The time of year has come to make resolutions and goals for the new year to come. Although making a resolution is easy, sticking to it is not. Some people resolve to lose weight and get healthy, while others want to read 100 books or visit every museum in their city. A great many people make resolutions related to finance, and the good news is that a credit card can play a helpful role in ensuring you stick to your resolution, whatever it may be. To help you make the most out of your 2017, we’ve outlined the top credit cards for a variety of resolutions.
Best credit cards if your resolution is to …
Pay off debt
It can be far too easy to get in over your head, especially when it comes to credit card debt. If you’re carrying a balance on one or more credit cards, chances are you’re paying a hefty amount each month in interest. Transferring your balance to a credit card with a long 0% intro APR on balance transfers can give you breathing room to tackle your debt and pay it down, saving money over the long run.
If you’re looking for the longest 0% intro APR period we’ve seen, the Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is your card. In addition to enjoying 21 months of 0% intro APR on both balance transfers and purchases, cardholders won’t have to pay any late fees or worry about not making their payment due date, as you can set your own. Keep in mind, there is a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5 of each transfer, whichever amount is higher. Other perks of this credit card include no annual fee and Citi Price Rewind, which looks for a lower price on items you buy with your Citi card on retail sites for up to 60 days afterward. If a lower price is found, you’ll be refunded the difference, up to $300 ($1,200 max annually).
Another excellent choice for balance transfers is the Chase Slate, which features a 15-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases. What makes this card stand out from its competitors is a $0 intro balance transfer fee during the first 60 days your account is open — that means you can transfer a balance during the first 60 days of account opening for free! Balance transfers made after the first 60 days will be subject to a 5% or $5 fee, whichever is greater. There is no annual fee with this credit card, and you will get free monthly Experian FICO credit scores to help keep an eye on your credit.
Travel more often
One of the most popular bucket list items for people of all ages is to travel. Whether you’ve never left the country or are a certifiable travel bug, a travel rewards credit card can help you pay for future trips by earning you miles or points with your purchases — which you can redeem for airfare, hotel stays and more.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a stellar choice for any travel junkie, as it offers incredibly generous rewards along with flexible redemption options. You earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining out as well as 1 point per $1 spent on everything else — but that’s not all. As a new cardholder, you can earn up to 55,000 bonus points; 50,000 after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and an additional 5,000 after adding your first authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months. You can redeem this bonus for either $687 via Chase Ultimate Rewards or a whopping $1,195 if you move the points over to the Hyatt Gold Passport frequent travel program, as Chase Sapphire Preferred Card owners can transfer their points 1:1 for free to other popular travel rewards programs, something you don’t see often. You also get a 25% bonus if you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and you can choose to redeem your points for cash or gift cards. Rounding things out with this credit card is a $0 annual fee the first year ($95 afterward) and no foreign transaction fees for peace of mind when you use it abroad.
Want to travel but don’t have the best credit? The Discover it Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card accepts applicants with average to excellent credit (a credit score around 670), and it offers plenty of great perks. In fact, this card has benefits usually reserved for those with great credit and it’s also one of our top-rated cards for those with excellent credit. In addition to earning an unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent, new cardholders will see all the miles they earn in the first year doubled at the end of the year. That means if you earn 50,000 miles your first year, you’ll get another 50,000 miles for a total of 100,000 miles! You can redeem your miles in any amount for cash or a statement credit, and the Discover it Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card charges no foreign transaction fees or annual fee, making it a smart card to have in your wallet wherever you go. Cardholders will also benefit from 14 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and free FICO credit scores printed on their monthly statements.
A top-notch cash back rewards credit card is the key to getting the most out of the purchases you make every day. If you want to save money in the new year, you can’t go wrong with a cash back credit card with rewards tailored to your personal shopping habits.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is a cash back money-making machine, earning you 3% cash back at U.S. grocery stores (up to $6,000 in purchases a year, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is also a cash back bonus of $100 after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, and on top of all that, you’ll get a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee) and pay no annual fee. If you’re someone who spends at least $500/month on groceries, you might consider the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, which earns 6% cash back on groceries (up to $6,000/year) and offers a $150 bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months. Keep in mind, there is a $95 annual fee with this higher-earning credit card (this blog post explains when the fee makes sense), so if that’s a dealbreaker you’d probably want to stick with the fee-less Blue Cash Everyday Card.
Chase Freedom – $150 Bonus features an amazing 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 5% balance transfer fee) along with 5% cash back on purchases in quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500/quarter in combined purchases, then it’s 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. While you have to activate the 5% back rewards, you can count on Chase to send reminders when it’s time to sign up for new cash back categories, and redeeming your rewards is as easy as choosing between cash, gift cards or a statement credit. You can also transfer your rewards at a 1:1 ratio to Amazon.com, which is a great option for frequent Amazon shoppers. On top of the long-term rewards, when you spend $500 in the first 3 months of owning this card, you’ll receive a $150 cash bonus! Finally, there is no annual fee with this credit card.
Start a business
There’s no better feeling than putting in a hard day’s work, especially when you work for yourself. If you’ve always wanted to start your own business, 2017 is the year to do it, and a top-rated business credit card is a smart choice for keeping personal and business expenses separate.
The Ink Business Cash Credit Card is perfect for startups as well as established businesses. It offers a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 5% balance transfer fee) and no annual fee, as well as top-notch rewards. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $25,000 spent on office supplies, cable, Internet and telecom services, 2% on gas and dining (up to $25,000 a year) and 1% on all other purchases. In addition, when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, you’ll get a $300 cash bonus. Add in free employee cards and bonus features like a mobile app that lets you take photos of receipts and file them instantly, and you’ve got a great business credit card.
Businesses wanting to earn generous cash back rewards can look to the Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which earns cardholders an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases with no categories or limits to worry about. New cardholders will also receive a $500 cash bonus after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months after approval. There aren’t any foreign transaction fees, so you can take this credit card abroad, and free employee credit cards ensure you can maximize your business earnings. There is a $59 annual fee with this card, but it’s waived the first year. Business owners looking for a similar card with travel rewards will want to check out the Capital One Spark Miles for Business.
Rebuild your credit
It isn’t uncommon to have less-than-perfect credit, but if you’re struggling with poor credit or no credit whatsoever, you might think a credit card is out of your reach. That’s where secured credit cards come in. They look and act just like credit cards, but you put down a security deposit to open the card and your credit limit is based on that deposit. Since most of these cards report to all three credit bureaus, they’re an excellent way to rebuild your credit.
The Discover it Secured Card – No Annual Fee is not only a great choice for those looking to build or rebuild their credit, but it also allows you to earn cash back rewards. The minimum security deposit is $200, and there is no annual fee to worry about. All gas station and restaurant purchases you make with the card will earn 2% cash back (up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1%) and you’ll earn 1% cash back on everything else. As an added bonus, Discover will automatically double all cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! Other benefits of this credit card include no foreign transaction fees and free FICO credit scores printed on your monthly statements, which helps you keep track of your progress.
If you’d prefer to pay a less steep deposit and don’t mid missing out on cash back rewards, the Capital One Secured MasterCard accepts $49, $99 and $200 deposits, determined by your creditworthiness, for a starting credit line of $200. There is no annual fee with this card, and so long as you make timely payments on your monthly bill, you can use it to help rebuild your credit, as your payment activity will be reported to all three credit bureaus. There are also no foreign transaction fees with this card, and you can access higher credit limits after making your first 5 payments on time.
Get your first credit card
Whether you’re a college student just getting started or an adult who’s never bothered to get a credit card until now, opening your first credit card is an exciting experience. Here are a couple of smart choices for first credit cards.
The Discover it – Cashback Match makes a wonderful first credit card, no matter who you are. You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made within select categories, which rotate on a quarterly basis, as well as 1% cash back on everything else. The 5% cash back categories for the first 3 months of 2017 are gas stations, ground transportation such as taxis, Lyft, Uber, railways and rental cars, and wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club, BJ’s and Costco online. The icing on the cake is the automatic doubling of all cash back earned in your first year, which is a serious perk, as it means you’re basically earning 10% back on rotating categories for the first year. Other noteworthy features of Discover it – Cashback Match include a 14-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee), no annual fee or foreign transaction fees and TransUnion FICO scores printed on every monthly statement.
Students will love the Discover it for Students, which offers a $20 cash back bonus each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to 5 years, in addition to 5% cash back on purchases made within quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500 per quarter) and 1% cash back on everything else. There aren’t any late fees, foreign transaction fees or annual fee to worry about — great news for those on student budgets — and you get 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 6 months. Free TransUnion FICO scores printed on every statement let you keep an eye on your credit, while fun card art styles let you show off your individualism.
Not seeing the perfect card to fulfill your resolutions in the coming year? Check out our credit card reviews for detailed analysis on tons of cards and find the right one for you.
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 content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.