Best Credit Cards for Good Credit

Lyle is a writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.

Our mission is to make the world smarter, happier, & richer. We do so by helping you find money tools to level up your finances. Our commitment is complete honesty, which is why you should know we may receive compensation from advertisers - it's how we make money. That transparency guides us and explains why our ratings aren't influenced by compensation.

People with excellent credit aren’t the only ones who can access great credit cards and all the opportunities that come with a solid credit history. Check out our picks, some of which are from our partners, for the select few offers that landed a spot on our shortlist.

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On Discover's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

A clear cash-back leader with a laundry list of perks that reads like a novel. You’ll be hard pressed to find a competing card with a matching feature set and no annual fee.

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What we Like:
  • Bonus cash back
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • FICO® Score for free
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
5.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 5.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.74% - 24.74% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 14 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 14 months
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 and more 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
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Rates & Fees
Apply Now
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On Discover's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

Few 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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What we Like:
  • Balance transfer offer
  • Rotating bonus cash back
  • No annual fee
  • FICO® Score for free
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.5 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.74% - 24.74% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 6 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 18 months
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 and more 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
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Rates & Fees
Apply Now
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On Chase's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

One of the most popular travel cards for many reasons. This offer is practically a must-have for travelers seeking a big sign-up bonus and one of the best points programs available on the market.

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What we Like:
  • 60,000 points sign-up bonus
  • 2 points per $1 for travel & dining
  • Flexible points transfer program
Key Scores:
4.5 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
1.5 5 APR
Perks 4.5/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 1.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 17.99% - 24.99% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A, N/A Balance Transfers: N/A, N/A
Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
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Apply Now
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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 and a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, plus a long 0% intro APR offer.

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What we Like:
  • Innovative sign up bonus
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR offer for 15 months
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.74-25.49% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Highlights
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
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Apply Now
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On Chase's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

Packed with a deep bench of perks that is rare in the cash-back category, including an easy-to-pocket bonus, long 0% intro APR offers, and bonus cash back. It's a leading pick no doubt.

Read Full Review
What we Like:
  • Cash sign-up bonus
  • Earn up to 5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR offer for 15 months
  • No annual fee
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.74 - 25.49% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Highlights
  • 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
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • 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℠
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Apply Now
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On Citi's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

No late fees, no annual fee, and no penalty rate make this an unmatched pick, even better that it somehow packs in a market-leading 0% intro APR offer.

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What we Like:
  • 0% intro APR for balance transfers and purchases
  • No late-payment fees
  • No annual fee
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
2.5 5 Fees
4.5 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 2.5/5
APR 4.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $0*
  • Regular APR: 16.49% - 26.49%* (Variable)
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 12 months* Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months*
Highlights
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.49% - 26.49%, based on your creditworthiness
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.49% - 26.49%, based on your creditworthiness
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • 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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Apply Now
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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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What we Like:
  • 1.5 Miles per $1
  • Double Miles in the first year
  • No annual fee
  • FICO® Score for free
Key Scores:
2.0 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
5.0 5 APR
Perks 2.0/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 5.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.74% - 24.74% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 14 months Balance Transfers: 10.99%, 14 months
Highlights
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
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Rates & Fees
Apply Now
Secure lock icon.

On Citi's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

One of the top cards on the market with up to 2% cash back on all purchases, no annual fee, and an 18-month 0% APR on balance transfers

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What we Like:
  • Up to 2% cash back
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for balance transfers
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
3.5 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 3.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.74%– 25.74% (Variable)
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months
Highlights
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.74% - 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Our Bottom Line

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

Read Full Review
What we Like:
  • Intro balance transfer fee
  • Earn up to 2x points at U.S. supermarkets
  • Earn up to 20% bonus points
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.99%-25.99% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months for transfers made within 60 days
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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Rates & Fees
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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.

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

Here Are The Ascent's Picks for Top Credit Cards for Good Credit:
Card Rating Great For…
Discover it® Cash Back Graphic of Discover it® Cash Back
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Sign-up bonus and cash rewards

Discover it® Balance Transfer Graphic of Discover it® Balance Transfer
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Balance transfers and cash rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Graphic of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Travel sign-up bonus

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Graphic of Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Balance transfers and purchases

Chase Freedom® Graphic of Chase Freedom®
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Bonus cash rewards program

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever Graphic of Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Longest balance transfer offer

Discover it® Miles Graphic of Discover it® Miles
Rating image, 3.5 out of 5 stars.
3.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Travel card with no annual fee

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Graphic of Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Cash rewards

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Graphic of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. 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.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Intro balance transfer fee

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