Learn How to Pick the Best Credit Card for You

Is there a reward program with the card? For example, if you need a few months of 0% APR — say instead of a sign-up bonus — you might be able to discover a card that also offers hefty recurring benefits.


How can I spend my money on rewards, travel, or cashback cards? 

Look for a card that offers the best rewards in the categories where you spend the most money. If you spend a lot, consider acquiring a card with an annual fee if your rewards earnings will cover the cost. If you intend to use the card abroad, search for one that doesn’t charge international transaction fees and has chip-and-PIN functionality rather than the standard chip-and-signature technology in the United States. This also applies to other types of cards.

How difficult is it to use this credit card? Consider a card with flat-rate cashback benefits if you don’t want to deal with limited award seat availability, spending limitations, rotating bonus incentives, and loyalty tiers.

How quickly will I get prizes, and how much money will they be worth? To get the answers to these questions, consult NerdWallet’s rewards valuations.

Apply for the credit card with the best overall value.


The easiest part is narrowing your options, but picking between two or three similar cards might be challenging. If you’ve already determined a clear winner after Step 3, stick with it. If not, a tiebreaker round will be held.

Examine the differences carefully. 

If all other values are equal, the following criteria may distinguish a card:

For Secured And Student Cards:

The credit limit is automatically raised. In addition, certain credit cards allow you to increase your limit following a string of on-time payments.

Interest has been paid on your deposit. Some secured cards invest your security deposit in a CD that pays interest. You can earn a fair bit of money this way.

Debt payback planner for low-interest, 0% apr, or balance transfer cards. Some issuers allow you to construct your debt repayment plan on an internet portal, which is useful if you’re drowning in debt.

There are no late fees or penalty APRs. Certain credit cards exempt you from these fees. This could be useful if you get behind on your payments.

Cards with Reward, Travel, or Cash-Back Programs:

Reduced spending is essential. The less money you have to spend to qualify for a sign-up bonus, the better.

There is no time limit on awards. You can utilize your rewards on various cards as long as you keep the card open.

When you ultimately decide on a card, keep in mind that you can mention whatever money you have reasonable access to, not just your income, on the application. For students, this can include money from grants and scholarships, as well as parental allowances. Others may include the income of a partner or spouse.

You’ve discovered the best credit card. What Comes Next?

Choosing the finest credit card is a big step, but don’t stop there. To get the most out of your credit card, use it correctly. Pay your bills in whole every month if you’re attempting to develop credit, and don’t use up too much of your available credit. If you’ve got a 0% APR loan, stick to your repayment plan. If you want to earn points, use your card for everyday purchases and pay your payment in full each month.

Whether you’re looking to establish credit, borrow money, or earn rewards, the credit card you use should help you reach your financial goals most cost-effectively and efficiently possible. So don’t accept anything less.