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Credit Card Reviews by NerdWallet’s Experts

NerdWallet's experts break down the most popular credit cards on the market — and turn up a few gems you may never have heard of but that deliver outsize value.
Aug. 6, 2020
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.

NerdWallet’s credit cards experts have reviewed nearly all of the major cards on the market, as well as noteworthy products from smaller issuers. Follow the links below for reviews of more than 150 cards.

How we rate credit cards: NerdWallet’s editorial credit card ratings are awarded on a 5-star scale based on how much value they provide to the user. Each card is compared against others in its class — cash-back cards against cash-back cards, balance-transfer cards against other balance-transfer cards, and so on. In general, ratings should be interpreted as follows:

  • ★★★★★ 5.0 stars — the best cards in their class.
  • ★★★★ 4.0 to 4.9 — cards that provide good to excellent value overall.
  • ★★★ 3.0 to 3.9 — cards with good value in specific situations or for specific users.
  • ★★ 2.0 to 2.9 — cards that offer substandard value for most users, although some might find them helpful.
  • ★ 1.0 to 1.9 — cards that offer poor value and should be avoided.

Using ratings when comparing: When one card has a higher rating than another, it means that card will generally provide more value to more users in more situations. But the lower-rated card might actually be a better choice for you, specifically, depending on your priorities. The full reviews provide context for the ratings.

Cash-back credit card reviews

Cash-back cards provide fast savings and easy-to-redeem rewards. Some pay a flat rate on all purchases, while others shell out higher rewards in certain categories, such as gas or groceries.

Flat-rate cash back cards

CARD (click for review)DETAILS
Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit CardRewards: 3% cash back on all purchases in the first year; 2.5% after that.
Bonus offer? No. Annual fee? Yes.
American Express Cash Magnet® CardRewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Terms apply.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit CardRewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offerRewards: 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay it off.
Bonus offer? No. Annual fee? No.
Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard® Rewards: 1.8% cash back on all purchases.
Bonus offer? No. Annual fee? No.
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card Rewards: 3% cash back on purchases in the first year, on up to $10,000 spent; 1.5% on all other purchases.
Bonus offer? No. Annual fee? No.
PayPal Cashback Mastercard®Rewards: 2% cash back on all purchases.
Bonus offer? No. Annual fee? No.
U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® CardRewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.

Information about the U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card

Cash back cards with bonus categories

CARD (click for review)DETAILS
Apple CardRewards: 3% cash back on purchases from Apple and other select retailers using Apple Pay; 2% on other purchases using Apple Pay; 1% on all other purchases.
Bonus offer? No. Annual fee? No.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressRewards: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 a year in spending); 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; 1% on other purchases. Terms apply.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressRewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 a year in spending); 6% on select streaming subscriptions; 3% at U.S. gas stations and on transit; 1% on other purchases. Terms apply
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? Yes.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Rewards: 3% cash back in the category of your choice and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 per quarter in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club spending); 1% on all other purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit CardRewards: 4% cash back at restaurants and on entertainment; 2% at grocery stores; 1% on other purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? Yes.
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit CardRewards: 3% cash back at restaurants and on entertainment; 2% at grocery stores; 1% on other purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Chase Freedom®Rewards: 5% cash back in rotating categories you activate (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter); 1% back on other purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Discover it® Cash BackRewards: 5% cash back in rotating categories you activate (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter); 1% back on other purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
Discover it® chromeRewards: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter); 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® CardRewards: 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter in two categories you choose. 2% in an "everyday" category you choose; 1% on other purchases.
Bonus offer? Yes. Annual fee? No.

 

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best cash-back credit cards

Travel credit card reviews

If you’re a wanderer but don’t want to declare loyalty to just one airline or hotel chain, these credit cards let you redeem rewards your way. Say bye-bye to blackout dates.

CARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
American Express® Green CardThe card offers rich earnings and potentially useful — if highly specific — travel perks. But it comes with a higher annual fee than some other cards in its class.

American Express® Gold CardThis card features rich benefits for foodies, including high ongoing rewards at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets and an annual dining credit, among other perks.
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressFor a steep price, the original premium card gives you tons of points on certain flights and hotel stays, hundreds of dollars a year in credit for travel and shopping, and a suite of perks for high-end lifestyles.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit cardYou get 2X points on travel and dining and 1.5X points on everything else, and points are worth the same no matter how you redeem them — for cash back, travel or something else.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card It's all about simplicity: Earn 1.5 points per dollar on all spending. Redeem points for credit on your statement against any travel purchase. No annual fee.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardEarn 2 miles per dollar spent on everything. Redeem miles (at 1 cent apiece) for credit on your statement against any travel purchase, with none of the restrictions of airline cards.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card You get 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases, a lower rate than several other no-fee cards. Redeem miles for any travel purchase.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card You get 2 points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. Points are worth more when used to book through Chase.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Earn 3X points on travel and dining, then redeem points for travel or transfer them to partner airlines and hotels. This card piles on the perks, too. It comes at a price, but it's one worth paying.
Citi Premier CardEarn 3 points per dollar spent on travel — including gas — as well as 2 points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar.
Citi Prestige® Card This premium travel card could be an appealing choice — if your spending stars are aligned just right.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card This unique card may be a fit for low spenders who make a lot of small purchases. But other cards will offer more long-term value, flexibility and simplicity.
Discover it® Miles You get 1.5 miles per dollar spent on everything. Miles can be redeemed for travel or converted to cash back at the same penny-per-mile rate.
Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card You can earn rewards of as much as 10% on hotel bookings and 6% on airfare. But you don't have a lot of redemption options. Only one, really. And the terms are far from simple.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card It may not have a lot of fancy perks, but no other card lets you rack up such rich rewards on such a wide swath of common spending categories while paying nothing to carry it.

Information about the Citi Premier Card and the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of these cards.

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best travel credit cards


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Balance transfer and low interest card reviews

Save big on interest charges by moving debt to a card with a 0% introductory APR, by putting big purchases on a 0% card or by using card with a low ongoing interest rate.

CARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
Amex EveryDay® Credit CardThis is a rare bird in the credit card game. It's a top-notch balance-transfer card that can allow you to pay off debt without fees or interest. But it's also a decent rewards card.
BankAmericard® credit cardShort on flash but long on savings. If you're looking to finance a large purchase or, especially, transfer and pay down high-interest debt, it deserves a place on your short list.
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees EverOne of the longest available introductory 0% APR periods for balance transfers, and a decent one for purchases as well. It doesn't charge an annual fee, late fees or penalty APRs either.
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit cardThis card sets itself apart from similar competitors by offering a little forgiveness: It waives the fee on a late payment if you haven't been late in the preceding year.
SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit CardYou won't get a 0% period, but you'll get an astonishing three years at a super-low rate, and you can avoid paying a transfer fee. The big catch? Not everyone can apply. It also offers modest rewards.
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum CardA lengthy 0% introductory APR period for both purchases and balance transfers has made this a NerdWallet favorite.
Wells Fargo Platinum cardThis card is pretty bare bones — but they're good bones. You get a nice, long introductory 0% APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus no annual fee.

Information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card and the Wells Fargo Platinum card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuers of these cards.

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best balance transfer and 0% credit cards

Airline credit card reviews

If you fly regularly on a particular airline, carrying its branded credit card can earn you miles and unlock loyalty perks — not least of which is a free checked bag for you and possibly others traveling with you.

AIRLINECARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
AlaskaAlaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit cardIt's the perks rather than the rewards that make this card so valuable. The Companion Fare benefit and bag-fee waivers can save you hundreds.
AmericanAmerican Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardThe most basic American Airlines card. For an annual fee of $0, you'll earn miles with purchases but get little in the way of perks.
American Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Earn miles with every purchase. The money you save on bag fees could easily cover the annual fee.
AmericanCiti® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®Complimentary access to the Admirals Clubs airport lounges explains the big price tag on this card. You'll enjoy a bag-fee waiver and other perks, too.
British AirwaysBritish Airways Visa Signature® CardThis card is ideal for two kinds of people: Those who are staunchly loyal to the airline and those who enjoy the challenge of strategic redemption.
DeltaDelta SkyMiles® Blue American Express CardIf you dig Delta but can't stomach an annual fee, this card may fit the bill, as long as you don't mind the lack of perks like free checked bags.

DeltaDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardEarn 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else — and new bonus categories are coming soon. Free checked bags add value.
Delta Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardEvery year you continue as a cardholder, you get a certificate good for a companion's round-trip fare. Checked-bag benefits and priority boarding deliver additional value.
Delta Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express CardThe annual fee is steep, but it's more than worth it for those who want to travel in comfort and also bring a friend along.
FrontierFrontier Airlines World Mastercard®The card offers solid rewards and perks for a reasonable annual fee, as long as you're loyal to this relatively small airline or you're able to be.
JetBlueJetBlue CardYou don't get free checked bags, and the bonus won't get you very far, but the ability to earn extra miles for everyday purchases makes this no-fee card surprisingly valuable.
JetBlue JetBlue Plus CardEarn bonus points on travel and everyday purchases. Money-saving perks and travel-friendly features can potentially make up for the annual fee.
Southwest Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardYou'll earn the same rewards and sign-up bonus as on Southwest's pricier cards, but you'll also miss out on a couple of important benefits.
Southwest Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardThis card's sign-up and annual bonuses give you a head start on free travel as well as the Southwest Companion Pass.
Southwest Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit CardSouthwest's most expensive consumer credit card comes with an array of perks that can easily make up for the difference in cost.
United United℠ Explorer CardThis card's valuable benefits — free bags, limited lounge access — and expanded bonus categories can easily make up for its annual fee, even if you fly United only occasionally.
United United Club℠ Infinite CardGet unlimited access to United's airport lounges for less than the price of a standalone membership, along with free checked bags and a very good rewards rate.
United United℠ TravelBank CardIt doesn't offer frequent flyer miles or free checked bags, but this cheaper and simpler airline card has a decent rewards rate.
Virgin AtlanticVirgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®This card offers useful benefits if you fly where Virgin Atlantic and its partners can take you. Just be aware of award flights that come with hefty fees.

Information about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, the United℠ TravelBank Card and the JetBlue Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuers of these cards.

Airline cards for business travel

AIRLINECARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
AmericanCitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases with the airline and in common business spending categories. Free checked bags and other perks add value.
DeltaDelta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express CardThis card offers benefits that can make up for its annual fee, but its rewards structure is underwhelming and not customized for small-business operators.
DeltaDelta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express CardThe annual companion certificate alone can pay for this card's on-the-high-side fee. A boost toward elite status and other perks bolster its value.
DeltaDelta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express CardIt offers airport lounge access, progress toward elite status and other perks. The card is scheduled to get better — and pricier — in 2020.
SouthwestSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit CardThe airline's most expensive card is also its most lucrative, with useful perks and a bonus that gets you tantalizingly close to a Companion Pass.
SouthwestSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit CardA substantial sign-up bonus, a range of redemption options and other extras make this an appealing option.
UnitedUnited℠ Business CardCardholders get a checked-bag benefit and limited airport lounge access, plus bonus spending categories that are useful to small-business owners.

 

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best airline credit cards

Hotel credit card reviews

With a branded credit card from your preferred hotel group, you can earn points toward your next stay with every dollar you spend. The better cards can give you free nights every year, room upgrades, loyalty status and other perks.

HOTEL GROUPCARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
Best WesternBest Western Rewards® Mastercard®

Solid rewards? Check. Discounts? Check. Automatic status? Check. But if you're not a Best Western loyalist, check in elsewhere.

HiltonHilton Honors American Express CardThere's no annual fee, but the perks are modest compared with what you'd get on other Hilton cards.
HiltonHilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardThis card doesn't come with a free anniversary night, like other hotel cards at the same price point do. But its lounge benefits and automatic Gold Status still make it a good deal for some.
HyattThe World Of Hyatt Credit CardThe rewards and perks, including an automatic free night each year and bonus rewards on everyday spending, can easily cover the annual fee.
IHGIHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit CardThe points on this card aren't worth as much as those in some other hotel programs — but you get a lot of points per dollar. IHG is relatively generous with free nights, too.
IHGIHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit CardIt's a trade-off: You won't pay an annual fee, but you won't get the free nights that several other hotel cards offer.
MarriottMarriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit CardIt's a no-annual-fee card with a good sign-up bonus and automatic Silver Elite status — but no free anniversary night.
MarriottMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardThe free night's stay each account anniversary more than makes up for the card's annual fee. The bonus, rewards and redemption options are grand, too.
WyndhamWyndham Rewards® Visa® With No Annual FeeNo fee, but no free anniversary night. Wyndham's hotels include several popular low-cost chains, so this is a solid card for the right traveler.

Information about the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card.

Hotel cards for business travel

HOTEL GROUPCARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
HiltonThe Hilton Honors American Express Business CardWith strategic spending, you can pretty easily offset the cost of the annual fee. The points are worth about half a cent individually, but you get a lot of them.
MarriottMarriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® CardThe free night's stay every year can pay for the fee on this card all by itself. The wide array of redemption options makes it the rare hotel credit card that doesn't feel limiting.

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best hotel credit cards

Small business credit card reviews

Whether you operate a storefront or just have a side hustle, these cards can help you keep business and personal finances separate. Some offer rewards and perks that rival or surpass even the best consumer cards.

CARD (click for review)TYPE*HIGHLIGHTS
Amazon Business Prime American Express CardCash back/ financing Choose between a top rewards rate on Amazon-related purchases or a temporary interest-free window on them.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card Cash backThe card offers an easy-to-understand flat rate on everything you buy, and it even does the redemption work for you.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express TravelEarn double points on purchases up to an annual cap, snag a generous intro APR offer and gain some credit limit flexibility.
American Express® Business Gold CardTravelThe card earns elevated rewards in categories where your business spends the most, automatically. But the annual fee is hefty, and you'll miss out on some perks.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express TravelYou earn tons of points on eligible travel spending, and you'll enjoy a sweet suite of perks that take a lot of the pain out of travel. The catch? A big annual fee.

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express TravelSmall-business operators can get much better rewards and better terms with competing cards — including from American Express itself.
The Plum Card® from American Express FinancingDesigned for businesses with irregular cash flow: If you pay early, you get a 1.5% discount. If you need more time, you can get up to 60 days to pay without interest.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit cardCash back This card's revised rewards structure lets you choose a 3% cash-back category, plus you earn 2% at restaurants. There's a fairly low cap on bonus rewards, though.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card
TravelThis no-fee card earns 1.5 points per dollar spent, and 3 points per dollar on certain travel purchases. Those rates can climb higher if you're a Bank of America® customer.
Bank of America® Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Business credit cardFinancingThis basic card may be a fit for someone seeking a frills-free option with no annual fee, but aside from a decent sign-up bonus, there aren't many unique benefits.
Brex Card for Startups Cash back/ travelEarly-stage companies with high cash flow may appreciate this corporate card's potentially lucrative rewards, discounts and lack of fees.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for BusinessCash backEarn 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limit to how much you can earn and no special categories to keep track of. There's an annual fee, waived the first year.
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business
Cash back This business credit card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no bonus categories or rewards caps to worry about, plus a welcome bonus and a 0% APR period.
Capital One® Spark® Classic for BusinessCash backFocused on small-business owners with fair or average credit, this card earns unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases. The downside? A high APR.
Capital One® Spark® Miles for BusinessTravelEarn 2 miles per dollar spent on most everything, with no bonus categories, no limits on how much you can earn and no blackout dates or restrictions on when or how you travel.
Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for BusinessTravelEarn an unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar on purchases with no annual fee. You can redeem for any travel expense, with no blackout dates or restrictions.
Discover it® Business Card Cash backEase of use is the key with this card. It earns a decent rewards rate on all purchases, with no categories to keep track of or spending limits to worry about, and you can redeem your cash back in any amount.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardCash backWith no annual fee and a great sign-up bonus, this card is a nice fit for any business that spends significant money on office supplies and telecom services.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
TravelA big sign-up bonus, high ongoing rewards in common business spending categories and an array of perks make this card well worth the annual fee.
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit CardCash backThis no-annual-fee card earns a flat 1.5% back on everything, with no categories to keep track of and an unusually generous sign-up bonus for its class.
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ MasterCard®Cash backIt's an ideal pick for certain business owners with large upfront expenses, but other cards may be more lucrative or traveler-friendly.
U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card Cash back/ travelAutomatically earn double points back in the top two eligible categories where your business spends the most — no activation or "opt in" required.

*CARD TYPES: Cash back cards return a percentage of each purchase as cash, which cardholders typically redeem for credit against their balance. Travel cards earn points that are typically most valuable when redeemed for travel purchases, although you may have other redemption options. Financing cards may not have traditional rewards but might offer lower interest rates or special terms on debt.

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best small business credit cards

College student credit card reviews

Student credit cards make it easier to establish credit early on. If you’re under 21, though, you’ll generally need independent income or a co-signer to get approved for a credit card.

CARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® Earn 1% cash back on all spending, plus another 0.25% back for any month when you pay on time; pay on time your first five months, and you might get a higher credit line.
Citi Rewards+℠ Student CardStudents who spend a lot on gas and groceries will benefit, and the card's rounding feature helps with small purchases. But more lucrative options exist.
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students Students without a credit history, as well as international students without a Social Security number, have an option without a security deposit.
Discover it® Student Cash BackIt works the same as Discover's regular cash-back cards, which is both good and bad. It's bonus categories aren't always a good fit for students, and getting your rewards requires regular maintenance.
Discover it® Student chromeSimplicity makes this one a winner, but it's not a bare-bones starter card: You earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 per quarter in combined spending on gas and at restaurants, plus 1% on everything else.

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best college student credit cards

Secured credit card reviews

Secured cards are designed for people who are building or rebuilding credit. Because they require a cash security deposit, usually equal to your credit line, they’re easier to get.

CARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Unlike with most secured cards, applicants may be able to qualify for a credit limit larger than their deposit. The card also offers a path to a higher credit line without depositing more money.

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

This card is better suited to those with no credit or limited credit than folks with bad credit.

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

A low interest rate, no fees and the flexibility to deposit as much as you want (and get a matching credit limit) make this a good choice.

Discover it® Secured

It's nice to find a secured card with a $0 annual fee. Even better is one that offers a path to upgrade to a regular card. This one does both — and it gives you rewards, too.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

This card doesn't offer much in the way of rewards or perks, and it charges an annual fee, but it's a good option for those who have been frustrated in their attempts to build credit.

 

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best secured credit cards

Store-branded credit card reviews

Some store cards give you big rewards or deep discounts at the places you shop the most. Others let you turn all of your spending — everywhere — into rewards you can use in the store. Some even do both.

CARD (click for review)HIGHLIGHTS
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card Earning 5% back at both Amazon (which basically sells everything) and Whole Foods is unbeatable — but you can't get this card without an Amazon Prime membership.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by CitiThis card is about turning non-Costco spending into Costco savings. You'll earn 4% cash back on gas for the first $7,000 spent per year and 3% on restaurants and eligible travel. But purchases from Costco earn only 2% back.
Lowe's Advantage Card The automatic 5% discount can easily save you hundreds on a home improvement project. Deferred-interest financing for bigger purchases can help, too, but be careful.
Sam's Club® Mastercard®You'll earn 5% cash back on gas (on the first $6,000 per year in purchases) and 3% on dining and travel, but the card doesn't give you a discount at Sam's itself.
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card For loyalists who rarely let a day pass without a run to Starbucks, the card's perks are well worth the annual fee. But casual customers should probably pass.
Target REDcard™ Credit Card For Target devotees, this card hits the bull's-eye. You won't earn traditional rewards, but you'll get upfront 5% savings. Just make sure you pay in full each month.
Uber Credit Card The card rewards you handsomely on Uber purchases, as well as on dining and travel expenses. But it's all in Uber Cash, not true cash back.
Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® If you're a Walmart loyalist, you'll probably want this $0-annual-fee card in your wallet, but keep in mind that it gives you much greater value on virtual shopping than on the in-store kind.

 

 

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best store credit cards 

 

Other credit card reviews

More issuers are offering products for people with fair or “average” credit, people who are building credit, and people in special circumstances, such as newcomers to the U.S.

CARD (click for review)TYPEHIGHLIGHTS
ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit CardFair credit/ rewardsThere's a lot to like — including a sign-up bonus, a 0% intro APR period and 5X points on rotating categories — for no annual fee. Point values vary, though.
AvantCard Credit Card Alternative qualificationThis company's underwriting model can look at information besides credit scores, making it an option for people with limited credit. There's an annual fee, though.
Capital One® Platinum Credit Card Fair creditA straightforward card for folks on the way up: It charges no annual fee and offers the opportunity to boost your credit limit with responsible behavior.
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Fair credit/ rewardsPeople with fair credit can earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase. That's the same rewards rate that the issuer offers to those with excellent credit, although this card has a fee.
Deserve® Pro MastercardAlternative qualification/ rewardsA top-notch option for those who are new to credit — including newcomers to the U.S. — and can meet certain income and employment requirements.
Petal® Visa® Credit Card Alternative qualification/ rewardsThe issuing bank may opt not to rely solely on credit scores to determine eligibility, and the card promises "no fees whatsoever," making it an excellent starter product.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for fair credit