A while ago I asked readers to name their favorite credit cards. That request spawned numerous comments, so I thought I’d distill the results for you guys. What follows is a breakdown of the cards that received the most love. This post will be updated regularly as offers change, so check back to get an update on the best credit card deals for 2017. Loyal and new readers, thank you for your comments!
Best Overall Credit Cards of 2018
For consumers who are looking for great cards for everyday use, these cards represent some of your best options. All of these three top picks have low interest rates, good rewards benefits, no annual fee, and have received positive comments from Five Cent Nickel readers.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Likely the card I use more than any other in my wallet, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers up $150 right away to new cardholders that spend $1,000 in the first three months. Cardholders earn 6% cash back at the grocery store for the first $6,000 spent annually, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else. A 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers is included for the first 12 months, then the variable APR of 13.99% – 24.99% kicks in. There is a $95 fee to own the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
- Biggest PRO – 6% cash back at grocery stores
- Biggest CON – $95 annual fee
Chase Freedom Unlimited(SM) – Newly approved applicants of the Chase Freedom Unlimited(SM) will receive a $150 bonus after spending just $500 in the first three months of account opening. Another great feature of this card is that it carries a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a standard APR of 15.99% – 24.74% variable. Unlike the standard version of this card that has rotating 5% cash back categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited(SM) offers a flat 1.5% cash back rate on ALL purchases. There is no annual fee.
- Biggest PRO – Low spend hurdle for $150 bonus
- Biggest CON – Low cash back rate (comparatively speaking)
Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2018
Here are the most popular 0% balance transfer credit card offers from different issuers. Balance transfer credit cards are good for off-loading your high-interest credit card debt. When combined with a high-yield online savings account these cards are also fantastic. They offer 0% APR and some offer rewards and/or signup bonuses.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – You’ll find the longest 0% intro APR balance transfer offer on the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card at 21 months. This intro APR also applies to purchases and there is a 3% BT fee associated with all balance transfers. After the intro APR expires, the ongoing APR becomes 13.49% – 23.49% variable. Good / Excellent credit is required to obtain approval and there is no annual fee.
- Biggest PRO – Long 0% intro APR of 21 months.
- Biggest CON – No rewards program.
Discover it® – 18 Month Balance Transfer – The Discover it® provides a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months and on purchases for 6 months. After the intro rate expires the APR becomes 11.99% – 23.99% variable. Also included is a robust rewards program that offers 5% cash back on select purchases each quarter, 1% cash back on everything else and the ability to double your cash back earned for the first full year. The Discover it® has no annual fee and Good / Excellent credit is required.
- Biggest PRO – Robust Cash back rewards program
- Biggest CON – Mediocre BT duration and BT fee
Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2018
Cash back credit cards are great tools for maximizing your expenditures. All you have to do is just sign up and then spend money as you normally would to accrue cash back; most of these cards have no annual fee, so it’s a no-brainer but it is advice-able to keep a check on your credit report too. Earn rewards for everyday purchases. Keep in mind charge cards don’t have associated interest rates, every bill is due in full each payment period.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card – A $200 bonus is earned after spending $1,000 in the first three months for new Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card members. The everyday cash back rewards rate is 1.5% and for the first year, 1.8% cash back is earned on all mobile wallet purchases (like Apple Pay or Android Pay). There is a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after which the interest rate reverts to 13.99% – 25.99% variable. A cool bonus, everyone will receive up to $600 in cell phone protection ($25 deductible) should you pay your cell phone will with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card. There is no annual fee.
- Biggest PRO – $200 up front cash rewards bonus
- Biggest CON – High variable interest rate
Citi® Double Cash Card – One of the cleanest offers you’ll find on a credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card does exactly what you’d expect it to. 1% cash back is earned on all purchases and another 1% cash back is earned as you pay for those purchases. The double cash back rate makes this an extremely attractive option, with no rotating categories or spend limits. Also added is a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (3% balance transfer fee) and an ongoing purchase and BT interest rate of 14.49% – 24.49% variable. There is no annual fee on the Citi® Double Cash Card.
- Biggest PRO – Double cash back on every purchase
- Biggest CON – No up front bonus
Discover it® Cashback Match™ – New cardholders of the Discover it® Cashback Match™ will receive a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months. After that, the standard APR becomes 11.99% – 23.99% variable. The reason this card is titled “Cashback Match” is because Discover will match every penny in cash back you earn for the first year. So while this card offers a 1% cash back rate on purchases and 5% cash back rate on select categories each quarter, the first year cash back percentage is 2% and 10% respectively. There is no annual fee to own the Discover it® Cashback Match™.
- Biggest PRO – Up to 10% cash back the first year on select categories
- Biggest CON – No up front bonus
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2018
Perhaps the best category of credit cards for big rewards and bonuses is the travel category. If you find yourself a frequent flier or someone who spends a lot of nights on the road and in hotels, the cards below have the potential to save you thousands of dollars each and every year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – 50,000 bonus points are earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card ownership. Double points for every dollar spent are earned on all travel and dining purchases while single points per dollar spent are earned everywhere else. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 25% more when you book your travel through Chase, so for example the 50,000 bonus point intro offer can actually be worth $625. There is a $95 annual fee to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but it’s waived for the first year
- Biggest PRO – $625 up front bonus
- Biggest CON – No intro APR offer
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – New cardmembers of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card will earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening. Every dollar spent will earn 1.25 miles and there is no limit to the number of miles you can earn. A 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers is included for the first 12 months, after which the variable APR becomes 12.99% – 22.99%. Unlike almost every other travel rewards credit card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee.
- Biggest PRO – No annual fee
- Biggest CON – Small rewards miles rate
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® – You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days when approved for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. Every dollar spent earns double miles, no tier levels or spend hurdles to meet and when you redeem your miles, you’ll earn a 5% miles back bonus. Included with this card is a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months (the standard purchase and balance transfer APR is 17.24% – 24.24% variable). There is no annual fee to own the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.
- Biggest PRO – Double Miles on everything
- Biggest CON – No 0% intro APR on purchases