Advertiser Disclosure

No one credit card can meet every consumer’s needs. Depending on how much debt you have, how you spend and your travel habits, you can choose from among several solid options. To save you some time researching, the Nerds have reviewed dozens of credit cards and come up with the top 10 (with one tie) to help you make the best choice.

Best rewards cards:

For people who carry a balance:

For less-than-perfect credit:

For businesses:

For students:

Best for travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • A large bonus
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Cool factor - metal card
  • Rewards redemption bonus through Ultimate Rewards

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Best for savvy travelers

Bonus Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 16.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Sleek metal card design
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel confidently with premium Travel Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement and more

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 2X points on dining out and travel and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. Get a 20% discount on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Authorized user bonus. No foreign transaction fees. Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.

Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred®:

  • Great for redemption. You can either use your points to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards site to get a 20% discount or transfer them to one of the card’s 11 transfer partners at a ratio of 1:1.
  • You’ll get an extra 5,000 points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first three months.
  • Travel perks include no foreign transaction fees, primary rental-car insurance and access to special travel opportunities and exclusive events.

Drawbacks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred®:

  • Redemption is more flexible than with co-branded airline and hotel cards, but you’re still restricted to the Ultimate Rewards travel tool and the card’s transfer partners. For ultimate flexibility, see our cards with easiest travel redemption.
  • If you’re not a big spender, you likely won’t earn enough rewards to cover the annual fee and have enough left for a trip.

Bottom line:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a top-notch card, offering one of the best sign-up bonuses in the business. It gets even better on the redemption front because your points are worth 25% more if you redeem for travel booked through Chase’s tool. If you’re not a big spender or you travel infrequently, however, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® may not be best for you.

Best for everyday spending

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Pros

  • Leading cash back rewards for groceries
  • Sign-up bonus
  • 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

Cons

  • Has annual fee - but if you spend more than $27/week the rewards offset the fees
  • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or MasterCard

Bonus Offer

Special Offer - Get up to $350 back. Offer Ends 6/15/2016.

Annual Fee

$75

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months

APR

  • APR: 13.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.49%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • Special Offer - Get up to $350 back. Offer Ends 6/15/2016.
  • Get Cash Back: 6% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 3% U.S. gas stations & select U.S. dept. stores; 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card, you can get cash back. No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. You can only get cash back on eligible purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.24% to 23.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and restrictions apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Special Offer - Get up to $350 back. Offer Ends 6/15/2016. You’ll earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months. Plus, get 10% back when you use the card at U.S. wireless telephone service providers in 2016, up to $200. Earn 6% cash back at supermarkets, up to $6,000 in purchases per year (then 1%), 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Introductory APR of 0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-23.24% Variable. Free access to your FICO score. $75 annual fee.

Benefits of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • You’ll earn a whopping 6% back on anything you purchase at the grocery checkout line, including gift cards to your favorite restaurant, coffee shop or movie theater.
  • The card has a long 0% APR period in case you need some time to pay off a large purchase or transfer a balance.

Drawbacks of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • It has an annual fee. You can get a $0 annual fee version in the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, however. It offers 3% cash back on grocery store purchases up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1%) and 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is generally better if you spend less than $50 a week at grocery stores.

Bottom line:

If you buy groceries and drive a car, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives one of the highest rewards rates in both of those categories. But if you can’t get past the annual fee or you don’t spend a lot in those categories, consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Best for bonus categories

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • Bonus 5% cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Qualify with Good credit

Cons

  • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better

Bonus Offer

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

APR

  • APR: 14.24-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, select grocery stores, and wholesale clubs
  • Cash Back rewards never expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter, including gas stations, restaurants and online shopping, and 1% back elsewhere. Introductory APR of 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24-23.24% Variable. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Chase Freedom®:

  • Get big rewards on everyday spending. Rotating categories for 2016 include gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and holiday shopping.
  • Earn a decent sign-up bonus.

Drawbacks of the Chase Freedom®:

  • The rotating categories can be a hassle. You have to opt in every quarter and potentially change your spending habits to maximize your bonus rewards.

Bottom line: 

The Chase Freedom® is one of the Nerds’ favorite cards. The card’s rotating categories are generally reasonable, and it has a $0 annual fee so you don’t have to worry about losing money if you don’t use it often. It may not be a great choice, however, if your typical spending doesn’t fall in line with the card’s bonus categories.

Best for cash back

Citi®Double Cash Card

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 18 mos on transfers

Bonus Offer

Earn cash back twice on every purchase

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% balance transfers for 18 months*

APR

  • Min APR: 13.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 23.24%, Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.24% - 23.24% based on your creditworthiness
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*

Earn 1% cash back on every purchase and another 1% back when you pay it off. Introductory APR of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% Variable . $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Citi®Double Cash Card:

  • It’s one of the only cards that pays you when you spend and when you pay off your balance.
  • It has a solid 0% APR promotion to give you time to pay off a balance you’ve transferred from a high-interest credit card.

Drawbacks of the Citi®Double Cash Card:

  • Unlike most other top cash-back cards, it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus.
  • No opportunity to earn bonus rewards.

Bottom line:

The Citi®Double Cash Card is a rare gem among rewards cards. Its ongoing rewards rate is the highest among cash-back cards, and there’s no limit to what you can earn. Even if you’re an optimizer and prefer a card that offers bonus categories, the Citi®Double Cash Card is a solid backup for purchases that don’t earn extra rewards on another card.

Easiest travel redemption (tie)

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Apply Now on Barclaycard's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • 0% intro on balance transfers APR for 12 months
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Bonus Offer

Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.

Annual Fee

$89 - waived first year

Intro APR Promotions

0% intro on balance transfers APR for 12 months

APR

  • APR: 16.24% or 20.24%* Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, currently 16.24% or 20.24%, depending on your creditworthiness
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. Earn 2X miles on all purchases. Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem. APR: 0% intro on balance transfers APR for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24% or 20.24% Variable. Free access to your FICO score. No foreign transaction fee. Annual fee is $89 - waived first year.

Benefits of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®:

  • Ultimate redemption flexibility. Simply use your card to make travel purchases, then redeem your miles for a statement credit.
  • High ongoing rewards rate for all purchases, not just travel.

Drawbacks of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®:

  • Redemption starts at 10,000 miles, making it more difficult to redeem after you’ve used up your miles from the sign-up bonus.
  • It has an annual fee. If you’re not a big spender, consider the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®, which has a $0 annual fee, albeit with a lower sign-up bonus and fewer rewards.

Bottom line:

One of our favorite travel cards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers one of the best rewards rate in the business and makes it easy to redeem your points. Its chip-and-PIN capability makes it ideal for any traveler, but the annual fee makes it a tough sell if you’re not planning on using it for all your purchases.

Easiest travel redemption (tie)

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Flexible redemption for travel

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Bonus Offer

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $59 after that

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance APR: 23.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel. Earn 2X miles on all purchases. No foreign transaction fees. Annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $59 after that.

Benefits of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card:

  • Ultimate redemption flexibility. You can use the Purchase Eraser® tool to redeem your miles for a statement credit against travel purchases or book travel through Capital One’s travel site.
  • High ongoing rewards rate for all purchases, not just travel.
  • No minimum redemption requirement if you’re using your miles to book through Capital One or for a full statement credit against a travel purchase. Partial redemptions require a minimum of 2,500 miles.

Drawbacks of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card:

  • It has an annual fee, though it’s much lower than the norm for high-earning travel cards.

Bottom line:

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card makes it easy to travel because it doesn’t restrict you. Capital One also makes it easy to book by providing a travel tool for you for a seamless redemption process. If you’re not a big spender, however, consider the similar Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card. It offers a lower sign-up bonus and fewer rewards, but it also comes with a $0 annual fee.

Best for balance transfers

Chase Slate®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Qualify with Good credit

Cons

  • No rewards

Bonus Offer

$0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers

APR

  • APR: 13.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" three years in a row by MONEY Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard for free
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee

0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-23.24% Variable. $0 balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days. Free access to your FICO score. No penalty APR. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Chase Slate®:

  • Transfer one or more balances for free the first 60 days and get a long 0% APR period to pay off the new balance.
  • Review your FICO score and get access to Chase’s credit dashboard to learn what goes into your score and how you can improve it.

Drawbacks of the Chase Slate®

  • It doesn’t offer rewards.
  • You can’t transfer a balance from another Chase card.
  • The total amount of your balance transfers, including fees and interest charges, cannot exceed your available credit or $15,000, whichever is lower.

Bottom line:

The Chase Slate® offers a one-two punch with its introductory offer of a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers and $0 balance transfer fee. As far as we can tell, it’s the only card out there with that combination — most others charge a fee of 3% to 5% of the total amount you transfer. This makes it a great deal for pretty much anyone who wants to pay off debt interest- and fee-free.

Longest APR period

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • No late fee
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 21 mos on transfers

Cons

  • No rewards
  • Needs excellent credit

Bonus Offer

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months

Annual Fee

$0*

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months

APR

  • Min APR: 13.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 23.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… EVER.
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.24% - 23.24% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period.
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month.

Introductory APR of 0% for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% Variable . No late fees or penalty rate. Free access to your FICO score. $0* annual fee.

Benefits of the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever:

  • The card offers the longest 0% APR period in the business.
  • It won’t punish you for being late on your payments with late fees and a penalty APR.

Drawbacks of the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever:

  • It doesn’t offer rewards.
  • It charges a balance transfer fee of 3% of the balance or $5, whichever is greater.

Bottom line:

If you’re looking to make a large purchase and need some time to pay it off interest free, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is your best option. Its lack of late fees and a penalty APR also make it a good choice if you forget to make a payment every once in a while. Just keep in mind that late payments can harm your credit. If you’re looking to do a balance transfer, make sure you calculate how much the balance transfer fee will cost you before applying.

Best for fair credit

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®

Apply Now on Barclaycard's secure website

Pros

  • Qualify with average credit
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • High APR

Bonus Offer

None

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 25.24%* Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • 2X points on gas, utility and grocery store (excluding Target® and Walmart®) purchases. 1x points on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Points don't expire as long as account is open, active and in good standing
  • Redeem points for deposits to a U.S. checking or savings account, statement credits or gift cards, starting at 1,000 points for $10
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn or redeem
  • Free online access to FICO® Credit Score lets you keep an eye on your credit and get alerts when we learn that your score has changed
  • Use your card with confidence, $0 Fraud Liability protection means you're not responsible for unauthorized charges you report to us
  • Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad

Earn 2X points on gas, utilities and grocery store (excluding Target and Walmart) purchases; earn 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. Free access to your FICO score. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®:

  • Great rewards are typically reserved for credit cards that require good and excellent credit. But this one offers relatively great rewards on everyday spending.
  • You’ll get free access to your FICO score, which can help you pinpoint what you need to work on to improve your credit situation.

Drawbacks of the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®:

  • It doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus.
  • It has a high APR: The ongoing APR is 25.24% Variable.

Bottom line:

It’s rare to find a card for people with fair or average credit card that offers decent rewards and a $0 annual fee. If your credit falls in that in-between space of neither poor nor good, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® could help you improve your credit score and earn rewards along the way.

Best business card

Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Bonus Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$95 Annual Fee

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 15.49%-19.49% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases-with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on phone, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year; 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year; and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. No foreign transaction fees. $95 Annual Fee.

Benefits of the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card:

  • It offers big-time rewards on regular office expenses.
  • You’ll get a 20% discount on travel booked with points through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Drawbacks of the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card:

  • It’s not worth much for businesses with expenses that don’t line up with the card’s bonus categories.
  • It has an annual fee.

Bottom line:

The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is the best business rewards card out there for big spenders. Its big sign-up bonus and high rewards rate make it more than worth the annual fee. Moreover, there’s no foreign transaction fee, making the card ideal for business travelers. If your business doesn’t have a lot of monthly expenses, however, consider the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card, which has a $0 annual fee, albeit with lower rewards and sign-up bonus.

Best for students

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • No annual fee

Bonus Offer

Earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases for 7 months

APR

  • Min APR: 14.24%, Variable
  • Max APR: 24.24%, Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment.
  • 1 ThankYou® Point on other purchases.
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points with this card
  • Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*

Earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment, 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. APR of 0% for 7 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24% - 24.24% Variable . $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students:

  • Bonus rewards on food and fun.
  • Decent 0% APR period on purchases.

Drawbacks of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students:

  • Charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, making it a poor choice for studying abroad.

Bottom line:

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students is a great choice for college kids looking to start building their credit early. Because college life is full of concerts, sporting events and late-night pizza deliveries, the Nerds think most students will get good value from this card.

Want even more options? Check out our best general credit cards?

Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to win in multiple categories.  

Last updated January 25, 2016.

Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email:bluthi@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @benluthi.