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Best credit cards for 2015

By Curtis Arnold, Editor-in-chief

American Express is a CardRatings.com advertiser.

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.

Our editor's pick for best credit cards

Best cash back credit card

Compare cash back credit cards
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% Fixed
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
About Our Ratings

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The only card that earns you cash back TWICE on every purchase with:
  • 1% cash back when you buy
  • Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
  • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories
  • No Annual Fee
Citi® Double Cash Card review

Citi® Double Cash Card is a top pick for cash-back. It offers a solid cash-back rewards program as well as a zero-percent introductory rate and no annual fee.

Balance Transfer Intro APR 0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period 15 months on Balance Transfers*
Purchase Intro APR: 0%
Period: 15 months on Purchases*
Purchase APR 12.99% - 22.99%* Variable
Annual Fee $0 *

Best balance transfer credit card

Compare balance transfer credit cards
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 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 creditworthiness. 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 transfers made between April 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 7.99% to 16.99% based on your creditworthiness 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 transfers made between April 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 7.99% to 16.99% based on your creditworthiness 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
Discover it - 18 Month Balance Transfer
About Our Ratings

Discover it®

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months--then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%
  • Over 8,000 cardmembers rated 4.8 out of 5 stars* and J.D. Power awarded Discover "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Credit Card Companies. Tied in 2014."+
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter. Now through June 30 earn 5% at Restaurants and
    Movies on up to $1,500 in purchases after you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on monthly statements, online and in our mobile app.*
  • No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment , APR won’t go up for paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms, balance transfer terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0%
Balance Transfer Intro Period 18 Months
Purchase Intro APR: 0%
Period: 6 Months
Purchase APR 10.99% - 22.99% Variable*
Annual Fee $0

Best low interest credit card

Compare low interest credit cards
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 excellent credit card

Compare Excellent credit card
Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express
About Our Ratings

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
  • Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
Balance Transfer Intro APR 0% on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer Intro Period for 15 months
Purchase Intro APR: 0% on Purchases
Period: for 15 months
Purchase APR 12.99% - 21.99% Variable
Annual Fee $75
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% Fixed
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 bad credit credit card

Compare bad credit credit cards
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 None
Balance Transfer Intro Period None
Purchase Intro APR: None
Purchase APR 11.50% Variable
Annual Fee None

Best student credit card

Compare student credit cards
About Our Ratings

Discover it® chrome for Students

  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR.*
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter--no sign-ups needed*. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months--then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • Redeem your cashback for any amount, any time*. Your cash back never expires.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on your monthly statement so you can track your score's progress*.
  • Free text alerts can remind you when your payment is due. And free mobile app helps you stay on top of your account.
  • 100% U.S.- based customer service-- day or night.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Balance Transfer Intro APR 10.99%
Balance Transfer Intro Period 6 months
Purchase Intro APR: 0%
Period: 6 months
Purchase APR 12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
Annual Fee $0
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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.