The Best Credit Card

Crunching Numbers

What's the best credit card? A free one! No credit limit or fees of any kind! Payments due every other month with no interest - ever!

In an alternate universe, that credit card may exist. But on this planet, the best credit card is comprised of variety of factors: how the cardholder intends to use credit; the level of credit needed; incidental costs such as annual percentage rate, annual fees, late payment fees and cash advance charges; and what, if any incentive offers are appealing.

The Best Cards

The best credit cards are typically reserved for those who have the best credit history. However, there are good cards for those who have less than perfect credit as well. Check with your bank or credit union to see what they offer, but if they do not offer good deals on credit cards then have a look at this list of the best cards for your credit history:

Excellent Credit

  • Capital One - Venture One, Venture Rewards and Cash Rewards cards. The Capital One Venture cards offer cash or airline mile rewards, zero or low percent interest rates and no annual fee. The Cash Rewards card offers zero percent interest, no annual fee, a one percent cash-back reward for every dollar you charge , plus a 50 percent cash-back bonus each year.
  • Citi - Diamond Preferred, AAdvantage and Thank You cards. The Diamond card offers an introductory zero percent interest rate, no annual fee and exclusive benefits to cardholders, such as automatic product warranties on product purchases. The AAdvantage card is an American Airlines miles reward card. The card offers a low annual fee and interest rate, as well as additional rewards for American Airlines purchases. The Thank You card is a rewards point card that accumulates points rapidly, redeemable for gift cards. There is no annual fee and a low interest rate for the Thank You card.
  • Discover - More, Open Road and Miles cards. The More cards offer cash rewards with purchases and a low interest rate. The Open Road cards feature no annual fee and provide cash back rewards for purchases. The Miles cards offer a generous travel rewards program, a low interest rate, and no annual fee.

Good Credit

  • Capital One - Journey, MTV Visa and Classic cards. The Capital One Journey card is a great card for those with fair to good credit. This card offers one percent cash rewards on each purchase, no annual fee and automatic credit limit increases. The MTV card offers five reward points for every dollar charged and no annual fee. The Classic card offers an introductory zero percent interest rate and low annual fee.
  • American Express - Blue Sky Rewards, Gold Card and Delta Sky Miles cards. The Blue Sky Rewards card offers rapid airline reward accruals, introductory zero percent interest rate and zero to low annual fee. Airline miles can be redeemed with any airline and advance purchase is not required. The Gold Card offers an introductory zero percent interest rate and flexible points program. Points can be redeemed for airline miles, car rentals, merchandise, gift cards and other items. The Delta Sky Miles card is a Delta airlines reward card. Gold, Platinum and Reserve levels of are offered under the Delta Sky Miles label. Mile accumulations, interest rates and other benefits vary depending on the level of card.

Poor Credit

  • Capital One - Secured MasterCard. The Capital One Secured card is an excellent choice for those who must use a secured card to rebuild credit. The security deposit for this card varies and is based on your credit. In some cases, you may only be required to partially secure your card. A low annual fee, moderate interest rate and periodic credit limit increases make this a top secured card option.
  • First Premier - Classic card. The First Premier classic card is a popular card for people with bad credit. This card has a moderate annual fee and monthly maintenance fee, however the interest rate is low when payments are made in a timely manner. First Premier cards are relatively easy to open.

Additional Resources

The Federal Trade Commission's credit card consumer site is a comprehensive resource that explains basic credit card operations as well as balance computation methods, refunds on credit balances and handling charge disputes. Visit the FTC for more information.

In addition, here are some primary lending sites to compare:

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The Best Credit Card