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The best credit cards for 2021

Our top picks for cash back, travel perks, balance transfers, students and more.

Finder’s credit card experts spent over 450 hours reviewing more than 500 credit cards to determine which cards are best in their respective categories for 2021. Our rankings are based on factors such as reward rates and redemption opportunities for reward cards, and intro period length and revert interest rates for 0% APR cards. Unlike our competitors, Finder’s experts provide unbiased, trustworthy evaluations of all credit cards and providers, not just those we partner with on the site.

Here are a few of the latest cards to grab our attention for October 2021. Continue to read through our best credit cards list for even more favorites:

PROMOTED
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card logo

Best for long transfer intro APR

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express logo

Best for up to 3% back at US supermarkets, terms apply

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5
Chase Freedom Unlimited® logo

Best 5% cashback card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.7/5
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express logo

Best for families

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.3/5

best rewards credit card

Best rewards credit cards

When choosing this year’s top rewards cards, we looked at a number of factors, including rewards gained per dollar spent, available rewards categories, welcome offers, intro APR periods and other card perks or benefits. We highlighted those that stood out above the others in a particular category.

Best for families

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
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the market-standard for family reward cards, as it offers a great mix of accessibility and reward potential on everyday purchases for a low annual fee. Even with a $6,000 spending cap, the 6% back on US supermarkets is unmatched by any other card.
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 if you’re new to credit

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Finder rating 3.1 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on WebBank's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The consumer-friendly Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card doesn't require a credit score, charges no fees and comes with up to 1.5% cash back to boot. In fact, the Petal 2 is one of the only cards on the market to offer this level of rewards without requiring a single fee. If you're new to credit, it's hard to find a more forgiving card.

Best for Gas

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
Despite the branding, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is the top gas card on the market, offering a stellar 4% back on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%). Of course, this card also offers cash back at Costco as well as restaurants and travel, making it a great card for families on the move that want to reinvest their rewards into Costco.

Best for large welcome offer

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a consistently valuable travel rewards card well known for its luxury perks. One of those perks? A welcome offer worth up to an astounding $7,000 according to our valuations: the best on the market. And while the card's annual fee is steep, the card's excellent statement credits and perks makes up for it.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

What’s changed in 2021

Shifts within the credit cards industry and consumer spending habits ensured that several cards have moved positions this year, with the Blue Cash Preferred, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Petal 2 all gaining a spot this year.

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best cashback credit cards 2019

Best credit cards for cash back

When choosing this year’s top cashback cards, we looked at several factors, including cashback rewards gained per dollar spent, available cashback categories, welcome offers, intro APR periods and other card perks or benefits. We highlighted those that stood out above the others in a particular category.

Best for groceries with no annual fee

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
While more cards are offering grocery rewards this year, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express still offers one of the best rates available for groceries at a low cost and is a great pick for families.
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 for unlimited cash back

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
New earning categories added to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® have elevated this card to new heights. You'll earn great cash back no matter where you spend.

Best for rotating categories

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ gained several new flat-rate earning categories. This bolsters the card's earning potential year round, even on non-rotating categories.

Best for low credit

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on WebBank's secure site
The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card offers a similar consumer-friendly take on credit building as the Petal 2, though explicitly designed for those with poor credit.

What’s changed in 2021

Chase served up some big changes to their flagship cards late in 2020, giving the Freedom lineup incredible cash back value as we head into 2021.

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Balance-scale-transfer-credit-card-icon

Best credit cards for balance transfers

When choosing this year’s top balance transfer cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including intro period length, the revert APR, welcome offers and any additional rewards or perks offered. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these categories.

Best card for a long intro balance transfer APR

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers one of the longest intro balance transfer APRs on the market, backed up by an equally strong purchase APR and no annual fee.

Best card for ongoing rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card

Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
The Citi® Double Cash Card is not only one of the leading flat-rate cashback cards on the market, but it lets you save money on interest with a long balance transfer as well.

Best for small purchases

Citi Rewards+® Card

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
In addition to a balance transfer opportunity, the Citi Rewards+® Card Card rounds up your rewards to the nearest 10 points on every purchase. This makes it a good choice if you frequently make small purchases.

Best for poor credit

Discover it® Secured

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The surprisingly strong Discover it® Secured not only offers a reward rate comparable to non-credit-building cards, but it offers a modest intro APR on balance transfers as well.

What’s changed in 2021

Consumer balance transfer options took a big hit in 2020, as many providers removed intro offers from their cards, or in some cases, removed the balance transfer feature entirely. Citi largely kept the feature on its cards, leading to the provider becoming the go-to balance transfer choice in many categories.

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best travel credit cards 2017

Best travel credit cards

When choosing this year’s top travel cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including annual fees, foreign transaction fees, airline or hotel brands, welcome offers, reward opportunities, redemption options and other features a consumer might consider in a travel card. We highlighted those that stood out above the others in a particular category.

Best for rewards with no annual fee

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 most rewarding no-annual-fee credit cards you can get. With up to 5% cash back on select categories and an unlimited 1.5% back on all other purchases, it's hard to find a better alternative.

Best for everyday spending

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℠ offers 5% cash back on purchases made through the Chase travel portal. This is the same rewards rate you earn with premium travel cards. But unlike the $500 annual fee you pay with these cards, the Freedom Flex has a $0 annual fee.

Best for travel credits

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a $300 annual travel credit with no airline or hotel restrictions. This is higher than competitor premium cards that offer either $200 or $250 in credit.

Best for large welcome offers

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With a welcome offer worth up to $7,000 in redemption value when maxed out according to our valuations, no other card can match this. Even if you don't max out the welcome offer, you get at least double the value compared to similar premium travel cards offer.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best for gas

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
The Costco Anywhere Visa offers the highest cashback rate on gas purchases. On the downside, you can only redeem your rewards once each year.

Best for groceries

American Express® Gold Card

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
While you could find a card that earns higher rewards on groceries, the same card can't stand up to the suite of travel perks and benefits offered by the Amex Gold Card.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best for hotels

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier offers up to 25x points on IHG purchases, which comes at around 15% back. You also get a free night on your card anniversary each year and fourth free night when you book with points. Most hotel cards get you between 5% and 10% back on hotel purchases and rarely give out free reward nights.

Best for flat-rate rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

This card offers 2x miles on every purchase, which is the highest flat-rate travel card you can find. Similar cards offer 1.5x miles and they rarely offer additional perks like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit.

Best for miles match after first year

Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card

Finder rating 3.7 / 5 ★★★★★

Where most credit cards offer a simple signup bonus, the Discover it® Miles offers something better: a cashback match. In other words, Discover matches all the miles you earn during the year, without limits.

What’s changed in 2021

In late 2020 we saw a Chase Freedom takeover, and rightfully so. The two revamped Chase credit cards took over the spots as best for everyday spending and best rewards card with no annual fee.

The Amex Platinum Card didn’t stand idle as well. With the massive welcome offer it now stands as the king in its respective category.

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best no annual fee credit cards 2017

Best credit cards with no annual fees

When choosing this year’s top no-annual-fee cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including APR, welcome offers, reward opportunities, redemption options and other features a consumer might consider in a no-annual-fee credit card. We highlighted those that stood out above the others in a particular category.

Best for cash back

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® received several accelerated earning categories on top of its flat-rate earnings, boosting immensely boosting its value. Now it has overtaken the Citi Double Cash as the current industry standard for flat rate cashback credit cards.

Best for travel

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℠ offers excellent rotating cash back in useful categories. You'll also find a good signup bonus for a no-annual-fee card, as well as an intro APR on purchases.

Best for large signup bonus

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

Meeting the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Cards signup bonus criteria will get you around $420 in value, which is rare for a no-annual-fee card.

Best for balance transfers

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card currently sports the longest intro balance transfer APRs on the market. It also comes with an intro APR on purchases, which is a solid value for a card with no annual fee.

What’s changed in 2021

Chase’s incredibly strong Freedom cards grabbed several spots this year. Their raw earning potential combined with no annual fees means you can’t really go wrong with a Freedom card in many cases. Honorable mention goes to the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, which took over the longest intro balance transfer title from the Citi Simplicity® Card.

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calculator icon for low interest

Best credit cards with 0% intro APR

When choosing this year’s top 0% APR credit cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including fees, intro length, the revert APR, welcome offers and any additional rewards or perks offered. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these categories.

Best for groceries and gas

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
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with accelerated rewards on groceries and gas, and a long 0% intro APR period on purchases.
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 for flat-rate cash back

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With the 2020 revamp, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is now the best flat-rate cashback card you can get. Aside from earning cashback on multiple categories, you also get a 0% intro APR period on purchases.

Best for no late fees

Citi Simplicity® Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
The Citi Simplicity® Card is a simple card with no late payment fees, no annual fee, but also with no rewards.

Best for longest purchase intro APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers one of the longest intro APR periods on purchases and balance transfers, which makes it an excellent card for consolidating debt.

What’s changed in 2021

The Freedom Unlimited won a spot on our list because of its long 0% intro APR period on purchases and its revamped cashback categories.

business credit card icon

Best low-interest credit cards

When choosing this year’s top low-interest credit cards, we looked at several factors, including welcome offers, lowest APRs, reward opportunities and other card perks or benefits. We highlighted those that stood out above the others in a particular category.

Best for no late fees

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Finder rating 3.1 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on WebBank's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
Most reward cards come with many fees, including late payment fees. With the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card, fees are one thing you don't have to worry about.

Best for new professionals

Jasper Cash Back Mastercard®

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
Professionals recently graduated from college and professionals relocating to the US can use the Jasper Cash Back Mastercard® to build credit and earn cash back.

Best for large signup bonus

TD First Class℠ Visa Signature® Credit Card

Finder rating 3.5 / 5 ★★★★★

The TD First Class℠ Visa Signature® Credit Card is a rare card that offers low interest rates and a solid signup bonus worth up to $250. It also lets you earn miles on travel and dining purchases.

Best for lowest ongoing APR

Simmons Visa®

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

With the Simmons Visa®, you get one of the lowest APRs currently on the market. As a trade off, there are no rewards and no intro APR period on purchases.

Best for rewards

Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card offers generous rewards and some of the lowest interest rates you can find.

What’s changed in 2021

We added the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card and the Jasper Cash Back Mastercard® cards to our best list because of their low APRs and credit-building and reward value.

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best 0 APR credit cards 2017

Best business credit cards

When choosing this year’s top business credit cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including fees, free employee cards, credit limit, reward opportunities, welcome offers and any additional rewards or perks offered. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these categories.

Best for rewards on office supplies, internet and phone

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The is a great card for earning rewards on ongoing business expenses thanks to a massive cashback rate on office supplies, Internet and phone services for your first $25,000 spent annually. You also earn cash back on gas and dining, making it a decent pick for business travel, too.

Best for no personal guarantee required

Brex 30 Card

Finder rating 4.9 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Brex's secure site
Business cards with no personal guarantee have become more popular in 2020, thanks in part to the Brex for Startups card. By requiring no personal gurantee, the Brex 30 Card protects your personal assets should your business go belly up. You also get a unique signup bonus worth up to $150,000, as well as rewards on select purchases.

Best for unlimited cash back

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
If you don't want to worry about keeping track of reward categories, the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card keeps things simple. You can earn a respectable 1.5% back on all of your business purchases. The card also has a surprisingly robust welcome offer, letting you earn $750 after meeting the spend requirements.

Best business credit card for signup bonus

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
While the Business Platinum Card from Amex sports a high welcome offer, it falls short of the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card card's welcome offer. Spend $15,000 in your first 3 months and you'll earn an astounding 100,000 points. This can be worth up to $1,250, making it a great windfall for business investments.

Best for selecting your bonus category

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Being able to choose your highest rewards category is a great boon when running a business. The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards lets you choose from several common business expenses, such as office supplies and travel, while supplementing your earnings if you're a Business Platinum or Preferred Rewards member.

Best business credit card for balance transfers

U.S. Bank Business Platinum

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With less balance transfer offers on the market than before, the U.S. Bank Business Platinum has become this year's best bet for business owners looking to consolidate debts. While the card doesn't offer a signup bonus or rewards, it has no annual fee. And if you need to invest in some office supplies, the card also comes with an intro APR on purchases.

Best business credit card for luxury travel

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
Like its consumer counterpart, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is is all about luxury. You gain access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, including access to the much praised Centurion Lounge. Of course, this card also comes with other luxury perks, including hotel benefits, travel credits and more.

Best business credit card for building credit

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

If you're starting a business but don't have a prior credit history, the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is a great choice for kickstarting your score. You can drop a security deposit of up to $25,000 on your account, which can help you avoid hitting a brick wall when it comes to investing. Plus, you'll earn rewards on your card payments, which is a rarity among secured cards.

Best for new businesses

Ramp Visa® Commercial Card

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Sutton Bank's secure site
The Ramp Visa® Commercial Card is the newest business card for startups on the block and offers an array of features that can help new businesses grow. Aside from a solid rewards rate, the Ramp Visa® Commercial Card analyzes your business spending to identify areas you can save. The card also features 18 different signup bonuses, worth thousands of dollars in value.

Best for payment flexibility

The Plum Card® from American Express

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
American Express's Plum Card offers a bit more flexibility than its other business offerings. So long as you pay at least 10% of your balance before the due date, Amex offers a 60-day grace period on interest. For businesses uncertain about their finances within their first few months, this extra grace period can help keep things afloat.

What’s changed in 2021

We saw a few new additions to our business card picks for 2021. The most exciting additions are the Ramp Visa® Commercial Card and The Plum Card® from American Express, two business cards aimed at helping small or new businesses hit the ground running. Card flexibility was also an important concern over 2020 given the uncertain economic landscape, with the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards and U.S. Bank Business Platinum offering businesses extra wiggle room in terms of rewards and balance transfers respectively.

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Best secured credit cards for bad credit 2017

Best secured and credit building

When choosing this year’s top secured credit cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including fees, required deposit, credit limit, reward opportunities, welcome offers and any additional rewards or perks offered. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these categories.

Best for lowest ongoing APR

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

Finder rating 3.6 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Synovus Bank's secure site
This card is designed to help you build credit while paying a low APR on purchases. But you'll have to pay an annual fee for the card.

Best for no credit history credit check

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Capital Bank N.A.'s secure site
The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card doesn't pull your credit history when you apply. But you'll have to make a secured deposit to use the card.

Best for lowest deposit

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Capital One Bank®'s secure site
This card is unique in the secured card space because you can make a secured deposit lower than the amount you receive as a credit limit.

Best for rewards

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured

Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★

With a cashback rate rivaling non-secured cards, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured is probably the most rewarding secured credit card you can find.

What’s changed in 2021

This year, the Bank of America card is the new undisputed best secured card with rewards, dethroning the Discover it® Secured.

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best student credit cards 2018

Best student credit cards

When choosing this year’s top student credit cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including fees, credit limit, reward opportunities, student-specific perks, welcome offers and any additional rewards or benefits offered. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these categories.

Best for no fees

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Finder rating 3.1 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on WebBank's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card is the new card on the block aimed at newly graduated professionals.

Best for paying off student loans

Sallie Mae Accelerate℠

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The Sallie Mae Accelerate℠ offers 1.25% cash back on every purchase. But if you use it to pay down your student loan, your rate goes up by another 25% for a total cashback rate of 1.56%.

Best for studying abroad

Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

This card offers solid, consistent rewards that you can redeem as statement credit for a variety of travel purchases. An excellent choice for a study-abroad trip, as you'll pay no foreign transaction fees.

Best for rewards

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students offers strong rewards in a variety of common student spend categories. Its cashback rates are among the highest you'll find for student cards.

What’s changed in 2021

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards for Students dethroned the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One this year because of its higher rewards potential. Also, the Sallie Mae Accelerate℠ card took its spot as a solid option for paying off your student loans.

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Here’s how to choose the best credit card for you

There is no single “best” credit card out there. A card’s value ultimately comes down to whether it delivers the features you need and you’ll use to your financial benefit. You’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to help you decide which credit card features are most important in your final choice.

  • Will you need to carry a balance in the future? While it’s a good practice to pay off your credit card balance at the end of each month, a low-interest rate can let you carry a balance without incurring much interest.
  • Are you looking to save on interest? An intro APR on purchases can let you make several large payments and pay them off over time without interest. A balance transfer intro APR, on the other hand, can let you save interest on your existing debts by moving your debts to the card and paying it off interest-free over the promotional period. Both are powerful ways to save money you may have spent otherwise.
  • Do you want to pay an annual fee? A credit card that offers rewards and doesn’t charge an annual fee is pure profit back into your account. If you’re given the option to obtain a credit card with rewards, and it otherwise fulfills your other financial needs, you’ll want to take that opportunity.
  • Are there certain credit card perks you’d like? Many cards offer additional perks, such as cell phone protection or travel insurance. These offer some great additional value to your card, especially if your card also doesn’t require an annual fee.

What does a best credit card look like?

Here are some examples of what standout features some of the best credit cards on the market have.

Type of card and exampleWhat a best card looks like
Intro APR Card: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
  • Long intro APR: 12 months
  • Intro APR on purchases AND balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • Higher than average balance transfer time limit at 4 months
  • Cash back card: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back AND accelerated earning categories in travel, dining and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • Intro purchase APR: 15 months
  • Welcome offer: $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Travel card: The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Large welcome offer: 100,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • Valuable perks: $200 airline fee credit, airport lounge access, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee statement credit
  • Using perks can easily pay for the cost of the card
  • Secured card: OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • Doesn’t check credit score during application
  • Low annual fee
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • How we choose our top credit cards

    Though there are a lot of factors that go into how we choose the best credit cards in a given category, a few of the more important factors included the card’s value vs the cost and its unique features and performance vs the competition. You can check out our full methodology for more information on our decisions.

    You can also compare all credit cards for a better sense of the features you’ll find on the average credit card.

    What is the best credit card company?

    Just as there is no single best credit card out there, there is no single best credit card company that will fulfill all your needs. With that said, many of the most popular credit card companies are sought after for a reason. Here’s a quick look at the top issuers based on market share according to Finder’s most recent research.

    ProviderJD Power Rating (1,000 point scale)Better Business Bureau Rating
    American Express838A+
    Discover837A+
    Bank of America812A+
    Chase809A+
    Capital One808A
    Citi801F
    Synchrony Bank800A+
    Wells Fargo800NR
    Barclays796A+
    U.S. Bank786A+
    Credit One Bank739A-

    What makes a credit card company “the best”?

    Credit card companies that are known as the “best” usually specialize in one area where they outperform competitors. They will focus on serving their niche market through quality, variety or both.

    Here are a few examples from some of the more popular card issuers today. You’ll note that in each example, a different type of cardholder stands to most benefit from the services offered.

    Amex:The products of American Express cater to cardholders in the high-end market, offering numerous perks and benefits. This includes concierge service, Centurion Lounge access, ShopRunner membership after you enroll and more.

    Chase: You’ll find that Chase offers a wide selection of credit cards for nearly every type of cardholder. Chase also possesses one of the more valuable rewards programs in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

    Citi: When it comes to rewards, Citibank runs head to head with Chase and Amex. However, Citi’s cashback cards, in particular, are standouts in the industry and a go-to for consumers looking for a simple and valuable cashback program.

    Discover: Discover is known in part for not offering any credit cards that require annual fees. Despite this, Discover still offers some great cards packed with rewards and will match rewards earned at the end of the first year in lieu of a traditional signup bonus.

    Wells Fargo: Started in 1852, Wells Fargo offers easy-to-understand, straightforward credit card options, which is ideal for those who simply need a credit card for standard purposes. As a tradeoff, it lags behind other front runners when it comes to rewards and perks.

    What makes the credit card the best depends on what matters to you most and how you spend your money. Alex Claro, VPN analyst at Credit Donkey, tells Finder, “Some credit cards provide a variety of incentives, including cash back, redeemable miles or points, and discounts on future purchases.” He adds that,

    “You can earn rewards on some or all of your purchases, and depending on the rewards program, you can redeem them once you’ve earned a specific amount. Travel and trip cancellation insurance, rental car insurance, extended warranty, and purchase and price protection are examples of credit card benefits that differ per credit card.”

    How we rate our cards

    ★★★★★ — Excellent

    ★★★★★ — Good

    ★★★★★ — Average

    ★★★★★ — Subpar

    ★★★★★ — Poor

    Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

    We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

    Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

    More guides on Finder

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    4 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      DmitryDecember 6, 2018

      What is the best product for people without credit score (gain credit card for the first time)?

        Default Gravatar
        AshDecember 11, 2018

        Hi Dmitry,

        Thank you for reaching out to us.

        It is worth noting that there are credit builder credit cards you can use to build your credit history. So, be sure to explore them.

        Also, you may consider comparing secured credit cards as they do not have a credit check and will likely be easier for you to be approved of and build you credit. With a secured credit card, you will have to make a security deposit that will be your initial credit limit. Making on-time payments and having no defaults will build a good credit score.

        I hope this helps.

        Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions.

        Cheers,
        Ash

      Default Gravatar
      JustinNovember 10, 2017

      Is Citibank not as good as AMEX in terms of customer satisfaction? Which no annual fee cash back credit card are highly rated among reviewers for people with excellent credit?

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JudithNovember 10, 2017Staff

        Hi Justin,

        Thanks for your question. AMEX tends to beat out Citibank in terms of overall customer satisfaction and customer care. However, AMEX is not accepted at as many outlets as a network like VISA or Mastercard, so keep that in mind as you shop for a card.

        If you have excellent credit, you have more options when it comes to shopping for perks. If you travel often, AMEX is known for its traveler and airline perks. If you need a balance transfer, Citibank may have a contender with the Citi Simplicity.

        For a list of options of No Annual Fee cards, you may check the table of no-fee cards at the top of the page you’re viewing. You may also go check our page on no annual fee credit cards for other options.

        Kindly review the relevant details as well as the Product Disclosure Statements / Terms & Conditions of each option so you could compare and eventually choose the one which suits your needs.

        I hope this helps.

        Best regards,
        Judith

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