about this offer can be found in our full-length review.

Chase Slate®

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 15 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 15 months
    Transfer Fee: $0 Intro
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0
  • Rewards None

Best For Balance Transfers. The Slate Card from Chase (one of our advertisers) is what's known as a free balance transfer credit card, as it offers a 0% introductory rate and charges neither a balance transfer fee (for the first 60 days) nor an annual fee. These unusually attractive terms stand to save the average consumer as much as $1,000 in fees and finance charges while expediting the timeline to debt freedom. A credit card calculator can give you a more-exact sense of how valuable the Slate Card will be in your particular situation. For more information, check out our full review of the Chase Slate Card.

fair Credit

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 25.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 points / $1
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best For Low-Cost Credit Improvement. This card offers exactly what most people with fair credit are looking for: no annual fee (which enables free credit building) and a bit of rewards (which help subsidize spending as long as you pay your bill in full every month). It is therefore a clear leader in this credit segment and a great stepping stone to some of the elite cards on the market. Barclays is one of our advertisers.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 9 months
    Transfer Fee: None
  • Regular APR 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best For Rewards. The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card from Capital One (one of our advertising partners) represents the absolute best rewards-earning option available to people with fair or limited credit. It boasts a straightforward rewards program, offering 1.5% cash back across all purchases, which will easily overcome its $39 annual fee for users who make most of their purchases with plastic. 1.5% cash back across the board is equivalent to what people with excellent credit get from the best rewards cards on the market. In addition, a 0% introductory interest rate on new purchases for 9 months makes the QuicksilverOne Card a great way to avoid interest on big-ticket purchases as well.

limited Credit

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 24.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards None

Best For Low-Cost Credit Improvement. Given that it does not charge an annual fee, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card can serve as a viable low-cost credit building tool for consumers who have yet to establish much credit history. While this offer does not include rewards or a 0% introductory interest rate, such perks aren't available on any other no annual fee credit card for fair or limited credit either. It was possible for applicants to find cards offering such an attractive collection of terms in years past, but market dynamics have conspired to eliminate their availability. Note: Capital One is an advertising partner.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now
  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 9 months
    Transfer Fee: None
  • Regular APR 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best For Rewards. The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card from Capital One (one of our advertising partners) represents the absolute best rewards-earning option available to people with fair or limited credit. It boasts a straightforward rewards program, offering 1.5% cash back across all purchases, which will easily overcome its $39 annual fee for users who make most of their purchases with plastic. 1.5% cash back across the board is equivalent to what people with excellent credit get from the best rewards cards on the market. In addition, a 0% introductory interest rate on new purchases for 9 months makes the QuicksilverOne Card a great way to avoid interest on big-ticket purchases as well.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Apply Now

For College Students

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 20.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 1.25% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best Cash Back Rewards For College Students. Not only does the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card offer straightforward, lucrative rewards without charging an annual fee, it also promotes good habits. You get a 25% rewards bonus each month you make an on-time payment, and getting in the habit of paying for what you spend early in your credit career will put you on the path to excellent credit as well as save you a lot of money in interest in the years to come (assuming you pay your bill in full as well as on time, which we highly recommend). Note: Capital One is an advertising partner.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ for Students Credit Card

For College Students

  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 12 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 12 months
    Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 3% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $100

Best For Student Financing. This card is capable of meeting the needs of various types of college students, from those who wish to earn rewards on everyday expenses like gas and groceries to those who need help paying for big-ticket expenses like textbooks. The fact that it doesn’t charge an annual fee and actually pays you $100 just for spending $500 in the first 90 days you have it just makes things sweeter, The one thing you don’t want to do with this card is use it overseas, as it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. So, if you plan on studying abroad or doing some international travel, you may want to consider a card from Capital One (none of its offer charge foreign fees).

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students Credit Card

For College Students

  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 12 months
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 15.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1.5 - 3 points / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 20,000 points

Best Travel Rewards For College Students. If you’re a student who spends at least $334 per month and has some travel planned, this offer from Bank of America could prove quite rewarding. Spending at least $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening triggers a 20,000-point initial bonus, redeemable for a $200 travel statement credit. This card, which does not charge an annual fee, also offers 3 points per $1 on airfare booked through the Bank of America Travel Center each year, in addition to 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything else. Crucially for those of you with an overseas backpacking trip in your future, there are no foreign transaction fees either.

bad Credit

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

Apply Now

Secured Card

  • Min Deposit $49, $99 or $200
  • Annual Fee None
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 24.99% (V)

Best Partially-Secured Card. The fact that the Capital One Secured MasterCard does not charge an annual fee and has the potential to be partially-secured makes it quite attractive for many people. With a partially-secured credit card, your credit line may exceed the amount of your security deposit, thereby providing you with an emergency line of credit, if needed, and enabling you to maximize your available credit. The more credit you have available, the faster your credit standing will improve. The Secured MasterCard Credit Card from Capital One (one of our advertisers) is therefore an option that at least merits consideration if you have bad or limited credit. To learn more about this helpful credit-building tool, check out our full review.

Harley-Davidson® Secured Credit Card

Secured Card

  • Min Deposit $300
  • Annual Fee None
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 23.24% (V)

Best Fully-Secured Card. Don’t let the branding fool you, the Harley Davidson Secured Credit Card is one of the best secured cards on the market in light of the fact that it doesn’t charge an annual fee. Secured cards are most commonly used by people who have damaged or little credit, and the most important thing to look for in either situation is a card with low fixed costs for which you can qualify. Low interest rates and rewards are of lesser concern because secured cards don’t tend to offer them. The fact that the Harley Card does offer some rewards therefore makes it that much more attractive.

SunTrust Secured Credit Card

Secured Card

  • Min Deposit $300
  • Annual Fee $32
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 20.24% (V)

Best Rewards Secured Card. Even though this card has a $32 annual fee, its rewards structure can easily make that a cost worth paying if you’re planning to spend more than $260 per month. Users earn 2% cash back on the first $6,000 spent annually on gas and groceries and 1% cash back on everything else. It can therefore serve as a great way to make low-cost credit building a bit more fun.

Credit One Bank® Visa® with Credit Line Increase Reviews

Apply Now
  • Annual Fee $0 - $99
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 15.65% - 24.15% (V)

Best Unsecured Card For Bad Credit. We tend not to recommend unsecured credit cards for bad credit given the prohibitive costs and low credit lines typical of the genre. If you truly need an emergency loan, however, this Credit One Bank Visa Card is your best bet. It charges a relatively modest annual fee of $0 - $75 the first year, depending on your credit standing, and $0 to $99 each year thereafter. And it even offers 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases.

Expert Answers

What is the best credit card to have?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEO

While some credit cards do provide great overall options, it's easiest to determine the best credit card for you as an individual if you know exactly what you will be using the card for. Card Hub's Island Approach recommends having individual credit cards for different purposes, such as earning rewards on everyday purchases, making balance transfers, etc. By concentrating on getting the best credit cards for individual transaction-types, you'll likely be able to get a better combination of rates and rewards than that found on any individual credit card.

How often do the best credit cards change?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

Our editors add appropriate offers to this page as soon as they are introduced. Credit card companies change the terms and rewards associated with their products regularly, and as such, the best credit card offers may change regularly as well. Therefore, the Best Credit Cards 2010 will almost certainly differ from the Best Credit Cards 2011. The cards listed on this page also fluctuate based on the rules governing the credit card industry. For example, the best credit cards for college students and young adults changed drastically after the passage of the Credit CARD Act since anyone under the age of 21 now needs a co-signer or proof of income to open a credit card.

What are the best credit card companies?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEO

First of all, it's important to make the distinction between credit card companies and credit card networks. Credit card companies issue credit cards, set rates, charge fees and hold your accounts. A card's network simply dictates where you can use it. The best credit card company for you is simply the one with the best offers. Determining the best credit card deals is far easier now because the Credit CARD Act improved the transparency of the credit card industry and increased the reliability of credit card terms. Now, if a credit card offer looks to be the best, you can be sure it is. The most widely accepted credit card networks are VISA and MasterCard. Still, this does not mean you should go out looking for the best Visa credit card or the best MasterCard offering. All four major networks (Discover and American Express included) have wide coverage in the U.S., so don't limit your search unless you have a very good reason to get a card on a particular network.

Community Discussion

Ask a question or help others find the best credit cards by sharing some tips.