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.

Our editorial team provides an unbiased analysis of the products we feature. Our comparison service is compensated by our partners, and may influence where or how products are featured on the site. Learn more about our partners and how we make money. Please note: The star-rating system on this page refers to reviews on the individual issuer’s website, rather than Creditcards.com reviews.

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
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases too.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

Wells Fargo Platinum card

Wells Fargo Platinum card

  • 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 16.49% to 24.49% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 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 Platinum card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Monitor your spending, purchases and any suspicious activity with text and email alerts and notifications
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn rewards faster with employee cards at no additional cost. Set individual spending limits for greater control
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

  • No annual fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No expiration on rewards
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or when visiting Bank of America Financial Centers. To take advantage of this offer, click "Apply Now" above.

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

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. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • 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 in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor's Business Daily.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual Fee
Intro Purchase APR
Regular APR
Intro Balance Transfers APR

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:

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:

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.

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.

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.