What are the Best Credit Card Deals of 2015?
There are an unbelievable number of credit cards to choose from in the United States. If consumers tried to review all the offers being made to them, they would have very little time left to buy anything with those cards. That’s why we’ve done the work for you, and below are our picks for the eighteen most advantageous credit card offers out there.
Our review includes rewards, cashback, travel and accommodations packages, 0% balance transfers, and the cards’ treatment of students and business people. There’s a lot to learn, and much, we believe, that cardholders will find very useful in the list we have compiled.
Our first category is cash-back credit cards, which return to the cardholder a percentage of each purchase price as a cash rebate.
1. Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom, issued by JPMorgan Chase, has earned a high score as a cash-back card. Cardholders receive 5% cash back on categories that rotate on a quarterly basis. If you plan your spending in advance, this can result in very substantial savings.
Let’s take the first quarter of 2015 as an example. During this quarter, the 5% cash back applies to movie theaters, Starbucks purchases, and grocery stores (except for Target and Wal-Mart), for the first $1,500 in purchases made during the three-month period. And for all of your other purchases, you will receive 1% cash back.
If you don’t have a Chase Freedom Card yet, you are in for increased cash benefits. The company will pay a $100 bonus, provided you use the card to buy $500 in goods or services during your first three-month period of card ownership. Add a user who makes purchases, and receive an additional $25 bonus. That $100 bonus is about the best on offer.
2. BankAmericard Cash Rewards
The BankAmericard Cash rewards card requires no annual fee, and provides cash rewards for your purchases. Make sure to obtain the card online, and you will receive a $100 cash bonus, provided you use the card to buy $500 in goods during the first three months you hold it.
And the cash will just keep on coming. You will receive 2% back at grocery stores, and 3% back on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery and gas purchases that you make in each calendar quarter. Beyond that, you will get 1% for all other purchases.
BankAmericard doesn’t require you to enroll in a rewards program as a condition of receiving the cash back, and the categories don’t shift every quarter. Also, there is no expiry date placed on your cash back, which you can redeem as a statement credit, by check, or through direct deposit into a Bank of America bank account.
This card offers an introductory 0% APR, applicable to purchases and balance transfers made in the first 60 days you hold the card, for twelve billing cycles. Thereafter, a 12.99% – 22.99% variable APR applies. The charge for a balance transfer fee is 3% of each transaction, with a minimum $10.00 transfer required. You’ll get a 10% bonus every time you choose to redeem your cash back into a BofA account. They want to keep that money in the family.
3. City Double Cash Card
CitiBank’s offer, the Citi Double Cash Card, gets you 1% cash back on all eligible purchases, and an additional 1% cash back at the time you pay off your card balance, provided your payment is at least the minimum required payment. So if you keep current, you can get a consistent 2% cash back. No program enrollments are required, and there is no limit on the amount of cash back that can be obtained.
When it’s time to collect that cash, the choices include statement credit, a check, or gift cards. The card has no annual fee, and the company offers a 0% introductory APR, extended for 15 months, applicable to purchases and balance transfers. When that honeymoon period is over, you will be looking at variable APR of between 12.99% and 22.99%, with your credit rating determining the precise rate. The rate will go down as your credit score goes up, and vice-versa.
4. American Express’s Blue Cash Preferred Card
With American Express’s offering, the Blue Cash Preferred Card, you will receive $150 as statement credit, provided you purchase $1,000 worth of goods and services within the first three months you hold the card. The Blue Cash Preferred Card is particularly generous when it comes to grocery store purchases, providing 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent each year, and 1% for all further purchases.
Cardholders will also enjoy 3% cash back for gas station purchases, and at certain department stores. All other eligible purchases result I 1% cash back. The card does have a $75.00 annual fee, which must be factored in, but since, if you do the math, 6% of that first $6,000 in purchases is $360 in cash back, many consumers may calculate that the card is worth it. An introductory APR of 0% is offered for the first 15 months, and APR thereafter is be3tween 12.99% and 22.99%, depending on how creditworthy the cardholder is deemed to be.
5. Discover’s Discover It Card
The folks at Discover offer 5% cash back on purchases made with their Discovery It card on categories that rotate on a quarterly basis, up to a quarterly maximum. For all additional purchases, the cardholder receives 1%. Their 0% introductory APR period is 14 months, and thereafter the variable APR is 10.99%-22.99%, with a 3% fee for balance transfers.
One nice feature you will discover with Discover is that your cash back rebates can be doubled, provided that you redeem them for select gift cards at over 100 listed stores. So handled properly, that five (percent) will get you ten.
Top Travel-Oriented Credit Cards For Footloose Travelers
The following cards were conceived with travelers in mind. They allow you to earn points for choosing particular hotels and airlines, and offer additional points for regular purchase. Let’s take a look.
1. BofA’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
Traveling cardholders who enjoy earning points that can be redeemed for travel-related purchases will be attracted to BofA’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. This card, if used online, provides 10,000 bonus points after you use it to purchase $500 in goods and services within your first 90 days of ownership. You will also obtain 1.5 points for every dollar you spend with it. And so long as you maintain an active BofA bank account, you will get another 10% in points on each purchase. The points don’t ever expire, and there is no limit on them. There is also no annual fee, and purchases made overseas will not incur a foreign transaction fee.
The purchase method is straightforward. Make a travel purchase online using the card, and then call or go online to redeem your points. You will receive a statement credit toward the travel purchase. The introductory 0% APR period lasts for 12 billing cycles, and variable APR in the range of 14.99% to 22.99% applies thereafter.
2. Capital One’s Venture Rewards Credit Card
The initial decision to obtain Capital One’s offering, the Capital One Venture Rewards card, will secure for the cardholder a bonus of 40,000 miles, worth $400 in travel purchases, provided the cardholder spends $3,000 in purchases during the first three months. You will also get two miles per dollar that you spend on any purchase, doubling your mileage increase. An annual fee of $59.00 applies, but the fee is waived for the first year.
3. Chase’s Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase offers 40,000 points for new cardholders who spend $4,000 within three months of securing their Sapphire Preferred card. These points are worth $500 in travel purchases provided you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards. An additional 5,000 bonus points is provided once the cardholder adds the first authorized user and makes a purchase, also within the first three months.
After that, you will benefit from a one-to-one point transfer applicable to listed travel programs. And a 20% discount off travel purchases is applicable when your points are redeemed for airfare, hotels, car rentals, or cruises, again if done through the Ultimate Rewards program. You can also receive two points for each dollar you spend on travel and restaurants, and one point for every dollar you spend on other purchases. Like most travel-oriented cards, there is no fee for foreign transactions, and the relatively steep $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Top Balance-Transfer Credit Cards
These cards are a lifeline for those burdened with interest-bearing debt. By moving that debt to one of these specialty credit cards, you will be able to pay 0% interest on balance transfers for a set period of time. The result is the ability to pay off debt interest-free for that period.
1. Citi Simplicity
CitiBank’s City Simplicity Card offers a particularly long, 18-month period of 0% APR. After that period, a variable APR of 12.99% to 22.99% applies, and there will be a 3% balance transfer fee, with a $5 minimum. It’s worth noting that most cards charge between 3% and 5% as a balance transfer fee, with no initial grace period. The card does not offer a Rewards program.
2. Chase’s Chase Slate Card
Chase’s Chase Slate Card, another balance transfer card, permits cardholders to transfer a balance during the first 60 days of card ownership with no balance transfer fee. Thereafter, a 3% fee applies, with a $5 minimum. Chase charges no annual fee, and the 0% introductory APR period lasts for 15 months, and is followed by a variable APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%, depending on how your credit is looking.
3. Discover’s Discover It Card, with 18-month balance transfer offer.
Discover’s offering, the Discovery It Card, separately reviewed above, is listed here as well because Discover has a time-limited offer relevant to balance transferors. New cardholders receive 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months, giving you quite an extended period to pay off your pre-existing credit card debt interest-free.
A transfer fee of 3% still applies, and the card offers a 0% introductory APR for the first six months on purchases. Thereafter the variable APR will be 10.99% to 22.99%. The card is also a rewards card, and you will get cash back for all purchases.
Top No Annual Fee Cards
For consumers in the card market who are looking to avoid an annual fee, here is what we’ve found for you:
1. Citibank’s Citi Thank You Preferred Card
The Thank You Preferred Card provides 20,000 bonus points, provided you spend $1,500 during the first three months of card ownership. The card also offers two points for every dollar in purchases on restaurants and entertainment, along with one point for every dollar spent for more mundane purchases. Your points are redeemable for cash, flights, hotels, gift cards, or other listed purchases. You can even use the points to make payments against your mortgage or your student loans!
Top No Annual Fee Business Credit Cards
There are certain cards that are focused on businessmen and businesswomen who utilize credit in their businesses. Here are two that we rank highly:
1. Chase’s Ink Cash Business Card
The Ink Cash Business Card provides a $200 bonus cash back for signing up, so long as you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You will also receive 5% cash back for the purchase of all office supplies, cable services, and telecom services, up to a maximum of $25,000 per year. Thereafter, you get 1% on such purchases. The card also offers 2% cash back on restaurants and gasoline, also for the first $25,000 spent per year. For all other and additional business purchases, you will receive 1% cash back. The card has no annual fee.
Cardholders who shop at Chase’s online mall will get 10% cash back, and no cash back limit is imposed. The card’s introductory 0% APR period is 12 months, and it charges 13.24% variable APR after that. The card also specializes in protection benefits, including purchase protection and extended warranty. We consider this the premier card for business use.
2. Capital One’s Spark Miles Select for Business
Capital One’s offering, the Spark Miles Select for Business, provides 1.5 miles for every dollar spent (on all purchases) with a 0% APR until August 2015. Thereafter, Capital One will charge variable APR of 12.9% to 20.9%. You will also get a bonus of 10,000 miles, provided that you spend $3,000 during the first three months. As to the number of miles that can be earned, there’s no limit, and there’s no expiration on miles. There are no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee.
The card also offers $0 fraud liability protection in the even the card is lost or stolen, and at the end of the year, the company will provide a free, itemized transaction summary, of particular use to business owners.
Top Student Credit Cards
The card companies certainly haven’t forgotten about students, and have produced advantageous credit card offerings for the studious to study. Here are our top picks.
1. Citi Thank You Preferred Card for College Students
Citibank’s Thank You Preferred Card for College Students offers our studious young adults 2,500 bonus points, provided they interrupt their studies to purchase $500 in goods and services during the first three months they hold the card. Students who dine out and enjoy entertainment will earn two points for each dollar spent in that manner, and they will earn one point for each dollar spent on other purchases. The introductory 0% APR lasts for seven months, and thereafter a variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR rate applies.
1. Discover’s Discover It Student Card
The Discover It Student Card offers student holders 5% cash back, but uses the quarterly rotation of categories described previously. The 5% rate holds up to the first $1,500 spent quarterly, and cardholders get 1% cash back for all purchases. By shopping online at ShopDiscover.com, which hosts over 100 well-known retailers, you will qualify for cash back bonuses ranging from 5-20%.
As with the basic Discover It card, the value of your rebates can be doubled by redeeming them at listed retailers or for gift certificates. Rebates are unlimited and will not expire. The 0% introductory APR rate (10.99% APR for balance transfers) lasts for six months, and is followed by a variable APR of 12.99% to 21.99%.
Top “Bad or No Credit” Credit Cards
What if your learning curve concerning the use of credit was a bit slow, and you now find yourself in a pickle, credit wise? Paying cash will avoid additional debt, but only a good credit history will rebuild a bad credit history, and here is a list of cards that can help you re-establish a damaged credit rating:
1. Capital One Secured MasterCard
Capital One offers this Secured Master Card to customers who pay a deposit of $49, $99, or $200, with customers who have the most damaged credit asked to pay the higher deposits. Once you obtain the card, you have a $200 credit line, but customers can secure higher credit lines either by paying larger deposits, or by improving your credit scores through developing a good payment record. Because this is a credit card, your payment history will be reported to the credit bureaus, permitting you to improve your scores, and regain access to credit at reasonable rates.
2. Navy Federal Credit Union Rewards Secured Card
Navy Federal Credit Union produced this card, which will also give you the chance to repair your credit, and that separately allows cardholders to earn rewards. There is no annual fee, and you will obtain one point for each dollar spent. The card is available only to active military and military veterans, and requires a minimum $500 deposit. The cardholder’s credit line will match the deposit. The card offers collision damage for short-term car rentals (less than 15 days), and access to Navy Federal’s online mall, where further discounts are offered, and points can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, and other purchases. Points are unlimited, but expire after four years.
Those are our picks for the best credit card deals out there. Take a moment to calculate which category of cardholder who fit in best with, and consider whether credit will help you get where you want to go.
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