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Which Credit Card is Best for You?

Last Updated: February 22, 2024
5 min read

Key points about: choosing the best credit card for you

  1. The best credit card for you depends on which credit card features you find important and which credit cards you qualify for.

  2. A rewards card could be the best card for you if you want to earn rewards for eligible purchases.

  3. A card with a low introductory interest rate could be best for you if you might carry a balance from month to month.

With so many available credit card offers, it can be hard to know which card is best for you. While there’s no one-size-fits-all best credit card, you can review the different card options to find the right credit card for you.

Here are a few ideas to help you compare credit cards and decide what kind of credit card best suits your needs.

Which credit card features are important to you?

There are several credit card features to consider. The best credit card for you usually matches your credit and purchase needs. 

1. Low or 0% intro interest rate

Low or 0 % intro APR cards can be good for cardmembers that plan to carry a balance rather than paying off the statement balance in full each month. If you might carry a monthly balance, a 0% or low intro APR card can help you save on interest charges initially. But, once the intro period expires, a higher interest rate might apply.

2. Cash back rewards 

Some cardmembers are interested in earning rewards for their spending through a rewards program. Different cards offer rewards at different rates and for different eligible purchases.

For example, if you want to earn cash back on your purchases, consider a cash back rewards card, like the Discover it Cash Back Credit Card and earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.

3. No annual fee

An annual fee is a charge from the card issuer. It’s the amount you’ll pay yearly to keep your account open, regardless of how much you purchase on the card. When deciding on the best card for you, if a card has an annual fee, consider whether the value of the rewards you’ll earn is higher than the cost of the annual fee.

4. A low balance transfer rate

If you want to transfer the balance from a credit card with a high APR to a lower one, consider a balance transfer card with an introductory 0 % APR on balance transfers. If you're transferring a large balance, you may prefer a balance transfer card with an extended introductory period. This can give you more time to pay off the balance. And remember, some balance transfer offers include a balance transfer fee.

5. Travel rewards

A travel rewards credit card could be a good option if you travel often. Some travel cards are associated with a particular travel provider, and others are credit card rewards that can be used with different travel providers. For example, you can turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more1 with the Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card, since every purchase earns 1.5x Miles.

6. Online banking

Online banking is an organized platform for managing credit cards and payments. Consider a card with a mobile app and online resources such as interactive financial calculators to help you manage your budget or tools to track spending and plan purchases. You could also use a banking app to make payments or set up automatic payments to help ensure you never miss a due date or incur a late charge. 

7. Flexible rewards redemption options

Depending on the card issuer, you may be able to use your rewards as a statement credit or redeem them for cash as a deposit in your bank account or savings account. Some credit cards may let you redeem cash back rewards at checkout with an online merchant, toward a gift card purchase, or as a charitable donation. 

Credit score and credit history

The cards you qualify for usually depend on your credit score and your credit history. Some credit cards require higher credit scores than others. A good credit score may help you qualify for lower interest rates.

If you have a bad credit score, a fair credit score, or you don't yet have a credit score, a secured credit card may be the right credit card for you while you're building credit for the first time or rebuilding your credit history. A secured credit card requires a security deposit used as collateral for the account's credit limit amount. With secured credit cards, you can build up your credit score and improve your credit history until you qualify for a standard card, as long as the credit card company reports to one of the three major credit bureaus, as explained by Experian®. For example, the Discover it Secured Credit Card helps you build your credit history.2

Should I apply for more than one credit card?

When researching the best credit card to apply for, you may find it hard to choose just one.

Suppose you want to check whether you qualify for a particular card. In that case, it’s best to determine whether you pre-qualify, as credit card issuers typically pre-qualify applicants using a soft pull, which doesn’t impact your credit score.

Did you know?

While there’s nothing wrong with having more than one credit card, you should avoid applying for multiple credit cards at once. That’s because each credit card application generates a hard pull of your credit, and hard pulls can potentially lower your credit score.

Read the credit card agreement 

No matter what type of credit card you’re interested in, reviewing the card agreement is important. Read the terms and conditions to learn about the grace period, if it applies, how long you have to pay off your balance before you’re charged interest, and what rates, restrictions, and fees are involved. You can also review the terms of low or 0% APR introductory offers, including when the intro period expires and what the rate will be afterward.

The more you know, the more value you can gain from your credit card.

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  1. Redeem Miles: Starting at 1 Mile, you can redeem your Miles as a credit to your account to pay for all or part of your bill, for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account, or for a credit for Travel Purchases made on your statement within the last 180 days. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites, commuter transportation, restaurants and gas stations. Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and restaurant delivery services. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Even if a travel purchase on your statement appears to fit in a Travel Purchase category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in a Travel Purchase category. Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Certain third-party payment accounts and digital wallet transactions may not be eligible for credit redemption if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details or a qualifying MCC. See Terms and Conditions for more information.
  2. Build/Rebuild Credit with responsible use: Discover reports your credit history to the three major credit bureaus so it can help build/rebuild your credit if used responsibly. Late payments, delinquencies or other derogatory activity with your credit card accounts and loans may adversely impact your ability to build/rebuild credit.
  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.