There are different kinds of credit cards [ew1] available to you, each with various rewards and incentives that encourage you to spend. Before applying for a credit card, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I need another line of credit?
- Will I use the rewards offered by the credit card?
- Is my credit score high enough to qualify for the card?
Keep these questions in mind when you’re on the hunt for a new credit card. Credit card companies do a hard pull that temporarily decreases your credit score. Therefore, if you don’t plan on using a credit card, there’s no point jeopardizing your credit score. It’s always essential to periodically review your credit score and use our credit utilization ratio calculator to see how you can improve your score.
Here’s a look at the different kinds of credit cards and the benefits they offer:
Travel Credit Cards
Travel credit cards provide incentives in the form of airline miles, hotel points, and cruise discounts. Generally, you earn rewards based on a percentage of your overall monthly spending. Credit card companies also provide extra incentives in particular spending categories (i.e., dining and entertainment). These credit cards also offer perks while you’re traveling abroad, such as insurance coverage and no foreign transaction fees.
The Most Popular Travel Credit Cards:
Secured Credit Cards
Many consumers get secured credit cards as a way to establish credit, but there’s a catch: you have to put down an initial deposit. The deposit determines your monthly credit limit. For example, if you make a $1,000 deposit, you’ll receive a $1,000 credit line. Most credit card companies return your deposit within six to twelve months as long as you make payments on time.
The Most Popular Secured Credit Cards:
Student Credit Cards
Young adults don’t typically have a lengthy credit history. Therefore, credit card companies give them more leniency if they are studying at a higher education institution. Student credit cards often come with financial education resources. They undoubtedly prepare young adults for the “real world” post-graduation.
The Most Popular Student Credit Cards:
- Chase Freedom® Student credit card
- Discover it® Student chrome
- Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
Store Credit Cards
Retail outlets have probably asked you countless times if you want to sign up for their store credit card. In essence, these are cards that you can only use at a specific store or stores underneath the same company. Store credit cards typically provide you with a percentage of your purchase or various freebies. Many consumers use store credit cards to establish a credit history because the requirements aren’t as stringent.
The Most Popular Store Credit Cards:
Business Credit Cards
A business credit card is a win-win for companies – it enables them to delay cash outflows and subsequently earn incentives. Many organizations give business credit cards to employees, allowing the company to have greater visibility into expenses and set spending limits. Companies often prefer business credit cards that provide airline miles and hotel points, enabling them to reduce travel expenses.
The Most Popular Business Credit Cards:
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
- U.S. Bank Business Triple Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®
Co-Branded Credit Cards
The concept of co-branded credit cards is relatively vague, and many of these cards overlap the other categories in our list. Co-branded cards boast the incentives of a traditional credit card offered by a financial institution (i.e., Citibank) along with rewards from a particular brand. You’ll commonly see co-branded credit cards that partner with airlines, hotels, and retail brands.
The Most Popular Co-Branded Credit Cards:
- Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
- Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Gas Credit Cards
Consumers who are always on the road can save a considerable amount of money with a gas credit card. These credit cards generally give you a couple of points per dollar that you spend. Once you accumulate enough points, you can use them to save a couple of cents of a gallon of gas. Although it might not sound like a lot, it can pay off if you have a large tank.
The Most Popular Gas Credit Cards:
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Hilton Honors American Express Card
- U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card
Cash Back Credit Cards
Credit cards that offer cash back are unquestionably some of the most popular. In fact, many credit cards offer cash back paired with another type of reward. These credit cards reimburse 1% – 5% of every dollar you spend, depending on the expenditure category. You can either receive a check in the mail or apply the cashback toward your statement balance.
The Most Popular Cash Back Credit Cards:
Credit Cards for Bad Credit
If you have a credit score under 670, you’ll want to target credit cards intended for rebuilding credit. Because these cards are riskier for the issuer, you’ll notice that most cards require a deposit and have a higher APR. Moreover, you typically don’t get elaborate rewards with credit cards for bad credit. At most, you can expect a couple of percent cash back on qualifying spending.
The Most Popular Credit Cards for Bad Credit:
0% APR Credit Cards
Many credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR to entice consumers to apply for the card. This initial rate lasts anywhere from six to eighteen months. It’s an excellent strategy to transfer a balance from one card to a card with 0% APR because you can cut back on interest expenses. However, you should be careful not to build up a balance because you don’t have to pay interest in the short term.
The Most Popular 0% APR Credit Cards:
What’s The Best Credit Card for You?
Before applying for a credit card, you’ll want to carefully consider how much value you’ll derive from the rewards. Moreover, you should ensure that the annual fee doesn’t outweigh the bonuses you’ll get from the card. Our credit utilization ratio calculator lets you gauge where your credit stands and your likelihood of being accepted for a particular credit card. And should you decide to open a line of credit, be sure to use our credit card debt simulation [ew2] to identify the best ways to reduce your interest costs.
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