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The 13 Best Credit Cards to Apply for in 2019

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There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to credit cards. You may be looking for a credit card that offers great travel or cash back rewards, or maybe you’re a frequent flyer looking to optimize your airline rewards. Similarly, if you don’t have the best credit, finding a credit card that can help you rebuild your score is a great option. No matter what type of credit card you’re looking for, there’s something on our list for you.

When you’re choosing the best credit card for you, make sure that you pay attention to the rewards and perks as well as the annual fee and interest rate on the credit card. These important features influence the overall benefit and cost of having a credit card. Read on to learn more about the best credit cards out there now and find the one most suited to your financial needs. 

TheBalance.com’s Best Credit Cards of 2019:

01 Best for Good Credit: Chase Sapphire Preferred®

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best credit cards on the market. It pays 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on travel in the first three months after opening your account. The 60K points are worth $750 if you redeem them through ​the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Ongoing, you’ll earn two points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining purchases and one point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases. Rewards are worth 25% more when you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Important Pricing: The regular APR is 18.24% to 25.24% variable. The annual fee is $95.

02 Best Cash Back: Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express

Courtesy of American Express 

The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express pays a $250 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

You’ll earn 6% cash back rewards at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year; 3% cash back on purchases at U.S. gas stations; 3% back on ground transportation; 6% back on select US TV and music streaming services; and 1% on everything else, including grocery purchases past the annual $6,000 threshold. You can earn $360 in cash back just by maxing out the grocery rewards.

Important Pricing: The regular APR after the 12-month 0% introductory promotional period ends is 15.24% to 26.24% variable. The annual fee is $95.

03 Best for Travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Courtesy of Chase

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium rewards credit card with a large signup bonus, amazing perks, and a higher annual fee. Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your account. You could exchange them for up to $750 in travel credit.

On an ongoing basis, you’ll earn three points per dollar on travel, three points per dollar on dining worldwide, and one point per dollar on everything else. Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

On top of the rewards, you’ll receive $300 annual travel credit, $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, access to airport lounges, and special rental car privileges with partner agencies when you book with your card.

Important Pricing: The regular APR is 19.24% to 26.24% variable. The annual fee is $450 for the primary cardholder and $75 for any additional authorized users (up to four).

Interested in reading more reviews? Check out our guide to the best travel rewards credit cards you can apply for now.

04 Best Airline Credit Card: Gold Delta SkyMiles®

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
Courtesy of American Express

Spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card within the first three months of opening your account and earn 30,000 bonus miles. Plus you’ll receive a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your card in the first three months.

Ongoing, you’ll earn two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and one mile for every dollar you spent on all other credit card purchases. Your Gold Delta SkyMiles waives the fee on your first checked bag and you’ll also get Main Cabin 1 priority boarding.

Important Pricing: The regular APR is 17.99% to 26.99% variable. The $95 annual fee is waived in the first year and there’s no foreign transaction fee.

05 Best for Dining: Capital One® Savor® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Savor pays a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account. On an ongoing basis, you’ll earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.

You’ll need excellent or good credit to qualify for the Capital One Savor Rewards credit card, which comes with a few other perks, including extended warranty protection, price protection, complimentary concierge services, and 24-hour travel assistance.

Important Pricing: The regular APR is 16.74% to 25.74% variable, based on your creditworthiness. The $95 annual fee is waived in the first year.

06 Best Business Credit Card: Ink Business Preferred℠

Chase Ink Business Preferred`
Courtesy of Chase

With the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you can earn 80,000 bonus points for your business when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your card. Redeem your bonus through Chase Ultimate Rewards and it’s worth up to $1,000 toward travel.

You’ll earn three points per dollar on the first $150,000 spending in certain business categories each year. Categories include travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, as well as social media/search engine advertising purchases. All your other card purchases will earn one point per dollar with no limits.

Points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Plus, you can transfer points between other partner rewards programs with a 1:1 transfer ratio.

Important Pricing: APR is 18.24% to 23.24% variable. The annual fee is $95 and there’s no foreign transaction fee.

Take a look at other options by reading our guide to the best credit cards for small business owners 

07 Best Low Interest Rate: USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

USAA Visa Platinum Credit Card
Courtesy of USAA

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Credit Card has an APR of as low as 9.15% on purchases — one of the lowest interest rates of any credit card. The only caveat: You must be a current or retired member of the military or the immediate family member of a current or retired member of the military to join USAA and apply.

Important Pricing: After a six-month 0% promotional period, the regular APR is 9.15% to 26.15% variable. There are a few exceptions, though. If you are on active duty, you get a 4% APR on your existing balance until a year after you complete active duty. Also, if you’re deployed or have a permanent change of station, you get a 4% APR on all balances during the first 12 months of your deployment or PCS. 

There is no annual fee, but fees on balance transfers and cash advances are up to 3%.

08 Best Balance Transfer: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum

If you’re looking for a credit card with a long promotional period, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum is your choice. Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 20 billing cycles.

There aren’t many extra rewards beyond the promotional interest rate. You do get up to $1,200 in cell phone protection each year when you pay your cell phone bill with your credit card. If you’re currently paying insurance through your cell service provider, you cancel and save on your monthly cell phone bill.

Important Pricing: The regular APR after the promotional period ends is 14.74% to 25.74% variable. There’s no annual fee.

09 Best for Bad Credit: OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Open Sky Secured Credit Card
Courtesy of Open Sky

Having recent delinquencies or bankruptcy can make it tough to get approved for most credit cards — even some secured ones. The Open Sky Secured credit card doesn’t require a credit check, which means you can be approved even if you have trouble clearing other credit card applications.

You can open your card by making a security deposit between $200 to $3,000 via debit card, wire transfer, Western Union, or by mailing a check or money order.

While Open Sky does report your credit history to the three major credit bureaus, your card won’t convert to an unsecured credit card no matter how well you manage your account. After you manage your account well for several months, you may qualify for an unsecured credit card with another credit card issuer.

Important Pricing: The APR is 19.64% variable. The annual fee is $35.

View details about this card. 

Take a peek at other options by reading our list of the best credit cards to get if you have bad credit.

10 Best Secured Credit Card: Discover it® Secured

The Discover it Secured credit card pays 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, as a bonus, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn in your first year.

To open a Discover it Secured credit card, you can make a security deposit between $200 and $2,500. (Your credit limit is equal to your security deposit.) Starting at eight months, Discover will review your account history to determine whether you can receive a refund of your security deposit and keep your credit limit.

Important Pricing: The APR is 25.24% variable and there is no annual fee.

Want to check out other options? Read through our list of the best secured credit cards to apply for now

11 Best for Building Credit: Platinum Credit Card from Capital One®

Courtesy of Capital One 

Rebuilding your credit starts with finding a credit card that will approve you — even if your credit isn’t too pretty. The Capital One Platinum Mastercard is a great credit card for getting your credit history back on track; dozens of the more than 8,500 reviews are from cardholders who got approved without having a great credit score.

While the card has “Platinum” in the name, you shouldn’t expect any great rewards or perks — it’s just a regular credit card. Once you’re approved, you’ll automatically be considered for a credit limit increase if you make your first five monthly payments on time.

Important Pricing: The APR is 26.96% variable and there is no annual fee.

12 Best Credit Card for Students: Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it for Students credit card lets you earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 you spend on purchases in categories that rotate each month. Plus, you’ll earn 1% cash back on everything else. You must sign up to earn the 5% cash back in the bonus categories. At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match, dollar-for-dollar, all the cash you’ve earned.

Keep your grades up and you can also earn a $20 cash back bonus each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher. You can cash in on this bonus for up to five years.

Important Pricing: There’s no annual fee. Receive a 0% introductory APR on purchases for six months. After that, the regular APR is 15.24% to 24.24% variable.

Need more convincing? Take a look at our list of the best student credit cards

13 Best for Average Credit: Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Card

Capital One QuicksilverOne Card
Courtesy of CapitalOne

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Card offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases.

The card also comes with 24-hour travel assistance services, travel accident insurance, and extended warranty benefits. And if you’re a jetsetter, you’ll be pleased to know that there are also no foreign transaction fees, so you can swipe knowing you’re getting the best currency exchange rate possible. Prefer traveling by car? Auto rental collision damage is also covered if you’re making your reservation with this card.

Important Pricing: The APR is 26.96% variable and there’s a $39 annual fee.

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