We find all of the credit cards.
By using extensive manual research, we compile a comprehensive list of every credit card we can find. We use a variety of data to organize the credit cards into different types and rank the cards in terms of quality and popularity.
We pick the most popular credit cards.
Digging deeper into each credit card, we discover the common features that define the best credit cards. We collect and analyze all of the data for the top credit cards and then standardize it so that true comparisons can be made.
We review the best credit cards.
Our credit card expert studies rewards earnings, redeeming options, benefits, rates, and fees. Each card is organized into a specific type and then a review is written for the top credit cards to highlight the good and bad points.
The other credit cards stay on our radar.
As the credit card market continues to change, we watch all the cards to be sure our reviews are kept up to date. If any new cards emerge as top credit card contenders, we will include them in future reviews.
Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® - Earn 1x on All PurchasesTravel
Blue Cash Preferred® from American ExpressGas
Discover it®Cash Back
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold CardRewards
Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit CardTravel
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® CardRewards
TrueBlue by JetBlueAirline
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature CardAirline
Chase Sapphire Preferred℠ CardRewards
Chase Freedom® VisaCash Back
Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Excellent CreditRewards
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressCash Back
Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage Visa Signature CardAirline
US Airways Premier World MasterCard®Airline
PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express CardTravel
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa CardGas
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® CardTravel
Visa Black CardRewards
United MileagePlus Explorer CardAirline
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit CardTravel
TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American ExpressCash Back Gas
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit CardCash Back Gas
Disney's Premier Visa® CardRewards
Sony Card From Capital One®Rewards
The best rewards credit cards are the ones that offer the highest rewards in the form of points, bonuses, air miles, or cash back. They tend to offer a variety of ways to earn rewards and are often the most versatile cards in terms of redeeming rewards. General rewards credit cards offer the ability to earn additional rewards for entertainment purchases, dining, travel, airfare, and more. Overall, the rewards cards that score highest on our credit card reviews will excel in categories like Rewards, Reward Redemption, and Benefits. The Rewards category helps define how many rewards a cardholder can earn and the different bonuses available, as well as information about expiration or any blackout dates. Reward Redemption is centered around how a cardholder can redeem rewards. Cards that score high in this category will allow the cardholder to redeem points in all kinds of ways, including statement credit, airfare, gift cards, merchandise, and access to exclusive events. Beyond looking at rewards, the best of these credit cards will also offer benefits, which focus on some of the extra perks a cardholder will receive, like purchase protection and 24/7 customer support.
In order to get the most out of a rewards credit card, a potential cardholder should try to match the types of rewards the card offers to their lifestyle and purchasing decisions. In addition to general rewards cards that cater to a more well-rounded consumer, there are four other types of rewards credit cards: airlines credit cards, cash back credit cards, travel credit cards, and gas credit cards. Someone who flies a lot on a specific airline will benefit greatly from using the credit card associated with that airline. Some of the best credit cards fall into the cash back category because they give cardholders the piece of mind that their rewards may always be redeemed. A frequent traveler who doesn’t use a specific airline, but might use certain hotels often will certainly want to target one of the top hotel travel credit cards. Road warriors who often find themselves behind the wheel should focus on finding a gas credit card that offers high points or cash back rewards for gas purchases.
Airlines Credit Cards
Airline credit cards are a specialized type of card offered by specific airlines that generally allow the cardholder to earn rewards in the form of air miles. In some cases, airlines offer rewards with points that translate into miles and airfare. The best airline credit cards have significant signup bonuses and cardholders can earn some of the highest rewards with an airline credit card as compared to other rewards credit cards. Choosing an airline credit card can come at a cost, however, because most customers have to stick with a specific airline and its partners to earn and redeem rewards. Frequent flyers who don’t stick to one airline may find that a travel card is the best fit for them.
Recommended Cards:TrueBlue by JetBlueAlaska Airlines Visa Signature CardUS Airways Premier World MasterCard®
Cash Back Credit Cards
The best cash back credit cards will primarily be the credit cards that offer the most cash back on purchases. Many of the top cash back credit cards will offer up to 5% cash back per dollar spent, but the 5% cash back earning potential is usually capped at a specific dollar amount for categories that rotate every few months. Cash back rewards can normally be redeemed via statement credit and some cards will pay by check. Those who are looking for a cash back credit card will also want to find a card with a 0% introductory APR because most cash back cards don’t provide new cardmembers with a signup bonus.
Travel Credit Cards
There are a number of different factors to consider when trying to find the best credit card for travel. Depending on the travel credit card, someone can earn rewards via air miles, points, and hotel membership points. With rewards earnings that come in so many ways, choosing the top credit card for travel ultimately comes down to what each person intends to use it for. More targeted hotel rewards cards offer some of the highest points per dollar spent, but the rewards can normally only be redeemed at one of their participating hotels. Some travel credit cards are even offered by online travel companies, like Priceline and Orbitz, but reward earnings are again limited by making purchases on those websites. The more general credit cards that don’t have connections to hotels or travel companies are more well-rounded, but earnings are less than with the specialized cards.
Recommended Cards:Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® - Earn 1x on All PurchasesCapital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit CardPenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card
Gas Credit Cards
A gas credit card is a type of rewards credit card that offers the most significant rewards for gas purchases. Keep in mind that these gas credit cards are not designed specifically for gas purchases, but qualify as the top credit cards in this category due to their high rewards for buying gasoline. The best credit cards for gas purchases will usually offer rewards in the form of cash back, but some of the top cards also have a point rewards system. Similar to any other rewards credit card, the points can be redeemed for a variety of things, like gift cards, merchandise, and travel. It’s not uncommon for gas cards to limit the amount of money a cardholder can earn high rewards on, but many of the top cards have no limit and allow you to keep earning the high cash back or points per dollar spent on gas purchases.
Discover it® for Students
Citi Forward® Card for College Students
Journey℠ Student Rewards from Capital One®
Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card for College Students
The best credit cards for students will offer solid cash back rewards or a variety of ways to earn and redeem points. In addition to the rewards, students will want to focus on the costs of being a cardholder. Most of the top credit cards for students will not charge an annual fee. One thing to keep an eye on is the APR, since some students might be enticed into carrying a balance on a credit card from time to time. For most students, the best credit cards will offer a 0% introductory APR for at least six months. If a card doesn’t have an introductory offer, make sure that it offers substantial ways to earn points or cash back rewards to make up for it.
Student credit cards serve a completely different purpose than most of the other types of credit cards because the cards are made for a specific group of people who are often right around the same age. As many people know, getting approved for a credit card with no credit card history is pretty much impossible. That is precisely what makes student credit cards so important. These cards provide students with the opportunity to establish a solid credit history. They also serve the purpose of teaching students about the credit card process, rates, and fees. Students under the age of 21 will likely need to have a cosigner for the credit card or proof that they have an income to make payments.
The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN
WorldPoints Rewards for Business Visa Card
SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express OPEN
Capital One® Spark℠ Cash for Business
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards Visa® Card
Business credit cards share a lot of similarities with the rewards credit cards listed above because business owners are generally looking for the same type of rewards and benefits as consumers. Some of the best business credit cards will allow an organization to maximize their rewards by getting the most points or cash back for the things they purchase the most. Depending on what type of rewards the business is looking to earn, there are a number of solid credit cards to choose from. Business credit cards can earn rewards in the form of air miles, cash back, and points, which can be redeemed for a variety of things. One clear difference between business credit cards and personal credit cards is that the business cards try to offer rewards for purchases that are closely associated with a business, like extra cash back or points rewards for office supply purchases. Another key advantage to using a business credit card as opposed to a personal credit card is to keep personal and business expenses separate to avoid any accounting nightmares during tax season.
While it’s best to look at all the business credit cards together, there are a few different ways to classify the cards. One way is by matching the card with the size of the organization. The best credit cards for small business will not necessarily be the same for a corporation. Most small business owners will prefer a card that offers solid rewards without the additional fees. Since many small business are trying to keep costs down, saving in every way possible is important. Corporations are generally seeking a different type of credit card than small businesses they will likely be spending more money than the small business, which means the larger organization will also need a bigger credit line. Corporations have more people involved and might need to issue a higher number of credit cards to management. Another way to differentiate business credit cards is to look at credit cards versus charge cards. Credit cards allow a business to carry over a balance so the business while charge cards force a business to pay off the balance each month. Some of the top credit cards for business offer two forms of the same card, one of which is a charge card and the other is a credit card.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard Secured Credit Card
Secured Visa from Merrick Bank
Secured credit cards are typically for people who have bad credit and want to establish or reestablish their credit. The way a secured credit card works is to have the cardholder put down a security deposit on the card and the deposit ensures the credit limit on the card. Secured credit cards have minimum and maximum credit lines, but ultimately, the deposit amount determines how much the person can spend on the card. The major benefit for most people who are interested in a secured credit card is that the cards automatically report to credit agencies. Steadily making payments on time will boost the credit rating of the cardholder with the end goal of eventually obtaining an unsecured credit card.
Unlike standard unsecured credit cards, even the best credit cards for those who have bad credit won’t offer rewards. The reward for using a secured credit card is to eventually build good credit. The benefits for secured credit cards are also different from rewards cards. Most rewards credit cards offer insurance on things like travel, luggage, and car rentals, while secured credit cards focus on monitoring and reporting credit automatically. Anyone interested in a secured credit card should also know that all of the cards charge an annual fee.