[UPDATED: October 29, 2015]
Thinking about getting a new credit card, or just looking? We’ve put together the top reasons you should acquire a new card as well as the best cards out there.
#1. EARN REWARDS FASTER THAN YOUR CURRENT CREDIT CARD
It’s likely you haven’t been paying much attention to how your current credit card rewards you for making purchases. In fact, many so-called “reward” cards have tricky formulas, limits on the amounts you can earn and rules that require you to sign up for special quarterly rewards. Oftentimes what looks like a good deal can leave you earning much less than you could with a better card.
We looked high and low for the best reward credit cards, investigating all the top cards out there. Out of all our research 2 credit cards rose to the top of the reward card heap:
Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
If you like to travel, snap this card up. The Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard offers 2 miles per dollar spent on ALL purchases and a juicy 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months (equal to $400 in travel). Add to that no foreign transaction fees and you’ve got yourself a great rewards card. There is a $89 annual fee that is waived the first year, but most people will earn enough rewards by using the card to more than make up for it.
It’s easy to use the miles you earn, too. Just use your card to pay for travel however you’d like – with any airline, hotel or discount travel engine – and then redeem your earned miles as statement credit towards all or part of of your travel purchases. You’ll also get a 5% miles back bonus when you make that travel redemption, effectively giving you 2.1 miles back per dollar spent. Add it all up, and this is our top-ranked rewards card.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
In the market for some generous cash back and extra goodies? You’ll get a $150 cash back bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of having the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser). That’s a good amount of dough for making your usual purchases! You’ll also earn a stellar 6% cash back in supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases annually), 3% cash back at gas stations and at select department stores like J.C.Penny, Sears and Nordstrom, and 1% cash back on everything else. And if you want to delay paying off your purchases, there is a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. There is a $75 annual fee, but most people’s spending habits over the course of the year will pay for this plus get you more money back. If you’d prefer a cash back card with no annual fee and an effective 2% cash back on all purchases instead of specific categories, take a look at the Citi Double Cash Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser).
#2: SAVE LOTS OF MONEY BY PAYING $0 INTEREST FOR 18 MONTHS
Need to make a big purchase or purchases but can’t pay them off right away? Or already paying interest on a credit card balance? The fiscally wise thing to do is to get a card that offers a NO interest period so you can pay down the balance without paying any fees. These cards are basically equivalent to an interest-free loan, and will save you a ton of money.
Citi Simplicity Card
Can you say 0% intro APR for 18-MONTHS? Featuring the longest 0% APR period of all the balance transfer cards we’ve seen, Citi Simplicity (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers an 18-month 0% intro APR on all purchases and balance transfers. You’ll also enjoy no late fees and no annual fees.
Slate from Chase
With NO balance transfer fees, a lengthy 15-month 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases, and no annual fees,the Slate from Chase is a terrific balance transfer card. Not only will you save money on interest fees during the 0% 15-month intro APR period, but you’ll also be able to transfer your balance to the card (in the first 60 days) without paying any money. This is a rarity in the credit card world, and yet another huge money-saver this card offers. It’s a great tool for saving cash on any holiday purchases you might have lingering on your other credit cards.
#3: IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Whether you’re new to the world of credit or just want to improve your credit score, getting another credit card can help. That’s because another credit card will add to the total amount of revolving credit you have and help your credit utilization ratio. This ratio is basically just how much credit you have compared to how much of that credit you’re using. So if you have $10,000 in credit available and are using $5,000 of it your credit utilization ratio is 50%. Now if you get another credit card with $5,000 in credit your total credit will increase to $15,000, bringing your credit utilization ratio down to 33%. Since up to 30% of your credit score is based on whether you’ve maxed out your total credit line, getting another credit card can assist in improving your score. Just remember not to get too many new credit cards at one time as that might appear as if you need credit, potentially causing your credit score to dip.
There are even cards for people with limited credit or past/current credit issues that can help you improve your credit score with regular and timely payments against your balance.
Barclay Rewards Mastercard – Average Credit
Have average credit? Look no further than the Barclay Rewards Mastercard – Average Credit. Designed specifically for anyone with just average credit (estimated as being between 600 and 680 on the FICO® Score scale) it features a strong rewards program. Users will earn 2 points for every dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities and 1 point per dollar on everything else. You’ll also get free FICO® Scores, a great way to keep an ongoing eye on how your credit score is doing. There is no annual fee, and it reports to all 3 credit bureaus providing you with the opportunity to rebuild your credit.
Capital One Secured Mastercard
Have poor or limited credit? This is the card for you. Capital One Secured Mastercard is a secured credit card available to those with less-than-perfect credit. A secured credit card, or one “secured” by a deposit you put down to receive it. By making regular and on-time payments against your monthly balance you can help rebuild your credit. That’s because Capital One reports to all 3 credit bureaus, letting them know about your (hopefully) responsible financial behavior. There is a $29 annual fee, but that’s a pretty low price for not only getting a credit card with poor credit but also getting one that can help repair your past credit woes.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.