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There's no such thing as the single "best" credit card; there's only the best credit card "for you." But in terms of finding that best fit, all of the best credit cards on the market share a few common traits.
When evaluating any credit card, consider how it fits with the following:
1. The best credit cards fit your goals
Before you can find the best credit card for you, ask yourself what it is you'd like to accomplish with one. There are basically three main kinds — credit-building cards, interest-saving cards and rewards cards — but within those categories are various subsets.
Some possible goals include:
2. The best credit cards fit your lifestyle
The best credit cards meet you where you (and your credit scores) are in life. If you know what your credit scores are, you'll have a great idea of the kinds of cards you can reasonably expect to qualify for. The higher your scores, the better your credit card options.
But the best credit cards for you also tend to change over the course of your life, as your needs and circumstances also change. Here are some of the best cards for specific life stages:
3. The best credit cards fit your spending
The best credit cards deliver consistent value for your everyday expenses, in the form of rewards, perks, discounts and more.
Whatever the largest line item is in your budget, there's likely a card to match it, including cards for:
These are not comprehensive lists of possible credit card goals or lifestyles or spending habits, but the best credit cards for you will offer value in those areas. You may even find they offer secondary perks and benefits that come in handy, like insurance, purchase protection, zero-liability fraud policies, budgeting tools and more.
Plus, responsible use of credit cards — meaning paying them back on time and, ideally, in full every month — will help strengthen your credit profile, which can open doors to better rates on other financial products, like mortgages and auto loans.
To compare your options, see NerdWallet's list of best credit cards.