This post originally appeared on NerdWallet.com
The nerds have the top 10 credit cards for everyone -- whether you're a jetsetter or family man, student or average Joe, you'll find rewards and savings. There's no one-size-fits all credit card. Instead, the best credit card for you depends on how much debt you have, how you spend, and your travel habits. It can get a little confusing, but never fear: the nerds have crunched the numbers to find the right cards for any lifestyle!
Best Credit Card Overall: Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit Card
Frequent flyers and hotel-goers, road-trippers and backpacking-through-Europers, take note: the Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit Card offers incredible rewards and versatility. It gives a full 2 No Hassle Miles per $1 spent, which can be redeemed against any travel expense, from airfare to baggage fees to dinner at your hotel. They never expire, and Capital One even suggests categories to use on your monthly statement. The $59 annual fee is waived the first year, and offset by the sign up bonus of 10,000 Capital One No Hassle Miles sign up bonus. Perhaps most importantly, it has no foreign transaction fee. This charge usually sets you back 3 percent of all the money you spent overseas. If you spend $2,000 abroad, you've made up for the card's annual fee in foreign transaction savings alone.
Best Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is another excellent travel card, offering no foreign transaction fee and a decent rewards rate. But while the Venture is great for the long haul, the Sapphire Preferred is a summer romance -- a great opportunity to take the bonus and run. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a sign up bonus of 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Your points are also multiplied by 25 percent if you redeem for travel booked through Chase. Not bad, eh? As for ongoing rewards, it'll give you one Ultimate Rewards Point per $1 spent, and 2 per $1 spent on travel and dining. The $95 annual fee is waived in the first year, so you don't have to worry about shelling out. Just meet the spending threshold, and walk away with your bonus in hand.
Best Card for Food and Fuel: American Express Blue Cash
If you buy groceries and drive a car, look no further. The AmEx Blue Cash Preferred earns sky-high rewards on everyday spending: a full 6 percent cash back on up to $6k spent on groceries a year, unlimited 3 percent at department stores and gas stations, and 1 percent elsewhere. This opens the door to all sorts of hacks - Amazon.com counts as a department store, and you can purchase gift cards at Safeway to earn 6 percent cash back on Starbucks, iTunes, Best Buy or wherever else you spend (just keep in mind the $6k spending cap). The card's $75 annual fee is offset by a $150 sign up bonus, and in any case, spend just $25 in groceries a week and you're in the black. For those of us who prefer home and food over travel, the Blue Cash Preferred is the way to go.
Best No-Fee Rewards Card: Chase Freedom
With high rewards and no annual fee, what's not to love about the Freedom? It gives 5 percent cash back on rotating bonus categories that change quarterly, and are seasonally relevant. Until September, the high driving and entertainment season, the bonus categories are gas and restaurants; holiday-heavy Q4 (October - December) gives 5 percent on hotels, airlines, Best Buy and Kohl's. Bonus rewards are capped at $1,500 in purchases a quarter, but you earn an unlimited 1 percent outside of those categories. It also comes with a $100 signup bonus. Moreover, you get access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall, where you can get 2-20 percent cash back with merchants like Macy's.com or Target.com. Not to bad for no annual fee, right?
Best Low Interest/Balance Transfer Card: Citi Simplicity
The Citi Simplicity have an industry-leading 18 months of 0 percent interest on balance transfers and purchases, but where it really stands out is the penalty APR and late fees - there are none. Most of the time, if you miss a payment or are late, most credit cards will charge you $25-$35 and raise your interest rate on new purchases to as high as 30 percent. But the Simplicity? It's chill. It knows that it can sometimes be difficult to make those payments on time, or at all. Now, we're certainly not advocating that you make a habit of missing your bills, but if you slip up once or twice, the Citi's got your back.
Best Hotel Credit Card: Starwood American Express
If you're a frequent hotel-goer, then the Starwood American Express is the card for you. You earn up to 5 Starpoints per $1 spent at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels (1 base + 2 for elite status + 2 for the card) and 1 Starpoint per $1 spent elsewhere. But the nominal rewards rate belies the true value: we believe Starpoints to be worth 2.3 cents on average, and up to 5 cents apiece if you use them right. This means that for hotel guests, the Starwood Amex can be even more lucrative than the famed Venture card. You get all sorts of extra benefits, too: your third night's stay at the Sheraton is free, you get an elite status credit, and you get automatic Gold status if you spend more than $30,000 a year. Plain and simple -- this is the premier hotel card on the market.
Best Bad Credit Card: Capital One Secured
Have you tried to make your credit go to rehab, but the banks say no, no, no? A secured card might be just the thing, and Capital One is one of the more flexible lenders in the business. A secured card works like this: You put a deposit (usually equal to your credit limit) into a bank account. You don't touch that money again -- not to pay down your debt, not to spend -- until you close the account. You use the credit card normally, putting money on the card and paying it off every month. Those payments raise your credit score, and when you've built up enough credit, you can close the account, get your deposit back and "graduate" to a regular, unsecured credit card. As for the Capital One Secured, it's one of the best out there, with a low $29 annual fee and a minimum security deposit of $200 that you can pay for in installments if you can't make it all at once. Especially compared to the other bad credit cards out there, the Capital One Secured is remarkably light on fees.
Best Card for Average Credit: Capital One® Cash Rewards
If your credit falls in that in-between space of neither poor nor good, the Capital One® Cash Rewards could help you out.It has a pretty basic purchase APR and annual fee at $39, but the rewards are what set it apart. You earn 1 percent back on all purchases (pretty simple), but your rewards don't expire and there are no rewards caps. As the name implies, it pays out in cash, so you don't need to worry about gimmicks or tricks that lower your actual rewards rate. If your credit is so-so, this card could be what takes you to the next level.
Best Business Credit Card: Chase Ink
Whether you're looking to earn rewards, get a revolving line of credit or just make your everyday transactions easier, the Chase Ink Cash offers a great deal for small business owners. To start off, it has a 12-month introductory period of 0 percent APR on purchases and transfers, allowing you to make a big purchase and pay it off interest-free for a year. It stands out in rewards, too. The Cash gives 5 percent cash back on office supplies; wireless, landline and communication services; and cable, up to $25,000 spent per year. It also offers 2 percent back on gas and restaurants, again up to $25,000 annually. The Chase Ink Business has a sign up bonus of $200 cash back when you spend $3,000 in first 3 months.
Best Student Credit Card: Citi Forward® Card for College Students
The Citi Forward® Card for College Students pays bonus rewards on the things that matter most to students: textbooks, bars, late-night pizza. It gives five ThankYou Points to the dollar on bookstores (including campus bookstores), restaurants (including fast food and bars), music and movies. The card also rewards you for responsible use: it knocks 0.25 percent off your interest rate for every quarter that you stay under your credit limit and pay your bills on time, up to 2 percent total. College students, with such tailored categories, this is easily the card for you
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