Top 10 Credit Cards – May 2017
This is the cut-to-the-chase list of our Top 10 credit cards, based on overall quality, which could mean any combination of rewards, low interest rates, or other features that we choose. Which is the best credit card? We’ll give you our #1 choice, but you should be proud to go into financial battle with any of the others, too:
#1 Citi Double Cash Card – Citi unnecessarily complicates this offer, which fools some into not realizing how good it is. Bottom line: You get 2% cash back on all your purchases, provided you eventually pay them off. What that means: You get 1% cash back on the purchase as soon as you make it, then you get 1% cash back on your card balance payments. 1% + 1% = 2%. If your credit is good, you could qualify for an interest rate as low as 13.49%, and you’ll get a 0% rate for 18 months on any balances you transfer from another card (but be aware of the 3% balance transfer fee). No annual fee.
#2 Discover It Miles Card – Discover’s travel card offers 1.5 “miles” per dollar charged to the card, with each mile being worth a penny. You can use your miles to offset travel expenses or take them as cash back, making this essentially a 1.5% cash back credit card. That’s pretty good, but what puts this card high on this list is the first-year bonus offer: after the first year, the “miles” you earned in that year are doubled, becoming 3 miles per dollar — or 3% cash back on all your first-year purchases. And with no annual fee.
#3 Chase Slate Visa – This one ranks high solely due to its low interest offers, in particular a 0% rate on balances you transfer from other cards — with no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days. It is very rare to see a balance transfer offer that does not include a balance transfer fee of at least 3%, and in fact Chase charges a 5% balance transfer fees on its other credit cards (and on this one as well after the first 60 days). You also get a 0% interest rate on new purchases you make with the card for the first 15 months. No annual fee.
#4 Fidelity Rewards Visa – The upside: you earn 2% cash back on all your card purchases. The downside: you only get that 2% if you deposit the rebate into a Fidelity account. (You also have the option to use the points earned on this card for other rewards, but those points will be worth less than the 2% rebate when redeemed.)
#5 First National Bank of Omaha Complete Rewards Visa – Offers 1% cash back, but you can double it to a full 2% cash back if you deposit the money into a First National account. You’ll also get a 0% interest rate on purchases with the card for 15 months. Also enjoy a quick $25 bonus ($50 if deposited to a First National account) after you use the card for the first time.
#6 Wyndham Rewards Visa – This credit card gets no attention from the masses, but its simplicity deserves recognition. Here’s why: For every 15,000 points you earn through the Wyndham Hotels Rewards program, you get a free night at any Wyndham. There are no point tiers for different types of hotels to confuse the issue, like almost every other hotel rewards program. And the credit card gets you there faster, with an upfront bonus equal to one free night. No annual fee.
#7 Tie Target REDcard and Lowe’s Credit Card – Both of these credit cards give you 5% off all the purchases you make with them at the respective stores. Sure, they don’t offer a whole lot more than that, and their interest rates are nothing to be happy about, but as long as you pay off your complete balance each month, it would be ridiculous not to get the Target and/or Lowe’s cards if you shop at those stores regularly.
#8 BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards Card – Not great for everyone, but very good for those who don’t use their credit cards very often. Here’s why: Each calendar quarter you can earn $25, provided you pay off more than your minimum balance each month. (We’d suggest you pay off your full balance each month.) That’s a possibility of $100 per year. That may not seem like much, but consider that other cash back cards would require you to spend $5000 to $10,000 per year in order to earn $100 in rewards. (Two percent of $5000 is $100, one percent of $10,000 is $100.) So, if you are putting less than $500 on your credit card each month, you most likely would get a better reward from this card than any other card you might choose. (Assuming you pay off more than the minimum each month.)
#9 Tie Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One QuickSilver – Both of these cards offer a flat 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a slightly better upfront bonus offer that lets you earn an extra $150 vs. the Quicksilver’s $100, and the Chase card offers a 0% interest rate for the first 15 months versus 0% for 9 months on the Quicksilver. Overall, though, not much difference with these offers.
#10 Tie Blue Cash Everyday from American Express and Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa and Capital One Premier Dining Rewards – These three cash back credit cards offer slightly different formulas, with greater cash back percentages for different spending categories. The Blue Cash Everyday gives you 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% back at gas stations and many department stores, and 1% back on everything else. The Cash Rewards Visa offers 3% cash back on gas purchases, 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% back on everything else. The Capital One Premier Dining Rewards card gives you 3% cash back on dining purchases, 2% on groceries, and 1% everywhere else. Personally we prefer the cash back cards earlier in this list that give a 2% or 1.5% flat rebate on everything, but you may prefer one of these if you spend heavily on gas and/or groceries.