Jan. 5, 2015, 10:00 AM
After a season of extravagant holiday shopping, it might be time to turn your attention to your credit cards.
Maybe you have a balance you can't fully pay off. Perhaps you're looking to earn some extra rewards or save up for your next vacation. Picking the right credit card could easily save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
With the economy on the upswing, credit-card issuers are offering amazing bonuses, lengthy 0% intro APRs, and generous reward programs.
NextAdvisor.com is a consumer information site that reviews credit cards from all major issuers; its mission is to help consumers save money. According to the company, these are the best credit cards for 2015.
Best cash-back card: Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express
Why you should get it: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, the winner of NextAdvisor's cash-back-card analysis. combines excellent cash rewards with a 15-month 0% APR period. This is a good option for anyone who spends a lot on groceries and gas, since it can really rack up cash-back rewards. You don't have to sign up quarterly to get the rewards — they're automatic.
What to know:
- Earn 6% back at supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases annually), 3% at gas stations and select department stores like Sears, JCP, Kohl's, Nordstrom, and Macy's, and 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
- There's a $150 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
- 0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (there is a 3% balance-transfer fee).
- $75 annual fee, but you should be able to earn this back.
If you want a card with no annual fee, huge cash-back rewards, and a 0% intro APR period, check out its sister card, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, or use NextAdvisor's free Personalized Cash Back Calculator to find out which cash-back card is best for you.
Best low APR card: Citi Simplicity
Why you should get it: This card leads the pack with an outstanding 18-month 0% intro APR and no annual fee or late fees. While it's important to pay your card on time and to maintain a healthy credit score, the extended 0% APR period will let you pay down your balance over time without costing you anything in interest fees. Plus there are no late fees or penalty rates — a huge bonus for anyone who might be late with a payment now and
What to know:
- 0% intro APR period for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfers.
- No late fees, penalty rates, or annual fee.
- 3% balance-transfer fee.
Best travel card: Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
Why you should get it: If you're saving up for a big vacation or travel frequently, you should strongly consider the Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. The card took first place in NextAdvisor's 2014 Travel Rewards Credit Card Analysis. with a top reward value of $2.20 for every $100 spent in both the flight and hotel categories.
You can travel wherever you'd like, on any airline, at any hotel, and with any car-rental company (or cruise). To use your earned miles, you just book your travel and then redeem your miles as a statement credit against your travel costs. A perk is that when you travel outside the US, you won't have to pay foreign transaction fees. It's also the only card that offers full chip and PIN technology, making it fully compatible with foreign payment systems.
What to know:
- Start with a 40,000-point bonus — equal to $400 in travel — after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
- Earn two miles for every dollar you spend. That's 2x miles on every purchase, not just in certain categories or on special deals that you have to sign up for quarterly.
- Get a 10% bonus on all miles you redeem for travel, so if you were to spend your 40,000-point intro bonus on travel, you'd get 4,000 bonus miles (roughly $440 in travel).
- The card does have an $89 annual fee, but it's waived the first year, so you'll have a year to figure out if this card is right for you.
Best card for students: Discover It For Students
Why you should get it: Your college-bound child needs a new card. The cash-back rewards and 0% APR period of six months will give him or her time to pay for those textbooks.
- 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that rotate quarterly and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
Other cards you may want to try:
Best card for rebuilding credit: Capital One Secured Mastercard