Updated 7/21/17

Hands down, we think the following credit cards are the best among the popular offers we’ve vetted. So take a moment to review our handpicked short list, including the best travel, cash-back, 0% intro purchase APR, and balance-transfer credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®
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Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Best for: Sign-up bonus and travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers one of the largest sign-up bonuses we know of for a card with an annual fee below $100. New cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on new purchases in the first three months. All points redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards® are worth 25% more than redeeming for cash back, leaving qualifying cardholders with a bonus worth up to $625. What’s more, travel and restaurant purchases earn 2x points per $1, all other purchases earn 1 point per $1, and points can be transferred to a long list of Chase’s participating transfer partners, all with a low annual fee of $95 (waived the first year). These are just a few reasons we consider Chase Sapphire Preferred® a must-have, best-in-class credit card for sign-up bonuses. We also picked it as one of the best travel credit cards. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® review to learn more.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
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BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Best for: Travel and $0 annual fee

Flexible rewards are a busy traveler’s best friend, and BankAmericard Travel Rewards® punches far above its weight. All purchases earn 1.5x points per $1 and can be redeemed for travel-related statement credits, making this a powerful travel credit card for cardholders searching for cheap deals using their preferred booking portal. Qualifying new cardholders can also look forward to an offer of 20,000 points bonus – redeemable for $200 in travel-related statement credits -- after spending at least $1,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days, plus no annual fee. Read our full BankAmericard Travel Rewards® review to learn more.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
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Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Best for: Sign-up bonus and travel

Cardholders with large credit spending habits may be justified in paying an annual fee, especially with Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. All purchases earn 2x miles per $1. Miles are redeemed via our preferred method, statement credits, which gives cardholders much-needed flexibility to land the cheapest travel deals. The card carries a massive new cardholder bonus worth $500 in travel-related statement credits (50,000 bonus miles) when spending at least $3,000 on new purchases within the first 90 days. The card also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and it includes a valuable 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers. Read our full Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® review to learn more.

Capital One® Venture Rewards®

Capital One® Venture Rewards®

Best for: Sign-up bonus and travel

Capital One® Venture Rewards® is a good bang for your buck with its sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months and its $59 annual fee (waived the first year). Few cards we know of offer up such a big bonus for a low annual fee. The cards value is increased with its high, uncapped rewards. All purchases earn 2x miles per $1 and can be redeemed for partial statement credits against travel starting at $25. That combination of rewards and flexibility explains why we think it's one of the best travel cards. Read our full Capital One® Venture Rewards® review to learn more.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card
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BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Best for: Bonus cash back and $0 annual fee

Cardholders looking for a solid cash-back credit card should expect one packed with valuable features, such as BankAmericard Cash Rewards™. This credit card dishes out a lucrative $150 new cardholder cash rewards bonus offer and one of the lower spending thresholds we’ve come across, requiring cardholders to spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. Tons of other perks are available as well, including bonus-category cash back of 3% on gas and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 quarterly in combined bonus category purchases), a 0% intro APR offer, and your FICO® Score for free. For these reasons, we think it’s also one of the best cash-back credit cards. Read our full BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ review to learn more.

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
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Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®

Best for: Cash back and sign-up bonus

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® ranks among the best $0 annual-fee cash-back credit cards we know of because of its deep bench of valuable perks. Qualifying new cardholders earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days, every purchase earns 1.5% cash back, plus the card offers a long 0% intro APR for both new purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Few cards we cover can claim these perks. If you've secured an excellent credit history, there may not be a better $0 annual-fee cash-back card. Read our full Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® review to learn more.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for: Cash back and $0 annual fee

The Citi® Double Cash Card stands out among cash-back cards because it offers an innovative rewards program that smart use of debt by paying off balances. All purchases earn a total of 2% cash back – technically, 1% when purchased and 1% when paid off. This is among the highest cash-back rates for all purchases on the market. What’s more, Citi® Double Cash Card helps indebted cardholders pay down balances faster when taking advantage of the card’s 18-billing-cycle, 0% intro APR for balance transfers.  Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card review to learn more.

Discover it® Card

Discover it® Card

Best for: Bonus cash back and $0 annual fee

Discover it® Card may be one of the most versatile cash-back cards we know of. Many cardholder essentials are included, such as a lucrative Cashback Match™ sign-up bonus that matches all cash back earned in the first year, 5% bonus cash-back up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate, a 0% intro APR offer, a $0 annual fee, and even a free FICO® score. We Fools value convenience/versatility in credit cards and we think this card fits that bill. Read our full Discover it® Card review to learn more.

BankAmericard® Credit Card
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BankAmericard® Credit Card

Best for: 0% intro APR and low balance transfer fee

The BankAmericard® credit card offers the lowest APR among the suite of BankAmericard-branded credit cards, in addition to a lengthy 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. These are a few reasons we also picked it as one of the best balance-transfer credit cards. The card also doesn't charge an annual fee and includes a $0 intro balance transfer fee for transfers made within the first 60 days (3%, $10 minimum thereafter). It's important to note that the card does require good to excellent credit to qualify for approval. Read our full BankAmericard® review to learn more.

Citi Simplicity® Card

Citi Simplicity® Card

Best for: 0% intro APR and $0 annual fee

Cardholders seeking occasional payment forgiveness may find Citi Simplicity® Card to be a suitable balance-transfer credit card. Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever doesn’t charge late payment fees, and it doesn’t bump up a cardholder’s APR as a penalty for missed payments. But the card doesn’t skimp on features in favor of a longer leash for payment forgiveness. Citi Simplicity® Card dishes out a swoon-worthy 21-billing-cycle, 0% intro APR on both new purchases and balance transfers. Read our full Citi Simplicity® Card review to learn more.

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®
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Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®

Best for: 0% intro APR and $0 annual fee

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® has among the lowest APRs we’ve come across for cardholders with excellent credit. Namely, the card carries the same low variable APR for purchases, balance transfers, and even cash advances. In addition to featuring a low APR, Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® has nixed the annual fee, balance-transfer fees, and foreign transaction fees -- a rare combination of perks to cut out-of-pocket costs. Read our full Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® review to learn why we picked it as one of the best low APR credit cards.


The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. See our advertiser disclosure policy for additional details. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool's alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. Review The Motley Fool’s ratings methodology to uncover how we pick the best credit cards. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Visa and MasterCard.