happy young woman with a credit card went on shoppingWhile this information was accurate at the time this post was published, these cards’ offers and perks may have expired or changed over time. Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to find the right card for your needs.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a credit card out there for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a rewards credit card or a balance transfer card, there are options for you. One of the keys that helps connect you with the right card is your credit score.

Why does my credit score matter?

Credit scores are very important when it comes to applying for a credit card, as they are one of the key factors — along with your personal, employment and income information — that creditors look at when they determine whether you’re approved or not. If your credit score does not meet the requirements of the creditor, you’re likely getting denied. Every time you apply for credit, your credit score goes down a bit in the short term. This means that the more you apply for credit cards that you aren’t approved for, the lower your score will be, and the harder it will be to ever get approved for the card you want. Thus it’s essential for you to not only know your credit score, but also make sure you’re applying for a card that requires an appropriate credit score range.

How do I figure out my credit score?

Before you start looking into credit cards, you’ll need to understand how credit scores are ranked as well as know how to check your credit score.

Credit scores are ranked in sections ranging from “excellent” to “bad.” These sections include certain ranges of scores. For example, “excellent” usually pertains to a score around 750 and above, “good” often falls around the 700’s, “average” sits around 670 and “bad” often includes any score under 600.

To find out where your credit scores (there are three of them, one for each credit bureau) range, you’ll need to need to know what your current credit scores are. While you’re legally entitled to one free credit report from each bureau (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) every year through AnnualCreditReport.com, these reports do not include credit scores. In fact, if you want a copy of each credit score, you’ll have to pay a fee (usually upwards of $7 per score) to get a one-time score.

An alternative to forking up all that money for your credit score is to sign up for a credit monitoring service. While most (but not all) of these require a monthly fee, the top-rated services offer a free trial. This means you’ll sign up for the service, immediately get all three copies of your credit reports and scores and not have to pay a dime. If you decide you’d like to keep track of your credit scores regularly — something that can help you keep a grasp on your financial health as well as alert you to potential credit fraud — you’ll want to consider continuing the service after the trial period ends.

Top Credit Cards for Every Credit Score

Regardless of whether your credit score is 750 or 550, there are options for you. To help you connect with the best options, we detailed the top credit cards for every credit score. It should be noted that even if your score is in one of the ratings detailed below, you are not guaranteed to be approved for the card, as the creditor may find another aspect of your application, such as your annual income, unfavorable.

Excellent Credit — typically 750 and above

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

If you want one of the best cash back rewards cards on the market, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is the one for you. To start, you’ll earn 6% at supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), an uncapped 3% at gas stations and select department stores as well as 1% on other purchases. Next, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, you’ll get a $150 bonus (in the form of statement credit) — combine that with the $200 back you can get from the limited time offer and that’s a total intro bonus of $350! Throw in a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (then the standard rate applies), and you have one well-rounded card. If the $95 annual fee is a deal-breaker, you may want to check out the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, as it offers comparable rewards with no annual fee.

Citi Simplicity Card

Looking to pay no interest or complete a balance transfer? If so, the Citi Simplicity Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is the one for you, as it offers a whopping 21-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (then the standard APR applies). That’s almost two years without interest! Although you will have to pay a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater), you won’t have to pay other fees because the card doesn’t have any late fees, penalty rate and annual fee — ever!

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

As an option for those with excellent credit, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is one of the best travel rewards cards available, which is why it holds the top spot on our Travel Rewards Credit Card Analysis. In addition to earning 2X miles on all purchases, you’ll also get 40,000 bonus miles — worth $400 in travel — when you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. And every time you redeem your miles, you’ll earn 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption. Although the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard has an $89 annual fee, it’s waived for the first year.

Good Credit — usually around 700

Chase Freedom

Combining generous cash back rewards with a lengthy 0% intro APR, Chase Freedom is a top option for anyone with good credit. With this card you’ll earn 5% cash back in combined purchases (up to $1,500) in categories that rotate on a quarterly basis as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases. While you’ll have to enroll every quarter to earn the 5% on rotating categories, you will automatically earn the 1% back. Next, when you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, you’ll get a $150 bonus. Top that off with a 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers as well as no annual fee, and you can’t go wrong with Chase Freedom.

Chase Slate

Carrying a balance on a credit card and sick of paying interest? Chase Slate may be the solution for you, as this card merges the long 0% intro APR and no annual fee of Chase Freedom (detailed above) with some added balance transfer perks. With this card you’ll get a 15-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as a 60-day $0 intro balance transfer fee — this means you won’t have to pay any fee if you transfer the balance within 60 days. Chase Slate is one of the few cards we’ve seen with a $0 intro balance transfer fee, which is a pretty solid benefit that saves you $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater). Although Chase Slate won’t earn you any cash back or travel rewards, it’s the best balance transfer credit card for someone with good credit.

Average Credit — typically around 670

Discover it Cash Back

If you have not-so-perfect credit or better, the Discover it Cash Back is a great card to have in your wallet. That’s because this card, which is available to those with average credit or better, offers stellar cash back rewards and a long 0% intro APR period. To start, you’ll earn 5% back in categories that rotate on a quarterly basis (up to $1,500/quarter in combined purchases, then it’s 1%) and 1% on all other purchases. Next, at the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will double all of the cash back you’ve earned throughout the year. This means if you’ve earned $300 cash back in your first year, Discover will give you another $300 for a total of $600 back! As if that isn’t enough, you’ll also pay no annual fee and get a 14-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee).

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Another top choice for those with average credit is the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Although there is a $39 annual fee, Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card doesn’t require any signups to earn rewards and you’ll get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.

Bad Credit — usually under 600

If you have bad credit, the best option for you is a secured credit card. Unlike the other cards on this list, secured credit cards are designed to help you build credit, as most report to all three credit bureaus. Although they can be used like a credit card (merchants won’t know the difference), they function a little differently than a traditional credit card. Here’s how it works: When you open the card, you put down a deposit that is used in the event that you default on your payment. The amount of your deposit determines your credit limit. As long as you continue to make all of your payments on time, you’ll be refunded the deposit when you close the card.

Discover it Secured

Discover it Secured is the best of the best when it comes to secured credit cards. This card reports to all three credit bureaus so it’ll help you build your credit rather quickly (assuming you use the card responsibly), has no annual fee and even earns you cash back rewards — a rarity for most secured cards. In terms of cash back, the Discover it Secured card gets you 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, at the end of your first year, Discover will double any cash back you earn. This means if you earn $100 in cash back, you will receive $200. The Discover it Secured card also makes determining your credit line easy, as it mirrors the amount of your security deposit — if you put down a $200 deposit, you’ll get a $200 credit line. And after one year of responsible use, Discover gives you the opportunity to get your security deposit back (if you’re eligible). With its cash back rewards, the Discover it Secured card is a great option that combines the benefits of a secured card with the perks of a traditional credit card.

Capital One Secured MasterCard

The Capital One Secured Mastercard is another smart pick when it comes to secured credit cards because it not only reports to all three credit bureaus, which helps you build credit faster, but it also has no annual fee. A deposit of $49, $99 or $200 is required to open the card, and a credit line is assigned to you based on your deposit amount and creditworthiness. As long as you make your payments on time, Capital One Secured Mastercard can help you build your credit scores and strong credit habits.

Visit our credit card reviews and use our Credit Card Finder tool to search for more cards that match your credit score.

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.