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Best Credit Cards for 2014 (by Category) from Our Partners

If you're looking for the best credit cards by category, you've come to the right place.  MoneyRates.com has assembled some of the most popular top credit cards available.

Whether it's cash back, travel rewards, low introductory APR balance transfers, or low interest credit card offers and offers on small business credit card you're after, you know you want the best credit card in its class that gives you major bang for your buck. Whatever your financial spending habits and goals, there should be a top credit card that fits your lifestyle. Select from our most popular credit cards here.

Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Rewards - Cash Back Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 14 months--then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • Over 7,000 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% Cashback Bonus for gas and ground transportation on up to $1500 in purchases from Jan. through Mar. 2015 after you sign up for 5% Cashback Bonus. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Read more
Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Rewards - Miles/Points Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • 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.
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Balance Transfer Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • 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 7,000 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."+
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★
Bad Credit / Prepaid Credit 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.
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Low Ongoing Rate Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • No Balance Transfer Fees - start saving immediately!
  • A low 8% variable APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • No Annual Fees
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Student Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • Experience our cash rewards with $20 cash back after you make your first purchase within 3 months of approval.*
  • 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 other purchases.
  • Redeem your cashback for any amount, any time*. Your cash back never expires.
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Small Business Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • Get 10,000 bonus points when you spend $500 in net purchases during the first 90 days after opening your account
  • Earn 3 points per dollar on net purchases in one category of your choice: Day-to-Day Expenses, Automobile or Travel & Entertainment
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other net purchases
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Secured Credit Card
  • Reports to all three nationwide credit bureaus.
  • Low fixed 13.99% interest rate on purchases. With no penalty Rate!
  • No processing or application fee.
Card Rating
Rewards - Gas Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • Unlimited 1% cash back gas rewards
  • No limit to the gas rewards you can earn
  • Get Pre-Qualified without affecting your credit score
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Secured Credit Card
  • Build Your Credit, with monthly updates to all 3 credit bureaus
  • Control Your Finances, start with a security deposit and credit line as low as $200
  • Apply in less than 5 minutes, NO credit check necessary
Read more

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.

 Monthly Spend

Top credit cards

By Doresa Banning | Money Rates Columnist

What makes a credit card a Top Card? Many factors go into determining what makes a credit card exceptional, and the Top Cards here combine the characteristics below in a way that separates them from the pack.

Competitive interest rates

The lower your interest rate, the less money you pay each month on your balance. So cards with competitively low interest rates are more attractive. Keep in mind that credit cards generally have an APR for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. The APR for each of these might be the same or different. One APR for all three is the least complicated and easiest to remember. Credit cards also have a penalty, or default, APR that takes effect when you miss a payment, make a late payment or exceed your credit limit. The penalty APR can raise your finance charges significantly over the standard rate.

APRs may also be fixed or variable. Fixed APRs are typically more desirable since they aren't susceptible to the sudden rate increases that are possible with variable APRs.

Many credit cards feature a 0% introductory APR on purchases or a zero percent or a low APR on balance transfers. The draw with these cards is they can help you pay down your credit card debt from one or more cards by lifting the burden of interest for a period of time.

Minimal fees

The fewer fees associated with your credit card, the better. When you choose a card with fewer fees, it means less money out of your pocket--sometimes much less. The types and amounts of fees vary from card to card. Most cards have penalty fees, but not all have application, annual or setup fees. Sometimes card companies will waive one or more fees for a period of time. Potential fees include:

  • Application fees: For processing an account application
  • Annual/membership fees: For ownership over a period of time
  • Setup fees: For opening a new account
  • Late payment fees: For past-due payments
  • Cash advance fees: For using the card to get cash
  • Balance transfer fees: For moving your balance between cards
  • Over-the-limit fees: For exceeding your credit limit
  • Credit limit increase fees: For getting a higher credit limit

Attractive rewards

If you use your credit card to pay for purchases and bills, you might as well get some perks for doing so. That's where reward cards come in. With these popular cards, you may earn cash back on all purchases or for purchasing certain products like gasoline, office supplies, auto repairs or spending at specific places. You may rack up air miles and redeemable points for travel-related expenses--vacations, car rental, hotel stays and more--along with other goods and services. With so many choices of rewards programs, you can likely find one that's ideal for your spending habits and the type of rewards you want. You can really benefit from these rewards cards--so long as you don't overspend for the sake of the rewards.

A good fit

The way a credit card meets your individual needs is what makes it a Top Card for you. Cards are tailored to distinct groups of people and their financial needs and lifestyles. The Top Cards category features credit cards for students, small business owners, individuals with bad credit, gas cards for people who drive often, cash back cards for shoppers, air miles and points cards for frequent fliers and balance transfer cards for people who need a break on interest to pay down a debt. Finding the credit card that best suits you is a simple matter of doing your homework.


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