A charge card is a credit card whose balance must be paid in full every month in order to continue making transactions. Charge cards are typically reserved for people with excellent credit, and while they tend to offer better rewards than a regular credit card, almost all have annual fees. If you’re comfortable with that, opening one of the following charge cards from our partners could be a great way to enjoy the convenience of paying with plastic without the temptation of incurring untenable debt. Just make sure to consider each card’s rewards structure in terms of your own spending habits in order to maximize savings. Check out the credit offers below (some of which are issued by WalletHub partners) to find the card that best suits your needs.
By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor Since charge cards can only be used to make purchases that you can afford to pay off by the end of the month, the best charge card must offer exceptional rewards on your biggest spending categories. Not only that, but it must also beat out all of the top rewards credit cards that do allow you to carry a balance from month to month. After all, your goal should be to find the card that will save you the most money, not just the best charge card.
With that being said, you can find our editors’ picks for the best charge cards below. So find your favorite and see how it stacks up against the offers with the best travel rewards, cash back and initial bonuses.
Before applying for a card, you should also make sure to check your latest credit score, which you can do for free on WalletHub. This will give you a sense of your approval odds. Our editors’ picks for the best charge cards all require at least good credit for approval.
Should I use a charge card or a debit card?
By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, WalletHub CEO There are benefits to using both charge cards and debit cards. Charge cards allow you to build credit history and do not require immediate payment for purchases, which provides both flexibility and added protection from fraud. You must simply pay your balance in full at the end of each month in order to retain purchasing privileges and avoid late fees. Additionally, charge card accounts provide far more lucrative perks and rewards than do debit cards. The only benefit that a debit card has over a charge card is that it makes it impossible to spend more than you can afford. Therefore, you should only use a debit card if you seek this type of inherent discipline.
Are there any charge cards for bad credit?
By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, WalletHub CEO No. Unfortunately, if you have bad credit, your credit card options are limited and at the present time there are no charge cards for people with bad credit.
Do retail stores offer their own charge cards?
By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, WalletHub CEO Many people refer to store cards as charge cards, making talk of a Sears charge card, a Walmart charge card, a Kohl's charge card or a Disney charge card quite common. However, in most cases store cards are credit cards, not charge cards, and they do not require that you pay your balance in full each month. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if it has an interest rate, it's not a charge card.
What is a charge card and why use one?
By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, WalletHub CEO A charge card is a credit card that requires the balance to be paid in full every month. Many people use charge cards because they force more disciplined spending than credit cards. Because charge cards require payment in full each month, consumers cannot adopt an "I'll pay for it later" type of approach and continue to amass more and more debt. If they do not pay their balances in full by a specific time (usually within 25 days of the bills arrival) they cannot make any more purchases. Additionally, many people enjoy the rewards and exclusivity garnered from charge cards. Users often earn points on their purchases and receive other perks like concierge service and discounted tickets to concerts and sporting events.
How to pick the best charge card?
By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, WalletHub CEO The two most important factors to consider when selecting a charge card are the rewards and the annual fee. In addition to earning points on your spending, some charge cards offer relatively extensive additional benefits such as a 24/7 concierge service, discounted tickets to concerts and sporting events, and airline and hotel perks. However, the more rewards a card provides, the higher its annual fee will likely be. So before applying for any charge card consider whether you will truly make use of its additional benefits. If you expect to only take advantage of the points earned on purchases, concentrate on finding the charge card with the lowest annual fee.
What does No Preset Spending Limit (NPSL) mean?
By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, WalletHub CEO A charge card with No Preset Spending Limit is one that does not have a pre-determined credit line. This does not mean that consumers will be able to spend limitlessly with No Preset Spending Limit credit cards and charge cards though. An issuer uses various factors including your income, credit score, payment history and spending patterns in order to determine how much money you can spend in a given month. This amount may change from month-to-month and you may not be able to find out what it is.
Comparing Charge Cards can be tough. But you’ve got the knowledgeable WalletHub community on your side. Other consumers have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not the financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
We work hard to show you up-to-date product terms, however, this information does not originate from us and thus, we do not guarantee its accuracy. Before submitting an application, always verify all terms and conditions with the offering institution. Please let us know if you notice any differences.
† Approval Odds are WalletHub estimates intended to gauge your likelihood of approval for a particular product. Approval Odds are based on WalletHub data and are not provided or endorsed by the lender. Approval Odds are not meant to imply or guarantee that you will be approved by the lender or that credit will be extended.
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