9 Excellent Credit Cards of 2021

NerdWalletOct 15, 2021

From huge sign-up bonuses to generous rewards, we've picked credit cards that stand out from the crowd. Compare these deals, some of which are from our partners, to find the right one for you.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
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on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

For a reasonable annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3 points per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 2 points per $1 spent on travel not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; and 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.

Citibank Diamond Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

on Citibank's application

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

With the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, you’ll pay an intro 0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 23.74% Variable APR. That’s one of the longest interest-free periods for balance transfers on the market. It also lets you choose a monthly payment due date that works for you. That can offer a little flexibility as you attack your balance.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

on American Express's website

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

If your household spends a lot on groceries, gas, transit and streaming services, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has the richest rewards of any card in those categories. There’s a nice bonus offer for new cardholders and an introductory 0% APR period, too. The generous benefits come at a cost, though: Unlike most cash-back cards, this one charges an annual fee.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
NerdWallet rating 

on Wells Fargo's website

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Among flat-rate cash-back cards, you'll be hard-pressed to beat the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card. It earns an unlimited 2% back on all purchases, which is excellent. But in addition, the card offers a rich sign-up bonus and a generous 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers. That's an impressive, hard-to-find combination of features on a card with a $0 annual fee.

BankAmericard® Credit Card
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on Bank of America's website, or call 800-322-7707

BankAmericard®

The BankAmericard® credit card has dialed back some of the features that once made it the king of the hill in balance-transfer credit cards, but it remains a solid option for people looking for relief from interest. Cardholders get a promotional 0% APR period of well over a year (up to 18 billing cycles), in addition to a low balance-transfer fee. And unlike a lot of other cards in its class, it even offers a sign-up bonus.

Citi® Double Cash Card
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on Citibank's application

Citi® Double Cash – 18 month BT offer

Year after year, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been our choice for the best flat-rate cash-back card. You earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. There's no 0% intro period for purchases and no sign-up bonus, but the high rewards rate more than makes up for the lack of bells and whistles

Discover it® Cash Back
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on Discover's website, or call 800-347-0264

Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back earns bonus cash back in quarterly categories that you activate. In past years, those categories have included common spending areas like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and Amazon.com. Category activation can be a hassle, but if your spending aligns with those categories (and for most households, it probably will), you can rake in serious rewards. You also get the issuer's signature "cash-back match" bonus in your first year.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
NerdWallet rating 

on Citibank's application

Citi Custom Cash℠

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers a lot of value for a $0 annual fee: 5% back automatically in your eligible top spending category on up to $500 spent per billing cycle (1% back elsewhere). The list of eligible 5% categories is varied and includes biggies like restaurants, grocery stores and more. And unlike competitors, there's no activation schedule or bonus calendar to keep track of.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® was already a fine card when it offered 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Now it's even better, with bonus rewards on travel booked through Chase, as well as at restaurants and drugstores. On top of all that, new cardholders get a 0% introductory APR period and the opportunity to earn a sweet cash bonus.

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TOP PICK
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Sign-up bonus
100k points
Rewards rate
1x - 5x points
Extra perks
25% cat. bonus

on Chase's website

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