Our Best Credit Cards by Category


The credit card market is extremely competitive, and cardholders need to be aware of the best credit cards in order to ensure that they are using the right card for their needs. Since Lending Tree has many of the best offers from the major credit card issuers, you can compare the cards and find the one that is right for you.

How we choose the best credit cards

With so many types of credit cards available, the best credit card for you is going to depend on how you use it. So below are five of the most popular types of credit cards, what to look for in that category, and the best credit card we offer.

Student credit card: Discover it Chrome for Students

The best credit cards for students will have simple terms, low fees, and excellent customer service. The Discover it Chrome for Students has no annual fee, an excellent reputation for customer service, and even cash back rewards. Cardholders earn two percent cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter, and one percent cash back on all other purchases. Discover also offers customers a free FICO score, a waiver on their first late payment fee, and no penalty interest rates.

Business credit card: Capital One Spark Cash for Business

The best business credit cards will offer the highest rate of rewards for spending, and Capital One Spark Cash for Business meets that standard. It offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, with no expiration of rewards. There is no annual fee for this card the first year and a $59 annual fee after that, and no foreign transaction fees.

Travel Rewards: Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Credit cards are a great way to earn travel rewards, and there is a new class of credit cards that offers travel statement credits as an alternative to airline miles, which can be hard to use. The best travel rewards credit card will be the one that offers the most value per dollar spent. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers double miles on all purchases, and each mile is worth one cent as statement credits towards any travel expense. In addition, cardholders receive a 10 percent bonus on all miles redeemed, making the returns on this card equal to 2.22 percent of spending. Also, new cardholders receive a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles, worth $444, after using their card to spend $3,000 within 90 days of account opening. There is an $89 annual fee that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.

Cash back: Discover it

The best cash back card will offer rewards on all purchases, and bonus rewards on purchases in featured categories. In addition, cash back should be easy to redeem with few limits or restrictions. The Discover it card offers 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in specific categories. For example, the Q2 bonus categories are Restaurants and Movies. Gas and Ground Transportation was Q1 and is now out of date. There are no limits to the cash back that you can earn, which can be redeemed at any time and in any amount. There is no annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

Credit cards with 0% APR on Purchases: Chase Freedom

One of the other great benefits that a credit card can offer is interest free financing on new purchases. The best card in this category will have the longest 0% APR promotional financing period. In this case, the Chase Freedom offers 15 months of 0% APR on new purchases, but so do some of its competitors. So in addition to its leading promotional financing offer, Freedom also features competitive rewards and a generous sign-up bonus. This card offers 1% cash back on all purchases, plus an additional 4% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in specific categories. There is no annual fee for this card.

Balance Transfer: Chase Slate

The best card for balance transfers will combine a long promotional financing period with a low rates and fees. The Chase Slate offers15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, and is the only credit card with an interest free financing offer that has no balance transfer fee for qualifying transfers made within the first 60 days after account opening. There is no annual fee for this card, and cardholders receive a free FICO credit score online each month.

DISCLOSURE:The cards selected in this article appear on this site from companies from which LendingTree receives compensation. LendingTree does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. The author’s methodology includes looking at rewards, fees, benefits, and rates to appeal to a variety of consumers. This would include, but may not be limited to, consumers looking for travel rewards, cash back rewards, and consumers with fair or good credit.

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