The best credit cards of 2021 — updated for February


This article is delivered to you by the Personal Finance Insider group. It has not been reviewed, accredited, or in any other case endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the affords you see on the web page are from our companions like Citi and American Express, however our protection is at all times unbiased. Terms apply to the affords listed on this web page.

This web page contains details about the Discover it® Student Cash Back and Discover it® Secured, that are at present not out there on Business Insider and could also be out of date.  

The best credit cards out there now:

Given the big selection of advantages, rewards, and annual charges out there, it is not possible to call one single best credit card. But for those who’re seeking to discover the best credit card for you, breaking it down by class is an efficient method to method your search.

For instance, for those who’re simply getting began with credit, a scholar credit card or a card that does not require a excessive credit rating is a perfect decide. If you are seeking to earn journey rewards, alternatively, you will wish to have a look at cards just like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

We’re centered right here on the rewards and perks that include every card. These cards will not be value it for those who’re paying curiosity or late charges. When utilizing a credit card, it is essential to pay your steadiness in full every month, make funds on time, and solely spend what you may afford to pay.

Regular APR

14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • The data associated to the Citi Simplicity® Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or supplied by the issuer of this card.
    • One of the longest zero% APR durations on steadiness transfers (see phrases for particulars)
    • No rewards program
    • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
    • Purchase Protection
    • Automatic Account Alerts
    Pros
    • Offers the longest intro APR interval for steadiness transfers (21 months)
    • No late charges or penalty APR for late funds
    Cons
    • Higher steadiness switch charge than another cards
    • Doesn’t provide rewards, so chances are you’ll wish to improve to a different card when you’re carried out paying off your debt


    Read Our Review
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    Best for steadiness transfers: Citi Simplicity® Card

    Pros: Long introductory APR interval on steadiness transfers, 18-month intro APR interval for purchases

    Cons: No rewards

    If you are seeking to switch your present credit card steadiness to a brand new card that gives an extended introductory APR interval, you may’t do higher than the Citi Simplicity® Card. It affords zero% APR on steadiness transfers for 18 months from the date of your first switch. (You should full your steadiness transfers within the first 4 months out of your account-opening date.) After the 18-month intro APR interval on steadiness transfers ends, there is a 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) charge.  There’s a steadiness switch charge of three%, with a minimal cost of $5.

    To get the complete profit out of the Citi Simplicity® Card, you will wish to be sure to repay your steadiness earlier than the 18-month introductory interval is over. The key to utilizing credit cards responsibly is to keep away from carrying any debt, so the Citi Simplicity® Card generally is a useful gizmo in your technique to get again on observe with good monetary habits.

    In addition to the stellar introductory provide for steadiness transfers, the Citi Simplicity® Card affords zero% intro APR on purchases for 18 months out of your account-opening date. After that, will probably be a 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) APR

    Read extra:

    Regular APR

    14.99%–23.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 within the first three months from account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
    • Earn limitless 1.5% money again on all different purchases.
    • Earn 5% on journey bought by means of Chase, three% on eating at eating places and drugstores, and 1.5% on all different purchases.
    • No annual charge
    • zero% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimal to redeem for money again. Cash Back rewards don’t expire so long as your account is open
    Pros
    • Solid flat cash-back charge
    • You can mix cash-back rewards with Ultimate Rewards factors when you’ve got an eligible card
    • No annual charge
    Cons
    • Some different cards provide a better charge of money again on sure varieties of purchases


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    Best for intro APR provide: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

    Pros: Long introductory APR interval, earns 1.5% money again on most purchases, pairs nicely with different Chase cards

    Cons: You can get additional cash again on bonus classes with different cards 

    The Chase Freedom Unlimited® affords an extended introductory zero% APR interval of 15 months on purchases, after which there is a 14.99%–23.74% variable APR.

    Not solely does this card enable you pay down credit card debt with a beneficiant introductory APR interval, nevertheless it additionally affords stable ongoing rewards. You’ll earn 5% money again (5x factors) on journey purchases made by means of the Chase Ultimate Rewards journey portal, three% again (3x factors) on drugstores and eating, and 1.5% again (1.5x factors) on all the pieces else with no cap.

    If you have got a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards factors, such because the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you may mix your rewards balances and achieve the choice to redeem your rewards in additional methods, together with transferring factors to Chase’s airline and lodge companions.

    Read extra concerning the Chase Freedom Unlimited:

    Regular APR

    14.49% to 24.99% variable

    Featured Reward

    20,000 bonus factors if you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months from account opening

    Intro APR

    zero% intro APR on purchases and steadiness transfers for 12 months from account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • 20,000 bonus factors if you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months
    • Earn 3x factors o : Eating out and ordering in; Gas stations, rideshares, and transit; Flights, motels, homestays, and automobile leases; Popular streaming providers.
    • Earn 1x factors on different purchases
    • Intro APR on purchases and steadiness transfers for 12 months from account opening
    • Points that don’t expire whereas your account stays open
    • No international foreign money conversion charges
    Pros
    • No annual charge and no international transaction charges
    • Earns 3x factors on all kinds of purchases
    • Comes with a cellular phone safety profit
    Cons
    • While rewards are referred to as factors, they’re successfully money again


    Read Our Review
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    Best with no annual charge: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

    Pros: No international transaction charge, a number of bonus classes

    Cons: It’s primarily a cash-back card, so you will not get higher-than-average worth utilizing rewards factors for journey

    The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card packs in loads of advantages for a card with out an annual charge. We love that it does not cost a international transaction charge (that is comparatively uncommon for no-annual-fee cards), and it offers several bonus categories for earning more points.

    You’ll earn 3x points on eating out and ordering in, and on travel (including flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals), gas stations, rideshares, transit, and popular streaming services, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. 

    You can redeem factors from the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card for money again or for journey by means of the Go Far Rewards program. Each level is value 1 cent, so there is not any alternative to maximise your redemptions, like you may with rewards packages similar to Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. But if simplicity and avoiding an annual fee are your priorities, this card is a great option.

    Read more about the Wells Fargo Propel card:

    Best for money again: Citi® Double Cash Card

    Pros: Strong cash-back charge, stable intro APR provide, pairs nicely with different Citi cards

    Cons: Some cards with bonus classes can get you additional cash again on choose purchases

    Not solely does the Citi® Double Cash Card provide one of the longest introductory APR durations, nevertheless it’s additionally a terrific possibility for incomes money again. In truth, it is one of our high picks for the best cash-back cards because of its easy incomes construction — you get 1% money again if you make a purchase order, and 1% again if you pay your invoice. 

    As a brand new cardholder, you get the primary 18 months with zero% APR on steadiness transfers from the date of the primary switch (which have to be accomplished within the first 4 months from account opening). After that, there is a 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR. 

    While the Citi® Double Cash Card is a cash-back card, for those who even have a premium Citi card just like the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card, you may mix your cash-back rewards with one of these accounts for the chance to redeem them as ThankYou factors towards journey. 

    Read extra concerning the Citi Double Cash Card:

    Regular APR

    15.99%-22.99% Variable

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 60,000 bonus factors after you spend $four,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That’s $750 if you redeem by means of Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn as much as $50 in assertion credit in direction of grocery retailer purchases.
    • 2X factors on eating at eating places together with eligible supply providers, takeout and eating out and journey & 1 level per greenback spent on all different purchases.
    • Get 25% extra worth if you redeem for journey by means of Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For instance, 60,000 factors are value $750 towards journey.
    • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your factors are value 25% extra in the course of the present provide if you redeem them for assertion credit in opposition to present purchases in choose, rotating classes.
    • Get limitless deliveries with a $zero supply charge and decreased service charges on eligible orders over $12 for a minimal of one 12 months with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
    • Earn 2x complete factors on as much as $1,000 in grocery retailer purchases monthly from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and supply providers.
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus begins you off with heaps of factors
    • Strong journey protection
    Cons
    • Doesn’t provide a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck utility charge credit


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    Best for journey rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

    Pros: High sign-up bonus, robust rewards, good journey protections

    Cons: Some different journey rewards cards provide extra bonus factors and added advantages

    If you wish to earn journey rewards, you will discover that Chase Ultimate Rewards factors are probably the most user-friendly of the assorted financial institution currencies, that are additionally known as transferable factors as a result of you may switch them over to varied airline and lodge companions. In the case of Chase factors, you may redeem them with companions like British Airways, Hyatt, United Airlines, and Singapore Airlines, or you may guide journey immediately by means of Chase. If you select the latter, your factors are value 1.25 cents apiece — a 25% bonus.

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card begins you off with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 factors after you spend $four,000 within the first three months. Those factors are value $750 in journey booked by means of Chase, or probably much more for those who determine to redeem with this system’s switch companions. 

    You’ll earn 2 factors per greenback on all journey and eating purchases, and 1 level per greenback on all the pieces else. Beyond the rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred affords some beneficial protection advantages, together with major automobile rental insurance coverage, journey delay insurance coverage, and baggage delay insurance coverage.

    Quick tip: Even for those who’re not touring proper now, there are a lot of different ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points during the pandemic — including Chase’s new Pay Yourself Back option

    Read more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card:

    Best for bad credit: Discover it® Secured

    Pros: It’s an attainable option even if you have bad credit, and it earns rewards — which is rare for a secured card

    Cons: Some secured cards have lower minimum deposit requirements

    If you have a very limited credit history or are looking to repair bad credit, many of the cards on this list won’t be available to you. Most of the top rewards cards require credit scores in the 600s or higher — if that’s not where your credit is, you may need to consider a secured card to repair your credit. 

    Secured credit cards are easy to get approved for because they require a cash deposit upfront, which minimizes the issuer’s risk. Your credit limit is equal to the cash deposit you put down. 

    If a secured card looks like the appropriate possibility for you, the Discover it® Secured is an particularly good possibility, as a result of it is the uncommon secured card to supply rewards. You’ll earn 2% money again at fuel stations and eating places on as much as $1,000 in purchases every quarter (then 1%), and 1% money again on all different purchases. Plus, Discover will match all of the money again you have earned on the finish of the primary 12 months.

     

    Regular APR

    15.49% – 25.49% variable APR

    Featured Reward

    One-time $200 money bonus when you spend $500 on purchases inside three months of account opening

    Intro APR

    zero% intro APR for 15 months

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Unlimited 1.5% money again on each buy
    • One-time $150 money bonus when you spend $500 on purchases inside three months from account opening
    • zero% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% – 25.49% variable APR after that; three% charge on the quantities transferred throughout the first 15 months
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees
    • Travel Accident Insurance
    • Push notification every time a brand new buy is accredited in your account
    Pros
    • Earns 1.5% money again on each buy
    • Intro APR on purchases
    • No annual charge and no international transaction charges
    Cons
    • Other cards make more cash again


    Read Our Review
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    Best for honest credit: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

    Pros: Earns 1.5% money again on each buy, no international transaction charges

    Cons: Other cards provide higher rewards

    If you have got a credit rating within the “fair” vary (580-669, in line with FICO), you have got a great probability for being accredited for this card. It affords a decent 1.5% money again on all purchases, and there aren’t any international transaction charges. 

    The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card additionally affords zero% intro APR for 15 months on each purchases and steadiness transfers (then a 15.49% – 25.49% variable APR). 

    Regular APR

    15.99%–20.99% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    100,000 factors after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 100okay bonus factors after you spend $15,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That’s $1,000 money again or $1,250 towards journey when redeemed by means of Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Earn three factors per $1 on the primary $150,000 spent on journey and choose enterprise classes every account anniversary 12 months. Earn 1 level per $1 on all different purchases
    • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will probably be monitored for doable indicators of fraudulent exercise utilizing real-time fraud monitoring
    • With Zero Liability you will not be held accountable for unauthorized costs made together with your card or account data
    • Redeem factors for money again, present cards, journey and extra – your factors do not expire so long as your account is open
    • Points are value 25% extra if you redeem for journey by means of Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days in opposition to injury or theft as much as $10,000 per declare and $50,000 per account
    • $95 Annual Fee
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus
    • Offers 3x bonus factors on a number of spending classes, together with journey and promoting purchases
    • Includes complete journey protection
    Cons
    • Welcome bonus has a really excessive minimal spending requirement


    Read Our Review
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    Best enterprise credit card: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

    Pros: Big welcome bonus, nice bonus classes for small companies, advantages like cellular phone safety

    Cons: Large spending requirement to earn the bonus, bonus class spending is capped

    There are heaps of nice small-business credit cards, and for those who journey continuously, it might be value paying the excessive annual charge for a extra premium possibility like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express . But for those who simply need a card that maximizes your returns in fashionable enterprise spending classes, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a good selection. 

    You’ll earn three factors per greenback on the primary $150,000 you spend every cardmember 12 months in choose classes, together with journey, transport, web/cable/cellphone, and promoting on social media websites or with engines like google, similar to Google Ads. Purchases after you attain $150,000, or in another class, earn 1 level per greenback.

    Read extra concerning the Chase Ink Business Preferred card:

    Credit Score

    No Credit History

    Intro APR

    zero% intro APR for 6 months from date of account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • The data associated to the Discover it® Student Cash Back has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
    • Discover will match all of the money again you have earned on the finish of your first 12 months, routinely. There’s no signing up. And no restrict to how a lot is matched.
    • Earn 5% money again on on a regular basis purchases at totally different locations every quarter like grocery shops, eating places, fuel stations, choose rideshares and on-line procuring, as much as the quarterly most if you activate. 1% after that.
    • $20 assertion credit every college 12 months your GPA is three.zero or greater for as much as the following 5 years.
    • Get 100% U.S. primarily based customer support & get your free Credit Scorecard together with your FICO® Credit Score, quantity of current inquiries and extra.
    • Freeze It® on/off change for your account that stops new purchases, money advances & steadiness transfers in seconds.
    • Get an alert if we discover your Social Security quantity on any of 1000’s of Dark Web websites.
    Pros
    • Earns 5% money again on rotating bonus classes
    • $20 assertion credit annually your GPA is three.zero or greater
    • Discover matches your money again after the primary 12 months
    Cons
    • Not probably the most rewarding cash-back card for non-bonus purchases

    Best for college students: Discover it® Student Cash Back

    Pros: Cash-back reward for good grades, earns as much as 5% money again, no international transaction charge

    Cons: Other cards provide a better cash-back charge on non-bonus spending

    The Discover it® Student Cash Back is a fairly rewarding card, with a neat Good Grades Reward profit focused to these in class. Each 12 months your GPA is three.zero or greater, you will get a $20 assertion credit. 

    Beyond that, the cardboard affords 5% money again on as much as $1,500 of purchases in rotating bonus classes every quarter if you activate, and 1% again on all the pieces else. Discover will even match your cash-back earnings after your first cardmember 12 months. Overall, this card is a good entry level into the world of cash-back rewards.

    • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: You get loads of perks, and stable rewards, in change for a $95 annual charge, however your choices for redeeming miles for journey aren’t probably the most aggressive resulting from complicated switch ratios and just one US airline associate.
    • The Platinum Card® from American Express : While this premium card has an extended record of journey advantages like airport lounge entry, Uber credit, and complimentary lodge elite standing that may cancel out the $550 annual charge (See Rates) for those who put them to make use of, not everybody will be capable of justify that value.
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve: The higher-end sibling of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one other card that gives some nice high-end journey perks — like as much as $300 in assertion credit annually — however with a $550 annual charge it isn’t the best journey card for everybody.
    • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card— It earns four% money again on eating and leisure, plus 2% at grocery shops and 1% again on all the pieces else, however many individuals choose incomes a better charge of money again on all their purchases with none bonus classes.
    • Chase Freedom Flex℠ — This card might help you earn 5% money again/5x factors on rotating quarterly bonus classes (on as much as $1,500 every quarter if you activate), however once more not everybody needs to maintain observe of bonus classes, particularly once they change a number of occasions all year long.
    • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express — It earns 6% again on choose US streaming subscriptions and 6% again on as much as $6,000 spent at US supermarkets annually (then 1%), so it is one other stable possibility for those that need most money again on choose purchases slightly than a better charge of money again on all purchases.
    • Capital One Spark Miles for Business — It earns miles as an alternative of money again, however for those who choose journey rewards this card is a good possibility.
    • Amex Business Platinum Card — With a $595 annual fee (See Rates), it has lots of travel benefits that could be worth it if you’re constantly on the road.

    This guide highlights the best credit card option for several different types of users. If you want a to-the-point recommendation for maximizing your spending and enjoying benefits like an intro APR period, this guide will help you find a quick answer. However, if you want to go deeper, check out our in-depth credit card guides for the following categories:

    Our list of the best credit cards is the result of an in-depth comparison between credit cards in each sub-category. We looked at America’s largest credit card issuers, as well as cards frequently recommended by blogs, forums, and travel communities.

    The values we prioritized when coming up with this list were:

    • Simplicity — not everyone wants to invest lots of time and energy into maximizing their credit cards, so we focused on cards that make things as straightforward as possible
    • Affordability — while there’s a case to be made for paying a high annual fee when you’re getting high value in return, most credit card users aren’t looking for a card that costs $450 or more
    • Value — whether we’re talking about a credit card with or without an annual fee, it’s important that the benefits and features are worth it

    Why should I get a credit card?

    Credit cards can be powerful tools for improving your credit score and earning rewards — if you use them responsibly.  It’s important to only spend what you can afford to pay off each month so you don’t end up in debt and start amassing steep interest fees.

    Provided you are ready to repay your credit card statements and spend inside your means, there are a number of causes opening a credit card might be a good suggestion. For one, credit cards provide higher fraud safety than debit cards or money — if an unauthorized buy is made together with your card, you will not be on the hook. Using a credit card responsibly may also enable you construct and restore your credit, since your on-time funds will probably be reported to the credit bureaus. Finally, a credit card might help you maximize each greenback you spend, by incomes you money again, factors, or miles. 

    What is the best credit card?

    It’s not possible to call only one best credit card, as a result of there are such a lot of choices for so many differing kinds of customers. A credit card that earns journey rewards might be the best possibility for one individual, however for those who’re seeking to earn money again, you will be higher served by one other decide.

    How do I select a credit card?

    Focus in your priorities, and be lifelike about what cards you are in a position to get accredited for. Most of the highest rewards cards require credit scores within the excessive 600s at a naked minimal, so in case your credit rating is not there but, you will wish to have a look at choices for unhealthy to honest credit scores so you may concentrate on constructing your credit again up. 

    Beyond that, determine what annual charge you are snug paying. Some folks keep away from paying credit card annual charges utterly, and there are a number of nice cards within the no-annual-fee class, nevertheless it might be value paying a modest annual charge of $95 to $99 for a journey or cash-back card that earns you greater rewards. Also, determine whether or not you wish to earn money again or journey rewards. Keep in thoughts that redeeming rewards for journey is extra work than merely getting money again in your account – the payoff could be huge, however concentrate on what’s the best possibility for you.

    How do I construct credit with a credit card?

    Your credit card use is a large consider figuring out your credit rating — each on-time fee you make is reported to the credit bureaus and exhibits potential lenders that you simply’re ready to make use of credit responsibly. The key to constructing credit with a credit card is to solely spend what you may afford to repay every month. 

    How many credit cards ought to I’ve?

    There’s nobody reply to this query — it is doable to have greater than 20 cards and keep a superb credit rating, however this is able to in all probability entail a number of annual charges. Go slowly, house out your functions, and by no means chew off greater than you may chew. Make certain you are in a position to repay your balances in full every month, as a result of incomes rewards isn’t value going into debt.



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