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Best second credit cards to complement your first

Earn rewards on other categories or save money on interest.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Our pick for points transfer to other cards: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® logo

Up to 5%

Cash back

  • Huge potential signup bonus for a no-annual-fee card
  • 5% at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in first year
  • Up to 5% cashback and an impressive 1.5% base cashback rate
Apply now
If you already have a credit card that lacks the rewards you seek, a second credit card could be just the thing. A second credit card that complements your first can fill the gaps by expanding your rewards categories.

It can also be a good choice if you currently have a secured card, student card or a subprime card and have raised your credit score. A second credit card with rewards or lower interest could be a great addition to your wallet.

We considered all credit cards that are excellent complementary options, and we weighed in perks such as rewards, intro APR periods, welcome offers, annual fees and additional features. We selected the cards that offered the best combination of these perks.

    The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card is no longer available to apply for. Because of that, the position of best card for US travel goes to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card.

    Also, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express no longer offers a 0% intro APR period on balance transfers. But this doesn’t diminish the card’s value in a significant way.

    The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card has a new signup bonus. You can now earn $200 after you spend $500 in the first 3 months of card membership, plus you earn 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year.

Best second credit cards to complement your first

Best secondary credit card for points transfer

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best card for points transfers between other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. This card pairs well with a Chase Sapphire card because you can boost even your 1.5% base rewards rate to either 1.87% or 2.25% on travel redemption.
  • Points transfer value. Pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with one of the two Chase Sapphire cards can get you either either 25% or 50% higher redemption value for travel purchases at the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
  • Signup bonus. Earn $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months.
  • Cash back. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Earn 5% back on Lyft rides until March 2022.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft through March 2022, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
Rewards 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases

Best second credit card for balance transfers

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Apply now
on Citi's secure site
740
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 2%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
The Citi® Double Cash Card comes with one of the longest intro APR periods on balance transfers to help you pay off your debt with no interest. And once you clear your balance, earn one of the highest cashback rates on all purchases. This card pairs well with credit cards offering accelerated cash back on categories where you spend most. That way you can earn more cash back on those categories with the first card and use the Citi® Double Cash Card on all other purchases.
  • Intro APR period on balance transfers. Use 18 months of 0% intro APR period on balance transfers that are completed within your first 4 months. After the intro period ends, a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies.
  • Cash back. Earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay off your card. This means you earn a total of 2% cash back on all purchases.
  • No annual fee. Save money on interest plus earn cash back on all purchases without paying an annual fee.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)

Best second credit card for everyday purchases

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express logo
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
Up to 6%
Cash back
$250
Welcome offer
This is one of the best credit cards for everyday purchases as it comes with the highest cashback rate on categories such as US streaming services or purchases at US supermarkets. Because this card doesn't come with any travel perks and has foreign transaction fees, it pairs well with travel credit cards, airline and hotel cards that do have those perks and no foreign transaction fees.
  • Cash back. Earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, reverting to 1% after that. You'll also earn uncapped 6% cash back on US streaming services, 3% on transit purchases and purchases at US gas stations, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • Welcome offer. Earn $250 in statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Intro APR period. Use 0% intro APR period on purchases for your first 12 months of card membership. A variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies thereafter.
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer $250 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases

Best secondary credit card for travel within the US

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Points
20,000
Points welcome offer
If you're often on the road, staying at hotels or flying across the country, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card could be a solid secondary card candidate. That's because you get to earn rewards points on travel purchases, but also on gas and dining. This card pairs well with a flat rewards card with 2% back on all purchases, as well as with cards that offer 5% on rotating categories.
  • Rewards points. Earn 3x points on fuel, rideshares and transit, on flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals, on eating out or ordering in, and on popular streaming services. You earn 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months when you open your account.
  • Intro APR period. Get 12 months of 0% intro APR period on balance transfers and purchases. Once the intro period expires, a variable APR of 14.49% to 24.99% applies.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.49% to 24.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.49% to 24.99% variable)
Welcome offer 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 3x points on dining, gas, transit, travel and streaming and 1x points on all other purchases

Best secondary credit card for reward versatility

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠ logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card is a solid second card option because of its rotating categories. This can help you earn a generous cashback rate on different types of purchases each quarter. This card pairs well with similar cards offering 5% cash back on rotating categories. It's rare that accelerated cashback categories overlap during a quarter, meaning you can maximize your rewards.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter on a category you activate, after that you'll earn 1% back. You'll also earn 5% back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft through March 2022, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Earn $200 bonus cash back once you spend $500 in your first 3 months of account opening, plus earn 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $$12,000 in the first year.
  • Intro APR period. Get 0% intro APR period on purchases for your first 15 months. After that, a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
Rewards 5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases

How to choose the best second credit cards

When you’re looking for a second credit card, consider what you’re missing from your current card. If you already earn rewards on gas, for example, you may not need another gas rewards card. Instead, try to get a card with different types of perks as your first, such as:

  • Rewards. Consider where you spend most of your money and compare credit cards that will reward your spending.
  • Intro APR period. This can be a life-saver if you’re looking to make a large purchase and pay it off in a year or more with a credit card without interest, or if you’re already paying high interest on your current credit card balance.
  • Annual fee. There’s a variety of excellent credit cards with no annual fee. But if you’re looking to get the best perks and features, expect to pay anywhere from $49 to $550 or more.
  • Additional perks. You can get free checked bags on your flights, complimentary lounge access, or you can get car rental insurance and travel insurance. Identify which perks will give you the most value and compare cards that offer those perks.

Do I really need a second credit card?

A second credit card can be useful in many situations. It can help you maximize rewards, help you consolidate your debt with a balance transfer or let you use travel perks like free checked bags, airport lounge access and priority boarding. With an additional line of credit, you get increased purchasing power while keeping your utilization rate low.

The only reason not to get a second card is if you tend to overspend or if you can’t pay your balance on time.

When to get a second credit card

Getting a second credit card is a personal preference and it largely depends on several factors, such as:

  • Credit score. If your credit score has improved, you can apply for a better credit card than the one you currently have.
  • Annual income. If you have a higher income now than when you applied for your first card, you can potentially get a high credit line.
  • You want rewards on other categories. If you’re earning rewards on groceries, maybe it’s time to get a card with accelerated rewards on dining, gas or streaming services.
  • You’re stuck paying high interest. If you’re carrying a balance on your first card, consider a balance transfer credit card to pay off your debt without interest.
  • You travel more. If your spending and life habits have changed since you got your first card and you’re on the road more often, a travel credit card could be your next credit card option.

Bottom line

If your credit score has improved and you successfully managed to pay off your balance from your first credit card, now is a good time to consider applying for a second credit card. If you already have a good first credit card with rewards, think about which perks you still need that your card doesn’t have. Compare credit cards to find the best second credit card for you. And of course, you don’t have to stop at just two.

Compare even more credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Earn a huge signup bonus for a no annual fee card with rewards of up to 5% cash back on popular everyday categories.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
Long 18 months intro APR periods on purchases and balance transfers. Plus Citi Entertainment℠ for deals on dining and going out.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $1,000. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
This no-annual-fee cashback card is one of the most valuable on the market. It boasts a huge signup bonus and up to 5% cashback in multiple purchase categories.
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