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Last updated May 2024

Best Credit Cards for May 2024

Choose from the top credit card offers from the most trusted institutions

Upgrade Visa Card with Cash Rewards
Apply Now on Upgrade's website

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards

Best for flexibility
$0 Annual fee
1.5% Cashback Rewards
N/A Intro offer
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on Upgrade Card purchases when you pay them back
  • No fees - $0 annual fee, $0 activation fee, $0 maintenance fees
  • Combine the flexibility of a credit card with the low cost and predictability of a personal loan
  • Use wherever Visa┬« is accepted with safe and fast contactless card technology
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Ability to send funds to your bank account
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
Apply Now on Wells Fargo's website

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Best for low-interest balance transfers and cash back rewards
$0 Annual fee
2% Cashback Rewards
$200 bonus Intro offer
  • Earn 2% unlimited cash back on purchases
  • No fees - $0 annual fee, $0 activation fee, $0 maintenance fees
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Intro APR on balance transfers's guide to credit cards

How do credit cards work?

A credit card is a financial product that allows you to make purchases and pay for them later. When you're approved for a credit card, you receive a credit limit that determines the maximum amount you can charge to the card. As you make purchases, your available credit decreases. When you pay your bill, your available credit increases.

When you use a credit card to make a purchase, the following steps are involved:

With a credit card, you can carry a balance from month to month, which means you can make a partial or minimum payment instead of paying your balance in full. The downside to carrying a balance is the potential interest charges determined by your credit card's annual percentage rate (APR), which is the cost of borrowing money. Keep in mind that credit card interest is only relevant if you carry credit card debt from month to month. It's best to pay your balance on time and in full whenever possible.

How do credit card rewards work?

Credit cards typically offer one of three types of rewards: cash back, travel miles, or points.

Cash back rewards

Cash back rewards are the simplest form of credit card rewards. When you make a purchase with a credit card that offers cash back, you earn a percentage of the purchase amount as cash back. For example, if your card offers 3% cash back in a certain spending category, and you make a $100 purchase in that category, you would earn $3 in cash back. You can typically redeem cash back as a statement credit (a credit to your account that lowers the amount you owe), a deposit to your bank account, or a gift card.

Travel miles rewards

Travel miles rewards work similarly to cash back, except that instead of earning cash back, you earn miles that can be redeemed for travel. For example, if your card offers 3X miles on a certain purchase, and you make a $100 purchase in that category, you would earn 300 miles. The value of your miles will depend on how you redeem them, but they are typically best used for booking airfare.

Points rewards

Points rewards work in a similar way to travel miles, except that points can be redeemed for a wider range of rewards, including travel, cash back, and other rewards. For example, if your card offers 3X points on a certain purchase, and you make a $100 purchase in that category, you would earn 300 points. The value of your points will depend on how you redeem them, but they often offer more flexibility than travel miles.

Why should you use a credit card?

There are several reasons why you might want to use a credit card:

How many credit cards should you have?

There is no set number of credit cards that is right for everyone. The number of credit cards you should have depends on your individual financial situation and goals. Some people may be happy with just one credit card, while others may want to have several credit cards to take advantage of different rewards and perks.

Here are some things to consider when deciding how many credit cards you should have:

In general, it's a good idea to have at least one credit card for emergencies, and then you can decide whether to have additional credit cards based on your individual circumstances and goals.

Avoid these common credit card pitfalls

While there are a lot of advantages to using a credit card, be careful to avoid these common credit card pitfalls. Here are some things to avoid with credit cards:

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