By ProudMoney.com Staff
This is the cut-to-the-chase list of our Top 10 credit cards (actually 18, oops), 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’ll be proud to go into financial battle with any of the others, too:
#1 PayPal Cashback Mastercard – You get 2% cash back on every purchase with this card, which is accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard, both online and offline. Your cash rebates are deposited straight to your PayPal account (you’ll need to establish a PayPal account if you don’t already have one), where you can use that cash toward online purchases or have it moved to your bank account. No annual fee and a generous, easy-to-understand rebate formula puts this newer credit card right up at the top as the everyday cash-back choice in today’s market. No foreign transaction fees, either. (The only downside is high interest rates over 20%, so don’t carry a balance!)
#2 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%. No annual fee.
#3 Uber Visa – Nice cash back credit card from Uber and Barclays Bank is a winner. You get 4% back on dining purchases, 3% back on hotel and airfare purchases, 2% back for most online purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. You’ll also get a $100 bonus if you use the card for at least $500 in purchases in the first three months you have it.
#4 Tie Discover It and Chase Freedom – Both of these credit cards allow you to earn 5% cash back in certain spending categories that change each calendar quarter. Categories may include gas, groceries, restaurants, home improvement stores, Internet services, etc. On the downside, you’ll only earn 1% on any purchases outside of those 5% categories, so it’s best to pair this card up with another good cash back card instead of making it your go-to card for all purchases. The Discover It Card is actually the better of the two for new cardholders, because at the end of the first year, all of your earnings will be doubled, meaning you end up with 10% cash back on those special categories in Year 1. (The Chase Freedom has a bonus of its own: $150 if you spend at least $500 with the card in the first three months.)
#5 Chase Sapphire Reserve – It’s got a hefty annual fee at $450, so it’s not for everyone, but this is our top choice in the luxury travel space of today’s credit card market. The biggest reason is that the points you earn with this card are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate rewards portal. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on travel and most dining purchases, 1 point everywhere else, and you can get a quick 50,000 points (worth $750 toward travel through the Chase rewards portal) if you spend at least $4000 with the card in the first three months. A yearly $300 travel credit softens the blow of the big annual fee. Travelers will also appreciate airport lounge access through the Priority Pass Select program. Again, a good card for the frequent traveler who regularly charges a lot to his or her card, but not for the everyday person who spends modestly.
#6 Tie Chase Slate Visa and BankAmericard and Amex EveryDay – These rank high solely due to their 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 rare to see a balance transfer offer that does not include a balance transfer fee of at least 3% (and after the first 60 days, these cards will have a balance transfer fee, too). All three cards also give you a 0% interest rate on new purchases for the first 15 months, which is also nice. No annual fee on any of these.
#7 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.
#8. U.S. Bank Cash Plus Visa – Cash back card with interesting choices to make: you get 5% cash back on two purchase categories (out of 12 categories that include cell phone service, utilities, department stores, etc.) and 2% in two other categories (pick 2 out of these 3: gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants) and 1% everywhere else. The 5% categories are somewhat unique with this card, making it a good go-to card or a complement to other cash-back cards if you really want to maximize your rewards.
#9. Wells Fargo Propel American Express – Get 3 points per dollar in a multitude of categories, including travel, restaurants, gas, streaming services, ride-sharing, etc., and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. You can redeem those for cash, so it’s basically a 3%/1% equivalent in cash back. The best card Wells Fargo has developed in a long… well, ever, really.
#10 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 formula is just “meh” when compared to many competitors, but what puts this card on the 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.
#11 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.
#12 Tie Blue Cash Everyday from American Express and Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa – These two 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. Good cards to consider if you spend heavily on gas and/or groceries. (And look at the Blue Cash Preferred if you spend over $3000 on groceries per year. It has a $95 annual fee but gives 6% on groceries and 3% on gas — that annual fee could be well worth it.)