Find and apply for a credit card that’s right for you

Even some of the best credit cards are not right for everyone. Learn how to choose and apply for a card that matches your lifestyle and goals.

Even some of the best credit cards are not right for everyone. Learn how to choose and apply for a card that matches your lifestyle and goals.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 18 months on Purchases
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 18 months on Purchases
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

  • Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when 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.

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 14 months

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

  • Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when 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.

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 14 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Earn 50,000 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®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

Annual Fee
$550
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • New! Get ready for your next trip - spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to get you there sooner.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.

Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 18 months on Purchases
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.

Annual Fee
$69
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

  • Discover the only business credit card designed exclusively for Costco members
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
15.24% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

Why apply for a credit card?

Applying for a credit card can be a key step in achieving your financial goals. Unlike debit and prepaid cards, credit cards can help you achieve a credit score that will qualify you for the best interest rates on mortgages and loans. Owning a credit card can help you in a variety of other ways, too:

Build credit

If you’re rebuilding your credit after a financial misstep or if you’re brand new to credit, getting a credit card can be the first step in achieving good or excellent credit. Applying for a credit card with a low credit score requirement is your best option for being approved since you likely won’t qualify for the best credit cards at first.

On the other hand, your options are numerous if you already have good credit and simply want to open another line of credit. Though your credit score may take a temporary hit after applying, the increase to your total credit available will likely outweigh the drop in the long term. Read our full guide to understand how your FICO credit score is calculated.

Earn rewards

Most everyone has defined spending habits – from the travel enthusiast to the foodie to the ultra-practical family man or woman. By applying for a rewards credit card, you can start earning bonus cash back, points or airline miles on your most frequent spending categories.

Common rewards categories include grocery stores, dining and entertainment, and travel purchases. And if you’re not sure about a particular category, you can always choose a flat-rate card, which will reward you at a standard rate for all purchases.

Travel benefits

Travel insurance, a TSA PreCheck credit, free checked bags, lounge access and no foreign transaction fees are common credit card perks that make traveling more comfortable and cost-efficient. Travel credit cards often come with annual fees, but frequent travelers can easily get their money’s worth and more by using the card’s benefits.

Financing large purchases

Whether you’ve had to make an unplanned purchase or you simply prefer to split up payments over several months, applying for a credit card can help. By taking advantage of a card with a 0% introductory period, you can spread payments out for more than a year in some cases, while paying no extra in interest.

How to apply for a credit card

Check your credit score

It’s important to know where you stand before applying for a credit card; many credit card issuers explicitly state the credit range required for each card. So if you know your credit score, you can narrow your search to the best cards within your credit range, and you won’t waste time applying for cards that you won’t qualify for.

Checking your credit score is also helpful because you may uncover mistakes on your credit report that you can dispute and have removed. If your score is surprisingly low, check your credit reports for incorrect late payments and other negative items that could be harming your credit. You can check them for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

There are several ways to check your credit score. Most lenders will see your FICO® score, which you can access for free through many financial institutions and credit bureaus. Visit the FICO® Score website for a full list of where to find your FICO® score.

Choose your credit card

Now that you know your credit score, the rest of your decision depends on personal preferences. What kinds of purchases do you frequently make? Do you want to earn cash back or travel points and miles? Will you pay your balance in full each month? The answer to each of these questions will determine which credit card you should apply for.

Some factors you’ll want to consider include:

  • Rewards categories
  • Redemption options
  • Interest rates
  • Annual fees
  • Sign up bonuses

Weighing each of these factors will lead you to the most informed decision about which credit card is right for you.

Find out if you pre-qualify

Some banks will use a soft inquiry – one that won’t hurt your credit – to tell you if you’re likely to be approved. You’ll still need to fill out a formal application in order to be approved, but prequalification is generally reliable in predicting approval. Use our Cardmatch tool to find out in less than 60 seconds which credit cards you’re pre-qualified for – you may also receive special offers, like a boosted welcome offer.

Apply online

Once you’ve picked your favorite credit card, it’s time to apply. Applications are usually simple; you’ll probably know most of the required information off the top of your head. Information you’ll usually need to provide on a credit card application includes:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Type of residence
  • Phone number
  • Annual income
  • Social Security number

One thing to note is that income doesn’t just mean your personal income. You may include any income that you have “reasonable expectation of access” to, according to a 2013 amendment to the CARD Act, which makes it much easier for stay-at-home spouses and partners to qualify for credit cards.

Before hitting submit on your application, be sure you have read all terms and conditions. It pays to do your research so that you don’t get hit with surprise fees or penalties. If you’re confused about the fine print, you can always call the issuer directly.

Card types you can apply for

0% APR credit cards

What is a 0% APR card?

Some credit cards will offer an introductory period for new cardholders with 0% interest on purchases or balance transfers. Usually, this period lasts between 12 and 21 months. After the introductory period ends, the regular interest rate applies.

Why apply for a 0% APR card?

There are two main reasons to apply for a 0% APR card. If you have a big purchase coming up, you might split up payments over the course of a year or more without having to pay additional interest. Conversely, if you already have debt on another credit card and wish to stop paying interest, transfer your balance to a 0% APR credit card. In both cases, the regular APR kicks in after the offer ends.

Balance transfer credit cards

What is a balance transfer credit card?

Balance transfer credit cards and 0% APR credit cards are similar. Balance transfer credit cards allow you to transfer debt from one card to another, usually after paying a fee. Typically, balance transfer cards offer an introductory period during which the cardholder pays no interest. After the introductory period ends, the cardholder must pay the regular APR for any remaining balance.

Why apply for a balance transfer credit card?

Those who need a while to pay off existing debt will usually benefit from a balance transfer card. You’ll just want to make sure that the amount you’ll save in interest is greater than the amount you’ll pay for the balance transfer fee. Check out our balance transfer calculator to compare interest savings between balance transfer cards.

No foreign transaction fee credit cards

What is a no foreign transaction fee credit card?

Usually, issuers charge foreign transaction fees on purchases that require the processing of foreign currency or purchases that go through a foreign bank. However, some credit card issuers waive these fees for cardholders.

Why apply for a no foreign transaction fee credit card?

For frequent international travelers and those who make purchases from non-U.S. merchants, foreign transaction fees can quickly add up. Both consumers and small-business owners who rely on overseas vendors can benefit from choosing a card without foreign transaction fees.

Rewards credit cards

What is a rewards credit card?

Most credit cards, aside from some secured and balance transfer cards, offer some form of rewards. Rewards rates are either flat-rate on all purchases or boosted in some specified spending categories, like travel or grocery store purchases. Credit card rewards usually take the form of cash back, travel points or airline miles.

Why apply for a rewards credit card?

You may as well earn rewards on the purchases you already make, and many credit cards offer fabulous rewards rates with no annual fee. So if you can pay your balance in full each month, it’s an easy choice to apply for a rewards credit card that matches your spending habits.

Credit card sign-up bonuses

What is a credit card sign-up bonus?

Credit card issuers will often offer a sign-up bonus to new cardholders as a thank you for opening an account. After meeting a minimum spend within the first few months of account opening, you’ll receive the sign-up bonus, which can come in the form of cash back, points or airline miles and is usually worth several hundred dollars.

Why apply for a credit card with a sign-up bonus?

The best sign-up bonuses can score you free flights to Hawaii or $300+ in cash back. Though sign-up bonuses can be flashy, assess the card’s long-term value, too.

Airline credit cards

What is an airline credit card?

Airline credit cards reward your spending with points or airline miles that can save you money on flights. You’ll also find a wealth of travel benefits that save money and make travel more comfortable, like airport lounge access or a TSA PreCheck credit. You can choose a general travel rewards card or a co-branded card that offers rewards specific to one airline.

Why apply for an airline credit card

If you travel frequently, whether for business or pleasure, applying for an airline credit card can certainly benefit you by rewarding your purchases and making your experience more comfortable. For those who simply want to start planning a trip, an airline credit card can help get you there, especially if you choose one with a good sign-up bonus.

Low interest credit cards

What is a low interest credit card?

Every credit card comes with an interest rate, or APR, which you’ll want to pay close attention to unless you’re paying off your balance in full each month. Low interest credit cards offer the most competitive interest rates.

Why apply for a low interest credit card?

If you need to carry a balance from month to month, you’ll be paying interest. Applying for a low interest credit card can save you hundreds of dollars in interest, compared to some high interest credit cards. Check out our payoff calculator to see how much interest you’ll pay and compare savings with different credit cards.

Travel credit cards

What are travel credit cards?

Travel rewards credit cards can be categorized in four ways: airline cards, hotel cards, general travel cards, and transferable points cards. You’ll usually earn rewards in the form of points or airline miles.

Why apply for a travel credit card?

A travel credit card can be instrumental in helping you achieve your travel goals, from discounted flights and hotel nights to free checked bags. Travel credit cards usually offer great sign-up bonuses too, so you can start reaping the benefits quickly.

Business credit cards

What is a business credit card?

Business credit cards offer rewards tailored to business owners and usually have higher credit limits than consumer cards. Though you don’t need a formal business structure to apply, you’ll usually need to provide a personal guarantee stating that you are responsible for card debt if your business defaults on payments.

Why apply for a business credit card

A business credit card is a great way to track spending for a small-business owner – many business credit cards offer management and organization tools. It’s also a great way to manage costly purchases; taking advantage of a 0% introductory period can help you spread out payments over the course of a year or longer while paying no extra in interest.

How to increase your odds of approval

Increase your credit score

Having good or excellent credit not only boosts your approval odds but also qualifies you for the best interest rates. Here are a few ways you can make sure your credit score is at its best before applying.

  • Check your credit reports. Late payments and unpaid debt can be reported by lenders and pull your score down. They can’t be removed unless they are reported inaccurately or until enough time has passed. However, if you find an error in your report, alert the 3 major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
  • Pay down any existing debt. One of FICO’s 5 factors is your credit utilization, or the percentage of your available credit that you’re currently borrowing. There’s no magic number, but it’s good to keep your utilization under 30%. If it’s much higher, your score could suffer.
  • Ask for a credit limit increase. Increasing the total amount of credit you have access to can also lower your total utilization, without you actually paying off any debt. It’s simple to ask – just call your bank. A 2018 poll by CreditCards.com found that 85% of those who requested a credit limit increase were granted one.
  • Become an authorized user. If you know someone with a good credit history who trusts you with their card information, you can build credit by becoming an authorized user on their credit card. That account will start to show up on your credit, and you’ll benefit from his or her on-time payments.
  • Sign up for Experian Boost. Your credit score could go up in as little as 10 minutes after signing up for Experian Boost. The free service searches for past utility and phone bills that you’ve paid to increase your score. However, there’s no guarantee that your score will improve. Read our full review of Experian Boost for more details.

Avoid applying for multiple credit cards in a short amount of time

A credit card application results in a hard inquiry, which can temporarily drop your score by about 5-10 points. This can be compounded by an increase in new credit, which accounts for about 10% of your credit score. Having several new accounts can reflect poorly on your credit as well.

You should choose one card that you’re confident about getting approved for, and wait until you receive an approval or denial before applying for another credit card.

What to do if you’re denied

Understand why

If your application is denied, you should know why before applying for another card or giving up. The good news is that issuers are legally obligated to tell you why they denied your application if the reason lies within your credit report, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Issuers will usually send a rejection letter or email, stating one or more reasons why they decided not to lend to you. The letter will also give you instructions for obtaining your credit report for free, as you are entitled to do after being denied a credit card.

Some common reasons for application denial include low credit score, high card balances, low income, too many recent credit inquiries, too many credit cards, recent delinquency or unpaid bills, limited credit history, or limited employment history.

Once you understand the reason your application was denied, you can take the necessary steps to improve your credit or increase your odds of approval.

Check your information

If you’re surprised about being denied, you should examine your credit reports thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any mistakes. If you do find an incorrect item, you can dispute it by sending a letter to the responsible credit bureau.

You should also review the information you provided on the application. Perhaps a typo caused you to enter your income incorrectly.

Consider calling the issuer’s reconsideration line

If you’ve assessed the reason for your denial and determined that you weren’t far off from approval, call the issuer’s reconsideration line.

Now, if you applied for a card that requires excellent credit while having poor credit, you probably won’t be able to talk your way to approval. However, you may be able to call the issuer and politely explain the situation, citing your timely recent payments and steadily improving credit. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be approved, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you are approved, you’ll have the card you wanted and save yourself an additional credit inquiry.

Apply for a card you can be approved for

After assessing your credit profile, you may want to pursue a different card.

  • Secured credit cards often have low credit score requirements and are a great way to build credit.
  • Requirements vary between issuers, so you may have better luck with a different issuer. Check out our picks for the best credit cards from different issuers.