Best Credit Cards

Selected by WalletHub Editors from 1,000+ credit cards — Nov 17, 2017

The best credit cards are those whose terms stand out from their peers in at least one major category. After all, there is no perfect credit card. The best rewards cards are unlikely to have the best interest rates, for example, because they’re designed for people who pay their monthly bills in show moreshow less The best credit cards are those whose terms stand out from their peers in at least one major category. After all, there is no perfect credit card. The best rewards cards are unlikely to have the best interest rates, for example, because they’re designed for people who pay their monthly bills in full. And the best credit card for someone with bad credit won’t necessarily offer rewards, as low fees and high approval odds are much more important at that stage. As a result, deciding how you’re going to use your new plastic is one of the most important steps in finding the best credit card for your needs, along with checking your latest credit score.

To make things easy for you, WalletHub compared 1,000+ offers in search of the best credit cards for the most common consumer needs. WalletHub’s picks for the best credit cards of 2017, which you can find below, include cards for people of all credit levels. They also feature a mixture of big initial bonuses, lucrative ongoing rewards and 0% intro rates. Advertising status played no role in the selection process, though sponsored offers may be included.

To see the top credit cards listed by type of benefit (e.g. best travel rewards cards), select “More Categories” on the right.
Summary

Credit Score
Excellent Credit
750 — 850
Good Credit
700 — 749
Fair Credit
640 — 699
Bad Credit
300 — 639
Limited Credit
Less than 3 years of credit history
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excellent Credit

Credit Score
Excellent Credit
750 — 850
Good Credit
700 — 749
Fair Credit
640 — 699
Bad Credit
300 — 639
Limited Credit
Less than 3 years of credit history
Get Your Free Credit Score

Join WalleHub and get your credit score. It’s 100% free, forever.

Get your free credit score now

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

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  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 21 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 21 months
    Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
  • Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% (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.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

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  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 12 months
    Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
  • Regular APR 16.99% - 23.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $89 after
  • Rewards Rate 2 miles / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles
  • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles
  • Earn Rate 2 miles / $1

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

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 18 months
    Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
  • Regular APR 14.49% - 24.49% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0*
  • Rewards Rate 1% + 1% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Earn Rate 1% + 1% Cash Back

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.

SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card

SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR 4.25% (V) for 36 months
    Transfer Fee: None
  • Regular APR 12.24% - 22.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $100
  • Rewards Bonus $100
  • Earn Rate 1% Cash Back

Best For Long-Term Balance Transfers. Although the SunTrust Prime Rewards Card does not offer a 0% intro rate, it also charges neither a balance-transfer fee nor an annual fee. That, combined with a 4.25% APR for the first 36 months, makes it the perfect fit for large balances that will take well over two years to pay off. You can crunch the numbers with our balance transfer calculator to see how SunTrust Prime Rewards compares to the best 0% balance transfer cards in your specific situation.

Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card

Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 14.99% - 23.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee $75
  • Rewards Rate 5 - 10 points / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 85,000 points
  • Rewards Bonus 85,000 points
  • Earn Rate 5 - 10 points / $1

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.

good Credit

Credit Score
Excellent Credit
750 — 850
Good Credit
700 — 749
Fair Credit
640 — 699
Bad Credit
300 — 639
Limited Credit
Less than 3 years of credit history
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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0 for 1st yr, $95 after
  • Rewards Rate 2 miles / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 50,000 miles
  • Rewards Bonus 50,000 miles
  • Earn Rate 2 miles / $1

Best For Travel Rewards. The Capital One Venture Card is travel rewards royalty. The 50,000 bonus miles you get after spending $3,000 during the first three months can be redeemed for a $500 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.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Transfer intro APR 0% for 9 months
    Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $150
  • Rewards Bonus $150
  • Earn Rate 1.5% Cash Back

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 $150 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.

fair Credit

Credit Score
Excellent Credit
750 — 850
Good Credit
700 — 749
Fair Credit
640 — 699
Bad Credit
300 — 639
Limited Credit
Less than 3 years of credit history
Get Your Free Credit Score

Join WalleHub and get your credit score. It’s 100% free, forever.

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Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 24.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Earn Rate 1.5% Cash Back

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.

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

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  • 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.

limited Credit

Credit Score
Excellent Credit
750 — 850
Good Credit
700 — 749
Fair Credit
640 — 699
Bad Credit
300 — 639
Limited Credit
Less than 3 years of credit history
Get Your Free Credit Score

Join WalleHub and get your credit score. It’s 100% free, forever.

Get your free credit score now

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

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  • 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

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 24.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Earn Rate 1.5% Cash Back

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.

For College Students

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

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For College Students

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 24.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 1.25% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Rewards Bonus None
  • Earn Rate 1 - 1.25% Cash Back

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

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% (min $10)
  • Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 3% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $150
  • Rewards Bonus $150
  • Earn Rate 1 - 3% Cash Back

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 $150 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 offers charge foreign fees).

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students Credit Card

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students Credit Card

For College Students

  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 12 months
  • Transfer intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 15.99% - 23.99% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1.5 - 3 points / $1
  • Rewards Bonus 20,000 points
  • Rewards Bonus 20,000 points
  • Earn Rate 1.5 - 3 points / $1

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 travel 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

Credit Score
Excellent Credit
750 — 850
Good Credit
700 — 749
Fair Credit
640 — 699
Bad Credit
300 — 639
Limited Credit
Less than 3 years of credit history
Get Your Free Credit Score

Join WalleHub and get your credit score. It’s 100% free, forever.

Get your free credit score now

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

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Secured Card

  • Min Deposit Secured Card Min Deposit of $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.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Secured Card

  • Min Deposit Secured Card Min Deposit of $200
  • Annual Fee $35
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 18.39% (V)

Best For No Credit Check. The OpenSky Secured Card (Issued by one of our advertising partners) is notable not because of its $200 minimum deposit or $35 annual fee, but rather because no credit check is required for approval. That means you can begin rebuilding your credit right away, no matter how damaged it may be. And with that in mind, $35 seems like a bargain.

Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee

Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee

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Secured Card

  • Min Deposit Secured Card Min Deposit of $200
  • Annual Fee None
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 23.99% (V)

Best Rewards Secured Card. Not only does the Discover it Secured Card lack an annual fee, but it actually offers rewards – a rare combination for the bad-credit crowd. You will earn 2% cash back on the first $1,000 you spend at restaurants or gas stations each quarter as well as 1% on everything else. And everything you earn the first year will be doubled. Plus, Discover it’s $200 minimum deposit is lower than what many competing offers require. For full disclosure, Discover is one of our advertising partners.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa®

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa®

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  • Annual Fee $0 - $99
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 16.99% - 24.99% (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. For full disclosure, Credit One Bank is one of our advertising partners.

Ask Our Experts
Popular Questions

By: John Kiernan, Credit Card Editor
The best credit card for cash back (Citi Double Cash) is different than the best credit card for travel rewards (Barclaycard Arrival Plus), which in turn is different than the best credit cards for 0% purchases (Citi Diamond Preferred) and balance transfers (Chase Slate). You see, lots of credit cards have great terms in one or more categories, but even the best credit card offers aren’t perfect. So it's easiest to identify the best credit card for your needs if you know exactly what you’ll be using it for.

Plus, you can get great terms for every transaction that you make by following the Island Approach. This entails using a few different cards for specific purposes. For example, you could have separate cards for earning rewards on everyday purchases, doing a balance transfer and saving money at your favorite store.

Keep that in mind as you consider WalletHub’s picks for the best of the year’s best credit card offers, which can be found below.
 

Here are the best credit card offers:

 
Best Credit Card For... Card Name Annual Fee Credit Required
Travel Rewards Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® None 1st yr, $89 after Excellent
Cash Back Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer $0* Good
0% Purchases Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card $0* Good
Balance Transfers Chase Slate® $0 Good
Students Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® None Limited History
Newcomers Capital One® Platinum Credit Card None Limited History
Rebuilding Credit Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee None Bad


Knowing your credit score is crucial to finding the right credit card. If you don’t know where you currently stand, you can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub. The top credit cards overall require good or excellent credit for approval.

By: John Kiernan, Credit Card Editor

WalletHub's editors continually update this page to show the best credit card offers available. So we add awesome new offers whenever they’re introduced. And we remove cards if their terms worsen.

Given that credit card companies regularly adjust their products' terms, the best credit card offers tend to change regularly, too.

By: John Kiernan, Credit Card Editor

The simple answer is that the best credit card company is whichever has the best credit card for your needs. WalletHub’s editors’ picks for the best credit cards in each major usage category include offers from dozens of different credit card companies. And the most popular credit cards on the market come from many different issuers, as well.

With that being said, there is a clear hierarchy if you look at cardholder satisfaction. Discover’s customers have been the most satisfied for three years running, followed closely by American Express. Here’s the top five, as of 2016:
  1. Discover
  1. American Express
  1. Capital One
  1. Barclaycard
  1. Chase
  1. U.S. Bank
On the other hand, if you go by purchase volume, American Express leads the way, followed by Chase, Bank of America, Citi and Capital One.

Finally, it's worth noting the difference between credit card companies and networks. Credit card companies issue credit cards, set rates, charge fees and generally operate cardholders’ accounts. Credit card networks (e.g. Visa or Mastercard) simply dictate where you can use your plastic. Most companies fulfill one role or the other. But American Express and Discover – are hybrids, both issuing their own cards and serving as card networks.

Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit card networks worldwide. But all four networks have wide coverage in the U.S. So don't limit your search unless you have a very good reason, such as international travel plans.

By: John Kiernan, Credit Card Editor

Choosing a credit card can be difficult, as you have 1,000+ offers to choose from and a lot of jargon to decipher. It’s far from impossible, though. The easiest method is to sign up for a free WalletHub account, which will give you a credit card recommendation based on your latest credit score and payment preferences. You can’t go wrong simply choosing from WalletHub’s editors’ picks, either.

Regardless of the exact route you decide to take, choosing the right credit card necessitates knowing both your credit score and how you plan to use your plastic. After all, even the market’s best credit cards won’t do you much good if you can’t get approved. And while finding a perfect credit card is a fool’s errand, focusing on the few terms that actually figure to impact your day-to-day use makes card comparison fairly digestible, producing better results. You can learn more about how to choose a credit card from WalletHub’s guide on the subject.

By: John Kiernan, Credit Card Editor
There are three ways to apply for a credit card: 1) online, 2) over the phone and 3) by either mailing a paper application or submitting one in person at a branch location. Depending on the credit card company, all three application methods may not be available, though. Online credit card applications are definitely the most common, and we recommend the online route because you get a lot more information that way.

For example, you can easily read credit card reviews when you apply online as well as compare offers to make sure you’re getting the best card for your needs.

However you decide to apply for a credit card, you’ll be require to provide the same information, such as your Social Security number, address and annual income. And your credit history will be subject to the same review by the card’s issuer.

In short, applying for a credit card isn’t so scary. But if more info will comfort you further, you can find everything you need to know in WalletHub’s guide on how to apply for a credit card. We also have an annotated sample credit card agreement, which might clarify some aspects of the process.
 

By: John Kiernan, Credit Card Editor
In theory, there’s no secret to using a credit card wisely, or responsibly, whatever you want to call it. All you really need to do is pay your bill by the due date, preferably in full to avoid interest. And you should also try to use less than one-third of your credit line each month. As long as you do those things, your credit card will be an asset to your credit score.

But that’s only if you decide to make purchases with your card in the first place. Just having an open credit card account will benefit your credit standing, too.

Most people could stand to do a bit less spending, considering that the average household has around $8,000 in credit card debt. And racking up big balances that you carry from month to month is how you get in big trouble with credit cards. Not only will you waste a lot of money on interest, but your monthly minimum payments will eventually become unsustainable if you continue to spend beyond your means.

That’s why it’s so important to make a budget. Setting up automatic monthly payments from a bank account will also save you from being penalized for forgetfulness. And you can find plenty of additional pointers in WalletHub’s New to Credit Guide. You can also learn more about what not to do from our list of the biggest credit card mistakes.