Finder may earn compensation from partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

Best second credit cards to complement your first

Start building your financial swiss army wallet with a second credit card.

After getting comfortable with your first credit card, you may find it doesn’t quite do everything you need it to do financially. A second credit card that complements your first can fill these gaps and supplement your overall financial health. We considered all credit cards that are excellent complementary options, weighing in on rewards, intro APR periods, welcome offers, annual fees and additional features. We picked the cards with the best overall value for the lowest cost in these categories to give you a leg up on choosing the best second credit card for your needs.

Best secondary credit card for points transfer

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
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.

Best secondary credit card for reward versatility

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
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.

Best second credit card for balance transfers

Citi® Double Cash Card

Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
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.

Best second credit card for everyday purchases

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
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.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.
Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

Best secondary credit card for accelerated cash back

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Finder rating 4.9 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
If your first credit card offered flat cash back and you enjoyed the simplicity of the card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a perfect card to boost that cash back further without complicating your spending. It earns 5% back on purchases in the top eligible spending category each billing cycle on your first $500 total spent. This means it can make as much cash back as a rotating category card without the hassle of activating reward categories or spending on a tightrope.

What’s changed in 2021?

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

We added the new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card to the list thanks to its high potential cash back value for little effort and ease of use — both handy aspects of an additional card you’re adding to your wallet.

Consider what you’re missing when choosing a second credit card

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 probably don’t need another gas rewards card. Instead, try to get a card that fulfills one of the other benefits to using a credit card. Here are a few examples.

  • An intro APR. Credit cards that earn big rewards either omit intro APR offers or have smaller offers than a dedicated intro APR card. If you’re looking to save on interest on a future purchase or existing debt, this is a great secondary option.
  • Different earning rates or categories. For reward chasers, this is one of the most common reasons to pick up a second card. Picking up a credit card that earns rewards or cash back in categories not featured on your existing card is a foundation of creating a credit card rewards strategy.
  • Specific benefits. Many cards come with benefits that make your life easier when making purchases or traveling. These can include free checked bags, purchase protections, extended warranties and even travel insurance. Depending on your needs, these benefits alone can be worth picking up a specific card.
  • A signup bonus. Sometimes a credit card’s signup bonus is so valuable that it can be worth picking up the card for the bonus alone.

2 signs you’re ready to get a second credit card

You’ll know you’re ready for your second credit card when:

  • You’re completely comfortable in handling and paying off your existing credit card.
  • You’ve identified a new financial need and a second credit card will fulfill that task.
  • These tasks can vary from helping you consolidate your debt with a balance transfer to letting you use travel perks like free checked bags, airport lounge access and priority boarding. A second credit card is almost always useful not just for their individual benefits, but for the positive influence a larger credit limit will have on your utilization rate.

    If you tend to overspend or you’ve missed a few payments with your existing card, you’ll want to hold off on a second card until you get those habits in check. A second credit card should help you, not cause more difficulties. We have several tips for managing multiple credit cards if you think you’ll need help keeping your plastic under control as you add more to your wallet.

    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.

    More guides on Finder

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

    By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

    Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
    Go to site