Best Credit Cards of 2018

The best credit cards offer you the chance to earn cash back, travel rewards, exclusive benefits, and more. Compare our top picks to find the best credit card for your spending habits.

Mike Brown
Mike Brown
Updated: September 3, 2018

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It isn't always easy to find the best credit card. Especially when each credit card category has its own unique set of benefits. Our list of the best credit cards includes options that cover multiple categories, therefore maximizing the rewards you can earn on each purchase. You can find the best credit card for each category in the list below, as well as additional options further down the page.

Credit Cards by Category

Rewards

Earn cash back, travel rewards, and other perks with these cards

See Full List: Best Rewards Credit Cards

Travel

Earn perks with airlines and hotels with these travel credit cards

See Full List: Best Travel Credit Cards

Balance Transfer

Find zero percent introductory APRs to save on interest while lowering your debt

See Full List: Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Cash Back

Earn back cash on everyday purchases and take advantage of sign-up bonuses

See Full List: Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Secured

Build your credit quickly, while potentially earning rewards along the way

See Full List: Best Secured Credit Cards

Airline

Earn miles towards upgrades, free flights, baggage discounts, and more

See Full List: Best Airline Credit Cards

Student

Build credit history, cover expenses, and earn rewards while in school

See Full List: Best Student Credit Cards

What Are the Best Credit Cards?

Card Card Category Credit Needed
VentureOne® From Capital One Rewards Good/Excellent
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Travel Excellent
Citi Diamond Preferred Card Balance Transfer Good/Excellent
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Cash Back Good/Excellent
Discover it Secured Card Secured Poor
United MileagePlus Explorer Card Airline Good/Excellent
Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students Student Poor

How to Find the Best Credit Card for You

When it comes to finding the best credit card, you’ll need to determine what you plan to use the card for. Since most credit cards are designed to target specific categories rather than offer everything in one, you won’t find one credit card claiming to be the best for all purposes.

When looking for the best credit card, you should consider several things. That includes what you want to use your card for, what you want to get out of your card, and whether or not you will be able to spend enough responsibly to make the card worth it.

Who Offers the Best Credit Cards?

There is no single credit card company that offers the best credit cards. This is because each company offers cards that target different categories. The company may claim to offer the best credit card for travel but provide a second-rate secured credit card.

Depending on the cardholder, there will be different views on whether or not a company is the best. For this reason, the best credit card company depends highly on whether or not you, the cardholder, are satisfied with the product. However, it’s a good indicator when many customers generally agree that a company offers good products and services.

With that in mind, J.D. Power’s 2017 Credit Card Satisfaction Study reviewed all the eligible companies to provide a ranking of the top credit card companies in the eyes of the cardholders. Here are the top five:

The Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking was based on a 1,000-point scale. The industry average was 802.

How Your Credit Score Impacts Your Options

Credit scores are a significant part of applying for a credit card. The reason for this is that credit card companies use your credit score to determine the risk they are taking when providing you with a form of credit. Your score will help them with the approval process and will be a factor in determining your interest rate if you’re approved. Credit scores are generally broken down like this:

  • Excellent (720 - 850)
  • Good (690 - 719)
  • Fair (630 - 689)
  • Poor (350 - 629)

Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

If your credit score falls within the good to excellent range, you are more likely to be approved for the best credit cards. With a higher credit score, credit card companies look at you as less risky, and more likely to pay off your bill on time. Here are some credit cards worth considering if you have good to excellent credit:

Credit Cards for Poor to Fair Credit

If your credit score falls within the poor to fair range, you will find it more difficult to be approved for some of the best credit cards. Credit card companies will see you as a risky candidate and will likely decline you if you apply for most unsecured credit cards.

For students, it is expected that you have little to no credit history. So companies offer student credit cards that allow you to build your credit history while potentially earning rewards along the way.

For people with bad credit, there are still options. Credit cards for bad credit are available, but the terms will be different than typical unsecured cards. For example, these cards will likely require a security deposit and offer a lower credit limit. Here are some credit cards worth considering above if you have poor to fair credit:

How to Use Your Credit Card Appropriately

It is important to take your time when looking for the best credit card. Credit cards come with a lot of responsibility, so ensuring you can make on-time payments will take you a long way in earning the rewards you signed up for. Make sure you find a comfortable spending limit that considers your income and expenses on a monthly basis. By doing this, you can spend confidently within your range and reduce the chance of a missed payment.