The 14 Best Credit Cards of June 2024

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Picking a credit card can be daunting. No one credit card will perfectly fit every person’s needs. Instead, you have to think through what is most important to you. Do you want miles or points? Foreign transaction fees? Rewards on dining, groceries or travel?

Everyone’s answer will be different, but we’ve gathered some of the best credit cards in one place. All of these best credit cards have low annual fees (or perks that offset the annual fees), competitive APRs and lucrative reward rates when possible.

They’re all good cards, but picking the right one for your needs depends on you, so check out our best credit cards list for June 2024.

The Best Credit Cards of June 2024

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best Simple Cash Rewards
  • Discover it Cash Back: Best for Rotating Rewards Categories
  • Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for Easy Everyday Spending
  • Wells Fargo Reflect Credit Card: Best Intro 0% APR Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best Bonus Rewards Card 
  • Capital One Venture Rewards: Best Overall Travel Card
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards: Best for Premium Flexible Travelers
  • Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card: Best for Delta Flyers
  • American Express® Gold Card: Best for Foodie Rewards
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Fair Credit
  • Discover it Secured Credit Card: Best Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit
  • Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card: Best Unsecured Credit Card for Bad Credit
  • Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card: Best Overall Student Card
  • American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card: Best for Small Businesses

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Best for Simple Cash Rewards

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • $200 cash rewards bonus after eligible purchases
  • 0% introductory APR
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a simple way to earn cash back for all of your spending. Plus, with 0% intro APR, you can avoid interest on those purchases for 15 months.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% intro APR, 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
2% cash back per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
3%
Credit Score
Good to excellent (670-850)

More Information about the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card earns its place on our best credit cards list because of its simple approach to cash rewards. You earn 2% back on all everyday purchases, all year long. There’s no limit to the cash back, and you can redeem it in several ways: to cover purchases, as a statement credit, at the ATM in $20 increments, or as a gift card. Both the ATM and gift card options require you to redeem your cash back in specific amounts, which makes them slightly less convenient options, but the redemption process is still simple and straightforward. 

In addition to uncomplicated cash back, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card also has a decent introductory bonus. If you spend $500 in the first 3 months, you get $200 cash rewards. That’s a higher return for less money spent than most cash back cards’ welcome offers. 

For a no annual fee card, we also love the 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (transfers made in the first 120 days). Like always, we don’t suggest you carry a balance, but if you have to it’s nice to know you’re covered. 

There aren't a lot of bells or whistles to this card (that’s kind of the point), but we do like the cell phone protection plan that protects your phone up to $600 against damage or theft when you pay your bill with it ($25 deductible). 

Bottom line, this is a simple card for flat rate rewards that don’t require minimums to redeem cash.

Discover it Cash Back Credit Card

Best for Rotating Rewards Categories

5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • First year bonus match
  • 0% intro APR
The Discover it Cash Back Credit Card offers good reward returns and great safety features, but the real draw is Discover’s awesome Unlimited Cashback Match at the end of the first year.
Discover it Cash Back Credit Card

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% intro APR, 17.24% to 28.24% variable APR
Reward Rate
1% - 5% cash back per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
Good to excellent (670 - 850)

More Information about the Discover it Cash Back Credit Card

The Discover it Cash Back Credit Card offers 5% cash back on rotating categories that change each quarter. You have to go on each quarter and activate the bonus categories, so it can be a little bit of work, but we think it’s worth it. The categories change slightly each year but are based on common purchases. Only the first two quarters reward categories are published for 2024, but like the published ones, future categories will most likely be places you spend: 

  • January through March 2024: Restaurants and drug stores 
  • April through June 2024: 5% back on gas stations & electric vehicle charging stations, home improvement stores and public transit

If you activate the bonus each quarter, you can earn 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases in that category. All other purchases that quarter will receive 1% cash back. At the end of your first year, you’ll also get an extra surprise with Discover’s Unlimited Cashback Match. Basically, at the end of the first year, Discover will match all the rewards you earned. This is the main reason the Discover it Cash Back card makes our list–the Unlimited Cashback Match effectively doubles your reward returns for the year!

We also like that the Discover it Cash Back card includes 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balances transfers. Plus right now, Discover’s offering a 3% intro balance transfer fee until Aug. 10, 2024, instead of the normal 5% fee.

Besides that, you also get Discover’s award winning customer service and information protection perks. With your card, you can activate free social security number alerts and online privacy protection, where Discover searches for your information on 10 popular people search websites and deletes it.  

This card doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees, but it’s worth noting that Discover isn’t as widely accepted internationally as Visa, so it might not be the best card for travel.

Citi Custom Cash Card

Best for Easy Everyday Spending

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • $200 cash rewards bonus after eligible purchases
  • Customized 5% reward category
The Citi Custom Cash Card offers 5% back in a bonus category that is customized to your spending. Depending on which pre-approved category you spent the most on that billing cycle, you’ll be rewarded 5% for those purchases.
Citi Custom Cash Card

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% intro APR, 19.24% to 29.24% variable APR
Reward Rate
1% or 5% cash back per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
3%
Credit Score
Good to excellent (670-850)

More Information about the Citi Custom Cash Card

The Citi Custom Cash Card allows you to customize your bonus rewards without having to think about rotating reward categories. At the end of each billing cycle, Citi simply rewards you 5% cash back in whichever category you spent the most in. That means you could get 5% back for Restaurants in April while getting 5% for Gas Stations in July. You don’t have to activate or sign up for anything–it just happens automatically each billing cycle. Plus, Citi is also offering 4% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through the Citi Travel portal until June 30, 2025. 

There is a limit to this windfall, however, with bonus categories rewards only applying to the first $500 spent in that category during the billing cycle. This limit means you can only bring home $25 each month for spending in your bonus category. You’ll still get 1% back on all other spending, but depending on your spending habits there might be another card that will reward you more in the long run. 

Right now if you sign up and spend $1,500 in the first 6 months, Citi will give you an additional $200 as a reward. Again, it’s not the best on the market, but its simplicity makes it a competitor for easy everyday spending.

The Citi Custom Cash Card and the Discover it Cash Back Card are head-to-head competitors. They both offer similar reward rates and 0% Intro APRs offers. The decision often comes down to Citi's convenience of not keeping track of rotating categories vs. Discover’s first year match draw. Take a look at your spending habits to see which card wins in your book.

Wells Fargo Reflect Credit Card

Best Intro 0% APR Credit Card

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 0% intro APR
  • No balance transfer APR for 120 days
The Wells Fargo Reflect Card offers one of the longest introductory APR on the market with 21 months of 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. There are no rewards to speak of, but it’s a good option if you’re trying to pay off your debt.
Wells Fargo Reflect Credit Card

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% intro APR, 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
None
Foreign Transaction Fee
3%
Credit Score
Good to excellent (690 - 850)

More Information about the Wells Fargo Reflect Credit Card

The Wells Fargo Reflect Credit Card serves one purpose: to help you avoid paying interest for as long as possible. With 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 21 months and qualifying balance transfers made in the first 120 days, you can really save a lot in interest payments. 

Be aware that you will have to pay a balance transfer fee of 5% for each transfer. There are a few cards on the market with lower fees, but we still choose the Wells Fargo Reflect Card because it gives you a longer introductory period to pay off the debt once you transfer it. 

After the introductory period expires, this card has basically served its purpose. There are no rewards to speak of and the regular purchase APR is just fine.

We suggest you get this card to use the introductory period and, depending on your credit history, move on to better cards (maybe a different one from our best credit card list) after. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for Bonus Rewards Card

5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 75,000 welcome bonus points after purchases
  • 10% anniversary point boost
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card currently offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Because Chase values points spent for travel on Chase Ultimate Rewards 25% more, these points can add up to $1,000 in travel purchases.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Annual Cost
$95
Current APR
21.49% - 28.49% variable APR
Reward Rate
1x - 5x per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

More Information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Right now, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is dangling a pretty sweet deal in front of us: snag 75,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 in the first three months after you open your account. And because Chase bumps up the value of points used for travel bookings through Chase Travel by 25%, those points could get you $900 worth of travel.

This card is a points-earning powerhouse on just about everything:

  • Earn 5x points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards,
  • 2x on all other travel expenses,
  • 3x on dining out,
  • 5x on Lyft rides up until March 31, 2025,
  • 3x on certain streaming services and online grocery shopping,
  • And 1x on all your other everyday spending.

Feels like you’re racking up bonuses left and right, doesn’t it? Plus, every year on your card anniversary, you get a 10% boost on all the points you’ve earned.

But the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t just about accumulating points; it’s about what you can do with them. You can use them for cash back, travel bookings through Chase Travel, or transferring to popular hotel and airline loyalty programs like Hyatt and Southwest— the choice is yours. 

Let’s not forget the annual $50 hotel credit you get when booking through Chase Travel.

On top of that, Chase throws in a $150 Partnership Benefit Value. Think free memberships and extra perks just for being a cardholder. Currently, there’s a free DoorDash DashPass subscription, a 6-month Instacart membership, and bonus points on Peloton purchases up for grabs. 

If you were eyeing these subscriptions anyway, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card pretty much pays for itself.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Best for Overall Travel Card

5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 75K bonus miles with eligible purchases
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers good returns on everyday purchases — not just travel purchases — and lots of travel perks that make traveling more comfortable. If you’re looking for a travel card, this is a good one to get you started.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual Cost
$95
Current APR
19.99%, 26.24%, or 29.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
2x to 5x miles per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
Excellent credit (740 - 850)

More Information about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

If you're looking for a travel rewards card that works for you, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might just be your ticket. This card doesn't just perk up your travel spending; it gives back on every single purchase. With it, you’re not just earning on flights or hotels, but on everything. And for just $95 a year, that's a deal hard to beat, right?

You rack up two miles for every dollar you spend, no matter where you swipe your card. And when you book hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel, you get five miles per dollar spent. It’s like they’re saying, “Go ahead, treat yourself,” every time you shop or travel.

Now, let's talk travel perks because this card is loaded with them. Hate fees on overseas transactions? They've got you covered. Worry about travel mishaps? There's insurance for that. Plus, they throw in up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, making airport lines a breeze. 

When it comes to using those hard-earned miles, you have options. Book your next trip through Capital One Travel, wipe travel costs off your statement, or swap miles with airline and hotel partners. And if you snag a hotel through Capital One's Lifestyle Collection, expect VIP treatment with credits, upgrades and free Wi-Fi.

Thinking about snagging this card? Well, it does ask for excellent credit, but the welcome offer of 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months could make it all worth it. That's like $750 toward your next adventure!

So, if you’re looking to earn big on every purchase and make travel a little more luxe, the Capital One Venture Rewards Card is ready to roll out the red carpet for you.

 

 

Capital One Venture X Rewards

Best for Premium Flexible Travelers

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 75K bonus miles after eligible purchases
  • Premium travel benefits
  • Up to $300 annual travel credit
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the most expensive card on our best credit card list, so keep in mind that it might not be for everyone. However, to offset that annual fee, it does offer a large sign up bonus and a $300 annual travel credit.
Capital One Venture X Rewards

Annual Cost
$395
Regular APR
19.99%, 26.24%, or 29.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
2x - 10x points per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
Excellent (720 - 850)

More Information about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a top-tier choice for travelers looking for a card that offers premium rewards and travel benefits. When you sign up, you'll receive 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months—an estimated value of around $750. Plus, as a thank-you for staying, you'll receive an annual bonus of 10,000 miles on every card anniversary, which is pretty cool. 

Earning miles is straightforward and generous: When you book through Capital One Travel, you get 2x miles on everyday purchases, 5x miles on flights, and an impressive 10x miles on hotels and rental cars. This makes it an incredibly rewarding option for frequent travelers.

Capital One enhances your travel experience with a $300 annual travel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel, ensuring you always get the best price available. If you book a flight and the fare drops afterward, Capital One’s price guarantee might even snag you a partial refund.

But that's not all. The card comes with credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck to streamline your airport experience, plus travel protection benefits, including lost luggage insurance and cell phone protection.

Another standout feature is the unlimited access to Capital One Lounges and over 100 locations worldwide through their Partner Lounge Network for you and two guests, elevating your airport wait time to a luxury experience. While the annual fee might seem steep at first glance, the wealth of premium perks and the potential for high rewards make it a competitive option among premium travel cards.

 

Delta SkyMiles Gold AmericanExpress Card

Best for Delta Flyers

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • $0 introductory annual fee
  • 70,000 bonus miles after eligible purchases
The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card offers a large introductory bonus (after eligible spending), no annual fee for the first year, and some convenient flying perks. If you’re a frequent flyer on Delta, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card is a great choice to earn miles and keep traveling.
Delta SkyMiles Gold AmericanExpress Card

Annual Cost
$0 first year, $150 after that
Regular APR
20.99% to 29.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
1 to 2x miles per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
Good to excellent (670-850)

More Information about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is a solid pick, especially if Delta is your go-to airline. It kicks things off with a generous welcome bonus, waives the annual fee for the first year and throws in some handy perks for frequent flyers.

The card offers a hefty welcome bonus right from the start: Spend $2,000 within the first six months, and you'll bag yourself 70,000 bonus miles. That's about enough for a $700 round-trip ticket to wherever Delta can take you, making it a deal worth considering for anyone looking to stretch their spending further. And with the special TakeOFF15 discount, booking reward travel with your card gets you 15% off your ticket, adding even more value.

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card also lines up with what you'd expect from an airline-centric card in terms of earning rewards: 2X miles on dining, 2X miles on Delta purchases, and 2X miles on U.S. supermarket spending, with 1X miles per dollar on everything else. The travel perks are a sweet deal, too — think free checked bags and priority boarding, not to mention Delta dropping the $150 annual fee for the first year.

Your card can also help you get a head-start on your next adventure. After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel (terms apply). 

And the perks don’t stop there. You’ll get 5% off when booking Award Travel with miles, a $100 Delta stay credit, and your first checked bag free.

This card is awesome if you’re a frequent Delta flyer. Just remember that airline-specific cards like the Delta SkyMiles Gold card can be very valuable if you're a frequent flyer on that airline and basically worthless if you’re not. 

We love the Delta SkyMiles American Express card for its introductory bonus and no annual fee the first year, but if you’re more brand-loyal to another airline, check out our Best Airlines Credit Cards for other options.

American Express® Gold Card

Best for Foodie Rewards

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 90K membership rewards points after purchases
  • $120 dining credit
The American Express Gold Card is a good option for foodies who spend enough on dining and supermarkets to make up for the annual fee.
American Express® Gold Card

Annual Cost
$250
Current APR
21.24% - 29.24% variable APR
Reward Rate
1 - 4 points per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
Good to excellent (670 - 850)

More Information about the American Express Gold Card

For folks who love dining out as much as they love earning rewards, the American Express Gold Card is like hitting the jackpot. This gem rewards you with 4x points not just when you're dining around the globe but also for your takeout and delivery orders right here in the U.S. It’s a standout card for earning some of the best rewards on your dining experiences.

But the good news doesn't stop there. You'll also earn 4x points on supermarket purchases (up to $25,000 per year), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, and 1x points on all other purchases. And for a sweet welcome, new cardholders can pocket 90,000 membership rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first six months. This is a higher welcome bonus than normal, so sign up right away if you think the American Express Gold card is a good fit for you.

When it's time to use those points, you've got options galore. Whether you're transferring them to airline and hotel loyalty programs, using them for gift cards, covering past charges, or shopping online, your rewards adapt to your needs. Keep in mind, though, that transferring points to U.S. airlines comes with a tiny fee: $0.00006 per point, capping at $99.

If those perks haven't already got you reaching for your wallet, how about a yearly $120 Uber credit and a $120 dining credit at select eateries? These credits are doled out in $10 monthly increments, turning every month into a little celebration of freebies.

Just make sure the card's annual fee makes sense for your spending habits so that you're getting more than you give.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards

Best for Fair Credit

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 1.5% cashback
  • Possible to upgrade to better credit line
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good card that accepts fair credit scores. You will pay an annual fee, but the 1.5% cash back should help make up for the expense.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards

Annual Cost
$39
Current APR
29.99% variable APR
Reward Rate
1.5% per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
Fair to good credit (580 to 740)

More Information about Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a standout for those navigating the fair credit zone (580 to 669). Earn rewards on every swipe or tap, and build credit with every purchase. Sure, there's an annual fee to think about, but with 1.5% cash back on whatever you buy, it seems like a fair trade-off.

What's really cool is that this card doesn't just stop at being friendly to folks with fair credit; it rewards you more for the things you're probably already spending on and lets you choose how to redeem them: you can get cash, trade them for gift cards, or wipe a purchase off your statement. 

Not bad for just $39 per year, right?

Keep in mind that this card has a hefty variable APR of 30.74%, so it’s not a card to keep a balance on. But if you use the card wisely for about six months, you could watch your credit line grow! This isn't just about earning rewards; it's about laying the groundwork for a healthier credit score. That's why we recommend Capital One Quicksilver for anyone working on their credit.

Discover it Secured Credit Card

Best for Secured for Bad Credit

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • First year dollar-for-dollar match
  • No annual fee
The Discover it Secured Credit Card is the best secured card on the market. Like all secured cards, you have to put down a refundable security deposit, but after that you can spend and earn rewards just like a traditional card.
Discover it Secured Credit Card

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
28.24% variable APR
Reward Rate
1% to 2% per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
New, Limited to Poor Credit (300 or higher)

More Information about the Discover it Secured Credit Card

Like all secured cards, the Discover it Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit in order to extend you a line of credit. Your deposit amount matches your credit limit so if you want a $500 credit limit, you’ll pay a $500 security deposit. The Discover it Secured Credit Card’s security deposits start at $200 and go up to $2,500.

This deposit makes you less of a risk for Discover, so even bad credit users will probably qualify.
It might be difficult to think about $200 leaving your bank account for a while, but hopefully it won’t be for too long. After seven months, Discover will begin automatically evaluating your creditworthiness. If you’ve proven you can responsibly use the card, they’ll upgrade you to an unsecured card and refund your deposit. This chance to move up to a higher credit line is one of the main things we look for in a secured card.

When it comes to rewards, the Discover it Secured Credit Card offers 2% back on gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter) and 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, at the end of the first year, you’ll experience Discover’s Unlimited Cashback Match. All the cashback you received in the first year will be automatically doubled–a dollar-for-dollar match. Many secured cards don’t offer rewards at all, so this is a pretty good showing.

This card does have a pretty high APR, but, all in all, it’s a pretty good offering for a secured card with no annual fee.

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa®

Best for Unsecured for Bad Credit

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • No annual fee
  • High credit limits available
The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card is designed to help people with bad credit improve their credit score. With high credit limits, no annual fees, and the chance for rewards, the Petal 1 card is a pretty good unsecured starter card.
Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
25.24% - 34.74% variable APR
Reward Rate
2% to 10% per $1 at select merchants
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
New, Limited to Poor Credit (300 or higher)

More Information about the Petal 1 Credit Card

The Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card is a good choice for people with bad credit looking for an unsecured credit card. It has no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and you don’t have to put down a security deposit. Plus, while this card does have a late payment fee (up to $40) and returned payment fee ($29), you’ll avoid the sneaky fees other credit cards targeting bad credit try to pile on.

To help people qualify, Petal doesn’t just look at your credit score, but also checks out your “cash score” or banking history. This allows more people to qualify, even if their credit history is limited or just plain bad. Be warned, however, you might not qualify if you have a bankruptcy in your past.

For an unsecured starter card, this card has a high credit limit of up to $5,000. Don’t expect to get that limit on the first go around as credit limits begin at $300. However, thanks to Petal’s Leap program you can earn a credit line increase in as little as 6 months with on-time payments. 

You can keep track of these future line increases on the Petal app. You can also calculate the cost of interest on the app, but we suggest you avoid carrying a balance as the APR can be as high as 34.74%.

Finally, Petal does offer rewards for their Petal 1 credit card, but the cashback is pretty vague. They offer 2-10% back on select merchants in your area. It’s not something to write home about, but ultimately rewards aren’t the real purpose of this card.

For most poor credit users, we suggest you look at secured cards like the Discover it Secured Card above, but if you really want an unsecured card, Petal 1 may fit the bill.

Discover it Student Cash Back Card

Best for Overall Student Card

5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Rotating bonus categories
  • No annual fee
The Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card offers students the chance to build credit while also earning some pretty great reward returns. Figuring out Discover’s rotation bonus categories can take some work, but we think the 5% cash back makes it worth it.
Discover it Student Cash Back Card

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% intro APR, 18.24% to 27.24% variable APR
Reward Rate
1% - 5% cash back per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
N/A
Credit Score
New, Average to Excellent (630 - 850)

More Information about the Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card

The Discover it Student Cash Back Credit Card offers students the unique opportunity to build credit (for no annual fee) while earning great rewards. Because it’s marketed to students, no credit score is required, and the income requirements are low. In other words, most US college students should be able to qualify. 

With this card, you can earn 5% back in rotating categories. It sounds complicated, but basically you sign up to earn 5% each quarter on different categories of spending. These categories change but are all pretty normal places to spend money. Here are the published categories for 2024:

  • January through March: 5% back restaurants and drug Stores
  • April through June: 5% back on gas stations & electric vehicle charging stations, Home improvement stores and public transit

Then, at the end of the first year, Discover will double your cashback thanks to Discover’s Unlimited Cashback Match. Basically, if you earned $50 in rewards your first year, you’ll actually get $100 from Discover. Effectively, this means you actually earn 10% back in these categories in the first year. Keep in mind that each bonus category is capped at $1,500 in purchases each quarter. After you’ve hit that limit, you’ll still earn cash back just at the normal 1% rate.  

The Discover Student Cash Back also has a nice low introductory APR offer: for the first 6 months, you can get 0% APR. Because a student card is all about building credit, we suggest you pay off your balance in full each month, but it’s still nice to know you have a low APR if you need it.

American Express Blue Business Cash™

Best for Small Businesses

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Extended buying power
  • 0% APR for the first 12 months
  • $500 statement credit after qualifying purchases
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is a good business credit card for small businesses. This card offers 0% APR for the first 12 months and the possibility to spend above your credit limit.
American Express Blue Business Cash™

Annual Cost
$0
Regular APR
0% intro APR, 18.49% - 26.49% variable APR
Reward Rate
1% - 2% cash back per $1
Foreign Transaction Fee
2.7% of each transaction
Credit Score
Good to Excellent (690 - 850)

More Information about the American Express Blue Business Cash Card

The American Express Blue Business Cash Card™ is a good credit card for small businesses. It offers 0% APR for the first 12 months and the possibility of spending above your credit limit.

Thinking about snagging the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card for your venture? It's a solid choice, especially if you're dipping your toes into the business credit card pool for the first time. The card greets you with a 0% APR for the first year, which is quite the welcome mat. Then there's this neat feature called Expanding Buying Power. Essentially, it gives you the elbow room to spend a tad more than your credit limit when business demands it. It's pretty handy—but keep in mind, your limit depends on your credit score. 

Anything you spend over your limit is due in full by the time your billing cycle wraps up. 

For the day-to-day running of your business, the card offers 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1% back on everything else. And to sweeten the deal, American Express throws in a $500 statement credit after your first $8,000 spent within three months (no annual fee, but additional terms may apply).

But wait—there's more—free employee cards to spread spending power without extra cost, a smooth link-up with QuickBooks for easier accounting, and car rental insurance for peace of mind on business trips. 

Oh, and finding out if you're approved? You'll have your answer in about 30 seconds.

If you plan on doing business internationally, you will want to double-check that American Express is accepted where you’re doing business. While American Express is accepted in 160+ countries, it’s not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard.

How Do Credit Cards Work?

Credit cards are revolving lines of credit used to make purchases, transfer balances or take cash advances. They work by the user making purchases borrowed against the card, paying that debt off, and then borrowing again without having to apply for a new line of credit—hence the term revolving credit.

What actually happens when you swipe your card? First, the details of the purchase are sent to the bank, which then seeks authorization for this transaction from your credit card issuer. The issuer either approves or denies the transaction, and if approved, the payment is sent to the merchant to cover the purchase. This process sounds complex, but it happens in seconds.

At the end of the billing period, you’ll receive a statement that shows all your transactions from this period in addition to any previous balances carried over from past periods. The statement will also show the minimum payment required.  You must pay the minimum payment amount to keep your card in good standing and avoid penalty fees. Any balance that remains on the card after the minimum balance is paid will then incur interest.

To avoid paying interest, you must pay off your card in full each billing period. Cards normally have a “grace period,” which is the time between the end of your billing period and the bill’s due date during which you can pay off your bill at any time without being charged interest.

Once you pay the minimum balance — or better yet, the full balance — the whole cycle begins again.

Credit Card Terms to Know

While using a credit card is pretty simple, understanding some of the specific terms can be complicated. Check out the important terms we think you should know to fully understand how a credit card works.

Annual Fee

The yearly amount you’ll be charged for the use of this credit card. Some cards have no annual fee, meaning they do not charge for the use of the card.

APR

APR stands for the “annual percentage rate” and represents the interest rate and fees you’ll be charged when you don’t pay off your balance each billing cycle–basically, the price you’ll pay to borrow money.

Most cards have different interest rates for different types of transactions on the card, including:

  • Purchase APR: The interest rate that applies to purchases on the card
  • Balance Transfer APR: The interest rate that applies to debt moved onto the card from another source
  • Cash Advances APR: The interest rate that applies to withdraw cash from the card
  • Penalty APR: The high-interest rate that applies if you fall behind on your payments
  • Promotional APR: The temporarily low-interest rate that normally applies to balance transfers or purchases

Billing Cycle

The billing cycle is the period between one statement’s closing date and the next. During this period, all transactions or purchases will apply to that cycle’s statement balance.

Cardmember Agreement

The cardmember agreement is a legal document that lays out the terms and conditions of this credit card. The cardmember agreement should include things like different APRs for this card, the minimum payment rules, late fees, and foreign transaction fees. It’s important to read this agreement carefully before signing up for the card so that you understand what you’re getting into.

Credit Limit

The credit limit is the amount of money that the credit card issuer is willing to lend you each billing cycle. You can not spend more than this amount each billing cycle.

Credit Score

A credit score represents your creditworthiness. The most commonly used credit score is a FICO score, which is a number between 300 and 850 that represents your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, etc. The higher the credit score, the better your credit is considered.

Fixed APR

Fixed APR is an interest rate that remains the same for the length of time you carry a credit card balance. Your credit card issuer can change this rate; however, they must provide you with 45 days’ notice before it can be applied.

Foreign Transaction Fees

A foreign transaction fee is a fee applied by your credit card issuer if you make purchases outside the US or through a foreign vendor. The fee varies by credit card company but is normally around 3%, although some credit card companies waive it completely.

Grace Period

The grace period is the time between the end of your billing cycle and when your bill is actually due. Not all credit cards offer this period, but if yours does, then during this period you won’t be charged interest on your balance. This period normally ranges from 21 to 25 days, but be warned that it normally only applies to purchases, not cash advances or balance transfers.

Minimum Payment

The minimum payment is the amount you are required to pay each billing period to continue using the card. Often this payment is either a percentage of the balance and a flat minimum payment like 3% or $10. Any remaining balance on the card will incur interest.

Variable APR

Variable APR changes with any fluctuation in the prime rate, the national rate that banks use to set their own interest rates. This rate can go up or down at any time without written notification to the user.

How Does Credit Card Interest Work?

Credit card interest rates are expressed as an annual percentage rate or APR. This APR represents the amount it will cost you to borrow money.

If you carry a balance on your credit card — something we recommend you avoid — the credit card company will charge you interest daily and apply that to your balance. To find your daily interest rate, simply take the APR and divide it by 365. For example, if your credit card offers 20% APR, your daily interest rate is approximately .055%. It seems pretty small, but it will add up.

If you’re carrying a $1,000 balance on that same card, you’ll be charged $.55 each day. From there, the interest for that balance adds up to roughly $16.20 a month. This interest is then added to your total balance and will also incur interest in the future.

Calculating interest can feel complex but the solution to avoid needing to is simple–avoid carrying a balance.

Pros and Cons of Using a Credit Card

There are pros and cons to using credit cards.


Pros
  • Convenience
  • Protection from theft or fraud
  • Pay purchases off over time
  • Rewards
  • Builds credit if used responsibly

Cons
  • High interest rates
  • Overspending and debt
  • Fraud
  • Fees
  • Harms credit if used irresponsibly

There are many pros to using a credit card and a few cons to be aware of. First, a credit card is a convenient, safe way to carry around money. You avoid the risk of theft that comes with carrying large amounts of cash and the inconvenience of running out of money while making a purchase.

On the flip side, it can be easy to spend more money than you’re capable of paying off, starting a difficult-to-change debt spiral.

It’s great that a credit card allows you to pay for large purchases over time, but interest and fees might make that purchase cost a lot more than it did initially.

Overall, we think credit cards are worth it, but the risks should remind you to use them responsibly.

Types of Credit Cards

There are a lot of different types of credit cards on the market, and these differences can make picking one confusing. While actually using the card will appear very similar, these differences affect who is eligible for the card and how you’re rewarded for using it. These categories aren’t mutually exclusive, and understanding them can help you pick the best card for you.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit before you can open them. This deposit works as collateral, protecting the credit card issuer. Because of this, secured credit cards often have low credit requirements and are easy to qualify for. The deposit is fully refundable, but if you ever miss a payment, the credit card issuer will recoup that payment from that deposit.

Unsecured Credit Cards

Unsecured credit cards are what most people think of when they think of credit cards. There is no deposit so your eligibility is determined by your credit-worthiness. Credit card companies will normally look at your credit score but may also take into account your income, financial history, and current debt.

Student Credit Cards

Student credit cards are specifically marketed to students enrolled in U.S. universities or colleges. They are usually easier to qualify for because they have lower income and credit history requirements. These cards also tend to have lower spending limits.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards allow business owners to track their business-only expenses. These cards often have attractive perks, like upgraded rewards for online advertising expenses or free employee cards. They also often have higher credit limits than personal cards.

Rewards Credit Cards

Rewards credit cards offer points, miles, or cash back on purchases. They can often be divided into more specific categories depending on the spending they reward and the rewards they offer. For example, dining and travel cards more heavily reward spending in these categories, or airline cards that pay out your rewards in airline miles on their airline. There are also cashback cards that specifically pay out your points in cash through direct deposit or statement credits.

Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards are a subcategory of reward credit cards geared toward frequent travelers. They often heavily reward spending in travel categories like booking hotels and rental cars and can get you great travel deals when you redeem your points. The cards often offer other travel perks like no foreign transaction fees, lost luggage insurance, or airport lounge access.

How Do Credit Card Rewards Work?

Each credit card company’s rewards program functions a little differently but there are a few basics that are standard.

First, credit card companies normally offer rewards in the form of cash back, miles, or points. You earn these rewards through either a fixed rate like 2% cashback on all purchases or bonus categories like 5x points on travel purchases and 1x on all other purchases. Some cards, like the DiscoverCashback Credit Card, even have rotating bonus categories, offering 5% cashback in categories that change each quarter.

One way to maximize your reward-earning potential is to choose a card with bonus categories that match your spending habits.

Another quick way to earn points is through a sign-up bonus. Many cards offer extra miles or points for joining and spending a set amount in the first few months. This is often a quick way to get lots of rewards.

There are several ways to redeem your rewards. Cash back can normally be directly transferred to your bank account, applied as a statement credit, or sometimes transferred to specific merchants like Amazon. Points can often be redeemed on the credit card company’s rewards portal for gift cards, travel reservations, charitable donations, or statement credits. Miles, especially with co-branded airline cards, can be used to purchase flights or transferred to the company’s travel partners.

It’s worth noting that some credit card companies require a minimum number of points to redeem, often around $25 worth.

Just remember the goal of all points redemption is to get the best bang for your buck so check each redemption to make sure it’s a good return.

How to Choose a Credit Card?

Choosing the perfect credit card ultimately depends on your needs, your credit score, and spending habits; however, there are a few things to help you start moving forward. These three easy steps should help you choose the best credit card for your needs.

1. Check Your Credit

Understanding your credit score will help you know what cards are available to you and which are not.

Your FICO credit score, the most common credit score, is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 that represents your creditworthiness. Basically, the higher your score, the better the credit cards that are available to you.

You should be able to find your score through your credit card website or financial institution like a bank or loan office. If not, you can purchase your score from credit score companies like FICO.

Knowing your score allows you to see what credit category you land in. Most credit cards advertise which range of scores will most likely qualify for their card. The following are the ranges for credit scores.

  • Excellent: 800-850
  • Very Good: 740-799
  • Good: 670-739
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Poor: 300-570

Finding your range will help you know what card will be available to you.

2. Think About What Type of Credit Card Matches Your Needs

Before picking a card, you need to decide what type of card fits your needs. Think about how you spend and what you’re planning on getting from this card.

If the main goal of this card is building credit, then your best bet is a card designed for building credit. A secured credit card might be a good first step. Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit as collateral before they extend a line of credit. This often means that most people can qualify for secured cards, regardless of credit history.  Plus, some secured cards allow you to upgrade your card to an unsecured credit card after responsible use.

If your goal is to get out of debt, you’ll want to look for cards that have introductory low or 0% APR for balance transfers. You’ll still have to pay the balance transfer fee normally, 3% or $5 whichever is greater, but then you’ll be saved the normal balance transfer rate for the first introductory period. This won’t solve your debt problem, but it will buy you time before interest kicks back in.

If your goal is to maximize rewards, look no further than a rewards credit card. The best of these cards require excellent credit scores, but the rewards can be lucrative. For rewards, most cards offer cash back, miles, or reward points. When it comes to finding the best rewards card for your needs, think about where you spend most of your money. Often these cards will have bonus categories that maximize your reward earnings, but you won’t benefit from them unless you spend in that category. For example, it won’t help you to have a travel rewards card that gives you 5% on airline flights if you don’t fly anywhere that year!

3. Shop Around for the Best Card in That Category

Once you’ve figured out your card category, you want to find the best of that type of card. The first thing we check is the annual fees vs the rewards. Some of the more lucrative rewards cards have pretty steep annual fees. They can still be worth it, but only if the rewards offer you more value than the annual fee costs you.

Next, check out the APR. You want the lowest APR you can. While we suggest never carrying a balance and, therefore, never needing to deal with interest, it’s still good to keep it low, just in case. Some cards even offer 0% APR as an introductory offer.

Finally, check out the other perks. Will you be traveling internationally? Look for a card with no foreign transaction fees. Other cards offer perks like DoorDash memberships or reimbursement for streaming fees. These perks should be the last thing you consider, but they are still fun to have.

How to Apply for a Credit Card

Nowadays, applying for a credit card is pretty simple. For most, you simply have to head over to the credit card company’s website and apply online. It’s also possible to apply in person at a bank or over the phone but online tends to be the easiest and quickest.

Before you actually apply, we suggest you check whether the card you want offers you the chance for pre-approval. Being pre-approved or prequalified means they will check your qualification with a soft credit pull. This lets you know how likely you are to be approved without the consequences of a hard credit pull.

If you’re preapproved, move forward with the application. You’ll need to provide your name, social security number, address, bank account information, income, and monthly housing payment. This information helps the credit card issuer verify that you are who you say you are and that you are creditworthy.

From there, being approved or denied can take as little as a few moments, although most take seven to ten business days.

Then you just wait for your card to show up in the mail.

Alternatives to Credit Card

If a credit card just isn’t in the cards (pun intended) for you, check out these alternative ways to spend your money.

Cash

The most obvious alternative to credit cards is simply using cash for everything. Cash is great when it comes to feeling conscious of the comings and goings of your money, but there’s a lot more risk walking around with cash in your pocket. When you lose a credit card, you can cancel it, but when you lose cash, it’s just gone.

Debit Card

A debit card is the most common alternative to a credit card. It is connected to your bank account, and when you make a purchase, money is pulled from your bank account to cover the transaction. You can only spend the money physically in your bank account. This is nice because you can’t go into debt, but a debit card will not help you grow your credit score.

One option some debit cards offer is overdraft protection. Overdraft protection protects the user by allowing a transaction to be approved even if you don’t have enough money in your bank account. There are normally some rules, requirements, and limits regarding overdraft protection so make sure to check with your bank.

Personal Loans

A personal loan might be a good alternative to a credit card if you need money for a specific expense. A personal loan often has lower interest rates than a credit card, and you normally receive it in the form of a lump sum. This works well for big purchases like a home improvement project but is less practical for daily expenses like grocery trips. However, opening a personal loan and paying on time payments will help grow your credit score.

PayPal

PayPal is a decent alternative for online shopping. PayPal is an online payment system that can be used to send money to friends or purchase things online. It connects to your bank account and provides more fraud protection than cash or most debit cards. You can even set up a One Touch payment so that you can pay for things online without having to log into PayPal every time. PayPal will not help you build your credit score.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Credit Cards

If you still have questions, check out our answers to the most frequently asked questions about credit cards.

What’s a Good Credit Card Interest Rate?

What qualifies as a good interest rate for your credit card depends a lot on your credit score. As a general rule, we consider an APR less than 14% as stellar, but these rates will only be available for people with excellent credit. Currently the average APR for new cards is a little over 20%. If a card’s APR is below that, you can probably consider it a pretty good rate.

Some cards do offer 0% APR for a set introductory period. If you’re planning on carrying a balance or making a big purchase, these might be good cards to start with. Check out our Best 0% APR Credit Cards for more cards that offer 0% APR.

How Can I Avoid Paying Interest on a Credit Card?

The best way to avoid paying interest on your credit card is to pay off your card’s balance each billing period. If you carry a balance month to month, you’ll most likely end up paying interest. There are some cards that offer 0% APR as an introductory offer, which means if you carry a balance you’ll avoid paying interest for a limited time. Just make sure you understand when the promotional period ends so you don’t end up paying interest when you don’t plan on it.

What’s Considered a Good Credit Score?

A good credit score is 670 or higher. Having a good credit score results in lower APRs and higher credit limits. Credit scores are divided into categories based on your FICO credit score range: 

Excellent: 800-850

Very Good: 740-799

Good: 670-739

Fair: 580-669

Poor: 300-570

Does Applying for a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

Everytime you apply for a credit card the credit card company will do a “hard pull” on your credit. This hard pull can drop your credit score slightly — about five points or less. So yes, applying for a credit card does affect your credit score but not by much. If you apply for multiple cards at the same time; however, it will probably start to affect your score more substantially.

Contributor Whitney Hansen covers banking, credit cards, and investing for The Penny Hoarder and writes on other personal finance topics.

The Penny Hoarder has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Penny Hoarder and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.