What credit card is right for me?

Narrow the choices by considering your financial needs, habits and goals.

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There’s no one-size-fits-all credit card. The ideal card for you is going to be one that meets your financial needs, spending habits and reward goals. Whether you prioritize cash back, travel miles, a signup bonus or saving money on fees and interest, you can start comparing credit cards and narrowing down your options.

Factors to consider when choosing the ideal credit card for you

Choosing the right credit card is often a compromise — you get one set of perks, but you give up others. To help you decide what the ideal credit card is for you, consider the following:

Do you want to earn rewards?
  • You can earn cash back on everyday purchases, travel miles or points from a specific rewards program. With most cards, your redemption options will include a variety of rewards or the ability to transfer points between partner programs, such as hotels and airlines.
  • Rewards cards typically come with a high APR. Try to pay your balance in full by the due date to avoid paying interest.
Do you want to save money on interest?
  • This type of card often comes with a long 0% intro APR period on balance transfers and purchases, and a low APR after that.
  • Often you’ll have to give up on rewards to save money on interest. But some rewards cards, such as the cashback cards, come with a 0% intro APR period.
Do you want to pay an annual fee?
  • This can get you the highest rewards rates and benefits. Depending on your card, these benefits could include companion flights, free checked bags, free hotel stays, dedicated concierge, complimentary airport lounge access and more.
  • If you don’t use the additional perks as often as you would like, a no-annual-fee card may be a better option.
Do you want to save money on fees?
  • Depending on the card you choose, you can save money on foreign transactions, balance transfers and cash advances.
  • Most travel cards waive only the foreign transaction fees. The only type of cards that avoids all these fees are cards issued by credit unions. This is a drawback as you may not be eligible to join the credit union and apply for such a card.

Understand credit card rates and fees

Read all the fine print a few times to be sure you understand everything the card offers. Read up on what all the terms mean, such as APR and grace period. Sometimes they are explained on the credit card agreement, but you can also contact the credit card provider to learn more.

Annual fee

The ideal card for you may not be one without an annual fee. But if you are going to be carrying over a balance for a month or two, consider a card with a lower ongoing APR.

Interest rates

If you often carry a balance, a low-APR card may be the way to go. But know that unless you’re getting a credit union card — which often has fewer fees and lower APR — you’ll be giving up the option to earn generous rewards on your purchases.

Cash advances

Cash advances can be draining on a credit card since the fees and interest rates are high. Don’t count on using your credit card to get money out of the ATM every time you need it. Have a debit card at your disposal to withdraw cash at these times. Alternatively, you could get a credit card with no cash advance fees, but you will still incur an APR from the moment you make the transaction.

Compare credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.49% to 26.49% variable
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
1.5% cash back on all purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable)
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
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
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
$95
Earn $250 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
16.74% variable
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.

Compare up to 4 providers

%
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable)
3%
670
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 16.74% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
670
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable)
3%
670
Earn $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
680
Earn $250 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See issuer's website
300
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
1.5% cash back on all purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable)
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable)
$0
Earn $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
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
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
$95
Earn $250 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases
15.74% to 25.24% variable
$0
When you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $150 cash back bonus. Rates & Fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Filter values Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
26.49% variable
$0
300
Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.
19.14% variable
$35
300
A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
9.99% fixed
$48
300
This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
20.74% variable
$29
300
Build your credit with all three major credit bureaus.
13.99% fixed
$39
300
Open a personal savings deposit account to secure a credit line from $200 to $5,000.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Filter values Annual fee Purchase APR Recommended minimum credit score
$0
24.9% variable
580
A no-annual-fee credit card and discounts when you shop at Target.
$0
16.9% to 24.9% variable
580
Earn 5% cash back on gas (on up to $6,000 annually, then 1%), 3% on dining and travel and 1% on all other purchases.
$0
29.99% fixed
300
Build your credit history with low monthly payments.
$0
29.99% fixed
300
Get access to purchase items in the Fingerhut store with no overlimit fees.
$0
5.75% to 23.99% fixed
300
Buy now, pay later — low monthly payments make shopping easier

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

There is a credit card out there for everyone, but following the suggestions above can help you determine which card is ideal for you. Pay attention to your financial needs, spending habits and what you’d like to get out of the rewards.

Just don’t get overwhelmed comparing your many credit card options. Narrow down the perks you prioritize and you’ll be on your way to finding the right card.

Image: Shutterstock

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