Ben Todd | Apr 16, 2017 | 3
Best Credit Cards Of 2017
We have tested some of the best credit cards in the country and narrowed down our best list to the top credit cards in the country. We have considered the quality of the lender’s service, the benefits of each card, and the specific uses that each card has. The article is laid out in categories to suit different users.
Best Credit Cards With A 0% Balance Transfer Offer
I had a tough time picking suitable a suitable one for the this category because there are so many others with different and interesting offers. For example, there are cards out there that have longer interest-free periods. There are cards that allow people with lower credit ratings to have them. There are some cards that do not charge a transfer fee. I picked the Bank Of America card this time because they offer a good quality card service, and their 0% balance transfer offer is suitably long without being littered with catches or unfair terms.
You Get 0% APR On Balance Transfers For 18 Billing Cycles
The Bank Of America has a great deal of credit cards on offer, so make sure you apply for the right one when you go on their website. Our “BankAmericard Credit card” links to the correct page. They give you 0% APR on your balance transfer for 18 billing cycles if you make your balance transfer within sixty days of opening your account. A billing cycle happens every month.
A Great 18-Month Offer When You Consider The Quality Of The Card
You can go online right now and find a bunch of credit cards that offer longer interest-free periods, but there are other factors that make the BankAmericard Credit card one of the best. This Bank Of America card does not ask for a very high credit rating, the bank does not have silly terms and credit limits, and the bank doesn’t have big annual fees. The bank does not have a variety of other catches that erode the quality of your credit service.
There Is No Annual Fee For Having The Card
The BankAmericard Credit card is a convenient card that doesn’t demand a maintenance fee. You will have to pay interest on your balance after your 18-month period is over, but the main reason why people have 0% balance transfer cards is so they can pay off their debt before they start paying interest on it again. If you decide to use your card for purchases rather than for its balance transfer offer, then remember there is a 25-day grace period where you may clear your balance so that you avoid paying interest on the money you spent.
Only A 3% Balance Transfer Fee
The bank has to make money on your balance transfer in some way. If people stick to their plans and pay off their balance before the interest-free period is over, then the credit company or bank doesn’t make a profit. That is why a 3% one-off charge is added to your account when you make your balance transfer.
A Reasonably Low APR On Purchases And Balance Transfers
After the 0% interest-free period is over, you will have to pay an APR on your interest that ranges from between 11.74% and 21.74%. That is a very good rate for a credit card, and it is also the APR you pay on purchases too. If you are using this 0% balance transfer card to pay off your debt, then you shouldn’t be making purchases.
They Reward People Who Are Careful With Their Money
The BankAmericard credit card only asks that you have a credit rating of 690, which is generous when you consider that any rate under 630 is considered to be poor. If you make a late payment at any point, then your interest-free period ends and you have to start paying an APR of 29.99%. They are happy to take people on who do not have an excellent credit rating, but they will punish you if you mismanage your money and miss a payment.
Free Access To Your FICO Score And Credit Educational Content
You can see your updated FICO score every month for free with their mobile app, or by signing in to your account via a web browser. You are also given access to their library of free educational material that teaches you all about credit. It is handy for people trying to find the best way of getting out of debt while also building their credit rating.
ShopSafe, $0 Liability, And Card Blocking
Just like with most major credit cards, call them up if you lose your card or your card is stolen and they will put a block on your card. After that point, you are no longer liable for the money that goes missing. The BankAmericard Credit card also has ShopSafe, which allows you to generate a temporary credit card number. Generate the number and use it to shop online or over the phone. Your real credit card number remains a secret, which makes it harder for merchants to steal from you.
Overdraft Protection And Online Statements
You can opt out of paper statements to avoid their fees and just stick to online statements. You may also opt for overdraft protection, which is usually something your bank checking account is auto-enrolled into. Don’t enroll with overdraft protection. Contrary to popular belief, overdraft protection ALLOWS your card to overdraw. Opt out of, or stay out of their overdraft protection and you will be unable to overdraw your account. The only time your account will overdraw is if you do not pay the bill by the due date.
Use The Mobile App And Digital Wallet Technology
There is a Bank Of America mobile app that will allow you access to your credit card account. You may also add your America credit card to your mobile device and start shopping with digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal and Android Pay.
My Comments And My Opinion
You should only use this credit card for balance transfers. Do not use it for cash advances because they charge APRs between 14.74% and 25.74% for cash advances. If you miss a payment at any point, then start looking for another credit card to do another balance transfer because the 29.99% APR rate will last indefinitely. Do not use the card for cash advances. Wires from non-financial institutions will cost you 5% of your transfer amount with a minimum of $10. Cash advances by direct deposit or check cash advances also come with a 3% transaction fee with a minimum fee of $10. Other types of cash advance cost 5% of the transaction with a minimum fee of $10. Do not enroll for overdraft protection because it is not in your best interest, and do not use the card abroad because they charge a 3% fee for foreign transactions. Use it for purchases if you really have to, otherwise, use the card for its fantastic balance transfer offer and get your credit card paid off before the interest-free period is over.
Honorable Mentions For 0% Balance Transfers
Required Credit Score: 707
Get 0% APR on balance transfers for 14 months
There is a 3% balance transfer fee
Get 0% APR on purchases for 14 months
Get cash back at 1% for purchases
Regular APR is between 11.74% and 23.74%
There is no maintenance fee
Required Credit Score: 685
Get 0% APR on balance transfers for15 months
There is a 0% to 5% balance transfer fee
Get 0% APR on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR is between 15.49% and 24.24%
There is no maintenance fee
Best Credit Cards For Traveling With A Sign-Up Bonus
Trying to find the best credit card for travel bonuses alone is futile because they are competing so hard that our choice would be obsolete within a month. Instead, we present the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Their travel perks are great, and they have a fantastic sign up bonus that beats other sign-up bonuses for travel-friendly credit cards.
Bonus Travel Points For New Users
When you sign up, you can earn a reward of up to $625 off your travel expenses. You have to spend $4000 on purchases during the first three months and then redeem your points through your Chase Ultimate Rewards program. You receive 50,000 bonus points for spending $4000, and it is those points that you may redeem for travel $625 of credit.
Use The Chase Ultimate Rewards Program
You get points on your card for making purchases. You do not get points for anything that is considered to be a cash advance, such as if you buy lottery tickets, instigate balance transfers, draw out money, and things of that nature. When you apply, you will only have a credit limit of between $1000 and $2400, so you will have to pay off your balance every month and then spend again during the first three months in order to receive your 50,000 bonus points.
Get Cash, Gift Cards Or Travel And Your Points Don’t Expire
The rewards program allows you to spend the points you earn. You may spend your points on cash where you have money transferred to your bank account. You may use your points to buy gift cards, or you may spend them on travel. Your points will not expire so long as your account is open, and so long as your account status does not change.
APR Rates Between 16.49% And 23.49%
Most credit cards offer APR rates between 23% and 27%, so a rate of 23.49% for a good credit rating, and 16.46% for an excellent credit rating is quite good. Even the cash advance APR is good. It is good because many credit cards charge 26% or more for cash advances. There is a grace period of 21 days on your credit card. That is the amount of time you have to pay off your balance before you are charged interest. Before your credit card payment is due, pay off your balance during the grace period and avoid being charged interest.
The First Year’s Membership Is Free
There is an annual membership fee, which we usually refer to as the maintenance fee. It is $95 per year, which is only around eight dollars per month. However, to sweeten the deal, Chase gives you the first year for free. That way, you may earn your starting bonus without the reward being muddied with an annual fee.
They Do Not Impose Foreign Transaction Fees
Some debit, credit and store cards will charge you extra for transactions undertaken abroad. Transactions such as withdrawing money from ATMs, buying things, and renting things may cost you extra money if you use other cards, but not if you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Usually, other companies justify the fee because they have to convert your dollars to another currency. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has been engineered to try to attract travelers, so it makes sense that they do not charge foreign transaction fees.
They Have Points Promotions
You may have noticed that other online reviews mentioning such as how you get extra points for airfares, hotels, car rentals, and dining purchases. I am not mentioning specifics here because they rotate the things you can earn extra points on. By the time you read this, their points promotions may have changed to something else. Their longest points program has people earning two points for travel and one point for other purchases.
There Are No Travel Restrictions Or Blackouts
Some credit cards will allow you to spend your points and rewards on travel, but they have blackout dates or restrictions to try to lower their losses. For example, IHG Rewards gives you 80,000 in reward points when you sign up, but you can only spend your points in IHG hotels and partner hotels. The Chase Ultimate Rewards system doesn’t have blackouts or restrictions. Book through the program, and you can book for whenever and however you wish.
My Comments And My Opinion
This is card for travelers, it is not a card to rebuild your credit rating, nor is it good for balance transfers. Sign up for the card if you travel two or more times per year, otherwise you may not get your money’s worth when you pay the maintenance fee. Pair up this card with other rewards and store cards to maximize the points you get for traveling. You need a good or better credit rating to get this credit card. You need a credit rating of around 690 or more, which is not bad when you consider that their reasonable APR rate. The card is free for a year, so you can try it out for a few months. If you don’t like the card, you can cancel it before paying a maintenance fee. The sign-up bonus is okay, but the spending requirement of $4000 in through months is high. If you are going to take advantage of it, then go all out and pay all your household expenses with your card and use your wages to repay the balance before interest accrues.
Best Credit Cards For Cash Back With A Sign-Up Bonus
Finding a good card with a reasonable cash-back offer was tough. It was a tight race between the many credit cards on the market. The Discover it – CashBack Match card won this category because it has a sign up bonus that may double your 5% cash-back credits after just one year. They don’t make getting your cash back very easy, but if you play the game, you can make a reasonable amount of cash back.
Earn 5% Cash Back On Rotating Category Items
You can earn cash back on a variety of different purchases. Discover changes the categories you can earn cash back on. They do it every three months. One quarter may reward you with 5% cash back for travel and fuel purchases. The next quarter may reward you for dining and grocery purchases. Maximize your cash-back reward by keeping up-to-date with which categories and which purchases pay the most rewards.
Earn 1% On Other Purchases
You get cash back for buying things with your card. They do not give you cash-back rewards for things that may be considered cash advances. For example, withdrawing money, transferring money, and gambling with money will not pay cash-back rewards.
They Run Promotions With Partner Companies
Earn extra rewards by keeping up to date with the promotions that Discover runs with its partner companies. You have to opt in to their promotional emails, reminders, texts and so forth. They let you know which companies you should do business with in order to receive further rewards from your Discover it CashBack Match card.
Collect Your Rewards That Will Not Expire
You may collect your cash back by having the money credited to your credit card account. Discover does not send a lump sum of money to your checking account. They give you your money back in different ways, such as by crediting your credit card balance with money. You may also redeem your cash back by applying it to an Amazon purchase. You may donate it to charity, or you may buy e-certificates or gift cards with your cash-back rewards. Your cash-back rewards will not expire while your account is open and active.
Refer A Friend For A $50 Reward
The reward you get for referring a friend comes as part of their cash-back scheme. That means it is treated like cash back. You have to spend it in Amazon, or take it as a credit on your balance, buy e-certificates or gift cards. Refer a friend using the method mentioned on their website, and if your friend applies for the card, is accepted, and opens an account, then you receive your $50 credit. Sign up a few people per month, and the commission you earn pay will help you pay off your credit card balance each month.
An End-Of-The-First Year Bonus
The Discover it CashBack Match card is called a CashBack Match because at the end of your first year you get a reward. The amount of credit you have earned in cash back is matched. If you have earned $25 over the year, then they give you another $25 in cash-back credit at the end of your first year. Be aware that the offer only works during your first year, and if you are reading this after 2017, then the offer may have ended. It started in February, and the website doesn’t indicate that the offer will go on indefinitely.
There Is No Annual Fee And There Is A Card Freeze Option
The Discover it CashBack Match card offers a number of sign-up offers, so one would expect a monthly or annual maintenance fee. However, Discover has not placed a maintenance fee on this card. Your maintenance-fee-free card also has a freeze-your-card security option. If your card is lost or stolen, you can have your card activity frozen until you find it. No purchases, cash advances, withdrawals or balance transfers will be authorized until you unfreeze your card.
There Is A Balance Transfer Offer
Transfer your balance and it will cost you 3% of the amount you transferred. Your transferred balance is then interest free for up to 14 months. The 0% interest offer is only available during the first 14 months of your card being opened, so it is in your interest to make your balance transfer right away.
Customer Services Are Based In The US
Love the country you are in, even if that means loving a president you didn’t vote for personally. Give credit to companies that hire homegrown Americans and do not outsource to other countries. Having a US-based customer service department means people in your country get to make a living, and you get to talk to somebody who doesn’t speak with broken English.
They Put Your FICO Score On Your Monthly Statement
You receive your FICO score and a chart to show its progress. Giving people their FICO credit score for free seems to be a growing trend in the credit card world. In addition, you may pay your bill up to midnight of the due date without it affecting your credit score negatively.
No OverLimit Fee, Foreign Fee Or First-Late Fee
The fact they have no over limit fee is no surprise because they do not allow you to go over your limit unless you miss a payment. No foreign transaction fee means that you do not pay extra when you make withdrawals and purchases overseas. It will cost you the same in fees as it does when you are in the USA. In addition, as a one-time perk, the first time you are late with your repayment they will waive the fee.
My Comments And My Opinion
I don’t like companies that overly reward people for signing up while they ignore their loyal customers. I prefer companies that take care of their long-term customers. Nevertheless, many people flip from one card to another to take advantage of their starter offers, and the Discover it CashBack Match card is loaded with sign-up offers. The Discover it CashBack Match card doesn’t have a maintenance fee, which is a big plus, although most credit cards shouldn’t charge maintenance fees because they already make enough money from the interest people pay. If you are the sort of person who likes to soak up the benefits of getting a new credit card and then cancelling it when you have bled it dry, then the Discover it CashBack Match card is for you.
If you are good with your money and able to handle credit cards without getting into debt, then you can exploit the credit card industry and sign up for and cancel cards as frequently as every six-to-twelve months while still enjoying all their great sign-up benefits. Don’t feel too bad for the credit card companies. They know that most people who sign up for credit cards will get themselves into massive debt at some point. If you are able to skim off their benefits without paying their fees and interest, then you are one of life’s winners. Plus, so long as you do not cancel your cards within six months of opening them, and so long as you do not sign up for too many at once, then it will not harm your credit rating.
Best Credit Cards For People With Average Credit
Deciding which card offered the best deal for people with average credit was very difficult because there are quite a few of them. We eventually went for the Capital One QuicksilverOne cash rewards credit card because the service is excellent, the cash-back rewards are superb, and they accept people with credit ratings as low as 630. There are credit cards out there that let you have a credit card with a lower credit rating, but many of the cards on offer have stupidly high APRs.
Get 1.5% Back On Your Purchases
You get cash back on every purchase you make with your Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. The rewards are unlimited, which means there is no limit on how much you earn in cash back, and there are no categories that are exempt. So long as the money you spend is on a purchase, you will get your cash back at the end of the year.
A Rewards Calculator On The Capital One Website
On the image below, you can see what their cash-back rewards calculator looks like. Taking the example in the image, if you spend $100 every month, then you get $1.50 back each month. At the end of the year, you get $18 cash back.
No Rotating Categories Or Unfair Conditions
Other cards that offer cash back will often offer a higher cash-back rate because they have rotating categories. They will give you cash back on fuel purchases one month, and then on groceries the next most, and so on. The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card doesn’t have categories. Just as long as your spending is some sort of purchase, then you will receive your 1.5% cash back on the transaction.
Your Cash Back Rewards Do Not Expire
You are not forced to collect your cash-back rewards. If you have cash-back credits in your account, then you may redeem them whenever you wish. Some store cards and credit cards will have your rewards expire after a while, but that doesn’t happen with this Capital One card.
Access Your Account Online Or With The Capital One App
Capital One has its own app. Gain access to your credit card account online, or download and install the app. You can only gain access to one credit card or Capital One account at a time, but that is a security feature rather than a flaw. You can sign in with SureSwipe too, but make sure you don’t forget your information or you may end up locking yourself out of the app.
An Average Credit Rating Is All That Is Needed
The website itself says you only need an average credit rating in order to qualify for a Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. If you have excellent credit, you can apply for their Capital One QuickSilverOne. An average credit rating means having a credit score between 630 and 689.
Get Free Access To Your Credit Score
You may use CreditWise through your Capital One account. CreditWise is free to use if you are not a Capital One user. If you use your Capital One account, you may gain access to credit monitoring tools that are powered by CreditWise.
Raise Your Credit Limit Within Six Months
You are given a credit limit between $1000 and $2500 when you first open your credit card. If you use your card and pay off the balance in full for the first five months, then you are given the option of increasing your credit limit. From applying all the way to having your credit limit raised, it takes between six and seven months.
The Annual Fee For This Card
It will cost you $39 every year to maintain your card. In order to feel any benefit from the cash-back rewards system, you need to spend at least $215 every month on your card. If you do, then the cash-back amount will cancel out your annual fee.
The APR For Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you have a credit rating of less than 700, then the APR is 24.99%, which is not a bad rate. Most credit cards hover around the APR of between 23% and 27%, so 24.99% is about right for the credit rating required to have the card.
Personalize Your Payments To Suit You And Set App Alerts
You are able to pick your own payment method, be it direct debit, check, online transfer, or payment in cash at a local branch. If you use the mobile app (mentioned earlier), you may set up credit card bill payment reminders using your installed Calendar widget/app.
Receive Alerts And Set Up App Alerts
You may also sign up for account alerts where you receive text messages or emails about your transactions and your account. Your account also receives standard credit card fraud liability where you get your money back if your card is used after being stolen or lost.
My Comments And My Opinion
I trust quite a few banks, credit and financial companies to handle my business, money or service with care, quality and efficient professionalism. Capital One is one of the money companies that I trust. They entered the market when banks and lending companies had become complacent, where customer service and doing the right thing was secondary to competing for a fatter profit margin. Capital One swooped in and scooped up thousands of people who were unhappy with their current lender and offered them a fair deal. If you are going to muddy your feet by borrowing, you can avoid treading on glass with Capital One. Feel free to throw some of your business their way.
Best Credit Cards For People Wanting To Build Credit
There are a few credit cards out there that will help you build your credit rating. They are secured credit cards where you have to pay a deposit in order to get a credit limit. These are not cards you use because you need them, you use them to build your credit. Treat your secured card like a credit card by using it to buy things and then pay off the balance, and over time your credit rating will start to rise.
No Credit Check At All
The required credit rating above says you need a 350 credit rating, but there is no credit check. A rating of 350 is as low as you can go, and even if your credit rating has hit rock bottom, you can still apply for an OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card and be accepted.
You Will Be Accepted Within Minutes
The OpenSky Secured Visa credit card application process is one of the fastest application processes because there is very little to do. They do not run credit checks, so you can apply online and be accepted right away. The sad part is that they make you wait over ten days to receive your card. Some online users have said that the company has taken their deposit out of their bank account during the application process, so be ready with the money in your account before you apply (just in case).
They Report To Three Credit Scoring Agencies
The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card was built to help people rebuild their credit. That is why they report to three credit-scoring agencies. All you have to do is spend on your account, pay off the balance before the due date, and your credit rating will start to rise.
It Is A Secured Credit Card With Limits As High As $3000
You get to choose your credit limit because it is a secured credit card. If you want a credit limit of $500, then deposit $500 with the company. They hold your money until the day you close your account, at which point they will give you your deposit back.
Lending To Yourself And Improving Your Credit Rating
It is a secured credit card, which means you are lending to yourself. You put in your deposit and that is your credit limit. Spend on your card and try to repay it before you are charged interest. Manage your account well, and your credit rating goes up. When your credit rating has gone up high enough for you to get a real credit card with a good APR, you can close your secured account and get your deposit back.
There Is A Small Annual Fee For The Card
It only costs you $35 per year for your card. It isn’t a lot of money for a credit-building tool. No matter how bad your credit rating is, you will be accepted, and you will be able to start building your credit score, so it is worth the money.
An APR Of Just 17.89% On Purchases And Cash Advances
The purchase and cash-advance APR is the same. Most credit cards have a higher APR for cash advances, but remember that you are borrowing your own money, so they have no reason to charge you a higher rate for cash advances. If you miss a payment, then your APR shoots up to 22%.
A Few Warnings About OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card
The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is the only credit card on this article that I am going to say bad things about. This article is about the best of the best, and this is the best credit-building credit card you can choose, but it has a few flaws you should know about. Firstly, the website is terrible and often has technical problems. Secondly, payments take over a week to clear, so pay off your balance long before the due date. Thirdly, try to avoid scheduled payments because they often don’t go through. Finally, it will take ten days or more to receive your card, so be prepared to wait.
My Comments And My Opinion
Due to the fact that the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card has so many issues, you probably shouldn’t deposit a very large amount. Just throw in a few hundred because the money will be tied up for a while if you have problems. Also, once your credit rating goes up and starts to level out, start looking for other credit building methods. If you get your credit rating up to 690, cancel the card and get a refund of your deposit because it is no use to you after that point. If you are worried about the technical and payment problems that OpenSky has, then consider the “Discover it Secured Card” or the “First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card.” They both have higher APRs, but they have a better online reputation.