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Best Credit Cards of December 2023

Review Updated
Matt Koppenheffer
Lyle Daly
By: Matt Koppenheffer and Lyle Daly Our Credit Cards Experts
Nathan Alderman
Check IconFact Checked Nathan Alderman
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Looking for a top credit card with a huge sign-up bonus, great rewards, and long 0% intro interest offers? You've come to the right place.Our experts have compared hundreds of credit cards (216 at last count) to bring you the handful that we think are the best credit cards.

And unlike other sites, we're not just putting cards in front of you that we've been paid to put on our page. We recommend these cards because these are the cards we would (and do!) recommend to our friends and family, and many are the credit cards we use ourselves -- as you'll see in our first-hand reviews below.

Simplifying the process of picking one of the best credit cards

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of credit card options. So we've simplified our list to bring you a quick overview before you deep dive into our reviews.
  • Our travel credit card pick: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (see ). This card is your ticket to premium travel rewards. Step away from crowded airports and relax in the exclusive Capital One airport lounge and partner lounges. With no foreign transaction fees, you can make high-value purchases without extra costs. New card members earn 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Our pick for 0% intro purchase APR: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. If you're looking to make a big purchase, this card has one of the longer 0% intro APRs periods with 15 billing cycles. After that, the 18.24% - 28.24% (Variable) applies.
  • Our pick for cash back credit card: Discover it® Cash Back (see ). This card has the highest cash back potential for cards with no annual fee. The key is the Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. -- Discover will match new cardholders' cash back earned in the first year -- plus the 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories (up to the quarterly maximum when you activate) and 1% on other purchases.
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Apply Now for Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo's Secure Website.

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
Great for: Overall top credit card with simple cash rewards
Apply Now for Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo's Secure Website.

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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= Poor
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Good/Excellent (670-850)
Apply Now for Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo's Secure Website.

Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Good/Excellent (670-850)

Intro APR Circle with letter I in it. 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Purchases: 0% intro APR, 15 months from account opening

Balance Transfers: 0% intro APR, 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Regular APR

20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

2% cash rewards

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

$200 cash rewards
  • A standout cash back card that has no annual fee and comes with a competitive cash rewards welcome offer and 0% intro APR offer. Read Full Review

    • Unlimited 2% cash rewards
    • Long 0% intro APR offer
    • Generous cash rewards welcome bonus
    • No annual fee
    • Cellphone protections
    • Card perks
    • Free FICO® Score updates
    • No bonus categories
    • Foreign transaction fees
    • Balance transfer fee
    • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
    • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
    • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.
    • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.
    • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.
    • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
Great for: Rotating high cash back categories plus first-year cash back match
Apply Now for Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's Secure Website.

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Good/Excellent (670-850)
Apply Now for Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's Secure Website.

Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Good/Excellent (670-850)

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Regular APR

17.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

1% - 5% Cashback

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Includes a robust rewards program and rich sign-up bonus offer that has unlimited upside. Somehow this card also packs in a great intro APR offer for no annual fee. Read Full Review

    • Rotating bonus categories
    • Sign-up bonus offer
    • Great intro APR offer
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • No fixed bonus categories
    • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
    • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
    • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time.
    • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
    • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 17.24% to 28.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
    • No annual fee.
    • Terms and conditions apply.
Great for: Points on your everyday spend
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Good/Excellent (670-850)
Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Good/Excellent (670-850)

Intro APR

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

2X-5X miles

Annual Fee

$95

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

75,000 miles
  • Unlimited 2X miles, TSA Pre✓® credits, and a big sign-up bonus make this credit card one of the best travel companions. Read Full Review

    • Excellent sign-up bonus
    • Unlimited miles on purchases
    • Travel credit
    • Multiple ways to use miles
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Annual fee
    • No 0% intro APR offer
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
    • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
    • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
    • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through the Partner Lounge Network
    • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
    • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
    • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Great for: Long 0% introductory offers and no late fees or penalty rates
Apply Now for Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rating image, 4.75 out of 5 stars.
4.75/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.75 out of 5 stars.
4.75/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Good/Excellent (670-850)
Apply Now for Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Good/Excellent (670-850)

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.99% (Variable)

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening.

Lower intro balance transfer fee
  • With a long 0% intro APR offer, no late fees, no annual fee, and no penalty rate, this card is an unmatched pick. Read Full Review

    • Great intro APR
    • No annual fee
    • No late fees
    • No penalty APR
    • No rewards
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
    • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
    • There is an introductory balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater, for balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening.
    • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock.
Citi Simplicity content is not provided by the issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of the The Ascent alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
Great for: Long matching 0% introductory offers
Apply Now for Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo's Secure Website.

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Good/Excellent (670-850)
Apply Now for Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo's Secure Website.

Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Good/Excellent (670-850)

Intro APR Circle with letter I in it. 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Purchases: 0% intro APR, 21 months from account opening

Balance Transfers: 0% intro APR, 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Regular APR

18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR

Rewards

N/A

Annual Fee

$0
  • A clear leader with a 0% intro APR offer that is among the longest we've come across. Read Full Review

    • Long 0% intro APR offer
    • No annual fee
    • Cellphone protection
    • Free FICO® Score
    • Balance transfer fee
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
    • 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate, BT fee of 5%, min $5.
    • $0 Annual Fee.
    • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
    • Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can get access to personalized deals from a variety of merchants. It's an easy way to earn cash back as an account credit when you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using an eligible Wells Fargo credit card.
Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
Great for: 0% offer plus rotating bonus category cash back
Apply Now for Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's Secure Website.

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Good/Excellent (670-850)
Apply Now for Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's Secure Website.

Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Good/Excellent (670-850)

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Regular APR

20.49%-29.24% Variable

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.

5% cash back offer

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!

$200 bonus
  • Checks all the boxes for a cash back credit card, with high cash back rates across several categories, a 0% intro APR, and a big sign-up bonus. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • Lucrative cash back program
    • Long 0% intro APR
    • No annual fee
    • Purchase and travel protections
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
    • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
    • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom FlexSM card
    • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
    • Member FDIC
Great for: Travel rewards with no annual fee
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
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= Poor
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Good/Excellent (670-850)
Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Good/Excellent (670-850)

Intro APR Circle with letter I in it. 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers will apply. A 3% fee applies to all balance transfers.

Purchases: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases

Balance Transfers: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days

Regular APR

18.24% - 28.24% (Variable)

Rewards

1.5 points per dollar

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

25,000 points
  • No annual fee travel cards typically skimp on the sign-up bonus, but this card delivers with its intro bonus offer, unlimited rewards on purchases, and a generous 0% intro offer on purchases and balance transfers. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • No annual fee
    • Competitive rewards rate on purchases
    • Great 0% intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers
    • Limited ways to use points
    • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
    • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
    • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
    • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee applies to all balance transfers.
    • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
    • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
    • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
Great for: Earning cash back while rebuilding credit
Rating image, 4.25 out of 5 stars.
4.25/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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Rating image, 4.25 out of 5 stars.
4.25/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Fair/New to Credit Under(669)
Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Fair/New to Credit Under(669)

Intro APR

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR

28.24% (Variable)

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%

1% - 3% cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer

N/A
  • One of the most competitive secured credit cards we've come across. The rewards program and $0 annual fee are standout features that beat many similar offers.
    • Cash back rewards
    • No minimum credit score required
    • No annual fee
    • Can qualify to have security deposit returned
    • Minimum deposit amount
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • A minimum security deposit of $200 (maximum of $5,000) is required to open this account.
    • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee and no expiration on rewards.
    • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
Great for: Flat-rate cash back
Apply Now for Citi Double Cash® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Fair to Excellent (580-850)
Apply Now for Citi Double Cash® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Fair to Excellent (580-850)

Intro APR Circle with letter I in it. N/A

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. 2% cash back: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Up to 2% cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

20,000 ThankYou® Points
  • With a high, unlimited cash back rate, a lengthy 0% intro APR on balance transfers, and no annual fee, this card is a winner. Read Full Review

    • High cash back
    • 0% intro APR balance transfer offer
    • No annual fee
    • Free credit score monitoring
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • No 0% intro APR on purchases
    • No sign-up bonus
    • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
    • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
      Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
    • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
    • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
    • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
Great for: Earning high cash back while building credit
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Credit Score: Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Recommended Credit Score required for this offer is: Fair/New to Credit Under(669)
Credit Score Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Fair/New to Credit Under(669)

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 6 months

Balance Transfers: 10.99%, 6 months

Regular APR

18.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

Rewards Circle with letter I in it. 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically

1% - 5% Cashback

Annual Fee

$0

Welcome Offer Circle with letter I in it. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Cashback Match™️
  • A leading student credit card with a rewards program that goes toe-to-toe with some of the top rewards cards we've come across. Read Full Review

    • Rotating bonus categories
    • Valuable sign-up bonus offer
    • Good for avoiding fees
    • Credit score monitoring
    • Highly rated customer service
    • No fixed bonus categories
    • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
    • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
    • No credit score required to apply.
    • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
    • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 18.24% - 27.24% applies.
    • Terms and conditions apply.
  • I've been part of The Motley Fool since 2006, helping our readers make more and save more through investing and their personal finances. I get excited about what most others find dreadfully boring. Specifically, when a credit card says "terms apply," I'm actually reading those terms. All of them. I've been juggling multiple credit cards for decades to maximize rewards, and I've held credit cards on multiple continents.Of the cards we list on this page, I personally currently use or have in the past used some of them (many of my teammates at The Ascent use the others we list).

Our pick for best credit card overall

Choosing a great credit card being easier than you think -- and the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is proof of that.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

  • Flat-rate 2% cash rewards on spending
  • $200 welcome offer (after spending $500 in first three months)
  • No annual fee

With the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card you earn 2% cash rewards on your spending. No juggling cards, no figuring out rewards systems. You spend at the grocery store: 2%. At the vet: 2%. Paying for Netflix: 2%. It’s really that easy.

Better still, this card has a welcome offer of $200 after you spend $500 in the first three months of card ownership.And that's all for a card with no annual fee, meaning that as long as you pay your credit card statements in full and on time (and we suggest that you do), you'll pay no ongoing fee for owning this card and earning cash rewards with it.The perks on the card aren’t as extensive as a card that carries an annual fee, but hey, we like no annual fee. Still, you do get cell phone protection of up to $600 covering damage or theft (terms apply here) and Wells Fargo’s “Credit Close-Up” that provides your FICO score monthly (enrollment required for this one).In all, this card is proof that it doesn’t need to be complicated to find a great credit card.

Apply for the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (on Wells Fargo's website)

Our first-hand experience

"I got this card originally for the 0% introductory APR offer and the cash-back rewards and bonus. (Editor's note: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card card offers 0% APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; after that, the go-to 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR applies.) I was taking on a home renovation project and thought that both the 0% APR period and cash rewards could help with our costs. I ended up keeping it for the cell phone protection feature."


Rachel Zinanti, team member at The Motley Fool Ascent

The 2 best credit cards for balance transfers with a long 0% introductory offer

If you have credit card debt and are currently paying interest on that debt, getting a credit card with a 0% introductory balance transfer offer – or, better still, a paired 0% purchases and balance transfer offer – can give you some space from paying interest while you work down that credit card debt.

Our top pick: Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

  • 0% introductory APR for 21 months from account opening on balance transfers (after that, the go-to 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR rate applies)
  • 0% introductory APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases (after that, the go-to 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR rate applies)
  • No annual fee

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card also makes this list because of its matching 0% introductory offers for 21 months from account opening on balance transfers and purchases. This is another card with no annual fee, which is ideal when you’re trying to pay down credit card debt or generally avoid interest. But if you are thinking specifically about a balance transfer, this card does have a balance transfer fee of 5%, min: $5.

One thing I do like about a lot of the Wells Fargo cards, and Wells Fargo Reflect Card has this feature as well, is the $600 in cell phone protection against damage or theft (terms apply here). It’s a perk that you don’t see on most cards.

Apply for the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card (on Wells Fargo's website)

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Matching 0% offers
Matching 0% offers may seem nice to have, but they're more advantageous than you might guess. If you carry a balance on a credit card, you lose your grace period. The grace period is that wonderful feature that if you pay your balance in full every month, you don’t accrue any interest on new purchases until after your due date. But, if you carry a balance, you lose that grace period, and new purchases begin accruing interest immediately. If you have matching 0% intro offers on balance transfers and purchases, you don’t have to worry about that, because your new purchases will be interest-free thanks to the 0% offer.

Alternative to this card

Also good: Citi Simplicity® Card

  • 0% introductory APR for 21 months on balance transfers (after which the go-to regular APR applies)
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases (followed by the same go-to rate)
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% ($5 min) for first 4 months, then 5% ($5 min.)

The Citi Simplicity® Card also offers 21 months of 0% introductory interest on balance transfers, is also a no-annual-fee card, and does not apply penalty rates for missed payments. The balance transfer fee here also gives you a bit of a break for the first four months, after which it rises. What’s nice about the Citi Simplicity Card is that there is that there’s also no fee for late payments – a nice complement to the no penalty rate feature. That said, we strongly recommend that you make payments on time, even with these features.

Where the Citi Simplicity Card lags is the intro 0% purchase offer. That’s at 12 months, which is considerably shorter than the 21 months of the balance transfer offer (again, the go-to regular APR applies to purchases after the introductory offer). Maybe not that big of a deal, especially if you’re just focused on the balance transfer offer, but it’s worth noting.This content is not provided by the issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of The Ascent alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer

Apply for the Citi Simplicity® Card (on Citi's website)

Who shouldn’t get these cards

If you don’t have credit card debt and you’re not in a position where you need a period of 0% interest on new purchases, then these aren’t the cards for you. Many top cards also include 0% introductory offers, which is fine. But if you don’t need a 0% offer, focus on other card categories instead.Additionally, if you could benefit from a 0% interest offer, but don’t need the absolute longest period of 0%, then you can typically get a better all-around card by using a shorter 0% introductory offer. And if this sounds like you, just read on – those cards are next.

The best cards for building and rebuilding credit

If you have a poor credit history or have little or no credit history at all (for example, if you’re still a student), qualifying for a lot of the cards on this page can be difficult, if not impossible. The good news is that there are cards that will help you build your credit and offer some nice features as well.

Our top pick: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card

  • 3% cash back on a category of your choice and 2% on grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined spend per quarter)
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
Close on the heels of that card is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card. Here’s another secured credit card that can help you build credit, but also lets you earn cash-back rewards. And the rates of cash back are generous at 3% for your choice of a category like gas, dining, or online shopping; 2% for grocery stores and wholesale clubs; and 1% everywhere else. There is a limit on the amount of spend for the 2% and 3% rewards rates, but it’s a relatively high max of $2,500 per quarter.The card has no annual fee, and you get free access to your FICO score. Bank of America will periodically review accounts to see if they qualify to be bumped up out of a secured card, but they don’t define specifically when that review happens. A security deposit of at least $200 is required here.

Apply for the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card (on Bank of America's website)

The best student card

Though they also serve people without top-notch credit, the best student credit cards tend to be a bit of a step up from secured cards. Likely because card issuers are aiming for a good first impression to try to win lasting customers.In any case, rewards are often a bit better, there may be welcome bonuses, there’s rarely a security deposit of any sort, and you might even find a 0% introductory offer.It’s once again Discover and Bank of America that lead the way in this category. And once again, Discover gets our top marks.

Our top pick for students: Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • 5% cash back on rotating categories like grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations (up to quarterly maximum of $1,500, activation required)
  • Unlimited cash back match at the end of the first year
  • No annual fee

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is a wonderful card in large part because it looks so much like the Discover it® Cash Back. There’s no annual fee, and users earn 5% cash back in rotating categories like Amazon.com, grocery stores, and restaurants (up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500).

But the best part is that Discover matches all of the cash back you've earned at the end of the first year. That effectively makes the base 1% cash back rate 2% during that first year. And the higher 5% bonus rate becomes a whopping 10%.We’re financially focused, so we’re not the place that’s going to tell you to pick a financial product based on style. That said, the Discover it® Student Cash Back does offer a selection of nice designs, so students are not carrying something that’s the same old boring blue or silver of most standard cards.

Apply for the Discover it® Student Cash Back (on Discover's website)

Who shouldn’t get these cards

Well, this is pretty simple. If you have fair, good, or excellent credit, you will qualify for cards that are better than the secured cards and you won’t have to pay a security deposit. So if that's you, you should probably check out our other categories.And, if you’re not a student, well … you’re not going to qualify for the best student credit cards with most issuers. Plus, again, if you have good credit, you’ll likely be able to find a better card than a student card anyway.

The 2 best credit cards for travel rewards

You can’t have a list of the best credit cards of 2023 without featuring cards that can be used to rack up serious points and access quality perks. These cards take a bit of work to get the most value, but if you’re willing to do that work, it can really pay off.I will note that while you can certainly use a single card from this list, if you’re going the direction of rewards maximization, the best credit cards for travel typically work well when paired with other cards to get the most rewards across the most categories.

Our top pick: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent
  • 5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel
  • 75,000 miles bonus offer (after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is our top pick and was the anchor card in my wallet for a long time. (See .) It’s simply a great card that allows you to earn a solid 2 miles per $1 spent across all of your spending, plus 5 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Miles can be used to reimburse yourself for travel you’ve paid for and is on your card statement. You can also use them to book travel through Capital One Travel. Or you can transfer them to Capital One travel partners like Air France KLM, British Airways, and Virgin Red.There’s a $95 annual fee, but there’s also an impressive 75,000 miles offer when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of having the account. There are a number of nice perks like Capital One lounge visits, a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck, no foreign transaction fees, rental car coverage, and extended warranty coverage.

I mentioned above that this used to be in my wallet. Why not anymore? It was a lifestyle change. We had kiddos enter the picture, which meant less travel, which meant less utility from the card. But this will be top of my list when that changes again, especially if it has a welcome bonus like the current one.

Apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (on Capital One's website)

Our first-hand experience

"At the time I used the Capital One Venture Card I was busy, but also traveling a lot. So it was really the perfect card because it has great travel-focused rewards and perks, but also is easy to get value from the card. We were also doing a lot of international travel at the time, and the no foreign transaction fee was crucial -- credit card was time and again the easiest way to pay in countries around the world, and getting solid exchange rates without the extra fee on top made it practical to use this card from Casablanca to Kyoto."


Matt Koppenheffer, General Manager, The Motley Fool Ascent

Also good: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  • 1.5 points per dollar
  • 25,000 points (that's 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases)
  • No annual fee
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is proof that you can have a great travel rewards card with no annual fee.Yes, when you pay an annual fee for a travel rewards card (like the ones above) you can expect somewhat higher everyday rewards rates and certain extra perks. There's also generally a beefy welcome bonus.But with the Bank of America Travel Rewards you get a very solid 1.5 points per dollar on your everyday spending. Plus, there's a current welcome bonus of 25,000 points.And remember, if you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, the rewards rate bumps up between 25% and 75%.There's also no foreign transaction fee. Which may seem obvious for a travel credit card, but some travel cards do have a foreign transaction fee (so pay attention!).Finally, though it's not the focus of this section, there is an offer of 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. So you can not only get travel rewards with no annual fee, but secure a 0% interest offer at the same time. (Note that after the 0% introductory period, the go-to rate, currently 18.24% - 28.24% (Variable), applies.)I don't use this card specifically, but have a very similar Bank of America card and wouldn't give it up. Especially for those that already bank with Bank of America and qualify for Preferred Rewards, these cards have to make the list to consider.

Apply for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (on Bank of America's website)

Who shouldn’t get these cards

Travel cards typically aren’t set-it-and-forget-it credit cards. Many have annual fees, so you should make sure you’re actually making the most of them if you’re paying that fee. If you want a simple credit card experience, it’s hard to say that these would be the best credit cards for you.

If you want a simpler rewards experience, consider cards with simple cash-back rewards.

These also tend to be heavily geared towards people who travel and dine out a lot. When I had babies enter the picture, I found that my travel cards were suddenly less valuable. They’re still solid credit cards even if you’re not a big traveler, but you’re just not going to get as much value as someone who’s traveling and eating out a lot.

If you want higher rewards without less travel focus, consider tiered or bonus-category cash back cards.

If you don’t think you’ll consistently be able to pay your credit card in full and on time every month, I wouldn’t suggest focusing on this category. Paying off your credit card in full every month is always a good idea, but even more so when you’re paying an annual fee and trying to maximize the value of earning rewards. Paying interest on card balances eats away very quickly at any value these cards bring.

If you could benefit from 0% interest for a big purchase or to help pay down credit card debt, consider cards with long 0% APR introductory offers or cards with 0% APR intro offers and rewards.

The 2 best credit cards for cash back rewards

Our pick for simple cash back: Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Flat-rate 2% cash back on spending (1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay your bill)
  • No cap on the amount of cash back you can earn
  • No annual fee

The Citi Double Cash® Card card is nearly as simple and worth checking out. The rewards program is just a wee bit more complicated – you get 1% cash back when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay your bill, rather than just getting the 2% all at once. But that isn’t a big deal. More notable is that there’s currently no welcome bonus on the card.

Apply for the Citi Double Cash® Card (on Citi's website)

These cards live somewhere in the Goldilocks zone between flat-rate cash back cards and travel rewards cards. They aren’t as simple as flat-rate cards, nor are they as complicated as travel rewards cards. At the same time, they’re potentially more rewarding than flat-rate cards, but typically a bit less so than travel cards.Before we compare credit cards, I think it’s also worth noting that, like travel rewards cards, these cards will generally serve you the best when you pair them with other cards to get the most cash back across the most categories.

Our top pick for tiered and bonus category cash back: Discover it® Cash Back

  • 5% cash back on rotating categories like grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations (up to quarterly maximum of $1,500; activation required)
  • Unlimited cash back match at the end of the first year
  • No annual fee

Leading the pack for these cards is the Discover it® Cash Back. This card has a rotating bonus category, which means that it has a different category each quarter that earns a high 5% cash back rate on spending (up to $1,500 in purchases, and note that you have to activate the bonus category). These categories include grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations.

But as good as that 5% is on its own, at the end of your first year of card ownership Discover matches all of the cash back that you've earned in that time. So after the first year of owning the card, you'll essentially have earned double that first year's rate of cash back.Spending outside of the bonus category is just 1% cash back (though remember, that gets matched 1-for-1 at the end of the first year, too), but the fact that this is a no-annual-fee card makes it pretty valuable overall, especially in year one.

Apply for the Discover it® Cash Back (on Discover's website)

Our first-hand experience
"I've had the Discover it® Cash Back card for three years, and give it top scores across the board. Beyond the 1% cash back on every purchase, I've found the quarterly 5% cash-back offers are set up really well to help me max out the cash back benefits. The app and website are easy to use, the fraud protection is helpful, and I've only had a few merchants over these three years not accept Discover."


Allyson Wines, Head of Marketing at The Motley Fool

The best credit card for rewards with 0% interest

I tend to be strict when thinking about 0% credit cards. If you have credit card debt, focus on paying that down, worry about rewards later.You’re going to save so much in interest and make your financial life so much easier by not having credit card debt hanging over you. It just makes sense to make eliminating that debt a priority.

But, is there a world where you can have both? Actually, there is. If you don’t have an overwhelming amount of credit card debt, then the best credit cards for rewards also offer solid 0% term lengths and welcome offers.

Our top pick: Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (after which the go-to variable rate applies)
  • 5% cash back rewards on rotating bonus categories (activation required)
  • $200 welcome offer (after spending $500 in the first 3 months )

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a very close second. There are similar things to like: it has matching 0% intro APR offers for 15 months, a balance transfer fee of Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. , no annual fee, a $200 welcome offer, and an attractive rewards program.

The Chase Freedom Flex rewards program isn’t as simple as the flat cash rewards, but some people may actually like it more. There are rotating categories each quarter like gas, grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target), and Amazon and Lowe's. If you activate the category for your card, you earn 5% back on purchases in that category for the period that it’s active. But on a regular basis, you’re also earning 3% on dining at restaurants, takeout, eligible delivery services, and drugstores. And then it’s 1% back on everything else.

Apply for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (on Chase's website)

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How do you know if a shorter 0% offer is right for you?

I obviously don’t know you so I can’t tell you for sure. But, you can do some simple math to help figure out whether you can use a shorter 0% period and still get out of credit card debt. Just take the amount of debt you have and divide by the amount you can realistically pay towards that debt every month. That’ll give the you the least number of months you’ll need in the 0% offer. For example, if you have $3,000 in credit card debt and can pay $200 per month, then you would need a 0% balance transfer offer of at least 15 months (and it’s even better to give yourself two to three months of cushion). The same math works if you are using a 0% on purchases offer to make a big purchase. If it's a $3,000 purchase and you can pay $200 month, then you need at least 15 months of 0% interest on purchases.

Who shouldn’t get these cards

If you don’t have credit card debt, these could still be great cards for you. However, if you don’t have a need for a 0% introductory offer, you are probably well served to look at other card categories, rather than being limited to cards that have a 0% intro offer.And if you have significant credit card debt or you just don’t think that you can realistically pay down your debt in the length of time offered by these cards, then you may be better off opting for the cards with the longest 0% intro offers.
Find the best credit card for your needs
Compare credit card bonuses, rewards, fees, and more using our side-by-side comparison tool.

How we picked these cards (Methodology)

  • There's not a single methodology that we use to pick cards for this page. Just as the different types of cards are good fits for different types of people, a one-sized-fits-all methodology doesn't work for all of these types of cards.We break up the large field of credit cards into three main groups for the purposes of analysis and ratings:
    • Rewards-type cards: These are standard cards (i.e. not for credit-building or students) whose primary value is in the rewards they provide. Travel rewards cards, flat-rate cash back cards, tiered cash-back cards, store credit cards, airline credit cards, and hotel credit cards are a few of the sub-types that fall into this group.
    • 0% APR introductory offer cards: These are cards where the most valuable feature is the 0% APR introductory offer. The primary groups that fall under this heading are 0% balance transfer cards and 0% purchases cards.
    • Credit-building cards: These are cards whose main feature is that they're accessible to people who have a poor credit history or little or no credit history.
    We have slightly different methodologies to determine how cards get rated across each of these categories.

    Rewards cards

    With rewards cards we are focused on rewards (naturally). Cards score points for the overall value of their rewards program as well as the value of their welcome offer, if they have one. We ding cards for having an annual fee, and ding them more for a higher annual fee (though we'll readily note that sometimes fee-bearing cards have perks or rewards that easily make the annual fee worth it). We add more points if the card has perks that many people will get value from -- and the more valuable perks, the more we bump the score.

    0% APR introductory offer cards

    With these cards, the main value to users is the length of the 0% intro APR period, so we give points for longer 0% periods (both purchases and balance transfers). We also give points for matching 0% periods -- when the 0% lengths match it typically gives the user most flexibility and value. We also award cards for lower balance transfer fees, since this lowers the total cost to users who do transfer a balance. And though we don't focus on rewards or other perks when it comes to 0% cards -- the focus is using them to help avoid expensive credit card debt -- we do give cards points for good rewards programs, welcome offers, and valuable perks. Users that can pay down their debt with shorter 0% periods often do have the opportunity to choose from cards that have both the 0% introductory offer and rewards, welcome offers, and perks.

    Credit-building cards

    These cards also have specific usage, and that's to help the users build or re-build their credit. The main benefit off the top with these cards is that they do accept users with limited credit history or a poor credit history (though they do sometimes require a security deposit). This group includes student cards, since students often have a limited credit history, or no credit history at all. These cards are typically more stripped down, but we score these cards based on the perks and features that they do offer, which may include limited rewards systems, providing FICO credit scores, or even in some cases (mostly student cards as opposed to secured cards) 0% introductory offers.

    The most important part is you

    A five star card is only as good as how it fits into your life, financial picture and needs though. So our ratings can be a great starting point, but we also try to provide context on this page and elsewhere on our site, so you can determine how much value a given card will provide you.

Other helpful information about credit cards

Haven’t had your fill yet? to help you make an even better decision.
  • Decide which type of card you want. It's less about the cards themselves, and more about you. What do you need out of this card? What are the must-haves -- and the not-under-any-circumstances?

    This will narrow down your credit card offers considerably, so it makes sense to do this first.
  • Figure out the features that are most important to you. This will depend on the type of card you're choosing. Let's say you need a balance transfer card. The features to look at would be the length of each card's balance transfer offer and its balance transfer fees.

    Check for any annual fees on the cards you're comparing. If you're stuck between two credit cards that work for you, one of them may have a cheaper annual fee.

    Use secondary features as your tiebreaker. These are the features that aren't quite as important but still have value. Secondary features could include sign-up bonuses or a FICO® Score for free.

    Read the fine print. All credit cards display common card features in a standardized format. Keep an eye out for the following fees and compare them to other cards: balance transfer, cash advance, late payment, and foreign transaction.

Types of credit cards

Though there are many different types of credit cards, they all fall into certain categories based on their features and rewards programs. Here are the top credit cards and credit card offers right now within each category.

The cost of a card comes in three forms: the annual fee to just have the card, the fees and penalties for missed or late payments, and the interest charges. . . Some cards have forgiveness for a single late payment. Some have no annual fee. Some charge low interest. Try to find cards that have all three. D'Arcy Becker, Ph.D., Department Chairperson and Professor of Accounting, on shoppers choosing the right card.

Travel credit cards

These cards are best suited to people who travel at least a few times per year. Many of these cards charge annual fees, so you want to make sure you're earning enough in rewards to at least make up for what you're paying to own it.

With travel cards, you can redeem your points or miles for free or discounted travel. There are also quite a few top travel credit cards that offer extra perks, such as free access to airport lounges, hotel upgrades, and travel insurance. The best airline credit cards, hotel credit cards, and general travel credit cards would all fall under this category.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best travel rewards credit cards

Rewards credit cards

This category includes every credit card that earns purchase rewards. With so many to choose from, you'll find a diverse mix of the best credit cards for rewards that earn cash back, travel points, and store rewards.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best rewards credit cards

Cash back credit cards

Cash back cards are best for those who want a versatile card you can use for everyday spending. If you want a card with bonus categories, look for one that aligns well with your spending habits.With the best cash back credit card, you earn rewards that can be redeemed as cash. Depending on the card, you may be able to redeem your cash back as a statement credit towards your credit card balance, a deposit to a bank account, or as a check. You'll find cards that earn the same flat rate on purchases as well as cards that earn extra in bonus categories among the best cash back cards.

Compare cash back credit cards: Check out The Ascent's best cash back credit cards

Balance transfer credit cards

These credit cards are best suited for those who are trying to pay off credit card debt. Ideally, you can find one with an introductory APR that's long enough to enable you to pay off your full balance. But you should note that you can't transfer a balance to a new card with the same issuer. And any balance transfer card will charge you a one-time fee for making the transfer.Many of the best balance transfer credit cards have a 0% intro APR on balance transfers and intro periods can last for well over a year. If you want to refinance credit card debt and save money on interest, a balance transfer card is ideal.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best balance transfer credit cards

Best credit cards for beginners

The best credit cards for beginners accepts applicants with no credit history, don't charge unnecessary fees, and have educational features to help you improve your credit, such as free credit score monitoring. For those who are enrolled at college or university, student credit cards are a great first step into the world of credit.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best credit cards for building credit

...The key is to not overspend, pay off the balance each month to avoid interest and fees, and choose a card that offers the best benefits for your lifestyle. By being a convenience user, you [can] reap the benefits of credit cards. William Hippler, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Finance, on credit card misconceptions.

High limit credit cards

Some credit cards tend to offer higher credit limits than most. These high limit credit cards let you spend more, and they can also help you protect your credit by making it easier to keep your credit utilization ratio low. You typically need excellent credit to qualify.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best high limit credit cards

0% intro APR credit cards

Cards in this category have a 0% intro APR that applies to purchases. They're a smart choice if you need to buy something expensive, but you can't afford to pay in full upfront. The most popular 0% intro APR credit cards also often have those intro deals for a year or longer.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best 0% intro APR credit cards

Secured credit cards

These cards can be a good starting point for those trying to establish a credit history for the first time or rebuild their credit score if they've managed credit poorly in the past. Annual fees are more common with these cards and rewards are rare, so they're generally not a good fit for those who wouldn't have any trouble applying for credit cards that fall into the categories listed above.

You need to pay a security deposit to open a secured credit card, which is typically used for rebuilding or building credit. The security deposit is often (but not always) equal to your starting credit limit. Even with the best credit cards for bad credit, high-quality secured credit cards usually graduate to unsecured cards. This means you get your deposit back if you make enough on-time payments.

  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card: A lucrative rewards program plus Discover matches all the cash back earned in the first year.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best secured credit cards

Looking to rebuild credit?: Check out The Ascent's best credit cards for bad credit

Student credit cards

If you're in college, you can get started on building your credit with the best student credit card. Even though college students are the primary audience for these credit cards, there are some excellent perks to be found with them. Some cards include free credit score tracking and money back for good grades.Older adults looking to build a credit history should check out secured credit cards.
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students: A rare student credit card pick with a long 0% intro APR, big sign-up bonus, and rich rewards program.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best student credit cards

Business credit cards

Business credit cards are designed with business owners in mind. This type of credit card offers higher credit limits than consumer credit cards to accommodate business spending. Many of them also have bonus categories to fit typical business spending habits. For example, a business card may offer bonus rewards on advertising, shipping, or office supply store purchases.In addition, a business card can help you build your business credit score. Just like your own credit score is a rating of your personal creditworthiness, businesses have credit scores that rate their creditworthiness. By using a business credit card and paying on time, you can raise your business credit score. That can help you qualify for business financing in the future.Your business doesn't need to be a separate entity to qualify for a business credit card. It's possible to open a business credit card with a sole proprietorship. No matter what type of business you have, it's smart to compare credit card offers.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent's best business credit cards

Want cashback on business purchases? Check out The Ascent's Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express review.

Store credit cards

Many chain stores, from Macy's to Target to Lowe's, offer their own credit cards. Sometimes these credit cards are accepted everywhere, but often they're only for use in-store. Store credit cards usually come with exclusive discounts and rewards that can only be used at that store. Make sure to read the fine print when you apply for a credit card, especially with any 0% intro APR offers, as they can involve deferred interest, which is tricky and can lead to hefty surprise interest charges.

Opening one of these cards is best if you frequently shop at a particular retailer. But if you only shop there once or twice per year, it may not be worth it.

Do you need a credit card?

Although a credit card isn't a necessity, there are several ways it can help you financially. Our credit card guide could help you learn these important things:

  • Improving credit: The best credit cards can help you build or rebuild your credit. When you use your credit card and pay the bill on time, your credit score will go up. This can help you qualify for financing, such as a car loan or mortgage, at a low interest rate.
  • Earning rewards: With rewards credit cards, you can earn cash back or travel points on purchases.
  • Fraud protection: Legally, you're only liable for up to $50 in losses if your credit card is used fraudulently. But most credit card companies go even further. Many credit cards offer zero-liability policies -- meaning you aren't responsible for any fraudulent charges. You also don't need to worry about a thief draining your bank account through your credit card (which could happen if your debit card was stolen).
  • Extra perks and discounts: Credit cards can offer all kinds of benefits, such as extended warranty coverage on purchases or complimentary rental car insurance. Many of the best credit cards of 2023 have features that can be worth hundreds of dollars or more.
Expect credit card companies to come courting you hard, with new offers, points, and rewards. But proceed with caution! There may be hidden fees, higher interest rates, or other catches. It pays to read the fine print. Bill Maurer, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion on current credit card trends consumers should be aware of.

When should I have one credit card?

You should stick to one credit card if:
  • You want to keep your finances as simple as possible.
  • You've never had a credit card before, or you've been using credit cards for less than a year.
  • You've had problems with missed credit card payments or overspending.
  • You value simplicity in managing your finances and don't want to worry about tracking multiple bills.

When should I have multiple credit cards?

You should carry multiple credit cards if you want more card benefits and you're confident in your ability to manage everything. There are some big advantages to having multiple cards:
  • You can carry cards that earn more in different areas, such as one flat-rate cash back card and another with bonus categories. This is a simple way to maximize your rewards.
  • You can use features from each of your cards and get more value overall. Instead of choosing between two of the best credit card offers, you can have both.
  • You'll have more available credit, which helps you maintain a lower credit utilization ratio. This can result in a higher credit score.

How to improve your credit score

Your credit score plays a large role in which credit cards you can get. If you have a low credit score and you work on raising it, that will open up more credit card options for you.Here's the best advice you can follow to improve your credit score.

Review your credit report

You're legally entitled to a free annual credit report from each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Go to to request it.Once you have your credit reports, review them for errors that could be damaging your credit score. If you find any errors, visit the website of the credit bureau that issued the report to file a dispute.

Get a credit card

The easiest way to improve your credit is by using a credit card and paying the bill on time. If you don't have a credit card, look for the top credit cards aimed at consumers in your position.If you don't have much credit history yet, the best credit cards for beginners would be ideal. If you're rebuilding credit from issues on your credit history, then secured credit cards are the most suitable option.

Stay below 30% of your credit limit

The amount of your credit that you use impacts your credit score. Say you have a card with a $1,000 credit limit. If the balance is $500, that would put your credit utilization ratio at 50%.

A lower credit utilization helps your credit score. As a rule of thumb, aim to stay under 30% credit utilization at all times. It's good for your credit, and as an added perk, it helps you stay out of credit card debt.

Follow good payment habits

Learn your credit card's due date and always make your payment on time or early. Each on-time payment improves your payment history, which is the biggest factor in your credit score. You may want to set automatic payments so you don't miss any.It's also recommended that you pay off your credit card every month. While this isn't necessary for your credit score, it's a way to avoid interest charges on your credit card purchases.
The Picks
Card Rating Great For
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Great For: Overall top credit card with simple cash rewards
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Great For: Rotating high cash back categories plus first-year cash back match
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Great For: Points on your everyday spend
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Great For: Long 0% introductory offers and no late fees or penalty rates
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Great For: Long matching 0% introductory offers
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Great For: 0% offer plus rotating bonus category cash back
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Great For: Travel rewards with no annual fee
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Great For: Earning cash back while rebuilding credit
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Great For: Flat-rate cash back
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Great For: Earning high cash back while building credit
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  • Annual percentage rate (APR): The annual percentage rate is charged for carrying a balance on a credit card, expressed as an annual percentage. With credit cards, the APR is the same as the interest rate.

    Balance: The amount owed on a credit card, including all unpaid transactions and fees. The balance at the end of a statement period is called the statement balance.

    Balance transfer: Moving a balance from one credit card to another. This is usually done when the new card offers a lower APR. Not every credit card offers balance transfers, and many of the cards with this feature charge a balance transfer fee.

    Cash advance: Withdrawing cash from a credit card, most often through cash advance checks, using the card at an ATM, or by wiring money with the card. Cash advances usually have a higher APR and start accruing interest immediately, so it's a poor way to use a credit card.

    Credit card: A credit card is a revolving line of credit issued by a bank and connected to a revolving line of credit. The cardholder can use their credit card for purchases and possibly other types of transactions, although this depends on the card.

    Credit limit: The credit card's spending limit. This can vary based on the type of transaction. On credit cards that offer cash advances, there is typically a lower credit limit for cash advances than for purchases. A transaction that would exceed a card's credit limit will be declined unless the cardholder has opted to allow over-the-limit transactions (and any potential fees that come with them).

    Credit score: A credit score is a rating of a consumer's creditworthiness. The score indicates how likely it is that they will make bill payments on time and repay what they borrow. Credit scores are calculated based on the consumer's financial history.

    Interest: A fee charged for borrowing money. The APR determines how much interest a credit card company can charge on balances. Use our interest rate calculator to get a sense of how much interest adds to your monthly bill.

    Minimum payment: The minimum amount a cardholder can pay by the due date to remain current on their credit card bill and avoid a late fee.

FAQs

  • The best credit card for many people is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. It will get you a 2% cash rewards rate on purchases, making it one of the most lucrative and flexible credit cards. The $0 annual fee and lengthy 0% intro APR offer are also a big draw.While this is an easy pick to recommend for many people, it's important to know that the market is packed with plenty of the best credit cards of 2023 (included on this shortlist and not). The best credit card to have will depend on your unique situation.
  • A credit card allows you to pay for purchases by borrowing money. The maximum amount you can borrow at one time is called your credit limit. The money you've already borrowed is your balance, and the amount you have left to borrow is your available credit.At the end of each billing cycle, the card issuer will send you a statement listing the transactions you made. It will list your total balance, as well as the minimum payment due during that billing cycle. You must pay at least the minimum amount by the due date to avoid a late fee -- although it's a good idea to pay more than the minimum if you can afford it.Credit cards are most often used for purchases, but many of them can also be used for other types of transactions, such as cash advances and balance transfers.
  • The right number of credit cards for most people is one. That's particularly important for cardholders using credit cards for rewards, since the juice may not always be worth the squeeze when carrying multiple cards and using each to optimize rewards for each spending category.
  • Whether your credit card helps or hurts you all depends on how you use it. To ensure that your credit card provides value and doesn't get you in debt, here are a few key guidelines:
    • Use your credit card regularly
    • Only charge what you can afford
    • Pay on time and in full
    • Take advantage of your card's perks
  • Credit card interest is the fee a card issuer can charge when you borrow money with your credit card. The amount of interest charged depends on the card's annual percentage rate (APR). Many credit cards have different APRs for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. Most credit cards have a variable APR. A variable APR is an interest rate that can change over time.The type of transaction also determines when your card issuer starts charging you interest. For example, cash advances almost always start racking up interest immediately. Purchases are different. Just about any top-rated credit card will only charge interest for purchases that aren't paid off by the payment due date. Savvy consumers take advantage of this, pay in full, and never have to deal with credit card interest.
    1. Choose a credit card and click "Apply Now": You'll find this link on the credit card page.
    2. Fill out the required information: Card applications ask for your personal information, including your name, mailing address, date of birth, and Social Security number. They also ask for financial information, including your income. Some companies might ask about your net worth.
    3. Submit the application: You may receive an instant decision of either a credit card pre-approval or a denial (hopefully approval). The card issuer could also put your application under review, meaning it needs more time to decide.

Meet our academic credit card experts

D'Arcy Becker

D'Arcy Becker

Department Chairperson and Professor of Accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Bill Maurer, Ph.D.

Bill Maurer, Ph.D.

Director, Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine
William Hippler, Ph.D.

William Hippler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance at the University of La Verne
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