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The Best Credit Cards

If you spend a good chunk of your annual budget on flights, it's usually a smart move to have a credit card that earns bonus miles on airline purchases and gives you extra perks and benefits when you travel. If you fly frequently with a specific airline, you should absolutely consider getting one of its cobranded credit cards. You can also get a more general travel credit card that still provides value on airline purchases.

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Best Cash Back Credit Cards >>

Cash back is the most flexible of all credit card rewards. Instead of points that you have to figure out how to redeem — and that you might not be able to redeem for something you want — you get real dollars and cents you can use for, well, anything. Depending on the card you use and where you use it, you'll earn cash rewards of 1% to 6% of the amount of each transaction. Some cards pay a single, flat rate on every purchase, while others pay higher rates in specific categories and a lower rate on everything else.

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Best Secured Credit Cards >>

What Is a Secured Credit Card? A secured credit card is a type of credit card for people with limited or damaged credit that requires the user to place a refundable security deposit, which the card’s issuer holds as collateral until the account is closed. This deposit makes it less risky for banks and credit unions to issue credit cards to inexperienced applicants and people with a history of payment problems. If something goes wrong, the issuer can just keep the money. As a result, secured credit cards offer the highest approval odds of any type of credit card. And they don’t need to charge the same high fees as unsecured credit cards for bad credit. A secured credit card can help you build or rebuild your credit, just like a “normal credit card.” In fact, secured credit cards are indistinguishable from unsecured cards on credit reports. All major secured cards report account information to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis. And if that information reflects on-time payments, your credit standing should improve, assuming you manage the rest of your finances responsibly. The one thing a secured credit card generally won’t give you is the ability to actually borrow money. Most secured credit cards are fully secured, which means your spending limit will equal your deposit amount. It is very rare to find a partially secured credit card, which gives you a line of credit in excess of the amount that you put down. So a secured card is not where you should turn for emergency financing. But you should definitely get a secured credit card if lost-cost credit improvement is your top priority. How Secured Credit Cards Work: You place a refundable security deposit using a bank transfer. A debit card or check could be an option, too, depending on the card. Some secured cards require you to place a deposit when you apply, others after you’re approved. The minimum deposit for most secured cards is $200 or $300. The amount of your deposit becomes your spending limit. This prevents you from spending more than you can afford to repay, which benefits both you and the card issuer in the long run. For what it’s worth, you can usually add to your deposit over time for more spending power. The credit card company holds your deposit as collateral. The funds are usually kept in a custodial account that does not bear interest. Purchases and payments are the same as with any other credit card. You can spend up to your credit limit. You’ll have to pay your bill by the due date each month. And any balance you carry from month to month will accrue interest. You get the deposit back when you close your account. You’ll have to bring your account balance to zero first. But after you do (or the issuer subtracts what you owe), you’ll get a check or bank transfer returning your deposit money. After using a secured credit card responsibly for at least 12 months, you should be able to graduate to an unsecured credit card. Your secured card’s issuer might even offer to convert your account to unsecured by giving back your security deposit. If your card doesn’t charge an annual fee, you should definitely consider keeping it open. This would help make your credit history appear longer, benefitting your credit score. But you should still shop around to see if you qualify for a better card to use on an everyday basis.

Travel Credit Card >>

A travel rewards credit card may be worth it, depending on how frequently you travel, whether you can afford to charge the amount required on the card to qualify for rewards, and whether you can pay off the card balance on a monthly basis. Travel rewards cards typically benefit people who travel often for work or recreation and can afford to charge the high amounts on the credit card required to earn significant points or miles. You can also compare bonus incentives to determine whether travel rewards credit cards are worth it. Travel Rewards and the Monthly Balance The more money you charge on a travel rewards card, the more points or miles you get. If you are able to pay off your credit card balance monthly, the travel rewards you get might be worth it. Paying off your credit card guarantees that you do not accrue high interest and fees that compound when you carry a balance from month to month. Some consumers limit their spending to one credit card and pay it off as a monthly bill. Isolating spending makes it easier to rack up the amount needed to get significant points or miles. Travel rewards credit cards are also a good deal for business owners or employees who have company cards issued in their names, allowing them to charge expenses to a travel rewards credit card and have the business’ accounting department pay off the monthly balance. Travel Rewards Limitations Say you get a travel rewards credit card and plan to use it all year in order to rack up points for a vacation. Be aware that airlines and hotels may limit availability for cardholders wanting to redeem travel rewards. Peak days and seasons vary among travel brands, so a travel rewards card may not be worth it if you cannot use the rewards points or miles when you need them. On the other hand, a travel rewards card may be the best option for a person who travels frequently. People who fit this category fly and stay in hotels year-round and usually take advantage of slow travel days and seasons to get the most out of their rewards. Travel Rewards Bonuses Credit card issuers make travel rewards sound like they are free, but they are not. The amount of money you pay to get them especially rewards cards with initial bonus offers may determine if the card is worth the cost. One rewards card might offer 40,000 points for spending $3,000 in 90 days, for example, while another might offer the same amount of points for spending $1,000. The lower spending requirement might sound like a better deal, but higher fees and blackout periods could lower the card's value.

Gas Credit Card >>

Whether you drive a little or a lot, these gas credit cards are great for anyone who finds themselves at the fuel pump. Get gas, get rewarded – it’s that simple. Each of these cards offer varying rewards on other categories as well. Review the best gas rewards credit card offers from our partners below and apply for the card that best fits you.

Best Business Credit Cards >>

What Is a Business Credit Card? A business credit card is a credit card intended for use by a business rather than for an individual’s personal use. Business credit cards are available to businesses of all sizes. They can help businesses build a credit profile to improve future credit borrowing terms. Small business credit cards may also be backed by a personal guarantee that integrates a personal liability, which can also help in structuring credit terms. How a Business Credit Card Works Business credit cards are offered from a wide range of lending institutions. The process for applying is similar to a standard credit card application. Business borrowers can apply with or without an employer identification number, which makes it even easier for all types of businesses to obtain a business credit card. Advantages and Disadvantages of Business Credit Cards To obtain a business credit card, borrowers must complete an application. Generally, business credit cards can be easier to apply for than non-revolving business loans since the process is usually automated with an immediate credit decision. They also come with many added benefits. As a result, business credit cards usually have slightly higher interest rates than traditional loans. Credit card debt is also usually unsecured which increases financing costs due to the higher risks for lenders. Business owners can apply with an employer identification number if they have one established or they may use their personal social security number. Lenders will base the underwriting analysis on all of the information included in a new credit application. Businesses have credit reports and establish a credit history in the same way that individuals do, and so any activity using an employer identification number will be reflected in the business’s credit report.

Best 0% APR Credit Cards >>

Hey, even if you’re not looking for another credit card, discovering new credit card offers for a 0% intro APR can be incredibly exciting! A low-interest credit card saves you money by reducing the cost of debt: When you're paying less in interest, you can pay back what you've borrowed more quickly. A card with a 0% intro APR period will save you the most on interest in the short term. But is taking advantage of a 0% intro APR offer the right decision for you? Before you rush off to apply for a 0% intro APR card, make sure you understand how the offer works, as well as how you plan to use the card. 1.Types of 0% APR offers You may heard about APR for many times, but do you really understand what it is? A purchase APR, or annual percentage rate, is the interest rate applied to your purchases if you carry a balance on your credit card. 0% APR offer for purchases It means you won’t be charged interest on your purchases for a certain period of time as determined by your credit card company. In order to take advantage of this offer, you’ll need to make at least the minimum payments due on your statement. 0% APR offer for balance transfers It means you’re not charged interest on a balance you transfer from another credit card. This type of offer also comes with a temporary introductory period. 2.Is it really 0% APR? Even if a card offers a 0% intro APR, you may still have to pay interest on some things. For example, if your 0% intro APR offer was for balance transfers only, then any new purchases on your card may be charged interest unless you pay off your balance in full each month by the due date. After the introductory period ends, your balance and any new purchases will be subjected to the regular APR. 3.When is it a good idea to apply for a 0% APR offer credit card? The most common situation for people to apply for a low or zero APR credit card is using it to pay down high-interest credit card debt. High-interest balances can be difficult to pay down, but making a balance transfer with a 0% intro APR card could help ease the burden. Doing so can help you focus on paying off your debt as quickly as possible, ideally during the introductory period. The other case people may wanna apply for such type credit cards is when they are having large purchases. Using this credit card can help ease the burden of paying a large amount at once. It can also help you avoid taking out a personal loan, which you may have to pay interest on. Instead, you can parcel out your payments throughout the introductory period without having to pay any interest.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards >>

What to Look for in a Balance Transfer Card Balance transfers can save money. Say a cardholder has a $5,000 balance on a credit card with a 20% applied percentage rate (APR). Carrying that balance costs about $1,000 a year, at this rate. After securing a 0% balance transfer on a new credit card and moving the $5,000 balance, the cardholder gets a year to pay it off with no interest and just a fee to transfer the balance. But details and surprises of these transfers are numerous. For example, after the transfer, the cardholder still has to make the minimum monthly payment on the card before the due date to keep that 0% rate. And pay attention to the interest rate. Does the new card have a default rate that’s higher than the interest the balance incurs on the current card? Similarly, any default under any of the cardholder agreement—such as making payments late, exceeding the credit limit, or bouncing a check—can make the interest jump to a penalty rate as high as 29.99%. The 0% rate is usually valid for 12 or 18 months. Can the transferred balance be paid off during that period? If not, what interest rate kicks in afterward? (And don’t expect a reminder from the credit card company about when the promotional rate is ending.) With accounts that involve a new credit card, the terms will require the cardholder to complete the balance transfer within a certain time (usually one to two months) to receive any promotional rate. The day after that window closes, regular interest rates begin. Also, a credit card company will generally not allow an existing customer to transfer a balance to a new account. A past-due payment with the creditor who will receive the balance, or if the cardholder has filed for bankruptcy, may also result in the decline of the transfer. Transferring a balance if there's no 0% or low-rate interest rate offer can work, but do the math first. Say a cardholder has a $3,000 balance with a 30% interest rate, which translates into $900 a year in interest. Transferring the balance to a card with a 27% APR and a 3% transfer fee means paying $810 in interest a year, plus a $90 balance transfer fee. The cardholder would break even only after a year. In this example, to come out ahead the cardholder needs a deal where the APR is less than 27%. A better plan might be to ask the existing card issuer for an interest-rate reduction to 27% or less, saving the balance-transfer fee. Beware the Grace Period People who take advantage of these offers sometimes find themselves on the hook for unexpected interest charges. The problem is that transferring a balance means carrying a monthly balance. Carrying a monthly balance by not paying off the debt each month—even one with a 0% interest rate—can mean losing the card’s grace period and paying surprise interest on new purchases. The grace period is the time between the end of the credit card billing cycle and the due date of the bill. During that period (by law, at least 21 days) the cardholder doesn't have to pay interest on new purchases. But the grace period only applies if the cardholder is carrying no balance on the card. What many consumers don’t realize is that carrying a balance from a promotional balance transfer affects the grace period. Also bear in mind that many offers stipulate that the cardholder's credit score determines the actual number of months of 0% balance transfer in the introductory period. If the terms of the grace period for purchases after a transfer are unclear, options are to pass on the offer and look for one with clearer terms; take the 0% balance transfer offer, but don't use the card for any purchases until the balance transfer is paid off, or choose a credit card that offers a 0% introductory APR for the same number of months on both balance transfers and new purchases. The only way to get the grace period back on a card and stop paying interest is to pay off the entire balance transfer, as well as all new purchases. Transferring a credit card balance should be a tool to escape debt faster and spend less money on interest without hurting one's credit rating. Personal Loan Comparison Some financial advisors feel credit card balance transfers make sense only if a cardholder can pay off all or most of the debt during the promotional rate period. After that period ends, a cardholder is likely to face another high interest rate on their balance, in which case a personal loan—with rates that tend to be lower, or fixed, or both—is probably the cheaper option. If the personal loan has to be secured, however, the cardholder may not be comfortable pledging assets as collateral. Credit card debt is unsecured, and in the event of default, it's unlikely that the card issuer will sue and come after cardholder assets. With a secured personal loan, the lender can take assets to recoup losses.

Best Retail Store Credit Cards >>

A good store credit card will offer solid discounts on your purchases. In addition, I like to see exclusive cardholder benefits such as free shipping or promotional financing options. Also, the best store credit cards won’t be offered by a small, specialty retailer where you don’t spend much money each year. If you are going to have a store credit card, it might as well be from a large store where you can buy many things that you need.

Best Student Credit Cards >>

For every college student, a student credit card is the best choice for them to build credit while giving cashback on daily purchases. The rewards, protections, and the credit-building power offered by student credit cards are specified designed for college students who have limited or no credit. When it comes to building credit, starting young is better—as long as you take baby steps and don’t treat your first credit card(s) as free money to be spent. It can take seven years to develop a credit score that’s considered “excellent”. 1. How are student credit cards different? Student credit cards are simply credit cards that are marketed to students. They work exactly the same, but student cards carry lower credit limits and offer students an increased likelihood of approval. 2.How to get approved for a student credit card? It’s much easier to get approved for a student credit card than other cards, but student credit cards still have minimum approval requirements. First of all, you need to be a student over the age of 18. Yeah, you have to be a student to apply for a student card. Secondly, you need to have some document-able income. In other words, you have to be employed, a part-time job is fine. Last but not least, you don’t have bad credit already. If you already made some credit mistakes, don’t expect a student card to approve you. 3. Can you upgrade a student credit card when you graduate? Yes. If you use your card responsibly and pay your card every month on time, banks will absolutely upgrade your account to a regular credit card. Even before you graduate, many banks will automatically give you a chance to increase your credit limit after three to 12 months of responsible use. If they don’t, you can easily call and ask.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards >>

Travel credit cards can help you travel for free, while making your trips a bit less stressful and more enjoyable. You can earn valuable rewards — like points and miles — and, depending on your card, you'll get perks that can elevate your experience, like airport lounge access and elite hotel status. Travel cards also come with a variety of handy protections and insurance benefits, which can help if your trip is delayed or your bags are lost.

Co-Branded Store Credit Cards >>

Is a retail store credit card right for you? Here’s a basic rule that applies to all store credit cards: If you really like Store X, you might get value from the Store X Credit Card. But maybe not. Check out our card picks to learn more.