Best credit cards for 2014

By updated on April 23, 2014

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'll spotlight a handful of credit card offers that we think provide the very best value for your money. The best deals of 2014 might include longer zero-APR balance transfer offers, generous cash back credit cards, tempting travel rewards points bonus offers, or anything else that helps save you money.

 

What kinds of deals are out there?

We believe there's a credit card deal out there for everyone. If you're just starting to build a credit history, secured credit cards and credit cards for limited credit can help you establish crucial banking relationships. Bargain hunters love low APR credit cards, especially a new breed of account that eliminates annual fees and service charges.

Banks that really want your business offer rewards credit cards that fit your lifestyle. For instance, you might prefer a travel rewards card if you're at the airport enough to be on a first-name basis with the airport lounge staff. Spend a lot at the supermarket, and you may benefit more from a cash back credit card. And, if it's time for you to knock down your debt, the best balance transfer offers can buy you 18 months or more at zero percent APR.

How do I compare deals?

First, decide what key feature of a credit card is most important to you. Getting a better deal in one area often means trading off another. For instance, rewards credit cards tend to carry higher APRs than plain vanilla credit cards. Balance transfer offers might save money on finance charges, but without a lot of other perks. Homing in on the single most important element of your credit card can eliminate distractions.

We built CardRatings.com to give you the objective advice you need to compare credit cards across major feature categories. Special reports and credit card news columnists alert you to last-minute deals and industry trends. Our editorial reviews put limited-time offers into perspective, while our credit card database stacks up the latest deals against the competition. Use our credit card calculators to run the numbers and see how quickly you could pay off your debt. You can even get opinions from other readers by asking questions in our credit card forum.

What do I need to watch out for?

Credit card issuers mail Americans billions of credit card applications every year, easily enough to fill a typical mailbox for every home. Ads for cash back credit cards and travel rewards cards dominate television commercial breaks. It's easy for banks to tell you what you want to hear, but it's far more important for you to take the time to read and understand the fine print of your cardholder agreement.

For example, a cash back card's huge rebate won't matter if you don't earn enough to clear its annual fee and finance charges. Airline credit cards don't pay off when your redemption fee costs less than a competitor's ticket. Our resources can help you look past the banks' marketing messages to discover how you can really save money with credit cards by finding just the right offer for you.

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Discover it®

Editor's Rating

  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. Pay up to midnight ET online or by phone on your due date without a fee. Plus, paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Generous. 5% cash back at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond® on up to $1,500 in purchases from April through June 2014.*
  • Human. 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time. *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards, and free FICO® Credit Score terms and other information.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR

Balance Transfer Intro Period

18 months

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on purchases

Period: 6 months

Purchase APR

10.99% - 22.99% Variable*

Annual Fee

$0 

Chase Slate®

Editor's Rating

  • Pay less interest. Save on balances and new purchases
  • $0 balance transfer fee -- introductory offer!
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Apply Now Credit Needed Good

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR

Balance Transfer Intro Period

15 months on balance transfers

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on purchases

Period: 15 months

Purchase APR

12.99%, 17.99%, 22.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Chase Freedom®

Editor's Rating

  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you make $500 in 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 13.99%-22.99%.
Apply Now Credit Needed Good

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR

Balance Transfer Intro Period

15 months on balance transfers

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on purchases

Period: 15 months

Purchase APR

13.99% - 22.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Editor's Rating

  • Get 100 Reward Dollars, redeemable for a $100 statement credit, after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
  • Plus, get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign up for a new membership with your Card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period.
  • As an Amazon Prime member, you get unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

15 months

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% on Purchases

Period: 15 months

Purchase APR

12.99% - 21.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$75 

Ink Plus® Business Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Flexibility to pay your balance over time or in full
  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

n/a

Balance Transfer Intro Period

n/a

Purchase Intro

APR: n/a

Purchase APR

15.24% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year. After that, $95 

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Fast: 3X points for flights booked with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Period

N/A

Purchase Intro

APR: N/A

Purchase APR

N/A 

Annual Fee

Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $175 

Citi Simplicity® Visa® Card

Editor's Rating

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 21.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - EVER
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0%*

Balance Transfer Intro Period

18 months on Balance Transfers*

Purchase Intro

APR: 0%*

Period: 18 months on Purchases*

Purchase APR

12.99 - 21.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0* 

Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Average Credit

Editor's Rating

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else
  • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you've made.
Apply Now Credit Needed Average/Fair

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Period

N/A

Purchase Intro

APR: N/A

Purchase APR

24.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Ink Cash® Business Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually at gas stations and restaurants
Apply Now Credit Needed Good

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0%

Balance Transfer Intro Period

for 12 months

Purchase Intro

APR: 0%

Period: for 12 months

Purchase APR

13.24% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-21.99% based upon your creditworthiness.*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.
  • Citi® Easy DealsSM Get what you want for less. Earn Citi Easy Deals Points for the purchases you make with your card. Redeem your points for great online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0%*

Balance Transfer Intro Period

18 months on Balance Transfers*

Purchase Intro

APR: 0%*

Period: 18 months on Purchases*

Purchase APR

11.99% - 21.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$0* 

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard® - Earn 1x on All Purchases

Editor's Rating

  • Start by earning 20,000 bonus miles when you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 20,000 bonus miles equates to $200 off your next trip!
  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining purchases
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers

Balance Transfer Intro Period

12 Months

Purchase Intro

APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases

Period: 12 months

Purchase APR

14.99% or 18.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 

Citi® Hilton HHonors Visa Signature® Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at a participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent

Balance Transfer Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Period

N/A

Purchase Intro

APR: N/A

Purchase APR

Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature: P+10.99% (14.24% variable) or Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Gold: P+12.99% (16.24% variable) 

Annual Fee

None 

These quotes are from credit card issuers which have paid for a link to their website. Offers are subject to change without notice and may not be the same for all consumers.