Types of Credit Cards
Let’s Learn About: Different Types of Credit Cards
Some credit card rewards programs offer fixed rewards rates, while others have bonus perks in specified spending categories.
Student and secured cards help users with no or limited credit history build responsible habits.
Credit cards with 0% introductory interest rates provide some relief from accruing interest.
There are many types of credit cards available, each with their own perks, requirements, and conditions. With so many credit cards, how do you pick which one is best for you?
It all depends on your personal financial situation, along with how you anticipate using your card—whether for travel, everyday spending, or something else. There’s likely a card out there for you, no matter if you have an established credit history or are just starting out.
Different types of credit cards are best for different uses
When weighing credit card options, it helps to consider your goals. For example, you can decide whether you want to maximize rewards on purchases , build credit history, or pay down accumulated credit debt.
Credit cards with fixed rewards
Some types of credit cards offer a fixed rewards rate on all purchases, regardless of category. This means that no matter how you spend with your card, you’ll get a constant, specified amount of redeemable value in return—whether it’s miles, points, or cash back rewards.
The Discover it® Miles card, for example, offers 1.5 Miles for every dollar of every purchase, while offering no annual fee. Discover will also automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.1 There is no limit to how much we’ll match. You can also redeem those miles as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.2
Credit cards with bonus rewards categories
If there’s a certain type of spending for which you mainly use your credit card, like travel, dining, or gas, you may want to opt for a credit card with bonus rewards. These types of credit cards offer higher-value perks in specified categories, allowing you to make the most of out of your purchasing habits.
The Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card, for example, earns 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.3 It also offers 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases automatically.
There’s also the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card, which offers 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and some online stores up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
Types of credit cards to build credit
If you have no or limited credit history, you may not be eligible for every type of credit card rewards program. However, there are several card options expressly designed for building credit.
Secured credit cards
If you’re starting from scratch or have little credit history, you may qualify for a secured credit card, which allows you to pay a deposit up front up to the amount of your approved credit line. However, if you don’t pay off your card balance when you close the account, the credit card issuer typically keeps your deposit and apply it to the outstanding balance.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card has the added perk of offering cash back rewards—2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter3 and unlimited 1% on all other purchases—while providing an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.4 There is no limit to how much we’ll match.
Student credit cards
If you’re at least 18 years old and are enrolled in a two- or four year-college, you might qualify for a student credit card, which helps newer cardholders build their credit history without having to put up a security deposit.
Both the Discover® Student Cash Back and Chrome for Students cards come with no annual fee and cash back rewards.
Types of credit cards to save on interest
Other types of credit cards let you save on interest. For these, look out for low intro APRs on balance transfers and purchases.
Balance transfer credit cards
A balance transfer is when you switch debt from one credit card or loan to another credit card. If you transfer high interest debt onto a card with a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers , you can save money on interest if you pay off the balance before the introductory period expires. It can offer a way to temporarily reduce the interest rate (provided the new card has a lower interest rate) to give you time to pay down the debt.
0% intro APR credit cards for purchases
Some balance transfer credit cards come with the added perk of offering 0% intro APR on purchases, meaning you’ll pay no interest on any purchase during the intro period. There are also credit cards with 0% intro APR on purchases that don’t include a balance transfer intro APR.
Just keep in mind that no introductory period will last forever. Once it expires, you’ll have to pay a higher interest rate on the balance.
What’s the best type of credit card to have?
There’s no single best type of credit card for everyone. Before deciding on a card, you will want to compare fees, perks, and conditions to determine which is best for your personal financial goals.
Just keep in mind that while you can have more than one card, applying for too many at once can affect your credit score.
Regardless of which card you choose, remember to use it responsibly and aim to pay your balance in full each month. No matter your starting point, this will always put you on the road towards better financial future.
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