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10 Excellent Credit Cards of 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.

NerdWallet's Excellent Credit Cards of 2021

Excellent for

Cash-Back Pairing with Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

on Chase's website

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

on Chase's website

Pros

  • High rewards rate and no minimum redemption
  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR period on Purchases

Cons

  • Has foreign transaction fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit

Excellent for

Bonus Categories and First Year Cashback Match

Discover it® Cash Back

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

4.8

NerdWallet rating 

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • View Rates and Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Pros

  • Cash back match at the end of your first year
  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

Cons

  • Slightly less merchant acceptance for Discover in US - acceptance outside of US can be an issue
  • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better

Excellent for

Everyday Spending

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

on American Express's website

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on American Express's website

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months

Recommended Credit Score
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back.
  • Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

on American Express's website

Pros

  • Leading cash-back rewards at U.S. supermarkets
  • Rich bonus offer for new cardholders
  • Intro APR period on Purchases

Cons

  • Has annual fee — but if you spend more than $31 per week at U.S. supermarkets, the rewards offset the fee
  • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
  • $25 minimum redemption

Excellent for

Flat Rate Cash Back

Citi® Double Cash Card

on Citibank's application

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on Citibank's application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Recommended Credit Score
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

on Citibank's application

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers

Cons

  • No sign-up bonus
  • No 0% APR for purchases
  • $25 minimum redemption

Excellent for

Airline Miles and a Large Bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

on Chase's website

Pros

  • A large bonus
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Cool factor - metal card
  • Earn more points on travel and dining at restaurants
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Cons

  • $95 annual fee

Excellent for

Cost-Effective Balance Transfer

BankAmericard® Credit Card

on Bank of America's website, or call (800) 322-7707

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on Bank of America's website, or call (800) 322-7707

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and on any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening

Recommended Credit Score
  • 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

on Bank of America's website, or call (800) 322-7707

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

Cons

  • No rewards

Excellent for

Long 0% interest periods for balance transfers

Citibank Diamond Preferred Credit Card

on Citibank's application

4.8

NerdWallet rating 

on Citibank's application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months

Recommended Credit Score
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

on Citibank's application

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 0% for 18 months on transfers if you qualify

Cons

  • No rewards

Excellent for

Cash back on everyday spending

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card

on American Express's website

4.3

NerdWallet rating 

on American Express's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back.
  • Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

on American Express's website

Pros

  • Bonus rewards at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations
  • No annual fee
  • Bonus offer for new cardholders
  • Intro APR period on Purchases

Cons

  • American Express isn't accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • $25 minimum redemption

Excellent for

Customizable rewards

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Bank of America's website, or call (877) 754-6706

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

on Bank of America's website, or call (877) 754-6706

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and on any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening

Recommended Credit Score
  • No annual fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No expiration on rewards
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

on Bank of America's website, or call (877) 754-6706

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Cash bonus offer
  • Cash rewards

Cons

  • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

Excellent for

Flat-rate travel rewards + no annual fee

Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card

on Bank of America's website

4.3

NerdWallet rating 

on Bank of America's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases

Recommended Credit Score
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

on Bank of America's website

Pros

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Generous flat rewards rate on all purchases
  • Flexibility to book travel how you want
  • Rewards accelerator if you bank with Bank of America or invest with Merrill

Cons

  • More restrictive than a straight cash back card
  • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards