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Credit Card Reviews

Best Credit Cards of November 2020

At The Balance, we name the best credit cards based on the features we think are the most valuable for different sets of needs. Whether you’re looking for travel rewards, cash back on everyday purchases, a way to build credit, or a better way to pay down costly debt, we’ve done the research and crunched numbers to find the very best option for you. These are the best credit cards you can get right now, and we highly recommend giving each offer a second look:

Best Credit Cards

  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
    Best Overall, Best for Cash Back
  • Discover it Miles
    Second Best Overall
  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College
    Best for Students
  • Discover it Secured
    Best Secured Card
  • CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard
    Best for Small Business Owners
  • United Explorer Card
    Best for Airline Flights
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    Best for Travelers
  • Citi Simplicity
    Best for Balance Transfers

For more details on how we evaluate credit cards for this list, see our methodology.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Overall

Best for Cash Back

Our Rating4.1

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

REGULAR APR (%)15.49% – 25.49% variable
ANNUAL FEE$0
REWARDS EARNING RATE1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR0% for 15 Months
FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDThis well-rounded card deserves our top honor and a place in your wallet. Earning cash back is super simple, since there are no categories or limitations to worry about. You’ll get a respectable 1.5% cash back on every dollar you spend, everyday, plus a $150 bonus if you charge $500 in your first three months with the card. If you have a big purchase to make, you’ll get 15 months interest-free on new purchases thanks to its introductory offer. All this makes for an excellent card without an annual fee.
  • PROS & CONSPros
    • Solid cash-back rate on every dollar you spend
    • Simple, no-fuss cash back is easy to earn and redeem
    • Competitive welcome bonus
    Cons
    • No interest-free promotion on balance transfers
  • HIGHLIGHTS

    Discover it® Miles

    Second Best Overall

    Our Rating4.1

    Discover it® Miles

    CURRENT OFFER

    Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

    REGULAR APR (%)11.99% – 22.99% variable
    ANNUAL FEE$0
    REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent.
    INTRO PURCHASE APR0% for 14 Months
    FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
    • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDDespite its branding, Discover it Miles essentially functions as a cash-back card with superb flexibility. You’ll earn 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend and can redeem those miles for statement credits on prior travel purchases or as cash back directly deposited in your bank account. (Miles are always worth 1 cent each.) You can even use them right at checkout on Amazon.com. What’s more, this card offers 0% APR on purchases for 14 months, and Discover will match all rewards earned your first year as a cardholder. This bonus is worth about $365, based on average U.S. household spending.
    • PROS & CONSPros
      • No annual fee
      • Miles can be redeemed as travel statement credits or cash back
      • Generous, unconventional bonus doubles your first year earnings
      • Competitive 0% purchase APR offer
      Cons
      • Miles can’t be transferred to airline loyalty programs
      • No travel insurance benefits
      • Card acceptance may vary compared to Visa or Mastercard
    • HIGHLIGHTS

      Chase Sapphire Reserve®

      Best for Travelers

      Our Rating4.5

      Chase Sapphire Reserve®

      CURRENT OFFER

      50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 800850Excellent

      REGULAR APR (%)16.99% – 23.99% variable
      ANNUAL FEE$550
      REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
      FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
      • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDThis card has a sky-high annual fee, but its rich rewards-earning rates on travel and restaurant purchases, a $300 annual credit toward travel, and superior travel perks (who doesn’t want unlimited access to participating airport lounges?) make it more than worthwhile for the frequent traveler. Plus, you’ll get some terrific flexibility when it comes time to redeem your reward points. You can use them to book your choice of airline or hotel through the Chase online portal, or you can transfer them (usually at a 1-to-1 ratio!) to any eligible airline or hotel rewards programs.
      • PROS & CONSPros
        • Earn extra points for travel and dining purchases
        • Many different purchases count as travel spending, which makes earning rewards easier
        • Several valuable ways to use points, including transfers to partner loyalty programs
        • Jam-packed with valuable travel credit and travel insurance benefits
        Cons
        • Massive annual fee
        • High ongoing APR
      • HIGHLIGHTS

        Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠

        Best for Students

        Our Rating3.8

        Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠

        RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent

        REGULAR APR (%)11.15% – 21.15% variable
        ANNUAL FEE$0
        INTRO PURCHASE APR0% for 6 Months
        REWARDS EARNING RATE3% cash rewards earned for up to $2,500 spent on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months. 1% cash rewards for each $1 spent on virtually all other purchases with your card.
        FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)3%
        • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDBusy students need a card that makes using credit worthwhile and educational, and that’s why this one shines. For your first six months with the card, you’ll earn 3% cash back on as much as $2,500 that you spend on gas, groceries and drugstore items. During that introductory period, you’ll also pay no interest on purchases. Access to resources like free FICO credit scores and Wells Fargo’s credit education hub make this a valuable learning tool as well. Just note that you need to be an existing Wells Fargo customer to apply.
        • PROS & CONSPros
          • No annual fee
          • Offers rewards on everyday purchases, unlike many other student cards
          • 0% APR promotional offers that are rare for a student cardCons
          • Must have a Wells Fargo account to apply
          • Rewards earning rate drops after six months
          • Foreign transaction fee means using this card overseas costs extra

        Discover it® Secured

        Best Secured Card

        Our Rating3.7

        Discover it® Secured

        CURRENT OFFER

        Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent

        REGULAR APR (%)22.99% variable
        ANNUAL FEE$0
        MINIMUM DEPOSIT TO ACTIVATE$200
        ALLOWS UPGRADE TO UNSECURED CARDYes
        PAY DEPOSIT IN INSTALLMENTSNo
        • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDIf you’re a first-time borrower or rebuilding a bad credit profile, finding a top-notch secured card can be tough. Thankfully, this is it. You’ll earn some decent cash back on routine purchases, and at the end of your first year, your earnings will be doubled. You won’t pay an annual fee (many secured cards charge one), and Discover will even waive your first late fee. Plus, after eight months, Discover will begin reviewing your account for a possible upgrade to an unsecured card.
        • PROS & CONSPros
          • Ability to earn cash-back rewards while building credit
          • Responsible use can lead to automatic unsecured card upgrade
          • No foreign transaction fee
          • Cash-back match as a first year bonus
          Cons
          • Low cap on highest rewards earning rate
          • Mediocre maximum credit limit compared to other secured cards
        • HIGHLIGHTS

          United℠ Explorer Card

          Best for Airline Flights

          Our Rating3.7

          United℠ Explorer Card

          CURRENT OFFER

          40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

          REGULAR APR (%)16.49% – 23.49% variable
          ANNUAL FEE$0 for the first year, then $95
          REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays, and on United purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
          FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
          • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDWe found United miles to be the most valuable of those offered by a major U.S. airline rewards program, which makes this card our top pick for frequent flyers. Not only are they worth an average 2.28 cents each, according to our research, but you’ll get 60,000 extra miles if you spend $3,000 within your first three months with the card. It’s a bonus that we value at $1,368. What’s more, restaurant, hotel, and United charges all earn 2 miles per $1 spent. It doesn’t hurt that the annual fee is waived for the first year, either.
          • PROS & CONSPros
            • Miles are worth more than most other major U.S. airline’s, according to our calculations
            • Lots of great travel perks, such as lounge passes and free checked bags
            • Extra miles can be earned on more than just flight purchases
            Cons
            • Annual fee is waived the first year, but it’s still a notable cost
          • HIGHLIGHTS

            Citi Simplicity®

            Best for Balance Transfers

            Our Rating3.4

            Citi Simplicity®

            RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

            REGULAR APR (%)14.74% – 24.74% variable
            ANNUAL FEE$0
            BALANCE TRANSFER FEEEither $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
            INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR0% for 18 Months
            • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD
            • This card gives you 18 months to pay off balance transfers, which is one of the longest 0% balance transfer APR offers on the market right now. Long 0% APR periods spread out the financial burden of debt repayment while cutting interest costs. Plus, you’ll have four months after opening an account to take advantage of the balance transfer promotion, which is longer than some similar cards offer. That gives you time to strategize your debt repayment plan.
            • PROS & CONS
              • No annual fee
              • Offers 18 months to pay off balance transfers at 0% APR
              • No fees or penalty APR for late paymentsCons
              • Ongoing APR may be quite high compared to the competition
              • Foreign transaction fee makes using the card abroad more costly

            CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

            Best for Small Business Owners

            Our Rating3.0

            CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

            CURRENT OFFER

            Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

            REGULAR APR (%)15.99% – 24.99% variable
            ANNUAL FEE$0 for the first year, then $99
            REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn 2 miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines, telecommunication, cable and satellite providers, car rentals and gas station purchases. Earn 1 mile per $1 on other purchases.
            CASH ADVANCE APR (%)25.24%
            CASH ADVANCE FEEEither $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
            • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDIf American Airlines can be your go-to airline when you travel for business, this card is for you. Frequent flyers will earn valuable miles (they are worth an average of 2.32 cents each, based on our data) on not just flights, but business expenses such as telephone and cable services, car rentals and gas bills. They’ll also get travel perks like preferred boarding and free checked bags. What’s more, the 65,000-mile bonus for new cardholders—earned after spending $4,000 within four months of opening an account—is worth about $1,500, according to our estimates.
            • PROS & CONSPros
              • American Airlines miles are worth more than most airline miles, according to The Balance’s valuations
              • Great bonus for an airline-branded business card
              • Free checked bag perk (for you and four travel companions) can easily make annual fee worth it
              • Several travel and business expenses earn double miles
              Cons
              • No travel insurance benefits
              • No airport lounge passes, travel credits or card perks like cellphone insurance
            • HIGHLIGHTS
              • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 4 travel companions.
              • Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights so you can save time and be more productive.
              • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi purchases when you use your card.
              • 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights when you use your card.

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