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Finding the right credit card for you can be pretty daunting, especially when there’s literally BILLIONS of them out there!

It can be challenging to find the best deal based solely on your spending habits. But, if you’re able to find a card (or cards) that work for you in relation to the way you spend and which features you truly value (e.g., cash back and more rewards), you’ll be sure to benefit in the long run.

Whether you’re looking for lower APR, no annual fee, more cash back rewards, introductory bonuses, or simply the best deals for balance transfer credit cards, don’t worry—I did the digging for you!

Here’s my top picks for the best credit cards of 2021.

 

BEST: Everyday Spending Rewards Card

TOP PICK: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
    • No foreign transaction fees on all foreign currency transactions, including online purchases
  • APR: 0%
  • Rewards Rate: Varies based on how you spend
  • Cash Back:
    • 6% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then decreases to 1%)
    • 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
    • 3% on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, etc.)
    • 3% at U.S. gas stations
    • 1% on other purchases
  • Other Bonuses:
    • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases within the first 6 months of card membership (up to $2,000 back)
    • Earn $150 back after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

 

BEST: Cash Back Credit Card

TOP PICK: Citi Double Cash Card®

  • Annual Fee: $0
    • 3% (or $5 minimum, whichever is greater) balance transfer fee of each balance transfer
  • APR: 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, 13.99% -23.99% (variable) after
  • Cash Back:
    • 2% on everything you buy
      • No category limits
      • No spending limits to how much you can earn
    • 1% when you buy
      • Plus additional 1% as you pay for those purchases
  • Other Bonuses:
    • Redeem rewards as:
      • Statement credit
      • Direct deposit/check
      • Citi ThankYou® points, redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, or travel (at a rate of $1 per 100 points)

 

BEST: Beginner Credit Card

TOP PICK: Capital One Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, regular APR 15.49% – 25.49% (variable) after
  • Cash Back:
    • Unlimited 1.5% on every purchase, every day, regardless of rewards or spending categories
    • No limit to how much you can earn
  • Other Bonuses:
    • Earn a one-time, $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

 

BEST: No Annual Fee Credit Card

TOP PICK: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then 13.99% – 23.99% (variable) after
  • Rewards Rate: Varies based on how you spend.
  • Cash Back:
    • 3% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then decreases to 1%)
    • 2% at U.S. gas stations
    • 1% on other purchases
  • Other Bonuses:
    • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases within the first 6 months of card membership (up to $150 back)
    • Earn $100 back after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

 

BEST: Travel Credit Card

TOP PICK: Capital One Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Annual Fee: $95
    • No foreign transaction fees
  • APR: 17.24% – 24.49% (variable)
  • Miles:
    • Earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening
      • Earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
    • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
    • Miles will not expire for the life of the account
    • No limit to how many miles you can earn
    • Redeem miles for vacation rentals, car rentals, etc.
    • Transfer miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs

 

BEST: Low Interest Credit Card

TOP PICK: Bank of America Customized® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, 13.99% – 23.99% (variable) regular APR after
  • Balance Transfer Offer:
    • 0% intro APR for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
    • After 0% intro APR offer ends, 13.99% – 23.99% (variable) regular APR
    • 3% (or $5 minimum, whichever is greater) balance transfer fee of each balance transfer
  • Cash Back:
    • 3% in the category of your choice
    • Automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
    • Unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • Other Bonuses:
    • $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
    • Preferred Rewards Members can earn 25% – 75% more cash back on every purchase
      • No expiration on rewards

 

BEST: Balance Transfer Credit Card

TOP PICK: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • APR: 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases, 14.74% – 24.74% (variable) regular APR after
  • Balance Transfer Offer:
    • 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers made from date of first transfer
    • Balance transfers must be made within 4 months of account opening
    • After 0% intro APR offer ends, 14.74% – 24.74% (variable) regular APR
    • 3% (or $5 minimum, whichever is greater) balance transfer fee of each balance transfer

 

BEST: Credit Card for Bad Credit

TOP PICK: Credit One Bank® Visa®

  • Annual fee: $0 – $99
  • APR: 17.99% – 23.99% (variable)
  • Cash Back:
    • 1% on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services (cell phones, internet, cable, and satellite TV)
  • Other Bonuses:
    • Free online access to your Experian credit score and credit summary

 

PHEW! That’s a lot to unpack…

…which credit card is best for me?

Take a look at your own specific financial habits and goals!

If you normally carry a balance, or if you want to pay down your debt, then a low-interest or balance transfer credit card with a long 0% intro deal should be a good way to go.

On the other hand, if you always pay off your credit card bill every month, decide whether a cash back, rewards credit card, or travel credit card is the right choice for you.

Of course, if you don’t like to travel (or don’t travel often), there’s no point in having a travel credit card. Instead, a cash back credit card may be an excellent option.

For those with brand loyalty, a store credit card may be the way to go.

Before jumping on a card and applying, make sure you do your research—on the card, and on your own credit.

It’s important to check your credit, choose a credit card type based on your spending habits/financial goals, ask the right questions, and find a card that offers you the highest value for what you’re looking for.

Best of luck!

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