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SmartAsset’s Best Credit Cards of 2020

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by Sam Lipscomb | Updated Mar. 17, 2020

Overview of the SmartAsset’s Best Credit Cards of 2020

As with other consumer and financial products, there are credit cards designed specifically to meet a variety of needs. People who want to earn valuable rewards from their spending in the form of cash back, points or miles have a variety of cards to choose from. Those who need to rebuild their credit may want a secured credit card. If you're concerned about interest charges on your future purchases, you can apply for a card with a 0% APR financing on new purchases. Alternatively, you can use a reward card to earn travel rewards, or a small business card to earn rewards from your company's purchases. Here are the best cards for each of these categories. See More

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Best All Around Rewards Credit Card

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  • Earn 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. When you redeem your points for travel through Chase that equals $750!
  • Receive a $300 travel credit each anniversary year to reimburse you for travel purchases charged to your card. After you earn your $300 travel credit, you will earn 3 points on travel purchases.
  • Earn 10 points on Lyft rides (7 points in addition to the 3 points you already earn on travel) through March 2022. When you dine at restaurants worldwide earn 3 points, and earn 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards for Travel. One to one point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs. There are no foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad
  • Receive complimentary Priority Pass™ Select Membership to 1,000+ airport lounges after an easy one-time enrollment
  • Receive an application fee credit of up to $100 for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Receive one year of complimentary Lyft Pink when you or your authorized user activates by 3/1/2022 with your card. This is a minimum of $199 value and includes benefits like 15% off car rides and priority airport pickups.
  • You and your authorized users will receive at least 12 months of complimentary DashPass from DoorDash when the subscription is activated with your card by 12/31/21. Plus, earn up to $120 in statement credits on qualifying DoorDash purchases - $60 through 2020 and another $60 through 2021.

Annual Fee

$550

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

18.49% - 25.49% Variable

Details

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $300 annual travel credit. Once you’ve earned that, you’ll earn 3x points on travel purchases, 3x points on all dining purchases and 1x points on all other purchases. Your points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed as cash back, but travel purchases made through Chase’s travel portal receive a 50% bonus, making one point worth 1.5 cents.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve carries an annual fee of $550, but as long as you spend $300 in a year on travel expenses, the $300 annual travel credit makes the effective annual fee just $250. Cardholders can also get up to $100 in statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years. Plus, you’ll receive $60 in DoorDash credits each year for the next two years (through 2021), receive a free Lyft Pink membership for a year (a $199 minimum value) and you’ll earn 10x points on Lyft purchases through March 2022. Cardholders can also earn a 50,000 point early spend bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This bonus is worth $750 when spent on the Chase travel portal. This card has no foreign transaction fees.

Why We Like It

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best all-around rewards cards out there, even with its high annual fee. It has a solid early spend bonus and you’ll be able to earn 3x points on a variety of dining and travel purchases. The card’s $300 annual travel credit is also hugely beneficial for a card that carries such a high annual fee. And since the travel category is so broadly defined, it’s not too difficult for cardholders to take advantage of the credit. Cardholders will also get built-in trip delay and cancellation protections, purchase protections and other perks.

We especially like the Chase Sapphire Reserve due to its versatility when it comes to redeeming rewards. You’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are an incredibly versatile point currency. You can transfer them to a variety of airline and hotel partners, almost always at a 1:1 ratio or better or you can redeem them through the Chase travel portal, where points are worth 1.5x as much. So instead of a $300 ticket costing 30,000 points at a value of one cent per point, cardholders will only need to redeem 20,000 points for such a ticket.

Best Travel Credit Card

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  • Receive a one-time early spend bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in purchases during your first 3 months of card membership. When redeemed for travel, this is equal to $500!
  • On every purchase, you will earn 2 miles per dollar
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck when you use your Venture® Card
  • Redeem your miles without blackout dates. You can fly any airline and stay at any hotel; anytime. Transfer your miles to over twelve loyalty travel programs for additional flexibility
  • There's no limit to the number of miles you can earn and your miles won't expire as long as your account is in good standing
  • CNBC dubbed the Venture® Rewards ‘The Best Travel Card’ in 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad
  • There is an introductory annual fee of $0 for your first year. Your annual fee is $95 after that

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, $95 after that

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

17.24% - 24.49% Variable

Details

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2x miles on all purchases and charges a relatively low annual fee of just $95. This annual fee is also waived for your first year of card membership. Miles earned with this card are fairly versatile. You can transfer them to a variety of hotel and airline partners, or you can redeem them for one cent per point to offset or pay for travel expenses. Another bonus is that cardholders can receive up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck® statement credit every four years. You’ll receive a 50,000 mile early spend bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and enjoy access to perks such as travel accident insurance and roadside assistance. You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees when using this card abroad.

Why We Like It

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a powerful yet simple travel card. Other cards might make you keep track of bonus categories and various statement credits to offset an annual fee. The Venture Card, on the other hand, just earns 2x miles on all purchases; those miles can be used to cover the cost of any travel purchase, but you can also transfer them to a variety of hotel and airline transfer partners. Transfer rates typically sit at a rate of 2 Capital One miles for 1.5 partner miles, slightly worse than the 1:1 ratio you’ll find with some other travel cards. However, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a solid option for those who don’t want things to get too complex when it comes to travel rewards.

Best Cash Back Credit Card

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  • Receive 2% cash back on all purchases. This breaks down to earning 1% when you buy and another 1% as you pay for those purchases
  • To be eligible to earn cash back you must pay the minimum due on your account, without paying late
  • 0% Intro APR for the first 18 months on Balance Transfers. Afterward, the ongoing variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99% based on your creditworthiness
  • If you choose to transfer a balance, a fee of either $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater will apply
  • Certain transactions do not earn cash back i.e., balance transfers, cash advances, items returned for credit, lottery tickets, and more
  • Standard APR when taking part in the Citi Flex Plan is a variable 13.99% - 23.99% depending on creditworthiness

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% for 18 Months (for balance transfers completed within first 4 months)

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Details

With the Citi Double Cash Card, you’ll earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. The catch is that you’ll earn 1% back as you spend and 1% back when you pay your bill, so you’ll need to make payments in order to receive the full 2%. This card does not offer a sign-up bonus and also doesn’t charge an annual fee. You’ll be charged a 3% foreign transaction fee when using your card abroad.

Why We Like It

Not many personal credit cards offer unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee. If you decide to go with the Citi Double Cash Card, it’s important that you remember to pay your bill in full and on time, as cardholders will only receive the full 2% cash back advertised upon paying their statement. Other than this requirement, the lack of caps, categories or annual fees makes this card a potential winner for a wide variety of people.

Best Business Credit Card

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  • When you spend $15,000 in your first 3 months from account opening, earn 100,000 bonus points. If you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards towards travel, this would be equal to $1,250!
  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent on the first $150K in combined purchases on travel and select business categories each anniversary year
  • All other purchases earn one point per dollar with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Receive 25% more points when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, cash back + more. Plus, your points don't expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees if you need to travel overseas on business
  • Receive additional cards for your employees at no additional cost
  • There is an annual fee of $95

Annual Fee

$95

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

17.49% - 22.49% Variable

Details

Holders of the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card will earn 3x points on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines on up to $150,000 in combined purchases every calendar year. After you cross that threshold, you’ll earn 1x points like you do on all other purchases.

With the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can earn a generous early spend bonus of 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed through the Chase travel portal. They are also available to transfer to a variety of travel programs. You’ll also have access to certain travel and purchase protections when you make purchases using your card. There is an annual fee of $95 but the card does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Why We Like It

Businesses looking to earn valuable and versatile rewards from their spending should definitely look to the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Points are redeemable for travel, cash back and a variety of other uses. It also offers one of the best early spend bonuses on the market. Note that the travel category for this card is broadly defined. As a result, you’ll be able to earn points for everything from public transit to hotels and airfare.

WIth the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, cardholders can redeem points through Chase directly or transfer them to airline and hotel transfer partners. These transfer rates typically sit at or above a rate of one-to-one. When it comes to redeeming points directly through Chase, you can redeem points at a value of one cent per point for cash back or statement credits, or you can redeem through the Chase travel portal, where each point will be worth 1.25 cents. That means that instead of paying 25,000 points for a $250 ticket, you’ll only need to pay 20,000 points. This card is a great option for any business looking to earn valuable rewards.

Best 0% Intro APR Credit Card

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  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, receive a variable APR 13.99% - 23.99% depending on creditworthiness
  • Enroll in online banking and receive your free TransUnion credit score with emailed alerts when there are changes
  • Flexibility to choose a payment due date that fits your bill payment schedule
  • Get cell phone protection when you pay your monthly cellular bill with your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
  • No Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% for 20 billing cycles

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% for 20 billing cycles

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Details

The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is a solid option for anyone looking for a credit card with a 0% intro APR period. During the first 20 billing cycles of card membership, you won’t pay any interest on purchases. While you also won’t pay any interest on balance transfers for the first 20 billing cycles, you’ll be subject to a balance transfer fee of either 3% of the amount of each transfer or a $5 minimum, whichever is greater. After 20 billing cycles, the APR on the card will be 13.99% - 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness when you open your account. This card has no annual fee but carries a 2% - 3% foreign transaction fee.

Why We Like It

Those looking for a card with a generous 0% intro APR period should strongly consider the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card. This card has one of the longest 0% intro APR periods for both purchases and balance transfers, so if you need to transfer or carry a balance and aren’t sure how soon you’ll be able to pay it off, this card could be right for you. While the balance transfer fee isn’t zero, it’s lower than many other cards can charge. While this card doesn’t have a rewards program, it makes up for it by having such a lengthy intro 0% APR period.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

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  • If you spend $1,000 in purchases during your first 3 months with your card, you will earn a welcome bonus in the form of a 10,000 points
  • Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening. There is $0 balance transfer fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable rate of 12.99% to 23.99% will apply based on creditworthiness
  • Earn 2% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases. After you reach the yearly cap, your earnings will drop to 1%. Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • Earn 20% more points when you use your card 20 more times on purchases in a billing period (minus any returns and credits)
  • In 2017 and 2018 alone, over 3 million more places started accepting American Express Cards in the United States
  • No annual fee
  • Terms Apply

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% on purchases for 15 months

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% on balance transfers for 15 months

Regular APR

12.99% - 23.99% Variable

Details

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express offers cardholders a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of card membership, after which there is an APR between 12.99% - 23.99% Variable. You won’t pay a balance transfer fee on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. This card has a rewards program as well. You’ll earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. You can also earn 2x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (this rate drops to 1x points after the cap is hit) and 1x points on all other purchases. Plus, if you use your card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period, you’ll earn 20% more points on those purchases.

Why We Like It

Those looking for a card that’s good for balance transfers should look no further than The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express. While the 0% intro APR period is not as long as the one offered by some other cards, it’s still a long period of time during which to pay down any balance you might be transferring. And the lack of a balance transfer fee in the first 60 days means you won’t be adding any fees on top of what you already know.

While anyone transferring a balance is probably more concerned with paying off debt than earning rewards, the generous rewards structure means that the card will continue to pay dividends even after it’s served its initial purpose. Do note that The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express requires a good or excellent credit score for approval.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card

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  • Earn a one-time early spend bonus of $150 when you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of having an account
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back - no matter the purchase
  • Categories don't change or rotate, rewards are automatic. There is no limit to the cash back you can earn and cash back won't expire as long as your account is in good standing
  • Low 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months; receive 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that depending on creditworthiness
  • Receive 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months; 3% fee will apply for transfers that post in this timeframe. An ongoing transfer APR of 15.49% - 25.49% variable will apply after that
  • There is no annual fee and there are no foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

0% for 15 Months

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% for 15 Months

Regular APR

15.49% - 25.49% Variable

Details

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns cardholders unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Cardholders can also earn a $150 early spend bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months of card membership. Cash back from this card calculates as soon as purchases clear, so you don’t have to wait until the end of the month to redeem rewards. You won’t pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees with this card.

Why We Like It

While there are cards out there that might earn more than just 1.5% cash back, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a simple option for anyone interested in no-strings-attached cash-back. You don’t need to keep track of bonus categories or enroll in anything to earn the rewards. This card is a great option for anyone who is interested in earning cash back without paying significant fees or jumping through hoops.

Best Student Credit Card

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  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase - plus, you can increase that to 1.25% just by paying on time for the month
  • No foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad and there is no annual fee
  • With responsible card use the Journey® Student Rewards card can help build your credit
  • Receive assistance from Eno®, your Capital One® assistant, to manage your account and to help keep you safer online
  • Have the freedom to pick the monthly due date that works best for your payment schedule
  • With Credit Steps you are able to gain access to a higher credit line if you are responsible and make your first 5 payments on time
  • Zero fraud liability coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Get access to CreditWise® and monitor your credit score and credit report for free

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

26.99% Variable

Details

With the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. You also have the opportunity to earn an additional 0.25% cash back upon paying your statement on time. It’s easy to be approved for this simple-to-use card even if you have limited income or limited credit history as a student. You won’t pay any annual fee or foreign transaction fees with this card.

Why We Like It

If you’re a younger or new-to-credit user, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a great way for you to familiarize yourself with credit cards, rewards, paying bills and more. You’ll be incentivized to pay your bills on time and you won’t pay any annual or foreign transaction fees. Plus, if you make your first five monthly payments on time you can also gain access to a credit line increase. Since this card is accessible to those who might not have prior experience using credit cards, it’s a great option for students.

Best Secured Credit Card

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  • With responsible card use, this card can help you build credit – all with no annual fee
  • This card regularly reports to the 3 major credit bureaus which helps build credit when used responsibly - unlike a prepaid card
  • A security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 is determined based on your creditworthiness. Access to an authorized bank account is required for deposit.
  • After you make the security deposit that is determined for you, you will receive an initial credit line of $200. Then, if you choose, you can deposit additional money before account opening to gain a higher credit line.
  • After you make your first 5 monthly payments on time, you can gain access to a higher credit line with no additional deposit
  • Manage your account 24 hours a day from anywhere – by phone, online or on the Capital One mobile app
  • The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is accepted at millions of locations around the world

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

26.99% Variable

Details

With the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, cardholders will start off by making a $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit that will cover your opening credit line of $200. You can deposit more money before your account opens to receive a higher credit line. Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your security deposit, and you can pick your statement due date and payment method. This card has no annual fee and a maximum credit line of $1,000.

Why We Like It

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers a great way for people to repair their credit or build their credit from the ground up. While this card doesn’t provide any rewards and doesn’t really stand out in any other ways, a secured card may be the only option for individuals who don’t have at least an average credit score. If you’re able to use the card responsibly, you should be able to repair or build your credit score and eventually be able to be approved for a better credit card with lower rates or a rewards program.

Best Low APR Credit Card

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  • Enjoy our lowest rate with no frills
  • Get travel and retail benefits – rental car insurance, extended warranty, price protection, and more
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

8.40% - 25.40% Variable

Details

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card has an APR of 8.40% - 25.40% Variable; your APR will fluctuate within this range depending on your credit score. The APR kicks in right away, as there is no 0% intro APR period. This card doesn’t have a rewards program, but it also charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Cardholders will get the same APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.

Why We Like It

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card is a great option for anyone that’s looking for one of the lowest APRs on the market. While there isn’t a 0% intro APR period, the 8.40% - 25.40% Variable rate starts out at nearly half the average credit card APR. If you only plan on carrying a balance for a shorter period of time, a 0% intro APR card may be better for you. However, this card could save you money in the long run if you plan on carrying a balance for a long time, as it is one of the lowest APR cards available.

Methodology

SmartAsset has developed a quantitative and independent system for evaluating the relative value of a credit card offer versus other offers in the marketplace. Our system evaluates cards based exclusively on their features, such as their rewards earning rate (if applicable), fees, perks, and rewards program redemption options. The annual rewards values on this page are calculated using annual spending assumptions in various categories such as, but not limited to, gas, restaurants, airfare, and US supermarkets. These spending assumptions are built on research that SmartAsset has conducted on existing cash back credit cardholders. Our promise with our credit card recommendations is that we will always strive to have the most comprehensive, accurate, and objective method of evaluating credit card offers. Any recommendations are solely determined by the result of this research and model, and is never influenced by any fees, commissions, or other forms of compensation that SmartAsset may receive from credit card issuers for leads generated on our website.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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Best Places to Apply for a Credit Card

SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country where people have the lowest credit risk and are most likely to be approved for their next card. Click between states and the national map to see the best places to apply for a credit card.

Least
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Rank City Credit Score Credit Utilization Late Payments Rate

Methodology Our study aims to find the best places to apply for a new credit card. To do this, we analyzed three factors: credit score, credit utilization and late payments rate. These are three of the factors used by credit card issuers to determine whether an applicant is approved or denied for a new credit card.

To calculate our rankings, we indexed each factor and calculated an overall index by taking a weighted average of each of these indices. We weighted credit score as 40%, credit utilization as 30% and late payments rate as 30%.

The top-ranking cities and states had a high credit score, low credit utilization and a low late payments rate. This means people there are a low credit risk and more likely to be approved when applying for a credit card.

Sources: Experian