Best Credit Cards for Good Credit

People with excellent credit aren’t the only ones who can access great credit cards. 

When you have good credit, the credit card world gets a whole lot bigger. You’re no longer limited to just the credit cards for bad credit or no credit history at all, which means you can start looking at ones with much better benefits. But you’re also in a bit of a middle ground. There’s still the possibility that a bank decides your credit score isn’t enough for the card you want, and it’s hard to know exactly what you’ll qualify for.

The good news is that you’re in the home stretch, and if you stay on the right track, you’ll get that excellent score and all the opportunities that come with it. To help you along the way, I’m going to cover credit cards for good credit and how you can give your score one last push over the finish line.

Great for: Sign-up bonus and cash rewards Discover it® Cash Back

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On Discover's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

A clear cash-back leader with a laundry list of perks, including double cash back in the first year and other essential wallet-friendly features like no annual fee.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
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Great for: Balance transfers and cash rewards Discover it® Balance Transfer

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On Discover's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

Few cards can top this offer. The balance transfer offer and cash rewards program, alone, are best in class, but you get both in one card without having to pay an annual fee.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
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Rates & Fees

Great for: Sign-up bonus Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

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On Well Fargo's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

One of the largest cash sign-up bonus we've seen for a no-annual-fee card. The low spending threshold to unlock the bonus makes it easy to pocket the bonus. 

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 15.99%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

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Great for: Travel sign-up bonus Chase Sapphire Preferred®

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On Chase's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

One of the most popular travel cards for a reason. This offer is practically a must-have for travelers seeking a big sign-up bonus and if you spend enough on credit to justify paying a small annual fee.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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Great for: Unlimited cash rewards Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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On Chase's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

One card to rule them all is the name of the game here. This offer includes unlimited 1.5% cash back, plus other valuable perks and fee-friendly features that make it a solid contender if you're wanting to maintain a one card wallet.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

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Great for: Bonus cash rewards and no annual fee Chase Freedom®

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On Chase's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

The marquee feature is the fact that this offer earns up to 5% cash back, but the card is packed with a deep bench of perks that is rare in the cash-back category. It's a leading pick no doubt.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

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Great for: Travel card with no annual fee Discover it® Miles

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On Discover's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

A fit for occasional travelers, this card's most valuable perks are unlimited 1.5 miles per $1, no foreign transaction fees, and double miles earned in the first year.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles. That's $600 towards travel!
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No Annual Fee.
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Rates & Fees

Great for: Cash rewards Citi® Double Cash Card

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Citi® Double Cash Card
Our Bottom Line

One of the top cash back cards on the market with up to 2% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.24% - 25.24% based on your creditworthiness
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee

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Great for: Balance transfers Citi Simplicity® Card

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Citi Simplicity® Card
Our Bottom Line

The combination of low fees, ease of paying down debt balances, and convenience make this a good option for those trying to pay off debt faster.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee…EVER
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month

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Great for: Intro balance transfer fee The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

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The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Our Bottom Line

One of the few remaining balance-transfer cards that includes an intro $0 balance transfer fee. Add in the premium rewards and welcome bonus, and it's hard to ignore.

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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Get our latest tips and uncover more of our top picks to help you conquer your money goals

What's a good credit score?

According to the FICO® guidelines, a good credit score is between 670 and 739. The full range of credit scores on that scale goes from 300 to 850.

You likely have a good credit score if you’ve been responsible with your payment history and credit utilization, but have only been using credit for one to two years. You may also be in this range if you’ve been using credit for longer than two years with the occasional issue, such as one missed payment or credit utilization that’s higher than the credit bureaus like (keeping it under 30% is the usual recommendation).

Remember that even though there are these credit score ranges, what matters most is your exact credit score. While scores of 675 and 730 both fall under the good credit score range, the latter would help you get better terms on a mortgage and improve your odds of approval on credit card applications.

Why you can trust me

I’m the type of person who likes to make the most of credit cards and the benefits they provide, especially travel rewards. Since I apply for cards often and I don’t like getting declined, I’ve researched what it takes to build and maintain a high credit score. My score has been in the excellent range since I was in my early 20s and never dips below that, even with several new credit card applications every year.

More on the cards

It’s possible to get just about any credit card on the market with a good credit score. Your credit score obviously matters -- card issuers weigh it heavily when you apply, and the lower your score is on the good credit spectrum, the more difficult it is to get approved. But plenty of people get approved with lower scores than you might think.

For example, it’s recommended that you have a score of at least 700 for premium travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, but several applicants have reported approvals with scores of 650 or lower.

To choose the best credit card for yourself, you’ll need to have a specific goal in mind. Below, I’ve included the most popular financial goals consumers have and a few card recommendations for them.

If you want to stick to cash-back cards:

  • The Chase Freedom® and Discover it® Cash Back have rotating bonus categories that earn bonus cash back.
  • The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card has an impressive $200 sign-up bonus for spending $1,000 in three months.

If you want your trips paid for with travel rewards:

If you need a 0% intro APR for a big purchase or balance transfers:

  • The Discover it® Balance Transfer has a long 0% intro APR for balance transfers plus rewards in one card and the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card includes a $0 balance transfer fee promo.
  • The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card has a shorter intro period of 12 months and a 0% APR that only applies to purchases, but it’s one of the easier 0% intro APR cards to get.

Tips for a successful credit card application

Or, “What’s the secret behind how some applicants get approved with lower-than-recommended credit scores?”

There are three ways you can give yourself a better shot at the more exclusive credit cards:

  • Reduce your debt-to-income ratio -- Your debt-to-income ratio is all your monthly debt payments compared to your income, and it’s best if you can keep this below 35%. While this comes into play more with mortgage applications, it can also help you when you’re applying for a credit card. Even if your credit score is a bit less than what the card issuer would like, a low debt-to-income ratio could convince them that you’d be a responsible cardholder with a good amount of disposable income.
  • Minimize your credit inquiries -- Card issuers can get cautious when you already have multiple recent hard credit inquiries, as they’ll wonder why you’re trying to get all this new credit and if you’ll be able to handle it. An approval is more likely if it has been at least three to six months from your most recent credit card application.
  • Be persistent -- The difference between a denial and an approval occasionally boils down to contacting the card issuer a couple times. Consumers who are willing to call the reconsideration line after a denial may see the decision reversed. Even if one representative tells you no, you could have better luck if you call again later.

When to wait and apply

If you want a card and you’re not quite sure that your credit score is good enough, I’d still generally recommend applying.

The logic here is that one application, whether it gets approved or denied, won’t do much damage to your credit score. The average impact is a 5-point drop that’s gone in six months to a year. In most cases, it will take that long to make an appreciable increase in your credit score, anyway. You might as well roll the dice and see if you can get an application approved first.

There are a couple exceptions to this strategy, though, where I’d recommend waiting.

When your credit utilization is over 30% and you can pay it down

Paying down high balances is the closest you can get to supercharging your credit. Here’s why:

  • Credit utilization (debt divided by available credit) makes up 30% of your FICO credit score.
  • Card issuers report your credit utilization every month so there can be a near-term impact.
  • Only your current credit utilization affects your credit score.

Let’s say you have high credit utilization impacting your credit score, but you also have the money to pay down your balances. You go from 60% utilization, which is very high, to 10%, which is ideal. When your card issuers report your new-and-improved utilization, your score could go up.

Considering how quickly you can improve your credit this way, it makes sense to do so, and then apply for a credit card with that higher score. How long should you wait? After you pay down your balances, give it at least a month to ensure your issuer has reported your new credit utilization.

When you have one or more hard credit inquiries within the last three months

When you’re right on the edge of a card issuer’s qualifications, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot with hard credit inquiries. These inquiries become less of an issue the older they are, so a little patience can go a long way. Wait the three to six months I mentioned earlier so it doesn’t look like you’re desperate for credit.

Going from good credit to excellent credit

Although there’s nothing wrong with good credit, it’s important to keep building it. An excellent credit score isn’t just a feather in your financial cap. You’ll have card issuers rolling out the red carpet for you with their best offers. And if you ever need a loan, you should qualify for the lowest interest rates.

At this stage of the game, you can damage your credit much faster than you can improve it, so avoiding mistakes is crucial. Your credit will improve if you:

  • Avoid overspending -- Once you’ve reached a good credit score, you’ll start having access to larger credit lines. Don’t let those big numbers convince you to spend more than usual. It’s a mistake many consumers make, but if your balances get too high, it can lead to excessive credit utilization or an inability to make your payments.
  • Pay everything by the due date -- Just one missed payment can undo all your hard work, and that’s a missed payment on anything, whether it’s a credit card, a cell phone bill, or an overdue library book. Organize all your bills and their due dates. I recommend setting up alerts on your phone’s calendar or putting together a spreadsheet you can use.
  • Track your credit utilization -- My method for this is simple. First, add all your credit limits together to get your total available credit (services that provide your credit score will often include this information). Then, calculate 10%, 20%, and 30% of that number. This gives you guidelines on when your credit utilization is fine and when you’ll need to pay down your balances, even if it isn’t a payment due date yet.
  • Keep your credit cards open -- Another common consumer mistake is closing credit cards for no reason. You’ll be losing that card’s credit line, so if you’re carrying balances on any other cards, your credit utilization will increase. While canceling cards isn’t always a bad idea, in most cases, it’s better to downgrade your card to an alternative with no annual fee.
  • Don’t go on application sprees -- While one card application isn’t a big deal, one per month will keep you from making any progress on your credit score. You’ll have too many hard credit inquiries, and every time you’re approved for a card, your average account history will get lower. 
  • Guard your credit -- It doesn’t get much worse than doing everything right, only to have an identity thief or an error ruin your credit. And the longer it takes you to catch any such issues, the more difficult it is to fix the problem. I use a free credit monitoring service that lets me know whenever something changes on my credit report, and I love it. I advise everyone to sign up for one, and of course, you should also check your credit reports every year.

Which credit cards are best for building credit?

Perhaps the most common question among consumers who are working on their credit is: Which credit card will improve it the fastest? The truth, however, is that the credit card you have doesn’t matter. How you use it is what impacts your score.

On-time payments with one card aren’t any different than on-time payments with another card. Feel free to choose whichever credit card you want. If you use it correctly, your score can increase.

All said, it’s clear there aren’t cards that are great for building credit so much as there are cards that can be approved for people rebuilding credit with a low credit score. Secured credit cards are one such option that is available to people with no credit history, a low score, or if having declared bankruptcy.

Moving forward financially

A good credit score is something to be proud of. It signifies that you’ve been handling your money properly.

The two things to focus on when you have good credit are getting the right credit card and progressing into that excellent credit range. The right credit card will help you as you work towards your current financial goals, be they paying off debt or accumulating rewards. And once you have that excellent credit score, you’ll be in an optimal financial position, where you can qualify for the top offers and the cheapest interest rates.

To recap, here are the best credit cards for good credit

Card Rating Great For…
Discover it® Cash Back Graphic of Discover it® Cash Back
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Sign-up bonus and cash rewards

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Great For:

Balance transfers and cash rewards

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Great For:

Sign-up bonus

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Great For:

Travel sign-up bonus

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Great For:

Unlimited cash rewards

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Great For:

Bonus cash rewards and no annual fee

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Great For:

Travel card with no annual fee

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Great For:

Cash rewards

Citi Simplicity® Card Graphic of Citi Simplicity® Card
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4.0 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Balance transfers

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Graphic of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
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4.5 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Best
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Excellent
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Good
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Fair
Star Review Icon = Poor
Great For:

Intro balance transfer fee