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Our editor's picks for best credit cards

Best credit cards for 2015

By Curtis Arnold, Editor-in-chief

We often hear from readers who simply ask, "Which credit card is best for me?" Without knowing more about you and your financial situation, it's difficult to provide a straightforward answer to that question.

The best credit card for your neighbor might not fit your own lifestyle. The lowest interest rate may not be important to you if you're going to pay off your card every month. If you're carrying a balance, the best rewards points program may not save you much money if you're paying a higher interest rate for those perks. That's why it's important to ask yourself how you intend to use the credit card before starting to compare offers.

Our editorial team spends time every day reviewing the latest credit card deals from across the country. We highlight a handful of credit card offers from each category that we think provide the very best value for your money. The best deals of 2015 are sorted into a number of categories to help you find the best card to suit a specific need.  The best low-interest cards will offer the lowest rate, the best cash-back cards will offer the highest percentage of cash back, and so on.

Best rewards points credit card

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Interested in earning something extra for your everyday purchases? Those with good-to-excellent credit who pay their bill in full each month can get the most out of a rewards credit card. Before you choose the best reward credit card for your specific needs, you should think about how you spend your money and which rewards are most meaningful to you. Some things to look for are cards that offer you the most points for the least amount of spending, allow you to amass points without fear of expiration, offer a wide array of appealing, easy-to-use redemption options and, in some cases, even waive the annual fee for the first year or offers a $0 introductory annual fee the first year and after that the annual fee is charged, (or don’t charge one in the first place)
Chase Sapphire Preferred(R)
About Our Ratings

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards℠.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfer Intro Period N/A
Purchase Intro APR: N/A
Purchase APR 15.99% Variable
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Best travel rewards credit card

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These cards allow you to amass rewards which can be redeemed towards airfare, hotel stays and other travel expenses by earning points or miles on your purchases. Those with good-to-excellent credit who pay their bill in full each month can get the most out of a travel rewards credit card, as interest charges can quickly negate any rewards you earn. Look for cards that charge no annual fees or at least one that waives it at first, or offers a $0 introductory annual fee the first year, after which the annual fee is charged, other features would be a card that charges no foreign transaction fees, gives you flexibility in earning and redemption options, and sweetens the deal with a sign-up bonus.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
About Our Ratings

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases - Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Complimentary online FICO(R) Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival Cardmembers
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period for 12 months*
Purchase Intro APR: N/A
Purchase APR 14.99% or 18.99%* Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year

Best cash back credit card

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Cash-back credit cards are popular for good reason, and smart spending with the best cards in this category can help you earn cash back on most, if not all, of your everyday purchases. We take cash-back earning caps, annual fees and purchase APRs into consideration. Cards offering easy redemption with multiple options (statement credits, merchandise and gift cards, travel bookings) and tempting sign-up bonuses also make this list.
About Our Ratings

Fidelity® Investment Rewards® American Express® Card

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases each time you use your card when you direct your deposit into your eligible Fidelity account: every $2,500 spent equals a $50 deposit.
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period the first 12 Statement Closing Dates following the opening of your account for transactions made within 60 days of opening your account
Purchase Intro APR: None
Purchase APR 13.99% Variable
Annual Fee None

Best low interest credit card

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The best low-interest credit cards enable those paying off debt to do so without massive finance charges because more of each bill payment goes toward eliminating the balance than to interest payments. We weigh any introductory APR of each card and how long that rate lasts, as well as a card’s everyday purchase APR, and whether or not a card has annual fees.
About Our Ratings

Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum

Editor's take by Curtis Arnold
  • Consistently an editor's pick due to having one of the lowest variable interest rates in the country
  • No balance-transfer fee
Watch out for: This card is only available to people with impeccable credit
Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum review

Have excellent credit and looking for a solid, no-frills card? This regional bank offers some of the country's best low-interest credit cards with something that most elite credit cards don't provide: free balance transfers.

Balance Transfer Intro APR 7.25% Variable
Balance Transfer Intro Period N/A
Purchase Intro APR: 7.25% Variable
Period: N/A
Purchase APR 7.25% Variable
Annual Fee $0
About Our Ratings

First Command Bank Platinum Visa® Card

  • Same low, variable APR of prime rate +3% for purchases, cash advances and balance transfers
  • Minimum credit limit of $5,000
  • No annual fee, over-limit fee, balance transfer fee or online account access fee
  • Free ScoreCard™ rewards program earns points redeemable for air travel, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, gift certificates and merchandise
Balance Transfer Intro APR None
Balance Transfer Intro Period None
Purchase Intro APR: None
Purchase APR 6.25% Variable
Annual Fee None

Best balance transfer credit card

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Interested in taking charge of your finances by knocking out credit card debt? With proper use, the right balance-transfer credit card can help you make some serious debt-reduction progress. Factors we consider include the introductory APR and how long that introductory period lasts; the interest rate for new purchases and the remaining balance after the introductory period ends; and the fee to make the transfer, if one applies.
Chase Slate®
About Our Ratings

Chase Slate®

Editor's take by Curtis Arnold
  • Features the one of few zero-percent introductory APR balance transfer offers with an introductory $0 balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days currently available
  • Long standing editor's pick because of consistently above-average introductory offer
Chase Slate® review

This card features an attractive 0% introductory rate on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. As an introductory offer, transfer your higher-rate balances during the first 60 days your account is open you will pay no balance transfer fee.

Balance Transfer Intro APR 0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period 15 months
Purchase Intro APR: 0%
Period: 15 months
Purchase APR 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
PenFed Promise VISA Card
About Our Ratings

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No balance transfer fee
  • No late fee
  • No penalty APR
  • APR for Purchases and Cash Advances - 7.99% to 16.99% APR when you open your account, based on your credit worthiness. Your APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • APR for Balance Transfers - 4.99% APR promotional balance transfer rate for 12 Months on Balance Transfers made between February 15, 2015 through March 31, 2015. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 7.99% to 16.99% APR based on your credit worthiness and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. This transaction is subject to credit approval.
  • Chip Enabled for Added Security
Balance Transfer Intro APR 4.99% APR promotional balance transfer rate
Balance Transfer Intro Period Promotional balance transfer rate for 12 Months on Balance Transfers made between February 15, 2015 through March 31, 2015. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 7.99% to 16.99% APR based on your credit worthiness and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. This transaction is subject to credit approval.
Purchase Intro APR: N/A
Purchase APR 7.99% - 16.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0

Best bad credit credit card

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Smart use of the right card can help you rebuild your credit. Consumers with a bad credit score have several options for credit cards, depending on their credit score. Some customers will need to apply for a secured credit card with a guaranteed approval in order to rebuild their credit. Others can qualify for an unsecured credit card that usually will carry a higher-than-normal interest rate, a high annual fee or a low credit line. The best cards in this category charge lower-than-average rates and fees while also throwing in some extra perks.
About Our Ratings

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

  • Secured card rates well below the national average
  • Borrow against your DCU savings account
  • No Annual Fee
  • No Fees or Higher Rates for Cash Advances and Balance Transfers
  • Insurance, car rental, travel, and warranty benefits
  • Optional Overdraft Protection On Your DCU Checking
  • Buy online easily and safely with V.me by Visa
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0% Fixed
Balance Transfer Intro Period See terms
Purchase Intro APR: None
Purchase APR 11.50% Variable
Annual Fee None
About Our Ratings

First National Bank Secured Visa® Card

  • Your stepping stone to credit that can grow with you.
  • You provide an upfront deposit - from $300 to $5,000 - and that sets your credit limit, subject to our credit approval.
  • How you use your card will reflect on your credit rating with the three major credit bureaus.
  • There is no charge for receiving your FICO® 8 Bankcard Score.
  • You could qualify for additional unsecured credit — without sending an additional deposit — in as few as 7 months.
  • As soon as 11 months after opening your account, you could be eligible to apply for an unsecured card from First National Bank — and get your deposit back!
  • Use you First National Bank Secured Card anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
Balance Transfer Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfer Intro Period N/A
Purchase Intro APR: N/A
Purchase APR 20.99% Variable
Annual Fee $29
About Our Ratings

USAA Secured Card® Platinum MasterCard®

  • It's a real credit card — not a prepaid or debit card, that helps you build or improve your credit score.
  • When you apply — you'll also be opening a USAA 2-year Certificate of Deposit , an interest-earning deposit account that has a two-year term and a $250-minimum initial deposit.
  • Your CD is a security deposit — the money you put in upfront, from $250 to $5,000, is the card's credit limit.
  • Earn interest on your CD — your deposit is guaranteed to grow. Plus the money is yours to keep as long as you don't default on your payments.
  • Start building your credit — opening a CD lets you get a credit card even if you don't have a credit history or have bad credit.*
Balance Transfer Intro APR See terms
Balance Transfer Intro Period 12 months
Purchase Intro APR: See terms
Period: 12 months
Purchase APR 9.90% - 19.90% Variable
Annual Fee $35

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Meet our editors

Amber Stubbs
Amber Stubbs
Managing Editor

Amber has been researching the credit card industry for more than nine years and has been interviewed by members of the national media including USA Today, The New York Times, Time, TheStreet.com, and The Chicago Tribune. Amber became passionate about personal finance after overcoming difficulties with her own credit.

Curtis Arnold
Curtis Arnold
Editor-in-chief

Curtis, a nationally recognized consumer educator and advocate, has been educating consumers about credit cards since 1998. Curtis is the author of “How You Can Profit from Credit Cards: Using Credit to Improve Your Financial Life and Bottom Line” (FT Press, 2008). He is regularly interviewed by respected members of the press.