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Best Credit Cards Of 2016

Ten years of trusted financial advice. Money Under 30 does the research to show you some of the best credit cards on the market to help you make a smart, informed decision.

Touch to filter by credit score:

  • Poor or No Credit
    (549 or Lower)
  • Fair or Average
    (550–639)
  • Good
    (640–719)
  • Excellent
    (720 or Above)

Credit Needed: Excellent

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel and shop with confidence with premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
  • See additional Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card details
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/AN/A N/AN/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/AN/A N/AN/A 13.24% - 23.24% (Variable) $0 intro for first year; $59 after that

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

  • One-time $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0% intro on purchasesuntil November 2016 0% intro on balance transfersuntil November 2016 13.24% - 23.24% (Variable) $0

Credit Needed: Excellent

  • We'll DOUBLE all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you earned $101 cash back, we'll double it to $202—Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, home improvement stores and more -up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases & balance transfers for 12 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 11.24% – 23.24%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0%12 months 0%12 months 11.24% – 23.24% Variable* $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0% intro on purchasesuntil February 2017 N/AN/A 12.24% - 22.24% (Variable) $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like Gas Stations, Restaurants, and Select Grocery Stores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards never expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
  • See additional Chase Freedom® details
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0%15 Months 0%15 Months 14.24%-23.24% Variable $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

  • Chase Slate named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" three years in a row by MONEY Magazine
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Free Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • See additional Chase Slate® details
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0%15 Months 0%15 Months 13.24%-23.24% Variable $0

Credit Needed: Excellent

  • We'll DOUBLE all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you earned $101 cash back, we'll double it to $202—Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, home improvement stores and more -up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR* on balance transfers for 18 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 11.24% – 23.24%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0%6 months 0%18 months 11.24% – 23.24% Variable* $0

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good

  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on travel & dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
n/an/a 0%12 months 16.24%, 20.24% or 24.24%* Variable $0

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/AN/A N/AN/A 24.99% (Variable) $0

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get a 20% Statement Credit on Uber rides purchased with this card through April 2016
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0% intro on purchasesuntil November 2016 0% intro on balance transfersuntil November 2016 23.24% (Variable) $39

Milestone Gold MasterCard®

Great For: See if you're prequalified without affecting your credit

Credit Needed: Fair/Good

  • Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Fast and easy instant decision
  • Choose your custom card design - Free
  • Free online account access
  • Zero Liability – you’ll never be held liable for unauthorized charges made to your card
  • *Dependent on credit worthiness
  • See additional Milestone Gold MasterCard® details
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/A N/A N/A N/A 23.9% $35 - $99*

Credit One Bank® Rewards Card

Great For: Unlimited 1% cash back on gas and groceries (terms apply)

Credit Needed: Fair

  • See if you're Pre-Qualified in less than 60 seconds
  • Zero fraud liability protects you from unauthorized charges
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, terms apply
  • Rewards post to your account automatically each month
  • Pick your payment due date to fit your schedule
  • Free online monthly credit score tracking included
  • Email or text alerts to remind you when your payment is due
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
  • Choose your card design from our premium gallery, fee applies
  • *See Card Terms & Conditions for Details
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/A N/A N/A N/A 18.15% - 24.15% Variable $35 - $99

Credit Needed: Fair

  • 2X points on purchases for gas, groceries and utilities
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
n/an/a n/an/a 25.24%* Variable $0

Credit Needed: N/A

  • Find card offers you may be eligible for without affecting your credit score
  • Get matched to features you want like low intro rates, cash back or miles, and more
  • See your card matches in less than 60 seconds
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
See TermsSee Terms See TermsSee Terms See Terms See Terms

Credit Needed: Fair

  • We'll DOUBLE all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you earned $101 cash back, we'll double it to $202—Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, home improvement stores and more -up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.*
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0%6 months 10.99%6 months 13.24% - 22.24% Variable* $0

Credit Needed: Limited, Bad

  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/AN/A N/AN/A 24.99% (Variable) $0

Credit One® Visa® with Credit Line Increase Reviews

Great For: Seeing if you're Pre-Qualified without affecting your credit score

Credit Needed: Poor/Bad

  • Zero fraud liability protects you from unauthorized charges
  • Get Pre-Qualified without harming your credit score
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
  • Pick your payment due date to fit your schedule
  • Free online monthly credit score tracking included
  • Choose your card design from our premium gallery, fee applies
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, terms apply
  • Rewards post to your account automatically each month
  • Email or text alerts to remind you when your payment is due
  • *See Card Terms & Conditions for Details
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/A N/A N/A N/A 18.15% - 24.15% Variable $35 - $99

Credit Needed: Any

  • Best for members rebuilding or establishing credit.
  • It's a real credit card — not a debit or prepaid card.
  • Determine your own credit limit ($250 to $5,000) with an interest-earning CD.
Intro APR Purchases Intro Term Purchases Intro APR Balance Transfers Intro Term Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
N/A N/A N/A N/A 10.15% to 20.15%* $35*

How to find the best credit card for you

Finding the best credit cards among thousands of available options can be intimidating, but Money Under 30 has you covered. On this page and throughout our credit card section, we’ve hand-picked the best credit cards from our partners for our audience – upwardly mobile professionals.

Choosing the best credit card for your needs is a combination of finding offers that you will qualify for (based on your credit history, credit score, and income) and then finding a card with the features you need.

Qualifying for a new credit card

The very best credit cards (those that offer cash back, travel rewards or an introductory 0% APR for 15 months or more) require excellent credit. What does this mean? Generally, people with excellent credit have had credit cards and/or loans in their names for at least five years and have never missed a payment.

If you’ve used credit responsibly for between two and five years or you’ve used credit longer but have made a late payment in the last year, your credit may be more in the “good category”.

If you’ve been turned down for credit cards recently or don’t have a lot of credit history, look at other categories for credit cards that will offer a better chance of approval.

Rewards vs low interest

You can use credit cards in two different ways:

  • Earning rewards. You use the card for most daily purchases and then pay your bill in full every month. This lets you earn rewards without paying interest.
  • Paying over time. You use credit cards to finance large purchases for the flexibility of making payments over time.

If you pay your card in full each month, look for the best credit cards that reward the type of spending you do, whether that’s flat cash back on every purchase or a higher percentage on groceries or travel and dining.

If you need a credit card to pay for something over time, look at low APR credit cards or those with a 0% introductory APR (even if they don’t have rewards) to minimize how much interest you’ll pay.