Best Credit Cards for 2013 (by Category)

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

Whether it's cash back, travel rewards, 0% 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 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Balance Transfer Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • 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.
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Student Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee*.
  • 2% cash back automatically 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%.
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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 ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by over 4,000 cardmembers.*
  • No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for us paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★
Small Business Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • Earn 15,000 bonus ThankYou® points after you make $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of cardmembership -- redeemable for $150 in gift cards.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for 6 months. After that, 13.24% variable*
  • Earn 3 ThankYou® points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases in rotating business categories*
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Low Ongoing Rate Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • Created for those with Excellent Credit and approval is based on your credit rating and application review.
  • Low 7.25% variable standard purchase APR and platinum benefits
  • No balance transfer fee for balances transferred in response to this online offer
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★
Bad Credit / Prepaid Credit Card
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application
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Card Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Rewards - Gas Credit Card (SEE ALL)
  • Plus Card: 5% cash back on gas paid at the pump with a qualifying PenFed product*
  • Plus Card: No annual fee
  • Standard Card: 3% cash back on gas purchases paid at the pump
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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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