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5% cash back at Whole Foods on Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Is it worth it?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

Source: Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods customers are finally seeing more fruits of the company’s acquisition by Amazon, which was completed on Aug. 28, 2017. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card customers will now earn 5% cash back for purchases made at Whole Foods Market, the company announced Monday.

This makes the card a real contender among other grocery store rewards cards, but is it the best on the market?

It’s definitely an attractive option for Amazon fans who frequent Whole Foods. But we think you can still find better cash back deals out there, especially if you’re not loyal to either of these brands and are looking for a better all-around grocery cashback card.

Rewards breakdown

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

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The information related to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.
Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 23.99% Variable
Credit required
good-credit

Good

Other benefits of the card aren’t changing. Cardholders enrolled in Prime will still be able to Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Fees and fine print

The Amazon offering doesn’t technically come with an annual fee; however, you have to be enrolled in Amazon Prime ($99/year) to get the higher cash back rate. That means you’ll have to spend at least $2,000 per year to earn enough cash back to justify the fee, unless you think you’re getting enough Prime benefits like free 2-day shipping and video streaming to make up the expense.

How points work

Each 100 points accumulated equals $1. Points for eligible purchases can be redeemed at Amazon.com. You can also redeem your points for cash, starting at 2,000 points, or for travel, gift cards and products or services. Your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open.

Points can also be redeemed through the card provider Chase, which can be used for cash back, gift cards or travel. Those applying for the card will get a $70 Amazon.com gift card after being approved, which might take the sting out of that $99 annual Prime membership fee.

Pros & cons

Pros:

  • Not only do you earn good rewards for grocery shopping at Whole Foods, but you get cashback and points that can be used Amazon.com.
  • Although there’s no annual fee you still need to enroll in Amazon Prime, at $99 a year.
  • You can Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card or Get a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval. for the Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card.
  • There’s no foreign transaction fee, so this could be a good card to take on travels abroad.
  • There’s no cap on rewards earned and they never expire as long as your Amazon.com account remains open.
  • You also get travel and purchase protections and access to 24/7 Visa Signature Concierge Service.

Cons:

  • Because this card is issued by Chase, people with poor credit may have a hard time qualifying for it.
  • There’s a balance transfer fee of Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • You can only get cash back on groceries purchased on Amazon.com or at Whole Foods Market — not great for people who aren’t loyal to shopping at these two brands.

Alternatives to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Now that the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has added cash back for Whole Foods, it has competition in the groceries segment from four credit cards: Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer and the Huntington Voice Credit Card®.

Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

Earn 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Regular Purchase APR

15.99% - 23.99% Variable

The information related to Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card is for those who aren’t interested in paying $99 a year for an Amazon Prime membership. Like the Amazon Prime card, it has no annual fee and is in included in the new Whole Foods cashback deal. New cardmembers Get a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval. For those who don’t want to pay for Prime, but still want access to cashback rewards, this card could be a good alternative.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Annual fee

$95

Cashback Rate

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Regular Purchase APR

14.74%-25.74% Variable

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the best cashback deal for customers among the four cards, but there is an annual fee of $95. New cardmembers get a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

You should consider the annual fee and the cap on cashback rewards when looking at this card.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter

Regular Purchase APR

14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer has a lower cash back rate and a $0 annual fee. But if you redeem your cashback earned into a Bank of America checking or saving account, you can earn a 10% bonus that can be direct deposit into a checking or savings account, credited to your statement or sent to you by check.

If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, that bonus rises to 25-75%, making grocery cash back a better 2.5-3.5% rate. If you apply online and spend $500 in the first 90 days, you also receive a $150 online cash rewards bonus.

Even with a $0 annual fee on this card, make sure you’re OK with receiving lower cash back than the other cards. You may want to consider joining Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards to get a bigger bang for your buck when it comes to cashback rewards.

Huntington Voice Credit Card®

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Rewards

3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points

Regular Purchase APR

13.49%-27.49%

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on Huntington National Bank’s secure website

The Huntington Voice Credit Card® has no annual fee, but puts a cap on the rewards you can earn, at $2,000 or 6,000 points each quarter. And if you switch from grocery stores to another category, you’ll only earn one point for every $1 spent, which is less than what the other three cards offer. Plus the cap can hurt if you spend more than $2,000 a quarter on groceries.

How they compare on fees

Annual fees: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer and the Huntington Voice Credit Card® don’t charge annual fees. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges a fee of $95 a year. Although the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card doesn’t technically charge an annual fee, you have to enroll in Prime to be eligible for the card.

The Prime and Huntington cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees, while the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer charges 3% and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card: What You Need to Know

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Wells Fargo is officially replacing the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card with the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card — just in time for folks looking for a new travel rewards card this summer. Applications for the new card have been open since July 16, and existing Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card cardmembers have already been transferred to the new card.

The biggest change for the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is the expansion of categories where you can earn higher points per $1 spent — all with a $0 annual fee. These higher earning categories happen to be dining, travel and streaming services, all which will likely appeal to the millennial consumer.

Millennials want credit cards that offer rewards in the categories they value the most, along with perks that enhance value, and they want it all on a card with low to no annual fees. Wells Fargo is using the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to muscle in on a population segment that’s growing so fast, it will soon overtake the Baby Boomer generation. It’s also taking advantage of American Express’s recent brand overhaul that includes millennials as a target audience, using mobile, social platforms, podcasts and video streaming outlets to reach them.

The big question is whether the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has the right balance of rewards and perks attractive enough to entice millennials (and others) to apply — the points per $1 spent you earn on the card’s expanded definition of travel is better than many competitors in the market, making it a compelling option for anyone who favors this spending category. We’ll look at what this upgraded card offers and see if it stands up to competitors in the rewards category.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

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on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-26.74%
Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing

Card benefits: At a glance

3x categories

What the category includes

Other card benefits

Eating out and ordering in

Restaurants, from fast food to bistros and fine dining.

  • Welcome offer: Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.24%-26.74% (Variable) APR)

  • $0 annual fee

  • No foreign currency conversion fee.


Travel and transit

Airfare, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

Online streaming

Apple Music
Hulu
Netflix
Pandora®
Sirius XM Radio Inc.
Spotify Premium

3x points on travel. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is appealing not only because of its higher points per $1 on travel, but its broader definition of travel. Most traditional travel-branded cards tend to only cover things like airfare and hotels. This card includes airlines, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

3x on dining. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s dining category, which covers everything from fast food to fine dining and food takeout and delivery, targets millennials who tend to eat out more.

3x on streaming. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also helps fuel millennials’ enthusiasm for streaming services by targeting more points per $1 spent popular ones like Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora®, Sirius XM Radio and Spotify Premium for higher points per $1 spent.

What we like about the card

$0 annual fee. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card comes packed with a welcome offer that lets cardmembers Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, higher points per $1 spent, along with travel and purchase benefits — all with a $0 annual fee.

Expanded spending categories. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has raised the bar on the categories where you earn more points per $1 spent. Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

Good purchase and balance transfer intros. The card offers a 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate, which is hard to find on many no-fee rewards cards these days. It also comes with a 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.24%-26.74% (Variable) APR). The balance transfer fee is 3% Intro for 12 months, then 5%.

Travel perks. The card comes with emergency help covering medical, legal, personal and travel; roadside assistance; rental car loss and damage insurance; lost or damaged baggage insurance; travel accident insurance; retail purchase protection; extended warranty; return protection; and cellular telephone protection. These are pretty generous for a credit card with no annual fee.

What could be better

Pay to play. If you want to book an airline ticket on the Go Far® website, you may end up paying a non-refundable $24 fee for the privilege. And you can only use your rewards to pay for a hotel room and corresponding taxes; you can’t use them to pay for other incidentals.

No way to transfer points. Unlike other American Express cards, you can’t transfer the points you earn on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to other airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Fewer cash options for non-Wells Fargo customers. If you want to turn points into cash, you can’t withdraw it from a Wells Fargo ATM unless you have a checking or savings account at the bank.

How to redeem your rewards

There are eight ways to redeem your rewards:

  • Cash back. Go to MyWellsFargoRewards.com or call rewards customer service at (877)-517-1358 to set up a cash redemption option. With that option, the cash can automatically go into your qualified checking or savings account or receive a paper check. You can also take out cash at Wells Fargo ATMs if you’re a bank customer.
  • Statement credit. After setting up your redemption option via MyWellsFargoRewards.com, you can have your points go toward your credit card balance.
  • Online auctions. Go to the auction website and use your points to bid on items including event tickets, experiences and brand-name merchandise. You’ll get updates on your bid status and points are automatically deducted from your account if you win.
  • Travel. Use your points at the Go Far Rewards website to pay for flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals or vacation packages.
  • Merchandise and gift cards. Buy gift cards from dozens of major brands or more than 800,000 merchandise items on the Go Far Rewards website.
  • Digital downloads. Redeem your points at the Go Far Rewards site for music, ebooks, emagazines, games and audiobooks.
  • Pay down a credit card, loan or mortgage. Use your Go Far Rewards points to serve as a credit to Wells Fargo mortgage, credit card, personal or direct loan or home equity loan accounts.
  • Share your rewards. You have three ways to do this — pool your rewards with other Go Far Rewards customers, donate then to charities or give them as a gift to friends or family.

Alternatives to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card:

While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers generous rewards on travel and dining, it’s not the only option for foodies and frequent travelers.

Here are some other cards to consider:

Uber Visa Card

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on Uber’s secure website

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74%-25.49%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else

The Uber Visa Card is one of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s closest competitors, since it offers higher rewards in popular categories favored by millennials — 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else. You get all of this with a $0 annual fee. The sign-up bonus allows you to earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. You’ll have to do the math to find out which card gives you the most bang for your buck.

There aren’t any travel perks with this card, but you do receive a $50 yearly credit for online subscription services if you spend at least $5,000 a year on your card, which is less generous than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card. You also get $600 in protection insurance for your mobile phone in case of damage or theft if you pay the bill with your card.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you’re looking for a simpler cashback rewards card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer is an option to consider. It offers 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, which converts into a $200 statement credit to use toward travel purchases. You Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases and there’s a $0 annual fee.

While you don’t have to register for different categories to get your rewards, the points per $1 spent is lower than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, especially in the travel and dining categories. Redeem your points via a statement credit. You can earn bonus points if you have a relationship with Bank of America. The only real perk with this card is access to a free FICO® score.

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Miles

Regular APR
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 Months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

Redeeming the miles you earn on this card is easy. You get cash back as an electronic deposit to a bank account or as a credit for travel purchases, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. Your miles don’t expire, and there’s no cap on how many you can earn. Again, compared to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, there aren’t any travel or purchase benefits, although you do get a free FICO® score.

Our final take

If you’re looking for a new credit card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, with its higher points per $1 spent in expanded categories and no annual fee, is a good option. It’s especially appealing when spending regularly on dining, streaming services and the card’s expanded definition of travel. There are cards with more generous welcome offers, but the rewards you can earn with this one balance that out.

You’re offered different options to cash in your points, but most of them are tied to Wells Fargo’s Go Far ® Rewards website, which gives you a little less flexibility. Travel and protection benefits on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card are not bad when compared with other cards, especially those that charge annual fees.

In the end, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a solid option for those who spend in its top categories and want good travel and protection perks — all without paying an annual fee. But you may want more flexibility in how you redeem your points or want the chance to earn more in other categories like gas and supermarkets, so study all your options before making a final commitment.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

It’s time to get a new credit card and you’ve decided that getting cash back is what’s most important to you. If you’re interested in a simple, no-fee card that doesn’t make you jump through hoops to earn your cash back, and you’re not too concerned about bells and whistles, then you should consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

What we like about this card

Unlimited cashback opportunities. The ability to earn unlimited cash back on purchases can be a benefit if you use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card regularly. Let’s say you spend the $500 needed to get the $150 new cardmember cash bonus. You would walk away with $157.50. And you can earn another $25 if you add an authorized user and they also make a purchase in the first 3 months of the account opening, for a total of $182.50 in bonus cash. Earn Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and your rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is convenient because although the cashback rate is lower than some other cards, it doesn’t have categories that change every quarter, nor do you have to sign up to get your cash back.

Combine cards for more rewards. If you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, you can combine those points with what you earn on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. They can all be used at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website, where you can earn 50% more value with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or 25% more value with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card when you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can also transfer those points 1:1 to four hotel or nine airline partners.

If you just want straight cash back, you can get it as an account statement credit or an electronic deposit into an eligible U.S.-based checking or savings account. If you close your Chase Freedom Unlimited® account, you have 30 days to use your cash back.

A few perks to consider. Card perks include purchase protection that covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account; an extended warranty on an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less, by another year; and auto rental coverage that includes theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. Terms & Conditions apply.

What we don’t like about this card

The foreign transaction fee. If you travel outside of the country regularly, the 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee charged on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can really add up.

Lower cash back in popular categories. If you spend more money in specific categories, such as travel or dining, there are other cards that offer larger cashback rewards.

Your points aren’t as valuable in the Ultimate Rewards Portal as some other Chase cards. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, every 100 points are only worth $1 in the portal.

You can’t transfer points to airline or hotel loyalty programs. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card points can’t be transferred to Chase’s nine airline and four hotel loyalty program partners.

The cashback rate leaves something to be desired. It’s nice to get a flat 1.5% rate for everything, especially if simplicity is your style. But you can certainly find other no-fee rewards cards — like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card — with better cashback rates in popular categories like travel or dining.

Redeeming points

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and those rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Convert your cash into points that can be used on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website for travel, gift cards and merchandise.

After linking the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your Amazon.com account, you can instantly redeem your cashback rewards to pay for all or part of your eligible orders at checkout, which includes tax and shipping costs.

Other cards to consider

If you’re looking for alternatives to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, here are four other cards you might want to consider if you’re looking for better cashback deals.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you use this card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period, you earn 20% extra points.

There are more perks with The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, including roadside assistance, collision damage coverage for rental cars, 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial or other emergency coordination and assistance services and travel accident insurance. You also get an extended warranty on eligible purchases and purchase protection, limited to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. Terms apply.

Under The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express’s Membership Rewards program, you can use your points with more than 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise and entertainment. You can also transfer your points to 16 airline and three hotel loyalty programs. Conditions may apply.

Book your travel via Membership Rewards and you don’t have to worry about blackout dates or seat restrictions. And you can use points for all or part of your flight, hotel, vacation package or cruise. Your points don’t expire as long as the card is active, but there’s a 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. foreign transaction fee.

Chase Freedom®

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Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74%-25.49%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories
Credit required
good-credit

Excellent/Good

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The current category offers 5% cash back in grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) or when you use PayPal® and Chase Pay®. Earn $100 — up to $500 a year — when you refer friends and they are approved for the card. And cashback rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.

The perks with the Chase Freedom® aren’t quite as robust as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, but you still get purchase protection for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account, and extended warranty protection, which adds another year to an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty. Terms apply.

There’s no minimum to redeem for cash back with the Chase Freedom®. You can get it as a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. If you link your card to your Amazon.com account, you can instantly redeem your cashback rewards to pay for all or part of your eligible orders at checkout, including tax and shipping.

Like other Chase cards, having the Chase Freedom® card gives you access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, where you can do things like book travel.

But you will pay 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars as a foreign transaction fee with the card.

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

This card allows you to earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. You can redeem your rewards for cash at any time and your cash back never expires.

Unlike the other cards in this category, the Discover it® Cash Back is not big on perks, except for a free FICO® credit score. It also doesn’t charge a  foreign transaction fee.

 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Rewards Rate
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
Credit required
good-credit

Good/Excellent

When it comes to benefits and perks, this card is more robust than the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to maximize your points with 25% more value when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. You can do 1:1 transfers of your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points over to nine airline or four hotel loyalty programs. There’s a $0 foreign exchange fee.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has all the perks you would expect in its category, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and travel and emergency assistance services. You also get purchase protection and extended warranty protection. And you can earn 10,000 points for each friend you recommend for the card who are approved, up to five friends.

The bottom line

If you want a simple card where you don’t have to register for cashback rewards and don’t need a lot of perks, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is the one for you. There are alternatives that have more perks and better cash back, but you may not want to pay an annual fee to get them. There are no caps on the cash you can get back and the 1.5%, while less than other cards, covers everything — and you don’t have to register to get it.

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Chase Freedom®

Discover it® Cash Back

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual Fee

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Purchase Intro Rate

0% Intro APR for 15 months

intro 0% for 15 Months

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

intro 0% for 14 months

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Rate

0% Intro APR for 15 months

intro 0% for 15 Months

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

intro 0% for 14 months

N/A

Balance Transfer Fee

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

$0 balance transfer fee.

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

3%

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Regular Purchase APR

16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR

14.74%-25.74% Variable APR

16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR

13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase

2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.

2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

Sign-Up Bonus

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Foreign Transaction Fee

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

None

$0

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Credit Cards

Longest 0% Purchase Credit Card Offers From Banks & Credit Unions – August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

0% purchase credit card
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If you’re about to make a big purchase that you need time to pay off, using a 0% introductory purchase offer on a credit card could be the cheapest way to spread the payment out over time.

  • You can currently find 0% deals for as long as 21 months with no fees, but since rates after the intro period are high, only use these deals if you’re sure you can handle paying off the debt before the period is up.
  • When searching for 0% purchase cards, make sure you select a card that waives interest. Far too many cards, especially those offered by retailers only defer the interest which means you can get get a nasty surprise when the intro period is up.

Below we list the longest 0% purchase credit cards broken up by length of 0% intro period from our database of over 3,000 credit card products from banks and credit unions:

20 Months 0% Intro APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on US Bank’s secure website


The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a long 0% introductory APR for the first 20 billing cycles for purchases and an 0% introductory APR for the first 20 billing cycles for balances transferred within 60 days from account opening (after, 11.74% to 23.74% Variable APR). However, this card offers few other benefits. There is no rewards program, but there is cellphone protection that can reimburse you for damage or theft up to $600 (with a $25 deductible), for up to two claims ($1,200) per 12-month period when you pay your cellphone bill with your card.

18 Months 0% Intro APR

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website


Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever offers a long intro of 0%* for 18 months on Purchases*. This provides you well over a year to pay off any purchases without accruing interest, and you receive great perks such as no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee. After the intro period ends, the standard APR applies, currently 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable) APR, depending on your creditworthiness.

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


At 18 months, the 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the TruWest Visa® Signature Card is one of the highest for a credit union. It also has a very low ongoing variable APR of 9.65%-10.65% after the intro period ends. This card is restricted to people who live, work, own a business or go to school in select Arizona and Texas communities or who work for select employers. You can read more about membership eligibility on TruWest’s website. You can earn 1 point per dollar spent, and up to 10 extra points per dollar spent by taking advantage of bonus point offers with the Get Extra Points Rewards Program. You can also earn up to 1.5% cash back by redeeming rewards through the TruRewards program.

TruWest Visa® Platinum Card

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


Another card from TruWest that offers a long intro period is the TruWest Visa® Platinum Card, with 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases. Again, this card is only available to TruWest Credit Union members. This card has one of the lowest starting variable APR ranges at 7.70%-21.70% variable, which is beneficial for anyone who qualifies for the low rate and may carry a balance after the intro period ends (though we recommend paying off debt beforehand).

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Credit Card

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


The TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Credit Card has a competitive 0% intro period at 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, the purchase APR is 9.65%-16.65% variable. As with the other TruWest cards, this one is only available to members. You can benefit from a rewards program where you automatically earn up to 1 point for every $1 you spend, and earn up to 10 extra points per dollar spent. However, this is a low rewards rate compared to other 0% intro purchase cards on this list.

15 Months 0% Intro APR

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees


The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers an intro 0% for 15 Months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.74%-25.74% Variable. This card is a great choice for people who want to take advantage of the 0% intro periods and earn rewards. With the cash back program, you can earn 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® provides a 0% Intro APR for 15 months
on purchases and a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers — that is shorter than other flat-rate cash back cards. After those 15 months, purchases are subject to a standard APR of 16.74% - 25.49% Variable. With the cash back program, you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it’s automatic.
The information related to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website


The 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months on purchases and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months means that the Chase Freedom® offers is complemented with a cash back program that is great for those looking to maximize cash back in bonus categories. You can Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. After the promotional period, the purchase APR is 16.74% - 25.49% Variable.

BankAmericard® credit card

BankAmericard® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website


The BankAmericard® credit card has a 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles
(after that, a 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR applies). There are no rewards; however, this card may be a good option if you plan on making large purchases.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees


The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers an introductory 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.74%-25.74% Variable. There is also a cash back program — earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Citi® ThankYou® Preferred Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website


The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card offers a competitive intro 0% for 15 Months on purchases* on purchases when compared to other dining rewards cards. (After the intro period, the APR will be 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable), based on your creditworthiness.) The rewards program benefits frequent diners and those who enjoy entertainment — earn two points per dollar spent on dining out and entertainment, and one point per dollar on all other purchases.

Wells Fargo Platinum Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website


The Wells Fargo Platinum Card has a long period for you to pay off debt with a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Following the intro period, the variable APR on purchases will be 16.65%-26.49%. Besides the promotional APR, this card is fairly basic. It does have one other notable perk: You can receive up to $600 of cellphone protection (subject to $25 deductible) against eligible reasons when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card.*

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on PNC Bank’s secure website


The PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card is a basic card that offers Introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening, then 11.74%-21.74% Variable APR, based on your credit. There is no rewards program or noteable perks. However, there is U.S.-based customer service available 7 days a week.

Truly Simple® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank

Truly Simple® Card from Fifth Third Bank

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fifth Third Bank (OH)’s secure website


This card offers a decent intro period at 0% APR for 15 billing cycles, however this card is restricted to residents of Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. There is also no penalty APR if you miss a payment. The standard APR of 13.74%-24.74% variable applies after the intro period ends.

BB&T Bright Card

BB&T Bright Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on BB&T’s secure website


The BB&T Bright Card offers a good intro period from a community bank at 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (variable 12.99%-21.99% variable APR after). Note that this card is restricted to residents of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

APGFCU Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards Credit Card

Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards from APG FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU’s secure website


This card offers a competitive 0% intro APR on purchases and qualified balance transfers compared to other credit unions at 0% intro for 15 months (12.24%-17.99% variable after). To qualify for this card you need to live, work, worship, attend school, or volunteer in Harford or Cecil County or certain areas in Middle River, Maryland. There is a subpar rewards program where you can earn one point for every dollar spent on purchases.

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on KeyBank’s secure website


The KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card has a decent intro period for purchases at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. It also has a decent intro period for balance transfers at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. After the intro period ends, 11.74% - 21.74% Variable APR applies based on creditworthiness. This card is restricted to people who live in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington. There is no rewards program.

Chase Slate®

The Chase Slate® has a decent 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR, but you can find other cards with longer periods, and/or rewards. This card is predominantly known for its balance transfer offer where you get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months and an intro Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Deferred versus Waived Interest

Not all 0% offers are created equally. Some credit card companies offer “deferred” interest, whereas others off “waived” interest.

Let’s take a simple example. You spend $1,000 on a credit card with an APR of 18%. You will make payments of $75 every month. There is a special offer that gives you 0% interest for 12 months. On “Credit Card A” interest is deferred. On “Credit Card B” it is waived. After making 12 payments of $75, the remaining balance in month 13 would be $100.

Credit Card A: Deferred Interest

With a “deferred” interest offer, the bank does not forgive the monthly interest accrual. Instead, the bank just keeps track of the interest that would have accrued. If you do not pay the balance in full during the promotional period, you will get retroactively charged the interest at a high interest rate. In the example above, you would be charged approximately $117 in month 13. (I use “approximately” because credit card companies have slightly different ways of calculating and charging interest. But it is safe to assume that you would be charged more than $100 of interest on your remaining $100 balance.)

Credit Card B: Waived Interest

Waived interest is very different. For every month of the promotional period, the credit card company actually forgives the interest. There will never be a retroactive catch up after the promotional period ends. In our example, you would only be charged $3.26 of interest in month 13, compared to more than $100 in the deferred example.

Deferred interest products are surprisingly common. If you are being offered 0% financing by a retailer, you are probably being offered a deferred interest product.

How To Qualify For A 0% Purchase Credit Card

In order to qualify for a 0% intro purchase credit card, you will need to have good credit. If your credit score is above 700, you are highly likely to be approved by one of the issuers. If your score is between 650 and 700, you still have a good chance.

With a credit score below 650, it is highly unlikely that you would be approved, though you may want to check to see if you are pre-qualified for a card before applying. Many of the banks let you check to see what deals they are specifically targeting to you, and you can see a list of them here. Checking what you’re pre-qualified for won’t show up on your credit report or score.

In addition to your credit score, the credit card company will want to ensure that you are employed. And most credit card companies will look at your debt burden.

If your debt burden is more than 50%, it is unlikely that you will be approved.

The lower your debt burden, the better your chances. You calculate your debt burden by dividing the monthly payments on your credit report (which would include your mortgage, auto loans, student loans, personal loans and credit cards) by your monthly paycheck before taxes are taken out.

When Is A Personal Loan Better?

There is no lower interest rate than 0%. So, if you are able to use a 0% credit card to make a purchase, that is your best bet. However, there are a few circumstances where a personal loan might be a better option:

  • Your credit score is too low for a 0% offer. Personal loan companies are offering increasingly competitive interest rates, especially for people with lower credit scores.
  • You need to borrow money for a big cash expense. For example, you might need to pay a contractor who does not accept credit cards. If you need cash, a personal loan is always a better deal than a credit card.
  • You don’t trust yourself with credit cards. Some people feel nervous with credit cards. You might be tempted to spend more than you want. Or, you might be tempted to only pay the minimum due, extending the repayment term. A personal loan can be an easy way to borrow a set amount of money for a set period of time.

If you want to consider a personal loan, you can compare and apply using our personal loan comparison tool. You can check your interest rate and see if you are approved without hurting your credit score at most lenders.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

MagnifyMoney
MagnifyMoney |

Have a question to ask or a story to share? Contact the MagnifyMoney team at info@magnifymoney.com

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Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Credit Cards

Credit Cards: Find the Best Credit Card Offers & Deals – August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

Credit Cards: Find the Best Credit Card Offers & Deals
iStock

The best credit cards can help you earn $2 or more for every $100 you spend – an easy way to make $100s or even $1,000s a year. When done properly, low rate credit cards are also the cheapest way to borrow. You can get 0% interest for up to 2 years. And credit cards are the best way to build, rebuild or maintain an excellent credit score, without paying fees.

But if you get it wrong, you can easily end up buried under a pile of expensive debt. This is a step-by-step guide that will help you find the best credit cards while avoiding expensive traps.

 

Top Credit Card for 2018

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 Months
Intro BT APR
0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee
$0 balance transfer fee.
Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Rewards Rate
2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express ranks as our top credit card for 2018. This card offers a combination of benefits that are unmatched among other cards in the market, including 0% intro periods, rewards, and great cardholder perks — all at a $0 annual fee.Cardholders can utilize the intro periods for both balance transfers and purchases by taking over a year to pay off debt without accruing interest. The balance transfer offer has a $0 balance transfer fee. The transfers must be requested within 60 days of account opening, which saves you the typical 3% transfer fee most other cards charge.

Beyond the intro periods, there is a rewards program where cardholders can earn 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases. This rate is beneficial for people who spend $500 a month at U.S. supermarkets, since this spending allows you to maximize rewards at the higher rate.

The Membership Rewards® points you earn can be redeemed for a variety of options, and a great option for travelers is the ability to transfer points to participating frequent flyer programs including Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue True Blue, Virgin America Elevate, and British Airways Avios. Often these transfers are on a 1:1 rate, with some programs requiring more or less points. Additional redemption options include booking for travel, gift cards, merchandise, pay with points at checkout and statement credit. This card also has a wide range of additional perks that vary from shopping and entertainment benefits to travel and purchase protections.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Simple Welcome Offer
  • The 2-point bonus on grocery store spending is capped
  • You need 20 transactions each month to get the 20% bonus

Tip: Make any large purchases or balance transfers as soon as you can so you can benefit from the 0% intro period.

Read our full review of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express here.

How to Choose and Use a Rewards Card

It is now easy to earn great rewards when you use a credit card for your spending. You should earn at least 2% cash back, and can earn even more with a bit of work. The money can add up quickly. If you spend $1,000 a month, you can earn $240 a year. It is not very often you can get something for nothing. But if you make the right choice and follow the rules, you can earn significant rewards.

How to Choose

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash back credit cards are a great way for you to earn money back from everyday purchases. There are two types of cash back credit cards — flat-rate and category. Flat-rate cards offer the same cash back rate for all purchases, while category cards offer higher rates for certain purchases like gas, grocery, travel, and dining. Below we break down the best cash back credit cards.

Best Flat-Rate

These are the top cards offering a flat cash back rate.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

1% When You Buy + 1% When You Pay

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is the best overall cash back credit card. So long as you pay your statement balance in full and on time every month, you will earn 2% cash back. You Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. The bonus cash back can take up to two billing cycles to post.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • No caps on how much cash back you can earn.
  • Cash back earning formula is easy to understand
  • There is a range of interest rates. You won’t know yours until after you apply

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent, Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable) APR

Annual Fee : $0*

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : None

Intro Balance Transfer : 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers*

BT Fee : 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Tip: Make sure you pay your statement balance in full and on time to maximize your cash back.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

FULL REVIEW 

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Unlimited 2% Cash Back on Every Purchase

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers Fidelity customers an Unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. The cash back you earn must be deposited into a Fidelity account, but you don’t need to have a Fidelity account to apply for the card. If you do not have a Fidelity account, they will open a Fidelity Cash Management Account to deposit your cash back. It works like a checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees.

Transparency Score 1
Transparency Score
  • Simple cash back earning formula
  • No caps on how much cash back you can earn
  • You need to have a Fidelity account in order to redeem your cash back

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent Credit

Purchase Interest Rate :15.74% Variable

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : None

Intro Balance Transfer : None

BT Fee : Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.

Tip: You don’t need to keep your retirement or stock accounts with Fidelity to qualify for this card. Anyone can apply.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fidelity’s secure website

FULL REVIEW 

Best Category Bonuses

Here are the top cash back cards that pay much higher rates in certain bonus categories, which can be a great way to boost your returns.

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Unlimited 5% Cash Back on Gas

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

If you spend a lot of money on gas, there is no better card than this. You can Earn an unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You must be a member of the credit union, but anyone can join. Pay $5 to join the American Consumer Council of Kentucky (you can do that here) and you will be eligible to join.

Transparency Score 3
Transparency Score
  • No limit to the cash back you can earn, even in the bonus category
  • You have to be a member of the credit union to get the card

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 11.00% - 18.00% Variable

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : N/A

Intro Purchase APR : N/A

Intro Balance Transfer : N/A

BT Fee : $0

Tip: If you are not yet a member, you can use the non-member application process. Once approved, you can join with your $5 contribution to American Consumer Council.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

Check out other gas credit cards.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

6% Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets (Up to $6,000 of Spend, then 1%)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The unparalleled 6% cash back rate at U.S. Supermarkets makes this one of the best cards on the market for heavy grocery shoppers. Even with the $95 annual fee, most grocery shoppers will come out ahead. You will also earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. You’ll earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Transparency Score 5
Transparency Score
  • Simple, easy to understand Welcome Offer
  • There is an Annual fee

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent/Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 14.74%-25.74% Variable

Annual Fee : $95

Welcome Offer : $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Intro Purchase APR : 0% for 12 months

Intro Balance Transfer : 0% for 12 months

BT Fee : Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Tip: If you spend less than $200 a month on groceries, you will earn less than 2% cash back (after taking into account the fee) and would be better with Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card. But, if you spend more each year, this is a great option.

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

FULL REVIEW 

Check out other grocery credit cards.

Uber Visa Card

4% for Dining Out

Uber Visa Card

This card appears to have millennials’ interests at heart, offering higher rewards rates for eating out and credits toward streaming subscriptions. The Uber Visa Card offers 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.

As mentioned, dining purchases are defined as spending at restaurants, bars, on takeout or via the UberEATS service. Points can be redeemed for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back.

Another perk: There is a $0 annual fee with this card. And there’s a terrific sign-up bonus – Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. Also, you can earn up to a $50 credit for online subscription services after you spend $5,000 or more on your card per year.

Transparency Score
Transparency Score
  • Good disclosure: they tell you what you need to know
  • Simple introductory bonus
  • Impossible to know your interest rate until you apply

Key Information

Purchase interest rate : 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Annual fee :$0

Sign-on bonus : Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Intro purchase APR : None

Intro balance transfer : None

BT fee : Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Tip: Use this card for all dining, hotel and airfare purchases to maximize your rewards at the higher rate.

FULL REVIEW 

Check out other dining cards.

Do you spend a lot of money in other categories? You can find the best cash back credit cards for every category here.

Best Travel Credit Cards

If you would like to earn free travel, there are a number of credit cards designed specifically to help you earn free flights quickly. Here are the best travel rewards credit cards.

Best Credit Cards for U.S. Travel

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Best No Annual Fee Travel Card – Miles Can Be Used Anywhere

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

With this card, you Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. There are no restrictions and no blackout dates. Every 100 points can be redeemed for $1 worth of travel. The rewards get even better if you have “Preferred Rewards” at Bank of America®. If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you could increase your points earned with a bonus of 25% – 75%.

There is a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. You can use your points for a wide range of travel options, including flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars and even pesky baggage fees.

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  • Simple introductory bonus
  • No limit to the points you can earn
  • There is a range of interest rates. You won’t know yours until after you apply

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent/Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Intro Purchase APR : 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : None

BT Fee : Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Tip: The Preferred Rewards program offers excellent rewards. If you rollover your old 401(k) or IRA to Merrill Edge®, you can get up to a 75% credit card bonus and ATM fee reimbursement with a Bank of America® checking account.

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Best Credit Cards for International Travel

These are the best credit cards for use when traveling outside of the country. None of these cards have foreign transaction fees. And some of them even have chip and pin, helping to increase acceptance.

Platinum Rewards MasterCard® from First Tech FCU

No Annual or Foreign Transaction Fee + Chip and Pin Functionality

Platinum Rewards MasterCard® from First Tech FCU

This card is a great companion for overseas travel with a $0 annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Even better, the card offers chip and pin functionality. Most major credit card issuers in America have rolled out chip and signature, which can be problematic overseas. If you try to use your card at a ticket machine or with a waiter’s portable payment device, you have a good chance of being rejected.

It’s easy to join the credit union —membership is free if you work for a sponsor technology company, work for the state of Oregon or live in Lane County, Oregon. Otherwise, you just need to join the Financial Fitness Association with a one-time fee of $8. There is a sub-par rewards program: 1 point for every $1 you spend.

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  • $0 annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • You have to be a member of the credit union

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 11.49% to 18.00% Variable

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : Earn 10,000 Rewards Points when you spend $2,000 in your first two months

Intro Purchase APR : N/A

Intro Balance Transfer APR : Introductory 0.00% APR balance transfer for 12 months

BT Fee : No balance transfer fee

Tip: Use this card for foreign travel, not for rewards since you earn a very low rate.

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on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Foreign Travel for Fair Credit

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

This card is designed for people with Average/Fair/Limited credit. If you have defaulted on a loan in the past five years (but not more than once), or if you have had limited credit history (at least one account for less than three years), you would be considered “average.” With this card, you can earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. There is also no foreign transaction fee, but be aware of the $39 annual fee.

You can use this card to build your credit score by keeping your utilization low (ideally below 20%) and make your payments on time and in full every month. Capital One® provides free access to your FICO® score so you can track your score and see when you are eligible for an upgrade to a no-fee card.

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  • No limit to the cash back you can earn
  • No confusing categories or limits
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Average/Fair/Limited

Purchase Interest Rate : 24.99% (Variable)

Annual Fee : $39

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : None

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : None

BT Fee : None

Tip: Use this credit card to build your score and avoid expensive foreign transaction fees.

 

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on Capital One’s secure website

FULL REVIEW 
How to Use

In order to maximize your cash back, make sure you follow these suggestions:

  • Use your chosen cash back card for ALL of your spending. Your goal should be to replace cash, checks, automatic debits and debit cards completely. For example, you can automate bill payments (like your cell phone) to be debited from your credit card. This will make your life easier (only one payment to make each month) and it will make budgeting easier (you can set a target for spending and track it easily).
  • Set up automatic monthly payments for the statement balance, not the minimum due. If you set up automatic payments, you will ensure that your payment will be on time every month. And if you set up the automatic payment for the statement balance, you will ensure that you are never charged interest and only charge what you can afford to repay.
  • Avoid cash advances. If you use your credit card to take out cash, most companies will charge a cash advance fee that averages 3%. The interest rate on cash advances is usually above 20%. And there is no grace period, which means interest starts accruing right away.

Best Luxury Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Airline perks, entertainment benefits, rewards and more

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is the best overall luxury card on the market, offering numerous benefits for cardholders. To name a few perks, you can receive: up to $200 in annual savings on Uber rides, Preferred Seating for select entertainment events, access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection with over 1,000 airport lounges across 120 countries, a $200 Airline Fee Credit per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline, and numerous other benefits.

There is a rewards program great for frequent travelers — you get five Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and five Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.

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  • Good disclosure: they tell you what you need to know
  • Simple introductory bonus
  • High annual fee

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent/Good

Annual Fee : $550

Welcome Offer : 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Tip: To earn the most Membership Rewards points, be sure to purchase flights directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and book hotel stays directly on amextravel.com.

 

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Best Low Rate Cards

If you’re someone who carries a balance month-to-month, a low rate credit card can be a great way for you to save money. Whether you want to complete a balance transfer, finance a large purchase, of simply have a low rate card in your wallet, there is a card for you. See below for our top picks.

How to Choose and Use a Low Rate Credit Card

When done properly, credit cards can be the cheapest way to borrow. Just make sure you choose the right credit card for your situation and automate a plan to pay off the debt as quickly as possible.

How to Choose

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

With a balance transfer credit card, you can transfer debt from a high interest rate credit card to a 0% introductory promotional rate. You can find no fee balance transfers for up to 15 months. If you are willing to pay a fee, you can find balance transfers for 18 or 21 months. The fee is usually worthwhile – if you want to do the calculation, you can use the calculator on our interactive tool.

Remember: You cannot transfer debt between two credit cards of the same bank.

Here are the best 0% balance transfer offers in the market today. All of these credit cards waive interest – which means there is no retroactive interest charge to worry about.

Chase Slate®

No Fee – introductory 0% on transfers for 15 months

Chase Slate®

The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

With the Chase Slate® credit card you can enjoy an introductory balance transfer offer of 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months and pay an Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater. The intro $0 transfer fee is a great way to save money when completing your transfer. In addition to the balance transfer offer, you pay 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months — great for those who want to pay off a large purchase over time without accruing interest.

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  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period, which means if you do not pay off your balance by the end of the promo period, you will not be charged the interest that would have accrued during the deferral period.
  • Interest rate is not known until you apply.

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent/Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : No bonus

Intro Purchase APR : 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months; then 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months; then 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR

 

BT Fee : Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.

Tip: Compete your transfer within 60 days from account opening to take advantage of the intro $0 transfer fee.

FULL REVIEW 

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

0% intro APR on transfers and purchases for 18 months; 3% balance transfer fee

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Citibank has a strong intro of 0%* for 18 months on Balance Transfers*. In addition, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has some added perks. There are no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee. Although you should always try to pay on time, it is nice that this card will not punish you for the occasional mistake. In addition to the balance transfer offer, you pay no interest on purchases for 18 months.

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  • No late fee, no penalty APR and a $0* annual fee
  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period, which means if you do not pay off your balance by the end of the promo period, you will not be charged the interest that would have accrued during the deferral period.
  • There is a range of interest rates. You won’t know yours until you apply.

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent/Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)

Annual Fee : $0*

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : 0%* for 18 months on Purchases*

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : 0%* for 18 months on Balance Transfers*

BT Fee : 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum

Tip: Make sure you transfer your balance within 4 months of opening the card, otherwise you lose the promotional offer.

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on Citibank’s secure website

FULL REVIEW 

Paying off credit card debt sometimes requires more than one balance transfer credit card. If you want even more choices, check out our full guide to the best balance transfer cards, or use our balance transfer calculator to see which cards will save you most.

Best 0% Purchase Credit Cards

With a 0% introductory purchase offer, you will not be charged interest for purchases made on the credit card during the promotional period. This is a great way to finance a purchase. Even better, none of these top cards charge retroactive interest if you don’t pay off the balance during the promotional period. (A lot of store credit cards offer 0%, but then hit you with a big penalty. But don’t worry – these recommendations don’t do that).

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card– 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer

0% intro on Purchases for 21 Months

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer

If you are looking to finance a purchase, Citibank offers the longest 0% intro purchase promotion of any credit card in the MagnifyMoney database. The intro APR on purchases will be 0%* for 12 months on Purchases* after opening the credit card. This is a fantastic length of time for you to pay off your balance. Additionally, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer has an intro 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*. There is also a $0* annual fee and the ability to choose your payment due date from any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month. After the intro period ends, the APR is 14.74% - 24.74%* (Variable).

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  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period, which means if you do not pay off your balance by the end of the promo period, you will not be charged the interest that would have accrued during the deferral period.
  • Interest rate is not known until you apply.

Key Information

Credit Score Required :Excellent/Good

Purchase Interest Rate : 14.74% - 24.74%* (Variable)

Annual Fee : $0*

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : 0%* for 12 months on Purchases*

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*

BT Fee : 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Tip: The 21 months starts from when you open the credit card, not when you make the purchase. So make sure you time your application with your planned purchase.

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on Citibank’s secure website

FULL REVIEW 

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

0% Intro on Purchases for 18 Months – Credit Union Membership Required

TruWest Visa® Signature

TruWest is a credit union with restricted membership. Unfortunately, you need to live in certain regions of Texas or Arizona, or work for a few select employers to join. You can learn about membership eligibility here. If you are able to join, you will find a long 18-month 0% intro APR period. Even better, the credit card has reasonable credit union interest rates after the promotional period ends. There is no annual fee on the card.

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  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period, which means if you do not pay off your balance by the end of the promo period, you will not be charged the interest that would have accrued during the deferral period.
  • There is a range of interest rates. You won’t know yours until you apply.

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Good or Excellent

Purchase Interest Rate : 9.40% – 10.40%

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Intro Purchase APR : 0% for 18 months

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : 0% for 18 months

BT Fee : 3%

Tip: Make sure you check your membership eligibility before you apply.

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on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

Best Low Interest Credit Cards

Having a credit card with a rate that stays low is a good idea. In case of an emergency, you will always have access to a low cost way to borrow. Here are some great low interest rate options:

Langley Select Visa Platinum Card from Langley FCU

As Low as 8.00% APR from a Credit Union Anyone Can Join

Langley Select Visa® Platinum

Anyone can join Langley Federal Credit Union by joining an association during the signup process for $5. If you have excellent credit and just want a place for emergency spending with no rewards, consider keeping this card on hand. Although the rates start as low as 8.00% Variable, not everyone will get a rate that low. It’s more of a hassle than a regular bank card, but if you insist on the very lowest rate you may get it with this card.

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  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period, which means if you do not pay off your balance by the end of the promo period, you will not be charged the interest that would have accrued during the deferral period.
  • There is a range of interest rates. You won’t know yours until you apply.
  • You have to join the credit union.

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Excellent

Purchase Interest Rate : as low as 8.50% Variable

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : None

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : None

BT Fee : None

Tip: You need to have an excellent credit score in order to qualify for the lowest interest rate.

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on Langley Federal Credit Union’s secure website

You might get a lower rate from a credit union or bank near you that doesn’t accept nationwide applications, and you can check our full list of low interest credit cards to see if there is one that works for you.

How to Use

If you need to borrow money, credit cards can be an incredibly low cost way of borrowing. Just make sure you pay attention to the following tips:

  • Get that balance transfer done quickly! If you are transferring a balance, make sure you complete the transfer as soon as possible. The introductory offer starts from when you open the card, not when the transfer is completed. And you can lose the offer with most issuers if you wait more than 60 days to complete the transfer.
  • Automate your monthly payments. If you pay late, you can be charged a costly late fee. And, if your payment is 60 days late, you can lose the introductory offer entirely.
  • You cannot transfer debt between two cards of the same bank. For example, if you open a Citibank account you will only be able to transfer debt from credit cards other than Citibank.

Best Cards to Help Build or Rebuild Your Credit Score

If you’re someone who is new to credit or has poor credit history, there are credit cards designed for you. These cards are a great way to begin your credit journey, or to improve your credit score. See below for our top picks.

How to Choose and Use a Credit Card to Build or Rebuild Your Score

If you are looking to build or rebuild your credit score, a credit card can be the perfect tool.

How to Choose

If you have no credit, or your credit score is below 620, you should consider a secured credit card.

If you have limited credit history (less than three years) or you have only defaulted once on a credit card or loan (not multiple times), you should consider a credit card for fair credit.

Best Secured Credit Cards if You Have Bad or No Credit

Secured credit cards are the best option if you need to build or rebuild your credit score. The best secured credit cards have no annual fees. If you’re going to use a secured credit card, it will help you grow your score if you pay your balance on time every month, keep your credit utilization low, and you apply for an unsecured credit card after 12-18 months of regular use.

Need to know more? These are ways that you can build your credit without paying interest and spending just $10 a month, and these are tips for improving your credit score.

Discover it® Secured

No Annual Fee Secured Card with Free FICO® Score; $200 Deposit Required

Discover it® Secured

This is our favorite secured credit card. There is a $0 annual fee and you will get free access to your credit score. In order to open the card, you will need to deposit at least $200, depending upon your creditworthiness. If you have previously filed bankruptcy, you still have the chance to be approved. With this secured credit card, you will earn 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Our favorite part of this card is the automatic monthly reviews starting at 8 months to see if you can be transitioned to an unsecured card. If you qualify, you will be graduated (and get your deposit back).

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  • No annual fee
  • Free FICO® credit score

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Please refer to issuer's website

Purchase Interest Rate : 24.74% Variable APR

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically (new cardmembers only).

Intro Purchase APR : None

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : 10.99% for 6 months

BT Fee : 3%

Tip: This product reports to all three credit bureaus. It is a great tool to build your score. But, if you miss payments, you can do damage to your score.

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

FULL REVIEW 

Rate Advantage Secured Visa by Coastal FCU

No Fee Secured Card; Credit Union Membership and $100 Deposit Required

Rate Advantage Secured Visa

This card has no annual fee, and you only need to deposit $100 in a Collateral Savings Account to get started. If you’re not a member of Coastal Credit Union, you can join an organization for $18, which is deducted from your initial deposit, and become a member. So you’ll need $118 to get started. While the initial deposit is lower than the Discover it® Secured, you lose out on the rewards. This card takes more work to open, since it involves joining a credit union, but anyone can apply.

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  • A single interest rate that you know up front, before you apply
  • You have to join a credit union

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Anyone can apply

Purchase Interest Rate : as low as 16.50% Variable

Annual Fee : $0

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : None

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : None

BT Fee : 3% or $5, whichever is greater

Tip: It is easy to join the credit union. Join an organization for $18 and you will become eligible.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Coastal Federal Credit Union’s secure website

We also have a list of several other no annual fee secured credit cards from both banks and credit unions anyone can join. Or browse our list of hundreds of secured cards to compare rates, fees, and deposit requirements.

Best Credit Cards if You Have Fair Credit

If you have fair or average credit, you might be able to qualify for an unsecured credit card. If you have more than one default in the last five years, you will find it difficult to get approved. In addition, if you are currently delinquent on any of your accounts it will also be hard to get approved, and you should try a secured card instead.

Here are some good cards for people with fair credit:

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

1.5% Cash Back for People with Average Credit – with $39 Annual Fee

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® has created a credit card specifically for people with Average/Fair/Limited credit. If you have defaulted on a loan (but not more than one) in the last five years, or you have limited credit history (at least one account for less than three years), you would meet the definition of average credit. With this card, you will earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
with no limit on how much you can earn, and no changing categories.

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  • Interest is not deferred during the balance transfer period, which means if you do not pay off your balance by the end of the promo period, you will not be charged the interest that would have accrued during the deferral period.
  • There is an annual fee

Key Information

Credit Score Required : Average/Fair/Limited

Purchase Interest Rate : 24.99% (Variable)

Annual Fee : $39

Sign-on Bonus : None

Intro Purchase APR : None

Intro Balance Transfer Offer : None

BT Fee : None

Tip: Watch your credit score closely. As you pay down your debt, your score will improve. Once your score is above 700, you can find a lot of choices for credit cards with better rewards or no annual fee.

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on Capital One’s secure website

FULL REVIEW 

You may also want to try and see if you are pre-qualified for a credit card before applying. Banks can perform a ‘soft’ pull on your credit file to give you a sense of whether you might qualify for one of their products. It leaves no mark on your credit score, and you can see a full list of ways to check if you’re pre-qualified here.

How to Use It

In order to build your credit score with one of these cards, you should follow our tips. By doing this, you should see real improvement in your score.

  • Don’t use more than 10% – 20% of your available credit. For example, if you have a $500 credit limit, never spend more than $50. That keeps your utilization low.
  • Use your card every single month. You should make sure you have a transaction every month, so that positive data is reported to the credit bureaus.
  • Automate and pay your statement balance in full and on time every month. Even just one late payment could crush your score. And by paying the balance in full, you will avoid any interest expense.
  • Watch your score closely. Keep an eye on your credit score. After 12 months, you should really start to see a big improvement. Once your score is above 650, you should try to get your secured card converted or apply for an unsecured credit card.

A Special Note: Beware Predatory Companies

Many lenders target consumers with FICO® credit scores of less than 650. If you have searched for “credit cards for bad credit,” you will probably find offers from companies like First Premier. In addition to high interest rates, these lenders often require application processing fees, maintenance fees and more. You could be given a $300 credit limit and see a big portion of it eaten up with fees.

Stay away from these specialist subprime lenders. Instead, consider the following:

  • If you need to borrow, consider a personal loan instead. You can find much better deals. Search for options here.
  • If you want to build your credit score, use a secured credit card instead.

Other Benefits of Using a Credit Card

Not only can you use a credit card to earn rewards, borrow at low rates or build your credit score for free – but there are many other benefits available. Here are some of the benefits that you can find:

Available on Most Credit Cards

  • $0 Liability on Fraudulent Activity: Credit cards are the best way to protect yourself from fraud. So long as you report the fraud to your credit card company, you will not be liable for any losses on any major credit card.
  • Car Rental Collision Insurance: If you waive collision coverage when renting a car, your credit card may provide secondary coverage of $50K or more.

Available on Some Credit Cards

  • Retail Purchase Protection: Protects you from loss, theft, fire or accidental damage for a limited period of time after your purchase has been made. Not all cards protect you from loss, so look it up in the Purchase Protection Coverage Description Document.
  • Price Protection: If you buy something in stores and you see an advertised price, you will receive the difference between the two prices.
  • Extended Warranties: Duplicates both manufacturers and store warranties for a limited length of time and for limited dollar values (varies by card).
  • Travel Accident Coverage: If you are injured during travel, and you purchased the tickets via credit card, your company fully insures you.
  • Lost Luggage Coverage: You can receive compensation for lost, stolen or damaged luggage if you purchased flight or travel tickets using your credit card.
  • Trip Interruption Cancellation Coverage: If travel delays keep you from completing a trip, and you purchased the tickets on your credit card, the full value of the tickets will be refunded
  • Concierge Services: Certain cards offer free access to local concierge services that can help you make dinner reservations, purchase event tickets, and locate items while you are abroad.

Should You Get a Credit Card?

Credit cards are like knives. Used well, they are great (even essential) tools. But if you start playing with them, you can get into trouble quickly.

There are two big risks associated with swiping plastic:

  • You spend more than you should, because it is just too easy
  • You pay higher interest rates than you should, adding years to your debt repayment

Before using a credit card, you need to answer the following question honestly:

Do I trust myself with plastic? Can I exhibit the necessary self-control to spend only what I can afford to pay in full every month?

If you have the discipline and self-control, keep reading and we will help you find the best credit card for your needs. But, if you don’t, it is possible to live a long and fulfilling life without plastic cards in your pocket.

Which type of card is best for you?

Why do you want a credit card? The answer to that question will determine which type of card is best for you.

Just remember this critical rule when selecting a credit card:

You should have a Rewards Card for your spending. You should have a Low Rate Card for your borrowing. But you should avoid mixing the two. The best Rewards Cards tend to have higher interest rates. And the best Low Rate Cards often have no (or bad) rewards.

FAQ

The minimum payment calculation differs by credit card issuer. The most common is 1% of the principal balance plus any interest or fees that accrued in the month (or a set amount, like $25, if the minimum due is very low).

If you use your credit card at an ATM to take out cash, a few things will happen. First, you would be charged a cash advance fee, which is usually about 3%. Second, interest would start accruing immediately, because most issuers do not have a cash advance grace period. And the cash advance interest rate is usually much higher than the purchase rate. Don’t be surprised to see interest rates as high as 24% (or higher).

While there is no over-limit fee, having a credit card with a balance that is greater than the credit limit can have a very negative impact on your credit score. In general, you want to keep your credit card balance below 20% (ideally below 10%) of your credit limit.

We do not recommend closing credit cards, because it can reduce your credit score. Closing unused credit cards does two things. First, it reduces your total available credit. That increases your utilization, which is bad for your score. Second, the age of your open credit cards helps your score. If you close old accounts, you can hurt your score over time.

The law requires that any payment amount beyond the minimum due must be applied to the highest APR balance first. The minimum due is at the discretion of the credit card companies. However, it is usually applied to the balance with the lowest APR first. Your goal is to eliminate high APR debt – so don’t be afraid to make much bigger payments on credit cards. The extra amount will always go to the most expensive debt first.

Each application for new credit can take 5-10 points off your credit score. If you are planning on applying for a mortgage or auto loan in the near future, you have to be very careful. Even just 5 points can be painful. However, if you are not going to be applying for a mortgage or auto loan in the next 6-12 months, you should not worry too much about your credit score. Instead, focus on getting out of debt quickly.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

If you have bad credit, it can be difficult to get approved for loans and credit cards. But it is not impossible. Even people with bad credit have options – which we will now explain.

What exactly is a bad credit score? When we’re talking about obtaining credit via credit cards, the magic number is somewhere between 620 and 650. If your credit score falls below 650, you’re going to have a difficult time obtaining credit from some of the larger lending institutions, and if it’s below 620, you’re going to have a difficult time obtaining credit from anyone — including smaller financial institutions like credit unions and independent marketplace lenders.

There are, however, some products for which you’ll have an easier time qualifying. Before you apply, make sure you’re prepared to be responsible with your new line of credit so you can boost your score and credit history rather than damaging it further. The best way to do this is to spend within your means by creating a budget and sticking to it. Here are some helpful tools to help you do just that. Remember to always pay your bill off in full on or before the due date each month to establish good credit.

Here are the products and topics we’ll be discussing today:

Check if You’re Pre-qualified

Before you apply for a credit card check if you’re pre-qualified from a variety of institutions. This does not hurt your credit score. Sites such as CreditCards.com provide good tools that can match you to offers from multiple credit card companies without impacting your credit score. This is a good first step when looking to apply for credit. You can read our complete guide to getting pre-qualified for a credit card here.

Build Credit with Secured Credit Cards

If you are trying to rebuild your credit, one of the best approaches is to get a secured credit card. In order to get the card, you will have to write a check to deposit with the credit card company. This money will be your line of credit.

In order to effectively rebuild your credit, you must actually use the card, and we recommend not charging more than 20% of your credit line. For example, if you have a $500 credit line, you should not charge more than $100. Then, pay off your balance in full every single month. You can even build credit with $10 a month on a secured card and see your credit score rise.

After you’ve consistently managed your secured card well over a period of time, you may be able to increase your credit line beyond your initial deposit or migrate to an unsecured credit card. With most companies, this is a tedious process that you’ll have to initiate. You also aren’t guaranteed to get results even after you’ve made a request.

Discover operates differently than most companies in this realm, making it our number one pick for secured cards.

Discover it® Secured

If you’re looking for a secured credit card, look no further than the Discover it® Secured. On top of being great for people with a bad credit score, Discover will also accept applicants who have no credit history at all. Discover offers great ways for you to rebuild your credit and be on the way to an unsecured card.

Discover it® Secured

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Secured

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular APR
24.74%

Variable

Credit required
bad-credit
Bad

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Bankruptcies May Be OK If you have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your credit report, it won’t automatically disqualify you from getting approved for a Discover it® Secured. However, there are no guaranteed approvals. This is a positive if you’ve had trouble getting a credit card in the past.
  • Helps You Rebuild Your Credit This is a legitimate way to rebuild your credit when you don’t qualify for other cards, or the agreement you are offered by another company is laden with fees and high interest rates.
  • Offers a Rewards Program Not only can you rebuild your credit, but you’ll also earn rewards points as you do so. This is a great feature that many secured cards don’t offer and is a reason why we consider Discover number one. Earn 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases. During your first year, Discover will also match your cash back.
  • Easy to Get a Credit Increase Every eight months, Discover reviews your account to see if you’re eligible for an increase on your line of credit. This is typically a process you’d have to initiate with other lenders. So rest assured that Discover will give you an updated line of credit reflective of your changing situation.
  • Easy to Transition to an Unsecured Card Some companies will make it difficult to transition from a secured to unsecured card. Not Discover. They assess your eligibility during that eight-month checkup. This helps facilitate you from a secured to unsecured card.

Cons Cons

  • Rewards Limited The higher 2% reward tier is limited to the first $1,000 you spend at restaurants and gas stations each quarter. Regardless, that’s $20 back, which is a great reward when your goal is to increase your credit score.
  • Be Careful Not to Overspend As with the other cards in this review, you have to be careful that the rewards program doesn’t entice you to overspend. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your credit score further. Make sure that your primary goal, to raise your credit score, precedes the urge to spend too much money in order to get rewards.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Secured is a fantastic product for those with bad credit. Pay your balance in full by the end of every statement period and your financial life is almost guaranteed to get rosier. You’ll even have the added benefit of rewards — just be careful not to let the rewards program lure you into overspending. With proper practices, you’ll be on your way to an unsecured card and a better credit score.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Secured

Also Consider

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card from Capital Bank N.A.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

This card does not do a credit check, and no bank account is needed to apply. This is beneficial for those with low credit scores or no access to a bank account. If you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you’re in luck because they don’t care to know, unlike other institutions. However, OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card charges a $35 annual fee, which the Discover it® Secured does not. This can be a deal breaker if you don’t want to pay a fee, since there are many secured cards without fees.

Read MagnifyMoney’s full Secured Credit Card Guide.

Our Credit Union Favorite

If you’re looking to open a credit card with bad credit, it can be hard to find a card you qualify for. That’s where credit unions come in. They are sometimes more accepting of your credit history and have cards especially designed for people with low credit scores — helping your approval chances.

Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union

Georgia’s Own Credit Union offers a variety of credit cards all with low interest. The Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union is positioned toward those who need to rebuild credit and boasts a low APR. When you apply for a credit card on Georgia’s Own website you are directed toward an application that is for all credit cards they offer. This means that depending on your creditworthiness, you may not be directed to the Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union as an option. Therefore, if you want to apply directly for the card, the best bet is to speak with a loan officer who will tell you if you’re pre-approved for the Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union.

Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union

APPLY NOW Secured

on Georgia's Own Credit Union’s secure website

Read Full Review

Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union

Annual fee
$0
Regular Purchase APR
13.74%-18.74%

Fair Variable

Credit required
bad-credit
Bad

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Good chance of getting approved Georgia’s Own tailored this credit card toward those needing to rebuild or re-establish their credit history. This gives those with bad credit a greater chance of being approved. Also, if your score is above 620, you are more likely to be approved.
  • Fair APR This card has a fair APR ranging from 13.74-18.74% Variable. This is significantly lower compared to other cards targeted to people with less than perfect credit, with APRs as high as 19.99%. Although your goal is to pay every bill in full and on time each month, if you keep a balance, this low APR won’t accrue as much interest as other cards.

Cons Cons

  • Have to join the credit union In order to get this card, you have to join Georgia’s Own Credit Union. Anyone can become a member regardless of residence. If you don’t qualify for Georgia’s Own free eligibility options, you will have to join the GettingAhead Association, which has a $5 annual membership fee. The best bet is to speak to a loan officer (404-874-1166) and see if you’re pre-approved for the credit card, and if pre-approved, you can join GettingAhead while completing your credit card application. All members will also need to keep $5 in a savings account that must remain in the account while you have the card open.
  • Foreign transaction fee of 2% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction Make sure to leave this card at home when you travel abroad as you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee of 2% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction. This is slightly lower than most cards, which charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, yet high enough to increase your bill significantly if you make purchases abroad.
  • No rewards program There is no rewards program for this credit card. Georgia’s Own offers several other cards that have rewards programs, but you may have a harder time qualifying if you don’t have a good credit score.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union is a good option for people who have a bad credit score. If you don’t mind joining a credit union and plan on practicing proper credit behavior, you can rebuild your credit score. Later on, you’ll be able to qualify for other credit cards that have rewards programs.

Read our full review of the Visa® Classic from Georgia's Own Credit Union

Best for Cash: Personal Loans

If you’re looking to get some cash in your pocket, credit cards in general aren’t your best answer. Cash advances are not ideal, and putting a purchase you can’t currently afford onto a credit card with a high interest rate attributable to your not-so-great credit score is going to be an expensive venture.

Instead, you’ll want to consider personal loans. They’re admittedly a little more work up front with the application process, but the savings can be worth it. YOu can check to see if you are prequalified without impacting your credit score at most lenders. And LendingTree (the parent company of MagnifyMoney) has created a tool that lets you compare rates from dozens of lenders at once, without impacting your score.

LendingTree

LendingTree, our parent company, offers a one-stop tool that can help borrowers find numerous personal loan offers. After entering some basic information, you can receive offers from lenders in a matter of minutes. If you prefer to go directly to the lender’s site you can use one of the options listed below.

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree

Loan Amount
up to $35,000
Term
24 to 60 Months
APR Range
5.99%-35.99%
Origination Fee
Varies
Credit Required
Bad or Could be Better/Average/Good/Excellent
Soft Pull
You can get your rate without hurting your score.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Check Multiple Offers at Once You can check personal loan offers from a wide range of lenders including Avant, LendingClub and Best Egg. The entire process happens online for free and is fast and easy.
  • Soft Pull on Your Credit LendingTree performs a soft pull on your credit in order to give you accurate loan offers. This does not affect your credit score and can give you a good picture of what to expect if you’re approved for a loan.

Cons Cons

  • Need to Create and Account to View Offers The only way to view your personal loan offers is to create and account at LendingTree. This is a minor step, but it does allow you the ease of saving your offers so you can review them later.
Bottom line

Bottom line

LendingTree offers a great tool that lets you easily check your rates for a variety of lenders, all in a matter of minutes. This is a great way for you to see what rates you may get and allows you to shop around for the best offer, without the hassle of going to multiple websites.

Avant

Avant offers personal loans even to those with less-than-desirable credit. Because there is no prepayment penalty, you can pay off your loan before the end of your term without consequence.

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant

Loan Amount
$2,000 – $35,000
Term
24 to 60 Months
APR Range
9.95%-35.99%
Origination Fee
Up to 4.75%
Soft Pull
Checking your Loan Options will not affect your credit score.

Advertiser Disclosure :

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Apply Online The entire Avant application process happens online. This saves you the hassle of filling out paperwork and visiting a local branch.
  • Check Your Loan Options Before You Apply Avant allows you to check your Loan Options that you would be offered with a soft pull on your credit. This will not impact your credit score. This is helpful if you’re shopping around for different rates and gives you a realistic picture of what to expect should you choose Avant.
  • Could Save Money over Subprime Credit Cards Depending on the interest rate and upfront fee percentage you are offered, a personal loan from Avant could save you money over putting purchases on a subprime credit card. The ability to preview your interest rate can also help you compare between personal loans and other possible options.

Cons Cons

  • High Interest Rates Because you’re a subprime borrower, you’re not likely to qualify for the lowest interest rate offered. You’re more likely to be offered something closer to the 35.99% rate. This is a very high rate, and it’s important that you make all of your payments on time to avoid paying interest and damaging your credit score.
Bottom line

Bottom line

While there’s only one con for Avant’s personal loans, it’s a pretty big one. The interest rate can be extremely high, so do your math before deciding if this is a good product for you. And be sure to take advantage of the fact that they’ll let you check your interest rate before officially submitting your application. Use this feature to shop around for best offers and check if you qualify for a better loan

OneMain Financial

Avant is easier to apply for as the application process will take place online, but if you’re willing to go somewhere in person, you can also apply with OneMain Financial. Its application is also online, but in order to be approved, you’ll have to show up at a local branch with documentation backing the information you submitted at home.

Apply Now Secured

on OneMain Financial’s secure website

OneMain Financial

Loan Amount
$1,500 – $30,000
Term
24 to 60 Months
APR Range
16.05%-35.99%
Origination Fee
Varies

Advertiser Disclosure :

Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our standard credit criteria (including credit history, income and debts) and the availability of collateral. Loan amounts subject to state specific minimum or maximum size restrictions. Collateral offered must meet our criteria. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered by the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral. CA minimum loan amount is $3,000. GA minimum loan amount is $1,500 for present customers and $3,100 for others.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Same-day funds when you get a prepaid debit card or check, up to $10,000
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Several locations across 44 states

Cons Cons

  • High rates up to 35.99%
  • 5% late payment penalty
Bottom line

Bottom line

If you have a lower credit score and are limited in your options to take out a personal loan, OneMain Financial could provide you with a solution. However, be sure you understand the loan terms and the full cost of the loan.

Last Resort: Subprime Credit Cards

Subprime credit cards are those that lending institutions issue to those with “bad” credit. They are not a good solution to your credit woes. They almost always come with high interest rates and a litany of fees — both of which make it difficult to use this product responsibly.

For example, First Premier makes a business out of lending to subprime borrowers with bad credit. Most of their applicants are only awarded a $300 line of credit. That’s after they pay a $95 fee just to apply (which is not a common practice in the credit card industry) and a $75 annual fee. If you are approved for a higher credit limit, your annual fee for the first year may be higher ($79-$125). In the second year, the annual fee drops ($45-$49), but at this point you are charged a $6.25-$10.40 account servicing fee every single month.

The cherry on top? The card’s APR is 36%. Heaven forbid you are ever late on a payment — your balance will skyrocket with the insanely high interest rate. Don’t forget about the late payment fee — up to $38.

Another example is Credit One Bank — not to be confused with Capitol One Bank, though their logos do look eerily similar. Not every Credit One Bank credit card comes with outrageous fees. In fact, there are 26 separate possible card agreements. But if you are a subprime borrower, you’re likely to qualify for higher rates.

Your credit may not be great, but that doesn’t make subprime credit cards a “fair” product. You may qualify for other, better options that aren’t as laden with fees. That’s why we recommend you first check if you’re pre-qualified for offers then look at store cards and personal loans before choosing a subprime credit card.

Bad Credit FAQs

Store cards can be used as payment anywhere the credit card company, such as MasterCard or Visa, is accepted. Private label cards can only be used at the branded company’s store. For example, if you get a private label card for New York & Company, you can only use it for purchases at New York & Company. You would not be able to use it at any other store.

Your best bet is to ask. If you are applying online, pick up the phone and call or use the company’s online chat if available.

If you have a physical card in front of you, you’ll notice that store cards always have the associated credit card company shown on the front, whether that be Visa, American Express, MasterCard, or another.

Private label cards tend not to display this information, though a major financial institution that a lot of companies work with for their private label cards is Comenity. If you have a card associated with Comenity Bank, it is likely a private label card.

No. Most businesses have an online application for their store cards.

Personal loans are typically issued by more reputable lenders who aspire to more transparency than those in the payday loan space. Payday loans are often advertised as having interest rates somewhere between 10% and 30%, but that interest is charged over a short period of time, making their effective APR (annual percentage rate) much higher. Some payday loans have an effective APR of 400% or more.

The lender isn’t likely to tell you that, though. Many businesses in this space are predatory. Payday loans also tend to come with outrageous fees.

While rates and fees on personal loans for those with bad credit aren’t ideal, they’re more than substantially lower than those of payday loans. Make no mistake about it: despite enticing advertising promises of deceptive payday lenders, personal loans are an infinitely better option.

Borrowing cash from your credit card company often comes with a fee of 1%-5%. That may not seem terrible when you look at the upfront fees of many personal loans, but you also have to account for interest.

Unlike purchases you charge to your card, interest on cash advances starts accruing immediately. You do not get to wait for your next statement to be issued. The interest rate for cash advances is also often higher than that of regular purchases.

A personal loan is an installment loan with a balance that will go down if you pay the minimum payment each month. This makes it far easier to manage than debt accrued via a cash advance. If you only pay the minimum payment on a cash advance each month, your balance will go up at a quick pace, potentially spiraling out of control.

First of all, the less you charge, the easier it will be to pay back. Since you have a bad credit score, you may have had issues with charging too much in the past and being unable to pay it off.

Secondly, around 30% of your credit score is made up of your credit utilization ratio. You find this ratio by dividing the amount of credit extended to you by the amount you have borrowed. By borrowing only 20% of your available credit, you reduce the risk of having your current balance negatively impacting your credit score.

It can sometimes take a year or more to see your score improve by 100 points if you are doing everything correctly and responsibly.

Yes, but only if you use them responsibly, paying the balance off in full every month. Keep in mind your credit utilization ratio here, too.

Potentially. Ten percent of your credit score is made up of something called “credit mix.” You don’t need to have every single type of credit in your credit report, but you should have more than one type. Here are the five that count:

  • Credit cards
  • Installment loans
  • Retail accounts
  • Finance company accounts
  • Mortgage loans

Conceivably, if you have a mortgage or business debt tied to your Social Security number or EIN, you might be able to get away with rebuilding your score through a personal loan (which is an installment loan). The key is to manage all of those debts well — and to do so consistently — especially since you already have bad credit.

No. Transactions on prepaid debit cards do not get reported to the credit bureaus. Also, it’s important to remember than many prepaid cards come with a ton of fees.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Having fair credit doesn’t mean you’re ineligible for great credit cards. We’ve rounded up the top credit cards with the best offers in a range of different categories that you’re still likely to be approved for, even with fair credit. These credit cards can help you build credit as long as you use them wisely. In this guide, we’ll show you the best credit cards for fair credit scores as well as how to use them to boost your credit score even higher.

Here are some of the products we will be discussing today:

Check If You’re Pre-qualified

Before applying for any credit card it’s helpful to check if you’re pre-qualified from a variety of institutions. The soft credit check the institutions perform does not harm your credit score and allows you to compare credit options. Sites such as CreditCards.com provide good tools that can match you to offers from multiple credit card companies without impacting your credit score. You can read our complete guide to getting pre-qualified for a credit card here.

Build Credit with Secured Cards

A great approach to rebuilding credit is to get a secured credit card. In order to get the card, you will have to deposit money that will be your line of credit. To effectively rebuild your credit, you must use the card, and we recommend not charging more than 20% of your credit line. For example, if you have a $500 credit line, you should not charge more than $100. Then, pay off your balance in full every single month. You can even build credit with $10 a month on a secured card and see your credit score rise.

After you’ve consistently managed your secured card well over a period of time, you may be able to increase your credit line beyond your initial deposit or migrate to an unsecured credit card.

We’ve reviewed the best secured cards in the market and found our top pick — the Discover it® Secured. This card has a $0 annual fee, a reasonable security deposit and offers an easy transition to an unsecured card. In addition, Discover offers a rewards program and free access to your FICO® score.

Discover it® Secured

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Secured

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular APR
24.74%

Variable

Credit required
bad-credit
Bad

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Bankruptcies May Be OK If you have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your credit report, it won’t automatically disqualify you from getting approved for the Discover it® Secured. However, there are no guaranteed approvals. This is a positive if you’ve had trouble getting a credit card in the past.
  • Helps You Rebuild Your Credit This is a great way to improve your credit when you don’t qualify for other cards. Discover reports to the major credit bureaus, which means your good behavior will be rewarded.
  • Free FICO® Score Each month you will receive your free FICO® Score. This is a great tool for you to monitor your credit score. If you practice proper credit behavior, you will see your score increase.
  • Offers a Rewards Program Not only can you improve your credit, but you’ll also earn rewards points as you do so. This is a great feature that many secured cards don’t offer and is a reason why we consider Discover number one. Earn 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases. During your first year, you get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned, automatically (new cardmembers only).
  • Easy to Transition to an Unsecured Card Some companies will make it difficult to transition from a secured to unsecured card. Not Discover. They start automated monthly reviews at month eight. This helps facilitate you from a secured to unsecured card.

Cons Cons

  • Rewards LimitedThe higher 2% reward tier is limited to the first $1,000 you spend at restaurants and gas stations each quarter. Regardless, that’s $20 back, which is a great reward when your goal is to increase your credit score.
  • Be Careful Not to OverspendAs with the other cards in this review, you have to be careful that the rewards program doesn’t entice you to overspend. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your credit score. Make sure that your primary goal, to raise your credit score, precedes the urge to spend too much money in order to get rewards.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Discover it® Secured is a great product for those with fair credit. By practicing responsible credit behavior you will begin to see improvement in your credit score while also earning rewards. Make sure you don’t let the rewards program lure you into overspending. With proper practices, you’ll be on your way to an unsecured card and a better credit score.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Secured

Best for Cash Back

If you have fair credit and want a cash back card the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good option. As a consumer with fair credit you may not qualify for all cash back cards, but you may qualify for the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card since it is made for those with average/fair/limited credit. With this card you will earn unlimited cash back, with no changing categories, and the rewards never expire.

However, this card comes with a high 24.99% (Variable) APR and $39 annual fee. To earn enough cash back rewards to pay for the card itself each year you’ll need to spend $2,600 annually ($217 per month). To net a cash back of $50 you need to spend $5,933 in a year ($494 per month). This card may be an option for you if you want to earn more than 1% cash back.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$39
Cashback Rate
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
24.99%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Average

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day If you’ve got average/fair/limited credit, this is the highest cash back rate that you’ll see. By spending $225 per month on the credit card, you’ll earn more in rewards than you pay in annual fees. If you spend at least $650 per month on the credit card, you’ll beat out the 1% rewards rate that some secured credit cards offer.
  • Access to your credit score Free access to your credit score is great for those looking to rebuild their credit. You will be able to monitor your credit score using CreditWise as well as take advantage of tools to help you practice good credit behavior.

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee This card comes with a $39 annual fee, unlike other cash back rewards card we mentioned. This is important to consider when deciding what credit card is best for you. Plus, you may not be stuck with the fee forever. Capital One has shown willingness to upgrade users to fee-free accounts when their credit scores improve. You will need to call to ask for the upgrade though.
  • High interest rate This card has a high 24.99% (Variable) APR that is similar to most credit cards for people with average/fair/limited credit. Make sure you pay your bills on time and in full every month to avoid high interest charges. By doing this you will be able to benefit from the cash back rewards.
Bottom line

Bottom line

If you can’t qualify for one of the credit cards above, this is an excellent rewards credit card option. The $39 annual fee isn’t our favorite, but it’s better than the nonsense fees that you see from other lenders. As long as you spend at least $225 per month on this card, you’ll come out ahead. Once you improve your credit, you can consider some of the better rewards credit cards.

Best Low Ongoing APR

No one wants to carry a balance on their credit cards, but if you must, it’s best to get a card with a low ongoing APR. Many lenders charge high APRs around 25%, but you can potentially qualify for a variable APR as low as 8.90%. This card will charge you less money on your debt than the typical credit card, which can save you big dollars in the long run.

Platinum Mastercard® from Aspire FCU

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on Aspire Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Platinum Mastercard® from Aspire FCU

Intro BT APR
0%

promotional rate

Balance Transfer Fee
$5 or 2% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater
Regular Purchase APR
9.65%-18.00%

Variable

Duration
6 months
Credit required
fair-credit

Average

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 6 months If you need to make a big purchase and can pay it off within the next 6 months, this card will save you a ton of money in interest charges. Your balance won’t accrue any interest, whether it’s from a purchase or a balance transfer during the 6-month introductory period.
  • Low ongoing APR At an APR as low as 9.65% and topping off at 18%, this card rivals many personal loans for having the lowest interest rate, especially if you don’t have excellent credit. This is a major benefit if you can’t afford to pay your statement in full each month, as other cards charge high APRs around 25%.
  • No annual fee You won’t pay anything to keep this card in your back pocket, making it especially good to keep for emergencies. This card has no fee in addition to the low APR, increasing your benefit of having it for unexpected purchases. Even if you only use it on occasion, it is at no harm to you since it’s fee-free.
  • High credit limits Don’t worry if a big emergency pops up; you’ll likely be able to cover it with this card. Aspire boasts generous credit limits on their product information page, which is a benefit, especially if you have fair credit as you may struggle to be approved for a high credit limit from other cards.

Cons Cons

  • 1% foreign transaction fee This is a great card to have for emergencies — as long as you’re at home. The 1% foreign transaction fee isn’t as high as other cards that charge 3%, though you can find cards with no fee.
  • No rewards program You might also take note that the Aspire Platinum MasterCard does not include any rewards program. This is what allows them to charge low fees. Aspire offers the Platinum Rewards MasterCard and World Rewards MasterCard as rewards card options, but they both require a good to excellent credit score.
Bottom line

Bottom line

With no annual fee, a low interest rate, and high credit limits, this card seems perfectly designed to have on hand in case of emergencies. You do have to join the Aspire credit union, but there is no fee — you only need to keep $5 in a savings account for your membership to stay active. Though Aspire charges a low APR, make it a goal to only spend what money you have to avoid paying interest and work toward raising your credit score.

Read our full review of the Platinum Mastercard® from Aspire FCU

Best for Small Business Owners

Running a business is hard. Small business credit cards can make it a bit easier for you by giving you rewards for everyday purchases. Nevertheless, be aware: Business credit cards forego certain protections that personal credit cards have under the Credit CARD Act. For example, card issuers can change the payment due date or interest rate without giving you prior notice.

Still, small business cards can be a great option for you to build your credit and save money, even if you don’t have a traditional brick-and-mortar business. You can apply for these cards with just a DBA or even your own name, if you’re a freelancer.

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

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on Capital One’s secure website

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Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase for your business
Regular Purchase APR
24.74%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Average

Magnify Glass Pros

  • $0 annual fee You won’t pay anything for using this card — assuming you pay off your purchases each month to avoid interest charges, of course. This is a great feature since many other cards charge yearly fees.
  • No foreign transaction fees This card is perfect for jet-setting business travelers because it won’t slap you with a foreign transaction fee (typically 3% of the purchase). Whether you travel frequently or on occasion, this card has you covered.
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, every dayMake your business essentially 1% cheaper to run. You earn unlimited cash back on all purchases with no expiration and no minimum to redeem. This is a great way for your business to save money while making everyday purchases.
  • Free cards for employees You won’t have to pay any fees to ensure your employees have the ability to buy the things needed to run your business. You don’t have to worry about reimbursing employees for purchases they’ve made on their personal card, since employee cards are convenient and free.

Cons Cons

  • High 24.74% (Variable) APR If you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll pay a hefty interest rate more commonly found among people with poor credit. This is very high and can rack up debt if you aren’t careful with your spending and payments. Be sure to create a budget to make sure you and your employees don’t spend more than you can pay off at the end of the month, which will help you avoid paying interest.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card has many benefits for small business owners who have fair credit and can act as a great way to earn rewards on purchases — all with a $0 annual fee. There really aren’t many downsides to the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business — as long as you’re able to pay your credit card bill in full each month. Otherwise, you’ll be slapped with a high interest charge.

Read our full review of the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Best for Students

You may have a fair credit score because you are a student. Student cards provide a great way for you to build your credit score and establish good credit history. The Discover it® Student Cash Back is made with students in mind and offers ways to help you build credit and also earn rewards.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Regular APR
14.74%-23.74%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Fair

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Free FICO® score Keep tabs on your FICO® score while you work to raise it. As a student, you’re new to credit and will want to start developing good credit history. Checking your FICO® score on a monthly basis will help you develop good habits to monitor your score.
  • High-earning cash back potential Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases. Keep tabs on the cash back calendar to see what the categories are for a given quarter.
  • Cash back rewards match for your first year At the end of your first year, Discover will double the amount of cash back rewards you’ve earned. This is a great bonus that increases your cash back in year one. Make sure you don’t overspend and get into debt to get a greater reward, because you’ll damage your credit score.
  • Cash back for good grades Discover will give you a $20 statement credit at the end of each school year if you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. You can earn the statement credit for up to five years by submitting the Good Grade Reward request at the end of the school year (September-August). This is a great added bonus for students with superb GPAs.

Cons Cons

  • Must opt in to 5% rewards categories Discover requires you to opt in for the quarterly rotating places in order to get the 5% cash back. Set a reminder for yourself at the beginning of each quarter to log in to your account and activate the rewards places. Otherwise, you’ll just earn a flat 1% cash back. This is key to remember in order for you to maximize the cash back you’ll receive.
  • High interest rates Discover has a high interest rates of 14.74% - 23.74% Variable APR to be aware of. You want to make sure that you pay your bill in full every month to avoid being charged interest as well as a late payment fee (which is waived the first time). Use the waiver as a reminder to set up autopay or alerts to pay your bill on time going forward.
Bottom line

Bottom line

With a $0 annual fee, a free FICO® score, and excellent opportunities to earn cash back, this is a great card designed with students in mind to help build credit while putting more money back in your pocket. Just be sure you don’t use it as an excuse to spend more money than you can pay off, otherwise it’ll have the opposite effect on your credit score.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Student Cash Back

AvantCard Credit Card

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on Avant’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC

AvantCard Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
25.74%

Variable

Annual fee
$29
Credit required
fair-credit

Fair

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Fast and easy application process
  • No deposit required
  • No hidden fees
  • Report to all three major credit bureaus
  • Zero fraud liability for unauthorized charges
  • Conveniently pay your card through our online portal, 24/7
  • All states except Colorado, Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
  • Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC
  • Disclosure: If you are charged interest, the charge will be no less than $1.00

FAQ

There’s a lot of math that goes into computing your credit scores, but at the end of the day, a fair credit score is defined as being between 649 and 699. Here’s how a fair credit score sits in relation to other credit scoring classes:

  • Excellent: Above 760
  • Good: 700-759
  • Fair/Average: 649-699
  • Poor: 600-648
  • Very Poor: Under 599

You can check your credit score for free on sites like Credit Karma, Chase Credit Journey, or AnnualCreditReport.com.

Having a good or excellent credit score unlocks a lot of advantages, such as lower interest rates and better approval odds for high-value credit cards and other financial products. These advantages will result in more dollars in your wallet at the end of the day. For example, having a high credit score can save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments over your lifetime, especially for big-ticket loans like a home mortgage.

But if you have a fair credit score, don’t fret! There is a reason that your score is less than optimal, and thus there are real, concrete steps you can take to boost your credit score into the good and excellent range.

If you play your cards right, you can even join the exclusive 800+ credit score club (unfortunately, it’s not an official club, and you don’t get a shower of balloons and confetti once you reach it — but you will get access to some of the most exclusive financial products).

There can be many reasons why your credit score is below 700. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • You have late payments on your credit report. Having even just one late payment on your credit report can seriously harm it because payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. Unfortunately, unless it’s an error, you’ll just need to wait for it to drop off of your credit report in seven years. To prevent this from happening, make sure all of your debt payments are set up on autopay. That way, you won’t have to worry about it.
  • You have a lot of credit card debt. Credit utilization ratio is one of the biggest factors in calculating your credit score — it affects 30% of the final score. It’s simply how much you owe relative to how much you are allowed to spend. For example, let’s say you have two credit cards with a $5,000 limit each, and you owe $2,000. Your credit utilization ratio is 20% because you owe $2,000 out of a possible $10,000. Luckily, this is one of the easiest factors to correct that will boost your credit score big time in the short run: Pay off your balance, and your score will bump up immediately.
  • You don’t have a long credit history. Although credit history doesn’t factor into the calculation of your credit score as much as the credit utilization ratio and payment history, it still makes up a sizable chunk at 15%. There’s not much you can do about this one: Simply wait for your accounts to age.
  • You have a lot of credit inquiries. Banks don’t like to see you applying for credit like an out-of-control spender in Las Vegas. Each time you apply for credit or a loan, it’s recorded on your credit report as a credit inquiry, and it stays there for two years. To minimize the number of credit inquiries you have, always shop around and make sure creditors use a soft pull credit check unless you’re absolutely ready to apply for the line of credit. This factor makes up just 10% of your credit score, but it’s an easy one you can affect as long as you’re careful about applying for credit.
  • You don’t have a wide variety of account types. You may be an ace at handling your student loans, but creditors also want to know you can handle other types of credit like mortgages and credit card debt, too. The more types of credit accounts you have on file, the better. However, we don’t recommend taking out a loan just for the sake of boosting your credit score — that costs money, and you’ll only receive a modest benefit from it because credit mix only makes up 10% of your credit score.

As you can see, you do have a lot of options when it comes to fine-tuning your credit score into the good or excellent category. We recommend the helpful credit score simulator at Chase Credit Journey to check your current score and see how these adjustments can potentially change your credit level. It’s available whether you’re a Chase customer or not. Give it a try!

Applying for a credit card is easy. You’ll need some basic information like name, address, and Social Security number. You’ll also need employment and income information. Simply enter it into the online form on the credit card company’s website, visit a branch of the bank (if they have one), or call the credit card company directly. You’ll usually receive instant notification if you’ve been approved or not.

There are many ways for you to increase your credit score. Ultimately practicing responsible credit behavior is the best way to see your score rise. Here are a few ways you can increase your credit score:

  • Have someone add you as an authorized user: If you have a willing (and very trusting) friend or family member with better credit, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user onto one or more of their credit cards. Their credit will not be harmed by this (as long as you don’t rack up charges or missed payments), and the credit card will show up on your credit report just as if you had applied for it — boosting your credit utilization ratio, number of accounts, and account age if you keep it for a long time.
  • Increase your credit history length: Unfortunately, you can’t go back in time, but you can still affect your credit history length. Your credit score is partially based off of average credit history length, and the more old accounts you have, the better. If you already have credit cards open, consider keeping them open so your average credit history won’t decrease and ding your credit. Each new credit card you get will drop your average account age, and it’ll take longer to boost this portion of your score.
  • Maintain a low credit utilization: Credit utilization (the percentage of available credit you’re using) is one of the biggest factors in calculating your credit score. The lower, the better. To decrease your utilization ratio, simply pay off your credit card. You can also request a credit limit increase from your credit card issuer to lower your credit utilization ratio — just make sure not to rack up a balance again with that extra credit or you’ll be back to square one.

Missing a payment can single-handedly cause your credit score to drop by 100 points or more. To avoid this, simply set up your credit card on autopay for the minimum amount due — that way you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment.

You can always apply for a personal loan if you need some cash right now for something. You can use this tool to shop around for the best interest rates without hurting your credit score. It’s smart to avoid hard inquiries until you’re ready to actually apply for a personal loan so that your credit isn’t dinged with multiple inquiries.

Each credit card is different, so you’ll need to check the fine print. Usually, though, you’ll need to both charge a purchase and pay off your bill before you’re eligible for those cash back rewards. Then, they’ll tally up this amount and periodically either send you a check, or offer a statement credit.

If you’re running a small business, it’s often easy to mix your personal and business accounts, especially if you’re self-employed. This creates an accounting nightmare to sort through, so it’s recommended (but not required) that you have a separate business banking account and credit card, if you need one.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Best of, Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards for Good Credit August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

If you’re someone with good credit you should be able to qualify for a variety of credit cards. There are cards if you want to earn cash back, earn travel rewards or complete a balance transfer. MagnifyMoney has reviewed our database of over 2,000 credit cards to find cards you can qualify for with good credit. Here are our favorite cards for people with good credit.

Best cash back credit cards for good credit

Cash back credit cards can be great tools to boost your financial position. They basically make your life just a few percentage points cheaper — who wouldn’t want that?

Watch out for the pitfalls with these rewards cards, though. Don’t talk yourself into spending more because you’ll receive cash back. If you opt for a cash back card that offers you up to 5X more points on certain categories, make sure you understand that you often have to activate the bonus categories and set up reminders for yourself if necessary.

Best flat-rate cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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on Citibank’s secure website

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee
$0*
Cashback Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Regular Purchase APR
15.24%-25.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • High flat-rate cash back You earn the highest flat-rate cash back amount of any card on the market. This allows you to enjoy high rewards on all your purchases.
  • Simple cash back rewards Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay, as long as you pay the minimum due. No need to deal with changing categories or activation.
  • First late fee waived You won’t have to pay your first late fee. Instead, if you are tardy, use it as a reminder to sign up for autopay

Cons Cons

  • Must pay in full to earn the full reward The only way to enjoy the 2% cash back is to pay your bill in full. This is a great incentive to pay your bill on time so you earn rewards faster.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee This is one card to leave home if you travel abroad a lot — but it’s great as long as you stay within the borders. The foreign transaction fee will negate any cash back you earn from purchases made abroad.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This is one of the highest flat-rate cash back rewards credit cards on the market. It’s a great choice for those who want peace of mind that they’re getting good rewards without fussing with variable rewards categories.

Read our full review of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Best 5% cash back

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Cash Back

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
5% on certain categories, 1% on everything else
Regular APR
13.74%-24.74%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Good / Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Up to 5% cash back in rotating categories You will earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter, like gas stations, Amazon.com, restaurants, wholesale clubs, and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. All other purchases will earn unlimited 1% cash back automatically.
  • Cash back match your first year  Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically. This is a great additional bonus for new cardholders that will significantly increase your cash back.
  • No foreign transaction fee Bring your card with you on your adventures abroad. It won’t cost you anything extra. This is one of the only cash back rewards cards to not charge you for using your card abroad.
  • Free FICO® score Your FICO® score is the most common credit score used by creditors, and getting your official score helps you keep tabs on your good credit. Monitoring your score can also help alert you of any fraudulent activity on your card.

Cons Cons

  • You need to opt in for bonus categories Bonus rewards aren’t automatic; you’ll need to remember to log in and manually activate them each quarter. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.
  • $1,500 quarterly cap on 5% cash back rewards You won’t get any extra cash back rewards if you spend more than $30,000 on bonus categories each quarter. It’s a high bar, but one to be aware of nonetheless.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Cash Back offers great rewards-earning potential with a $0 annual fee, making this card a good way to earn rewards. Just remember to opt in to the quarterly-changing cash back programs.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Cash Back

Also Consider

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Nusenda Credit Union Platinum Rewards

This card is a great choice for forgetful people who want cash back rewards. It’s one of the only cards offering revolving categories each quarter that you don’t have to opt in for; you will get these rewards automatically. This card would also be a great choice for those who want cash back rewards and don’t mind working with a credit union.

Best for big spenders in gas

Commuting can be a huge cost, especially if you live far away from your work and don’t use public transportation. If you spend a lot of money on gas each month, consider getting a cash back rewards card that gives you higher rates of return for these purchases. It’s like having an instant coupon for gas with you all the time.

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

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on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
5% back on all gas station spending, 1% on all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
11.00%-18.00%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 5% cash back rewards on gas This is one of the best cash back rewards bonuses we’ve seen on any card. It does not change quarterly like with most cash back rewards — you will always earn cash back rewards at this rate.
  • Fair APR If you need to carry a balance from month to month, rest assured: This card comes with a fair interest rate. Although we recommend paying each statement in full, this card can be a good option if you qualify for the lowest APR.
  • No annual fee All these great rewards come with no annual fee. If you pay off your bill in full each month to avoid interest charges, it’ll essentially be free money.

Cons Cons

  • 1% foreign transaction fee This is a great card to have on hand for road trips, but be aware that if you cross the border, your cash back rewards will be reduced.
  • Credit union membership required You don’t need to be a member to apply for the card; however, if you are approved, you’ll need to open and fund a savings account with a minimum of $5.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers great value for big spenders in gas. If you frequent the pump, this card can earn you a nice cash back rate. This card offers other great features such as no annual fee and a fair interest rate. If you don’t mind working with a credit union, this card can benefit your needs.

Best for big spenders in groceries

Groceries can be one of your biggest budget-busters, especially if you have a large family, a specialized diet, or live in certain parts of the country. The good news is there are certain credit cards that offer great rewards for grocery purchases. Here’s our top pick for a credit card to maximize your grocery cash back rewards.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Annual fee
$95
Cashback Rate
6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% on other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-25.74%

Variable

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Intro 0% for 12 months (after, 14.74%-25.74% Variable APR) This can come in handy if you make a purchase and can’t pay it off immediately.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets You’ll earn a whopping 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases — the highest level of cash back rewards we’ve heard of. Sadly, you’ll only earn this much on the first $6,000 worth of purchases each year. Remaining purchases will still earn 1% cash back.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and certain U.S. department store purchases There’s no limit to the amount of cash back rewards you can earn at U.S. gas stations and at stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Nordstrom. That means you can enjoy the higher cash back rate all year long.

Cons Cons

  • $95 annual fee This card charges an annual fee, but it will still be worth the fee if you buy at least $1,583 in groceries or $3,166 in gas each year.
  • Foreign transaction fee  at 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. If you use your card outside of the country, it’ll cost you unless you’re buying gas or groceries — then you’ll either be breaking even or earning 3.3% cash back rewards on groceries. It’s best to leave this card at home if you travel abroad.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers a fantastic cash back rewards program for grocery spenders. By using this card for grocery purchases, you will see the most rewards. Although it carries a $95 annual fee, this card will easily pay for itself with big spenders in groceries.

Best travel rewards credit card for good credit

Travel can seem like a pipe dream to a lot of people. Even if you do have the cash, it still stings to see that much hard-won money leaving your bank account. But with a travel rewards credit card, you can have a sort of de facto savings account specifically for travel. And with a sign-on bonus like the one for our top pick, you can be jet-setting somewhere fun and interesting as soon as a few months from now.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Rewards
2 points on travel and dining, 1 point on all other spending
Regular Purchase APR
17.74%-24.74%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good/Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Rewards are worth more when redeemed for travel You will receive a 25% bonus on points that are redeemed via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This raises the effective rate of rewards to 1.25 and 2.5 points.
  • Higher rewards for dining and travel You’ll earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.. This is great for travelers and foodies.
  • 1:1 point transfer to frequent flyer programs You can transfer points to partner frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio. This is a great way to accumulate points faster at your favorite airline.
  • Travel protections This card comes with trip cancellation/interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver and more. These features add a layer of protection when traveling abroad.

Cons Cons

  • Points are worth slightly less when transferred to partners You’ll miss out on the 25% bonus if you transfer points to travel partners like airlines and hotels. The points will still transfer on a 1-to-1 basis, but they won’t be worth as much as using the Chase Rewards portal.
  • Annual fee There is a $0 intro for the first year, then $95, which is typical of travel rewards cards. However, if you spend enough on this card, you will come out ahead.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card is the gold standard for travel junkies. The Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal helps you maximize your rewards even further and get you closer to covering the cost of a flight or hotel stay using rewards. If you’re a frequent traveler, this card will earn you a great rate.

Best airline credit cards for good credit

One of the biggest travel expenses is airfare. Even if you don’t have specific goals to travel regularly, surprises like cross-country family emergencies or get-togethers can take a big bite out of your budget.

Before signing up for an airline-specific card, it’s helpful to know what airline options you have near you. Different airlines tend to congregate more in different parts of the country; you won’t see any Alaska Airlines planes if you live in Maine, for example.

The information related to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Best for Southwest frequent flyers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Annual fee
$69
Rewards
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases
Regular Purchase APR
17.74%-24.74%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Flexible points redemption options You can use your points to book hotel stays and car rentals and to buy gift cards or merchandise.
  • 3,000 bonus points every year You’ll get a bonus 3,000 points tacked onto your account each year on your card’s anniversary. This is a great added bonus that makes this card exceptional.
  • Travel protections This card comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and more. These features add a layer of protection when traveling abroad.

Cons Cons

  • $69 annual fee Many travel credit cards will waive their annual fee for the first year — but not this one. Otherwise, the $69 annual fee is typical and the rewards you earn should outweigh the fee.
  • Foreign transaction fee at 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. It’s ironic that a travel card would charge you for purchases made abroad. If you can, leave this one at home if you travel outside of the country. Also consider other airline cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee.
Bottom line

Bottom line

We recommend this card for people who frequently fly on Southwest Airlines and want to earn a higher rewards rate on those purchases. This card will allow you to earn more points on Southwest flights that will allow you to maximize your rewards. If you don’t fly Southwest and often fly abroad, this card isn’t for you.

Best for United frequent flyers

UnitedSM Explorer Card

The information related to UnitedSM Explorer Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

UnitedSM Explorer Card

Annual fee
$0 Intro for First Year, then $95
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Priority boarding Snag your seat before everyone else and avoid the rush to get on the plane.
  • Free checked bag You and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first standard checked bag free. When calculated as a $25 value for the first checked bag, each way, per person, this will save you $100 roundtrip.
  • Hotel Benefits This card comes with luxury hotel and resort collection privileges including room upgrades, complimentary daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late checkout and other amenities at more than 900 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide.
  • Travel protections This card comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and more. These features add peace of mind when traveling.

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee of $0 intro for first year, then $95 Many travel credit cards will waive their annual fee for the first year — but not this one. Otherwise, the fee is typical and the rewards you earn will outweigh the fee.
  • Limited Star Alliance partners You can only use your points to book travel on United Airlines or their partners in the Star Alliance, including such airlines as Lufthansa and Air China. This is a negative if you don’t travel on any of these airlines.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers a good rewards program for United Airlines flyers. You will enjoy more miles on United purchases and will also get nice perks that make flying less stressful. We recommend this card if you’re a frequent United Airlines traveler.

Best for American Airlines frequent flyers

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

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on Citibank’s secure website

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Annual fee
$99, waived for first 12 months*
Rewards
2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and on American Airlines purchases, 1 AAdvantage® mile on everything else
Regular Purchase APR
17.74%-25.74%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Cheaper mile redemptions You’ll pay up to 7,500 fewer miles to fly to certain destinations with America Airlines. This can help you maximize your miles.
  • 10% bonus points each year You’ll get a 10% bonus on all miles you’ve redeemed for flights at the end of each year. This is a great added bonus that will increase your miles earned.
  • First checked bag free You won’t have to leave the things you really want to bring at home in order to save money. First checked bag is free
    on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation.
  • Discount on in-flight purchases You can save money when dining on American Airlines flights. Receive a 25% savings on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.
  • Travel protections This card comes with lost baggage protection, travel and emergency assistance, worldwide travel accident insurance, worldwide car rental insurance, trip cancellation and trip protection, and more. These features allow you to save money from taking out additional insurances when traveling.

Cons Cons

  • Limited “oneworld” partner airlines You can only book travel on American Airlines or their partner airlines in the “oneworld alliance.” Other member airlines include British Airways and Qantas, for example.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers solid perks and ways to maximize your mile earnings. It’s an important card in any traveler’s wallet and can be a great benefit to frequent American Airlines flyers. Take advantage of the cheaper miles redemption to maximize your miles.

Best for Delta frequent flyers

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card From American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card From American Express

Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Rewards
2 miles on Delta purchases, 1 mile on everything else
Regular Purchase APR
17.49%-26.49%

Variable

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Free checked bag Save money and hassle by bringing all the stuff you need with you on your travels in a free checked bag.
  • Priority boarding Be the first on the plane so you don’t have to worry about luggage space or a long line.
  • No foreign transaction fee This card does not charge a fee for purchases made abroad. That means you can fly outside of the U.S. and not be charged additional fees like most other cards.
  • Discounts on Delta purchases You will enjoy several discounts when flying Delta. Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets. Also, you and two traveling companions can enjoy snacks and beverages, Wi-Fi access, satellite TV, newspapers and magazines, personalized flight assistance, private restrooms and more at Delta Sky Club® for a reduced fee of $29 per person.
  • Travel Protections This card comes with Global Assist Hotline, car rental loss and damage insurance, and more. These features are a great way to have an added layer of safety when traveling.

Cons Cons

  • Limited SkyTeam partner airlines You can also use your Delta miles to book travel within the SkyTeam Alliance, a relatively limited network with other members like Air France and Aeroméxico.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers great benefits for those who fly Delta. You will enjoy a wide selection of perks from lounge access to in-flight savings that make traveling more comfortable and cheaper. We recommend this card for frequent Delta flyers who want added discounts when they travel.

Best luxury credit card for good credit

Even though traveling is fun, it can still be a stressful experience. In between fighting throngs of crowds and cramming into airline seats, it can be enough to drive even the most ardent travel-lover insane sometimes.

The good news is you can avoid all of that with a luxury credit card. These credit cards will give you an across-the-board better travel experience, from the moment you arrive at the airport until you make it back home. Here is our top pick for a luxury credit card.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee
$550
Rewards
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com
Regular Purchase APR
-
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Free access to over 1,000 airport lounges Get away from the crowds in premium airport lounges all over the globe. This is a great feature that will allow you time to decompress before or after flights.
  • $200 toward airline fees and incidental purchases each year Amex will refund you up to $200 per year on purchases from a qualifying airline you select ahead of time. This includes things like meals, checked bag fees, and more.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck : Amex will refund you every four years for TSA Precheck ($85) or Global Entry ($100) fees. If you were thinking of using these services, it’s a great idea to take advantage of this rebate and enjoy a quicker check-in when flying.
  • Great rewards program Earn a fantastic rewards rate of 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. It’s more than double what many other travel cards offer.

Cons Cons

  • High $550 annual fee Luxury doesn’t come cheap. If you spend a lot on travel, though, this card can still pay for itself. Make sure this card is right for your needs.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card is a stand-out favorite for globetrotting jet-setters who prefer a bit of comfort while traveling. Watch out for the $550 annual fee, though. If you spend a lot on travel each year, however, this card might actually save you money and will allow you to travel in luxury.

Best 0% APR credit cards for good credit

If you really need to buy something moderately expensive but don’t have the cash for it yet, 0% APR purchase cards can be a great way to go. They’re basically like free short-term loans. These cards are similar to 0% balance transfer cards, but not all of them also offer you the ability to make new purchases with the free promo rates.

It’s recommended to only use these cards to buy things that you absolutely need rather than a new big-screen TV. For example, I used a 0% APR card to purchase the very computer I’m typing this on. I didn’t have $800 to spend at the time, but within a couple of months I had made enough money to pay it off in full — without having to pay a penny of interest. These cards offer great opportunities to better your life, without the extra cost — if you can pay off the card before the promo period is over.

18 months, 0% intro APR, 3% BT fee

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

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on Citibank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Intro BT APR
0%

promotional rate

Balance Transfer Fee
$5 or 5% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater
Regular Purchase APR
15.74%-25.74%

Variable

Duration
18 months
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Intro 0%* for 18 months on Purchases*Enjoy a free pass from any interest charges for nearly two years in a row — that’s one of the longest 0% APR intro periods in the business. The intro period also applies to balance transfers. After, 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable) APR.
  • No late fees Citi offers one of the most unique perks in the credit card world — no late fees. Of course, it isn’t a free pass; you still need to pay your bill on time or risk a huge credit score drop from the negative mark on your credit report.
  • Choose your bill due date To make it as easy as possible on your finances, you can choose your own due date. Get paid in the middle of the month? No problem. Prefer to pay it right away? Pay it at the beginning of the month.

Cons Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee If you’ll be traveling abroad, leave this card at home — otherwise it’ll end up making your trip 3% more expensive.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This is one of the longest 0% APR intro periods in the credit card market and offers a fantastic opportunity for those who need to finance a large purchase — as long as you pay it off before the period expires. Use this card as a means to rid yourself of high interest charges while you pay off your bills.

Read our full review of the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Learn more

You don’t need a perfect credit score to qualify for the best financial products. You’ll still get access to virtually all of the things an 850 credit score would unlock as long as you have a credit score of at least 760.

Good credit scores don’t happen by accident. Whether you deliberately aimed for your score or not, you have good financial management skills. However, this isn’t enough to guarantee your approval for a large number of financial products.

It’s actually possible to have a good credit score yet still be a high financial risk. For example, your credit score doesn’t take your salary into account. You could have a perfect credit score yet be unemployed with no income, in some cases.

When you apply for financial products, banks will look at your entire situation beyond just your credit score. Each bank will have their own approval criteria, and you might not pass one of them even if you have a good credit score.

Take heart, however; in general, you will be approved for most good financial products and services if you have a good credit score. But if the bank is very picky or something uncommon has happened to you (such as a recent job loss), it’s not surprising to be rejected.

Potential creditors don’t like to see a string of recent credit inquiries on your report because it might be a sign that you’re going on an out-of-control credit binge. Your score will be docked a few points per credit inquiry. This is a relatively small cut compared to more major transgressions like late payments and foreclosures, however.

When you have a poor credit score (600-648), you need every point you can get. The difference between a poor and a fair credit score is just 48 points; you need to do everything you can to gain those points and move up into the next bracket. Having a hard credit pull on your credit report will set you back even longer.

If you’ve got good credit, though, you don’t need to worry as much. You have 150 points between 700 and the maximum score of 850. That’s plenty of room to pay for small dings on your credit. You can have a hard inquiry on your credit report and still have a good credit score, unless you’re starting with a borderline good score of 700-705.

You’ve worked hard getting your score to this point, now how do you keep it there? Luckily, it’s not hard; basically, continue doing the good things you’re already doing.

Paying all of your statements on time and in full is one of the best things you can do to maintain your high credit score. A single late payment on your mortgage could set you back 60 points or more, downgrading you from good credit to average. Make sure all of your debt accounts are set up on autopay to avoid this potentially costly error.

Credit utilization (the percentage of available credit you’re using) is also one of the biggest factors in determining your credit score. The less available credit you’re using, the better. In general, a credit utilization ratio of 10% or less will boost your score the most. This means that you’ll have a credit card balance of $1,000 or less for each $10,000 of credit you have available to you.

A few minor factors will also boost your credit score, but not as much as having a good payment history and a low credit utilization ratio. Keep credit inquiries to a minimum. In order to avoid a slew of inquiries that will be reflected in your credit score, make sure companies use soft pulls if you need to shop around for the best interest rates.

Also consider keeping your oldest credit cards open and closing any newer ones you’re not using. This will increase your average credit age. In general, an average credit age of five years or more is considered best and will boost your credit score.

You don’t want to be juggling around a ton of cards you’re not using. Closing old cards sounds like a good idea until you consider one factor: It may ding your credit score.

Creditors like to see that you can effectively handle credit accounts over long periods of time. That’s why average credit age is one factor included in credit scoring models.
If you close out an old card, your average credit age might drop. This would cause a corresponding dip in your score. The effect wouldn’t be huge (not as large as a late payment, for example), but it could be there nonetheless, especially if your average credit age is five years or less (over five years is the optimal average credit age).

That’s why most experts recommend keeping your oldest credit card open. If you want to juggle fewer accounts, close any newer ones that you’re not using. Of course, if your oldest credit card charges an annual fee and you’re not using it, then go ahead and close it anyway. Paying an annual fee for a card you’re not using likely outweighs any benefits from keeping the card open for the sake of boosting your average credit age.

Furthermore, if you close your old credit card before you apply for a new card, it’s possible that your credit score will drop enough that your application will be rejected, especially if you have a borderline good credit score. In this case, it’s better to wait until after you’ve applied and been approved for the new credit card before closing your old card, if you decide to do so.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Credit Cards

Best Small Business Credit Cards in August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

Small business credit cards not only make it easier to separate personal and business finances, they offer business owners advantages they may not need or be able to get with a personal credit card. You might find the number of business credit card options overwhelming, so identifying your priorities will help you choose. Do you want rewards? Or do you merely need a card for short-term financing? The best small business credit card for you will depend entirely on your needs and goals.

Best small business credit cards for financing

0% APR financing

When to consider business cards with intro 0% financing: A business card with an intro 0% APR period can save you hundreds of dollars on interest compared to cards without 0% APR introductory periods. During the intro period, new purchases won’t accrue interest, and you can take your time paying off large purchases such as laptops and desks for your business.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The information related to The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
12.99% - 20.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 Months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express offers small business owners the chance to finance new purchases with the longest intro period for purchases of any business card at intro 0% for 15 Months; 12.99% - 20.99% Variable APR after. Plus, you can earn rewards, receive purchase protection and get extended warranties — all with a $0 annual fee.

What to watch out for: You can lose the intro APR if a penalty APR applies to your account for any reason. To avoid this, always pay your minimum amount due.

Low interest rate

When to consider business cards with low interest rates: If you find your business has to carry a balance from time to time, it can be beneficial to have a low interest credit card that won’t cause you to rack up as much interest as other cards. But as a rule of thumb, try to pay your balance in full every month to avoid interest charges.

Bank of America® Platinum Visa® Business Credit Card

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Bank of America® Platinum Visa® Business Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
10.99%-21.99%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
No rewards
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

Why we like it: The Bank of America® Platinum Visa® Business Credit Card has the lowest APR at 10.99% - 21.99% Variable. If you qualify for the lowest rate and end up carrying a balance, you’ll be charged substantially less interest than other cards with high APRs. Although there are no rewards, new accounts can earn an Online exclusive: $200 statement credit bonus after making at least $500 in net purchases in the first 60 days of your account opening. That’s the lowest spending requirement to get a bonus on a business card.

What to watch out for: You may not qualify for the lowest rate because the APR varies based on your personal or business’ credit worthiness.

Cash flow management

When to consider a business card for cash flow management: Some small businesses may not have a consistent cash flow, and that’s where a card with a flexible payment option comes in handy. You may be allowed to carry a balance interest free until your next statement if you make the minimum payment.

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The information related to The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN

Regular Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee your first year, then $250.
Rewards Rate
Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN has an uncommon payment option where as long as you pay your minimum due, you can pay your balance in up to 60 days without accruing interest (terms apply). This ‘grace period’ is uncharacteristic of business cards (and all cards in general), providing you with twice as much time as other cards do to pay off your statement without incurring interest charges. There are no rewards, but you can Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.

What to watch out for: To benefit from the extra-days-to-pay feature, make sure you pay your minimum due, or else you’ll miss out on the offer. Also, make sure this card is the best choice for your business because there’s a $0 introductory annual fee your first year, then $250.

Imperfect credit

When to consider a business card for imperfect credit: If you or your business has less-than-good credit, odds are you’ll not only have trouble qualifying for a credit card, but the terms you do qualify for won’t be ideal. However, you’re not out of luck — we found a card that considers small businesses with imperfect credit, and it has decent terms plus the foundation for you to improve your credit with responsible behavior.

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

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on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Regular Purchase APR
24.74% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Credit required
bad-credit
Average/Fair/Limited

Why we like it: The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is for business owners with Average/Fair/Limited credit. Capital One considers Average/Fair/Limited credit as someone who’s defaulted on a loan in the past five years or has limited credit history (holding credit for less than three years). So, if you or your business has less-than-perfect credit, you may have better odds qualifying for this card compared to the majority of business cards, which require good or excellent credit.

What to watch out for: Although this card states it’s for business owners with Average/Fair/Limited credit, that does not guarantee you will be approved. As with any credit application, lenders look at a variety of credit factors.

Available for service members

When to consider business cards for service members: The following business credit cards are provided by credit unions for service members and have added perks, such as low interest rates, rewards, special offers and discounts. These cards require credit union membership, but you can typically qualify depending on where you live or work.

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa® Business Card

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on Navy Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa® Business Card

Regular Purchase APR
10.15%-18.00%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
3 points on restaurants, 2 points on gas and 1 point on everything else
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

Why we like it: The Navy Federal Credit Union Visa® Business Card has a $0 annual fee and provides an up to 15% discount on qualifying business purchases with Visa SavingsEdge®. You can receive discounts at restaurants, travel and shipping services, IT solutions and more at no additional cost. As a member of NFCU, you can also receive a discount on Geico auto insurance and access an Auto Buying Program where you can save on new and used cars — great if your business requires you and your employees to drive. Terms & limitations apply.

What to watch out for: The interest rate you receive depends on your creditworthiness, so you may not receive the lowest APR. Because membership is restricted, check here to see if you qualify for membership with Navy Federal Credit Union.

Navy Federal Credit Union Mastercard® Business Card

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on Navy Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Navy Federal Credit Union Mastercard® Business Card

Regular Purchase APR
10.15%-18.00%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
3 points on restaurants, 2 points on gas and 1 point on everything else
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

Why we like it: The Navy Federal Credit Union Mastercard® Business Card has the Mastercard Easy Savings® Program, which provides you with an up to 10% discount on a wide range of purchases including car rentals, gas purchases, products and services like Bing Ads and Monster, and more. This can simply save your business money on everyday purchases and the program is free. NFCU members have access to perks that suit businesses that require driving for work, like the ability to save on Geico auto insurance and access to an Auto Buying Program where you can receive savings on new and used vehicles. Terms & limitations apply.

What to watch out for: The APR varies based on your creditworthiness, so you may not qualify for the lowest rate. Because membership is restricted, check here to see if you qualify for membership with Navy Federal Credit Union.

RBFCU Business Select Mastercard® credit card

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on Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union’s secure website

RBFCU Business Select Mastercard® credit card

Regular Purchase APR
11.40%-18.00%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
2% cash back on all purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The RBFCU Business Select Mastercard® credit card has a great cashback program with unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase. This flat rate is rare among business cards that tend to favor high rates only on select purchase categories. In addition to a cashback program, members of RBFCU can benefit from members-only pricing at select merchants like TurboTax® and Sprint® to save your business additional money. Terms apply.

What to watch out for: Not everyone will qualify for membership with RBFCU, so fill out this online form to check.

Best small business rewards credit cards

Travel perks

When to consider travel business cards: If you or your employees travel often, a travel card can be more valuable than typical credit cards because many offer travel insurance, airline fee credits, free Wi-Fi access and other travel-related perks.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Regular Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$450
Rewards Rate
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com and 1.5 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good
Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000. Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.

Why we like it: We looked at business cards that offered travel perks, and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN emerged as the best overall business travel card because of its extensive benefits for business owners, including rewards potential, Welcome Offer, and added perks. You can take advantage of standout perks like access to over 1,000 airport lounges, credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and a $200 airline fee credit. Terms apply. These benefits can save your business a substantial amount of money and make travel less of a hassle.

What to watch out for: There is a steep $450 annual fee for this card. However, considering the value you receive with this card, the annual fee may be worth it. For example, the airline fee credit and Global Entry fee credit are valued at $300, decreasing the effective annual fee for this card.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The information related to Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 22.74% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 points per $1 in select business categories
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent


Why we like it: The Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card allows you to increase the value of your points by 25% when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is a great way to increase the effective value of your points. Additional travel benefits include trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and travel and emergency assistance services.

What to watch out for: The higher rewards rate only applies to select categories, so if you primarily spend outside the select categories, you’ll earn a subpar cashback rate. Consider other travel business cards that suit your spending more.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

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on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Regular Purchase APR
18.74% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Rate
2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers a hard-to-find flat-rate rewards program at 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, every day. This rate allows you and your employees to earn the same amount of miles on any purchase with no bonus categories or caps. You can easily redeem miles for travel, and there is no minimum redemption amount.

What to watch out for: This card comes with an annual fee at $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, and although it’s lower than most travel business cards, it may not be ideal for everyone. Keep in mind you will need to spend $4,750 a year (after year one) to recoup the fee.

Big intro bonuses

When to consider business cards with big intro bonuses: A large intro bonus can be a simple way for business owners to earn extra rewards within the first few months of account opening — as long as you fulfill the requirements. You can use the rewards you earn in a variety of ways, from travel to statement credits that can lower your business’ expenses. Many cards that have big intro bonuses also have good rewards and perks, providing long-term value in addition to the short-term reward.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The information related to Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 22.74% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 points per $1 in select business categories
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Intro bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What to watch out for: There are requirements that you need to follow in order to receive the intro bonus, so make sure you spend the required amount in the stated time period. Also, you miss out on added value by redeeming points outside of Chase Ultimate Rewards, so try to use the portal to receive the 25% more value on travel.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Regular Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$450
Rewards Rate
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com and 1.5 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good
Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000. Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.

What to watch out for: You need to satisfy two spending requirements to earn the full Welcome Offer — Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.

CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

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on Citibank’s secure website

CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Regular Purchase APR
17.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$99, waived for first 12 months*
Rewards Rate
2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases* and for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations*, 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases*
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Sign-up Bonus: Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening*.

Why we like it: The CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is one of few airline-specific business cards. This card has the largest limited-time offer compared to competitors and a typical spending requirement. In addition, there are great perks when you fly on American Airlines, such as in-flight discounts, first checked bag free and preferred boarding.

What to watch out for: This is an airline-specific card — if you don’t fly with American Airlines, you’ll miss out on some of the best perks.

Cashback rewards

When to consider cashback business cards: Cash back is a simple and straightforward way for your business to be rewarded for purchases. You can easily redeem your cash back as a statement credit, which is a great way to reduce your bill (just remember that redemptions can’t be applied to minimum payments).

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

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on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Regular Purchase APR
18.74% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Rate
2% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: We looked at business credit cards offering cashback rewards and analyzed their rewards rates, fees and APRs, and among the group, The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business rose to the top. It has a standout cashback program earning you 2% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. There are no bonus categories or caps — you’ll earn the same rate on every purchase. You can even make redeeming your rewards simple by setting up automatic redemption, great for businesses that don’t want to fuss with rewards.

What to watch out for: The annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $95 after that — so after year one, you will need to spend $4,750 a year to break even.

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

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on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Regular Purchase APR
14.74% - 22.74% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business has a decent rewards rate for business owners who want to avoid an annual fee at 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. This card is a good alternative to the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, offering all the same perks plus a $0 annual fee.

What to watch out for: The cash back rate is below the ideal 2%, and you can do better with a higher flat-rate card or with bonus category cards. But be aware they may have an annual fee.

Hotel rewards

When to consider business cards with hotel rewards: Traveling for business can get costly, but hotel rewards cards can help you save money on hotel stays and other expenses you may incur like meals. Whether you favor a specific hotel or often choose the best priced hotel, there are business cards for you that can earn you rewards and other money-saving discounts. Because hotel loyalty varies, we’re highlighting two cards with exceptional hotel rewards.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The information related to Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
17.49% - 26.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Rewards Rate
Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at over 6,500 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels across 110 countries worldwide. Earn 4 points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is our top pick for businesses looking to earn rewards and perks on hotel stays. SPG® has numerous participating hotels where you and your employees can stay, and there are flexible redemption options for your points. For example, you have the ability to transfer points on a mostly one-to-one basis to over 30 airline frequent flyer programs. Additional benefits include credits towards SPG elite status, travel accident insurance and free Wi-Fi with Boingo and at SPG participating hotels (terms apply).

What to watch out for: The rate you earn on purchases outside of SPG and Marriott Rewards® hotels is lower than other hotel rewards cards, like the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card mentioned below. So, if you’re looking to earn a high rate on all purchases, check out other hotel rewards cards.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The information related to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.49%-26.49% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offers great benefits for business travelers who frequent hotels in the Hilton portfolio with a wide range of perks including complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status. This gives you a 25% bonus on Base Points, space-available room upgrades and more benefits that may make your stays more comfortable. Other Hilton perks include a rewards program that allows you to earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points at a fast rate and Weekend Night Rewards (terms apply). In addition, you receive baggage and travel accident insurance, 10 free visits to over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges every year and the ability to connect your credit card transactions to Quickbooks®, among other things.

What to watch out for: You don’t want to carry a balance with this card because there is a 17.24% – 26.24% variable APR. Although this is a typical range, it’s still high and can lead to large interest charges if you don’t pay your bill in full. But, if you pay in full and on time, this won’t be an issue.

Best category bonuses

When to consider business cards with category bonuses: If you spent a lot in particular categories, credit cards with category bonuses may be a great way for you to earn rewards for that spending. For example, if you drive a lot for business, a card with gas rewards may be ideal. Below we list the business cards that offer the highest reward rates on dining, gas and office-supply spending

Dining & gas

Sam's Club® Business Mastercard®

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on Sam's Club’s secure website

Sam's Club® Business Mastercard®

Regular Purchase APR
16.15%-24.15%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
5% cash back on gas (on first $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% cash back on dining and travel, and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Good

Why we like it: The Sam’s Club® Business Mastercard® offers a high 5% cash back on gas (on the first $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% cash back on dining and travel, and 1% cash back on other purchases. This rate is ideal for businesses that primarily spend on gas because you earn the highest rate on those purchases compared to other cards. Business owners who often take out clients for meals may want to consider this card because of its cashback rate on dining purchases.

What to watch out for: You need to be a member of Sam’s Club to open this card, and as a business owner you may not have a need for a Sam’s Club membership. However, membership starts as low as $45 a year, and considering there’s no annual fee for this credit card, that’s a small amount.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card from Citi

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on Citibank’s secure website

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card from Citi

Regular Purchase APR
16.74%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
4% on eligible gas worldwide, including Costco (for the first $7,000 per year and then 1%), 3% on restaurant and eligible travel worldwide, 2% on all other purchases at Costco and Costco.com and 1% on everything else
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

Why we like it: The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi offers a tiered cashback program with 4% on eligible gas worldwide, including Costco (for the first $7,000 per year and then 1%), 3% on restaurant and eligible travel worldwide, 2% on all other purchases at Costco and Costco.com and 1% on everything else. This is a good rewards program for business owners with Costco memberships if you want to earn cash back in a wide range of categories.

What to watch out for: You need to be a Costco member to open this card, and membership starts at $60 per year. This is higher than Sam’s Club and definitely something to consider if you’re deciding between the two cards. Another important note is that you won’t earn as much cash back with this card as you would with the Sam’s Club® Business Mastercard®.

Gas & office supply stores

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard®  credit card

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Regular Purchase APR
12.99%-22.99%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
3% cash back on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 each calendar year, 1% after that), 2% cash back on purchases at restaurants, 1% cash back on all other purchases
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card doesn’t require membership with a warehouse club like other gas cards and has a $0 annual fee. Business owners can earn a decent cash back rate at both gas stations and office supply stores, making this card ideal if you often spend in these categories.

What to watch out for: The gas cashback rate is lower than other business cards with gas as a category bonus and won’t earn you as much rewards.

Risks of using small business credit cards

While small business credit cards can provide a wide range of benefits for your company, they have drawbacks.

Here are some of the major risks:

Personal liability. As a business owner, you are solely responsible for all charges made on your account. That means if there are any unpaid balances on your account, whether from your spending or employee spending, you are liable.

Negative impact on you credit. If your account is in poor standing as a result of late payments, overdue balances, bankruptcy or other issues, the credit card issuer may report this information to the credit bureaus. As a result, your personal credit score may take a hit.

Not protected by the CARD Act. Business cards don’t receive the same consumer protections that personal credit cards receive with the CARD Act. The CARD Act requires credit card issuers to provide transparent terms as well as lower fees and interest rates for consumers. But, issuers of business cards don’t have to comply with those requirements. Therefore, a business card may have higher interest rates, more fees and confusing terms.

How to minimize the risks of business credit cards

Monitor employee spending. The ability to open employee cards is a great feature, but if you don’t stay on top of their charges, it can become risky. Some good practices include keeping records of all employees with card access, setting employee spending limits when available and monitoring your credit card statements. This way you can keep track of all spending made on your account and add limits when needed.

Avoid charging personal expenses. Use your business card the way it is intended to be used — exclusively for business purchases. Charging personal expenses makes managing your finances harder and complicates the use of your card.

Do not take out a cash advance. Cash advances are one of the most costly features of credit cards and are rarely a good choice because you’ll be hit with higher than normal interest rates and can rack up debt fast. As an alternative, check out small business loans.

Look at loans for long-term financing. Your business may need to borrow money for purchases like cars or other big-ticket items, and small business loans can be a great way to finance those purchases. Often with straightforward terms, loans can be a good alternative to charging purchases on your credit card. Compare small business loans here.

Do not try to bail out a failing business. If your business isn’t doing well, don’t take out a small business credit card with the hopes of bailing it out. Odds are you’ll only get into more debt and make the situation worse.

Best way to use credit cards for your business

Earn rewards. Almost all of the cards mentioned in this roundup provide rewards, allowing business owners to be benefit from typical business spending. You can use the rewards you earn in a variety of ways, like booking travel, applying cash back as statement credit to cover bills or redeeming them for gift cards for business expenses or employee incentives.

Manage cash flow. Business cards may provide expense-management tools so you can monitor spending and simplify everyday business transactions. You can use your card to automate business expenses like monthly phone bills or regular office-supply purchases.

Build business credit. Opening a small business credit card has the potential to build and improve your business credit. If you make on-time payments and use a relatively small amount of your available credit, your business’ credit can benefit greatly. Having a good business credit score can help you down the line if you plan on taking out a loan or other credit products.

Short-term borrowing. If your business plans on making purchases that can’t be paid immediately, some business credit cards offer 0% intro periods that are ideal for short-term borrowing and can be a better choice than a personal loan — when used responsibly. During the 0% intro period, you can carry a balance without incurring interest, and if you pay it off before the intro period ends, you can save on the interest that you would’ve incurred if you had taken out a loan.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, College Students and Recent Grads, Credit Cards

Best Student Credit Cards August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Getting a credit card while you’re in college might seem dangerous or confusing. But if you are able to use a student credit card responsibly, you do not need to be afraid, and you can set yourself up for financial success after you leave school.

Fortunately, learning how to choose and use the right student credit card is relatively simple. Make sure you avoid annual fees and go with a bank or credit union you can trust. When you get the card, make sure you use it responsibly and pay the balance in full and on time every month. If you do these things consistently over time, you can leave school with an excellent credit score. And if you want to rent an apartment or buy a car, having a good credit score is very important.

Our Top Pick

Discover it® Student Cash Back

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Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Student Cash Back

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Regular APR
14.74% - 23.74% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Good Grades Reward program: Did you study extra hard this year? If you’ve gotten a 3.0 GPA or higher for an entire school year, Discover will reward you with an extra $20 statement credit. You can get this reward for up to five years in a row as long as you’re still a current student when you apply.
  • Free FICO® score: Just like how you have grades for your classes, your FICO® score is your “grade” for your credit. Credit cards have a huge effect on your FICO® score. You can watch how your new credit card affects your score over time with a free FICO® score update on your monthly statement.
  • 5% cash back : You can earn up to 5% cash back at different places that change each quarter, on up to $1,500 in purchases every quarter that you activate. Past categories have included things like Amazon purchases, restaurants, and ground transportation. Even if you don’t buy something in the bonus category, you’ll still earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash back match at end of your first year: In addition to rotating 5% cash back categories, new cardmembers will also get an intro bonus. When your first card anniversary comes around, Discover will automatically match your cash back rewards you earned during your first year.

Cons Cons

  • Remember to sign up for bonus places: Even though this card comes with a great cash back rewards program, it comes with a catch: you’ll need to manually activate the bonus places each quarter. You can do this by calling Discover or logging in to your account online. If you forget, you’ll still earn 1% cash back if you make any purchases in the qualifying categories.
  • Gift certificates only available at certain levels: You can redeem your rewards for many things such as Amazon purchases, a statement credit, or a donation to a charity, to name a few. But, if you’d like to get a gift card instead, you’ll need a cash back balance of at least $20 saved up in your account.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers great perks for college students, such as a rewards program for good grades and a free FICO® score so you can learn about your credit firsthand. Its cash back rewards program is our favorite. No other card for students (that we could find) offers the opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back. And with no annual fee, this is our top pick.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best for Commuter Students

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.
Regular Purchase APR
14.99% - 24.99% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit

Average

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Cashback program: You’ll earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. All other purchases will earn you 1% cash back. The higher rate you get for gas purchases is great for students who commute to class.
  • Redemption bonus: If you’re a Bank of America customer, you’ll receive a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. The bonus is even better if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client — you could get a 25-75% bonus. Cardholders who redeem this way will maximize their cash back.
  • Free FICO® Score: A large part of getting a credit card in college is to build your credit score. The hope is that monitoring your FICO® Score on a monthly basis will let you see your score rise through proper credit behavior.

Cons Cons

  • Foreign transaction fee: This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, not suitable for students who travel abroad. You will negate any cash back earned while using this card outside the U.S.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students is a great option for students who commute to class and spend on groceries. This card has an added redemption bonus for Bank of America® checking or savings accountholders that is a great way to increase your cash back.

Best Flat-Rate Card

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

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Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time
Regular Purchase APR
24.99% (Variable)
Credit required
bad-credit
Average/Fair/Limited

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 1.25% cash back if you pay on time: Each purchase you make earns a flat-rate 1% cash back. There’s no bonuses or categories to track: a simple 1% on everything. And then you get 0.25% on top if you make the payment on time. This makes it handy for people who want as simple a card as possible. And it rewards great behavior.
  • Higher credit lines after on-time payments: If you’re approved for this card, you’ll receive a credit line of at least $300. If you make five on-time payments in a row, you can call Capital One and ask them to increase your credit line.
  • No foreign transaction fee: This is a great card to take overseas, because you won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees. Most cards charge an average 3% foreign transaction fee, but Journey allows you to use your card abroad without being charged extra fees.

Cons Cons

  • High 24.99% variable APR: This card carries an interest rate that’s almost twice as high as some other student credit cards, such as the Wells Fargo Cash Back College® Card with a rate as low as 12.65% – 22.65% variable APR. It’s just one more incentive to pay off your bill in full each month.
Bottom line

Bottom line

We really like this card because it actively rewards you for developing good credit-management behavior by offering a small cash back bonus for on-time payments. In addition, the cash back program is straightforward with no confusing categories to remember or opt into, making this card a good option for students who want a simple, flat-rate card.

Read our full review of the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Best Intro Bonus

Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash rewards on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months, 1% cash rewards on virtually all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
12.65% - 22.65% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Interest rates as low as 12.65% variable APR: Depending on your credit, your interest rate could be between 12.65% and 22.65% variable APR, but their is no gurantee you’ll receive the lower rate. This is a lower variable APR range than most student cards, and can help if you aren’t able to pay your balance in full one month.
  • 3% cash back rewards for the first six months: Normally you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. For the first six months, though, you’ll earn 3% cash back on any purchases you make for gas, groceries, or drugstores.
  • Access to credit education: Wells Fargo provides you with all sorts of tools and information to learn about things like credit, budgeting, and expense tracking. While this is a nice feature, it’s not exclusive to Wells Fargo. You can get this information from free tools such as Mint, or even reading books and blogs. But it is pretty handy having it right at your fingertips when logged in to your account.

Cons Cons

  • Need to be a Wells Fargo member to apply online: You can go into any one of the 6,000+ branches and apply for the card. You can also apply online, but you’ll need to be an existing Wells Fargo customer. However, anyone can open a checking account online with a minimum deposit of $25.
  • High bars for some cash back redemption options: There are a lot of redemption options available through Wells Fargo’s own online cash back rewards mall. However, if you’d just like straight cash, you have a few options. You can request a direct deposit into your Wells Fargo checking account, savings account, or Wells Fargo credit card (if applicable) in $25 increments, or request a paper check in $20 increments. That can take a long time to accumulate if you’re not spending much with your card.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is a relatively simple card with a great intro bonus of 3% cash back for the first six months. In addition, the low variable APR is handy for those who think they’ll be carrying a balance on their credit card from month to month at some point in the future. This is generally something we recommend against, but if you can’t avoid it, the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is your best bet.

Read our full review of the Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card

Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa® Credit Card

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on Altra’s secure website

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Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1 point per dollar spent
Regular Purchase APR
15.65% Fixed

Magnify Glass Pros

  • $20 reward for good credit card usage: If you can maintain your account in an “exceptional way” for your first year, you’ll get a bonus $20 reward on your card’s anniversary. All you have to do is not have any late payments, don’t charge over your card’s limit, and use your card for at least six out of twelve months.
  • Up to $500 random winner each quarter: It’s like playing the lottery, except you don’t have to buy a lottery ticket. Each quarter Altra will choose one student cardholder at random and pay back all of their purchases from the previous month, anywhere between $50 to $500.
  • Earn rewards: For the first 60 days after you open your account, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent. After that you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent. You can redeem these points for cash back, merchandise through their online rewards mall, or travel.
  • Redeem points for a lower interest rate: If you’ll need a car in the future, this might be a good credit card to get. You can trade in 5,000 points for a 0.25% reduction, or 10,000 points for a 0.50% reduction on an auto loan through Altra Federal Credit Union. That could end up saving you a ton of cash in the long run.

Cons Cons

  • 1% foreign transaction fee: This is definitely one card to leave at home if you’ll be traveling or studying abroad. Most credit cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, so this is on the low side. Still, it’s not too hard to find a student credit card with no foreign transaction fee, such as the Discover it® for Students or the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® card.
  • Must join Altra Federal Credit Union: Luckily, anyone can join, but it might take a bit of legwork on your part compared to a bank. If you don’t meet certain membership eligibility criteria, you can join the Altra Foundation for $5. Then you’ll need to open a savings account with a minimum $5 deposit that must remain in the account while you have your card open.
Bottom line

Bottom line

If you’re a student who doesn’t mind working with a credit union, Altra provides a card that has several rewards benefits. This card is a good option if you may be taking out an auto loan in the next few years, since you’ll benefit from a reduced interest rate by trading in your rewards points. In addition to earning rewards, using this card responsibly can help you build credit.

Read our full review of the Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa® Credit Card

Best for Studying Abroad

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and no expiration on points.
Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 24.74% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit, Limited Credit history

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Chip + PIN technology: Most credit cards have chip + signature technology, and while this is good inside the U.S. you may face issue when traveling abroad. That’s where a card with chip + PIN functionality is the safest bet when traveling outside the U.S.
  • No foreign transaction fees: When you travel abroad you will not be charged additional fees like other cards.
  • Cashback rewards: You will earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and there is no expiration on points. This is a decent flat-rate that isn’t limited to bonus categories.
  • Redemption bonus: Bank of America customers will receive a 10% customer bonus every time cash back is redeemed into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. The bonus is even better if you’re a Bank of America® Preferred Rewards client — you could get a 25% – 75% bonus. Redeeming this way allows you to maximize your cash back rewards.
  • Free FICO® Score: The main reason to get a credit card as a student is to boost your credit score. So, actually being able to see your credit score is a huge help, especially as you can watch it climb over time with good credit management.

Cons Cons

  • Subpar cashback rate: The cash back rate for this card is lower than other cards. However, cards with higher cash back rates often charge foreign transactions fees, not making them ideal for students traveling abroad.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Students who are interested in studying abroad should consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students. You’ll earn a good cash back rate on all purchases and will not be charge a foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

Best Secured Card

Discover it® Secured

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Secured

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular APR
24.74% Variable
Credit required
bad-credit
Poor/New to Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Cashback program: This card has a feature uncommon to other secure cards — a cashback program. You earn 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases.
  • Cashback match: At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will automatically match all of the cash back you’ve earned (new cardmembers only). This is a great added bonus that increases your cash back in Year 1.
  • Automatic monthly reviews after eight months: Discover makes it easy for you to transition to an unsecured card with monthly reviews of your account starting after eight months. Reviews are based on responsible credit management across all of your credit cards and loans.

Cons Cons

  • Security deposit: You need to deposit a minimum of $200 in order to open this card. This will become your credit line, so a $200 deposit gives you a $200 credit line. If you want a higher credit limit, you need to increase your deposit. The security deposit is refundable, meaning you will receive your deposit back if you close the card, as long as your account is in good standing.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Secured is great for students who want to build credit. This card easily transitions you to an unsecured card when the time is right, and you can earn cash back. With proper credit behavior, you’ll soon be on your way to an unsecured card.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Secured

Best for No Credit History

Deserve® EDU Mastercard

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on Deserve’s secure website

Deserve® EDU Mastercard

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% unlimited cash back on ALL purchases
Regular Purchase APR
20.49% Variable
Credit required
bad-credit
Fair Credit/No Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • No credit history required: You can qualify for this card without any credit history, making this a great option for students new to credit. You don’t even need a Social Security number when applying.
  • Reimbursement for Amazon Prime Student*: This card will reimburse you for the cost of a year of Amazon Prime Student (valued at $49). You need to charge your membership to this card to qualify, and you will not be reimbursed for subsequent years’ membership fees.
  • No foreign transaction fee: Whether you travel abroad or study abroad, you can rest easy: There are no foreign transaction fees with this card.

Cons Cons

  • Low cash back rate: The rewards program has a subpar 1% cash back per dollar spent. You can do better with some of the other cards mentioned in this post. Though as a student, rewards shouldn’t be your primary focus — instead, build your credit so you can qualify for better non-student cards.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Deserve Edu Mastercard is a great choice for students who are looking to build credit. Deserve markets their cards for those who may have trouble qualifying for credit, and students who fall into this category may more easily qualify for this card than for cards from traditional banks. You can earn cash back, and receive a great promotional offer of a year of Amazon Prime Student for free*.

Also ConsiderAlso Consider

Golden 1 Platinum Rewards for Students

Golden 1 Credit Union Platinum Rewards for Students:

This credit card offers a snazzy rewards program: rather than accumulate points, you’ll get a cash rebate instead. All you have to do is make a purchase. At the end of the month, you’ll get a rebate of 3% of gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases, and 1% of all other purchases deposited back into your Golden 1 savings account at the end of the month. You can join Golden 1 by joining the Financial Fitness Association for $8 per year and keeping at least $5 in a savings account.

What should I look for in a student credit card?

The most important thing to consider when looking for a student credit card is that it charges no annual fee. You should never have to pay to build your credit score. Fortunately, most student cards don’t charge you an annual fee, but it’s still something to watch out for.

The second most important thing you should keep an eye out for are tools that help you learn about credit or even promote good credit-building habits. For example, some student credit cards will give you a free monthly FICO® score update. You can use this freebie to see in real time how your credit score changes as you build credit history by keeping the card open, or paying down your credit card balance, for example.

The last thing you should be considering when picking out a student credit card is the rewards program. I know, I know, it seems counterintuitive. But stick with me — I’ll show you why in the next question.

Why shouldn’t I be concerned about maximizing my rewards while in college?

Rewards cards are nice to have. But if you’re a college student, here’s the truth: you probably won’t spend enough to earn meaningful rewards.

Why? With a good rewards program, you can earn points or cash back. A small percentage of your monthly spending can add up quickly. However, given the tight budget that most college students live on, it will probably take a while to earn meaningful rewards. For example, if you earn 1.25% cash back and spend $300 a month on your card, you would earn $45 of cash back during the year.

College students are very good at making good use of $45. And our favorite card offers a great cash back rewards program. Just don’t expect to earn a lot of cash back, given the tight budget of a college student.

Why should I get a credit card as a college student?

There are a lot of great reasons why you should get a credit card, as long as you can commit to using it responsibly.

The single biggest reason why you should get a credit card as a college student is because you can start establishing a credit history now. When you graduate from college, you will need a good credit score to get an apartment. And your future employer will likely check your credit report. Building a good credit history while still in college will help prepare you for life after graduation.

Getting a credit card while in college can also train you to develop good credit habits now. But you need to be honest with yourself. If you find that you can’t avoid the temptation of maxing out your credit card, you might want to switch to a debit card or cash.

Finally, getting a credit card now can be the motivation you need to start learning about credit. These skills aren’t hard to learn, and they could save you thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars later in life (when you want a mortgage, for example).

What is the CARD Act and why should I care about it?

Many years ago, credit card companies would market on college campuses. You could get a free beer mug or t-shirt in exchange for a credit card application. And you would be able to qualify for a credit card without having any income. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act was signed into law in May 2009 to change a number of practices.

How did the CARD Act change student credit cards?

The CARD Act made a lot of changes in how credit card issuers do business with students. One of the biggest changes was requiring students to be able to demonstrate an ability to pay. If you are under 21 and do not have sufficient income (a campus job, for example), you would need to get a co-signer.

In addition, colleges must now limit the amount of credit card marketing on campus. The days of free t-shirts and pizzas in exchange for credit card applications are gone. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible for a college student to get a credit card. Some highly reputable banks and credit unions still offer student cards. And building a good credit score while still in college is still highly recommended.

How can I protect myself from racking up debt?

When used properly, credit cards are a very convenient method of repayment. However, when not used properly, you can end up deep in credit card debt. It is important to establish a healthy relationship to credit now, with your first credit card.

You should try to ensure that you pay off your credit card bill in full and on time every month. Ideally, you should set up an automatic monthly payment. And to keep yourself on track, take advantage of alerts offered by most credit card companies. You can even get daily text messages reminding you of your balance.

How can I automate my credit card usage?

If all of this sounds confusing, don’t worry. There’s actually a way you can automate your payments so you never even have to bother with the hassle of using a credit card. All it takes is a few minutes of upfront work.

First, you’ll need at least one recurring monthly bill of the same amount, such as Netflix or Spotify. Log in to your account and set up an automatic payment each month using your credit card. Make a note of how much your monthly bill costs.

Next, log in to your bank account. Set up a second automatic payment to go to your credit card each month for the same amount as the bill. If your bank doesn’t offer the option to set up automatic payments, you may also be able to set up your credit card to automatically withdraw the amount of the bill from your bank.

Because you know this bill will be for the same amount each month (barring any price increases), you can literally just leave this running in the background each month on autopilot. You don’t even have to carry your credit card in your wallet if you don’t want to. Then, when you graduate, you’ll automatically have an improved credit score!

What happens to my student credit card when I graduate?

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the finish line. But what about your student credit card? You will have a few options once you graduate and we detail them here.

Here is a summary of our favorite cards:

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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