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The Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending of 2021

At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.

Many credit cards attract new customers by offering high introductory bonuses worth hundreds of dollars, or thousands of points or miles. More important than any welcome offer, however, is how good a credit card is at earning rewards on everyday spending. After all, you only earn an intro bonus once, but you might carry a particular card for several years and use it on a daily basis.

That's why you want to make sure any credit card you're considering earns the rewards you prefer—whether that's cash back, credit card points or airline miles—on the things you tend to buy the most. The best credit cards can earn you generous rewards on all of your everyday spending, in addition to other valuable perks.

3 Partner Offers

Our Picks for the Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

2 miles per dollar spent on every eligible purchase

60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 with the card in the first 3 months from account opening

$95 annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited<sup>®</sup>

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

5% cash back on travel
3% cash back on dining
1.5% cash back on all other purchases

$200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

No annual fee

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

1.5% cash back on every purchase

$39 annual fee

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card makes it easy for avid travelers to earn and redeem miles. It accrues 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. You can redeem points for travel, car rental and more, and also transfer your miles to more than 15 travel loyalty programs. Terms apply. The card does carry a $95 annual fee, so you need to spend $4,750 (and thus earn $95 worth of travel rewards) or more on it per year to recoup that cost.

Read full review

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Apply

on Capital One's website

Good - Exceptional

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

APR

15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

2x miles on All Purchases

Intro Bonus

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel

Annual Fee

$95

Card Details
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

For a card with no annual fee, the earning potential of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is incredible, no matter where you want to use it. Earn 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on drugstores and dining at restaurants, and 1.5% on all other purchases. The intro APR is currently 0% on purchases for 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable) thanks to a welcome offer that also includes a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.

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Apply

on Chase's website

Good - Exceptional

APR

14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Rewards

5% cash back on Travel

3% cash back on Dining & Drugstores

1.5% cash back on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

A great card for those with average credit, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no bonus categories to keep track of. Among its downsides are a high APR on purchases and balance transfers (26.99% variable), and a $39 annual fee.

Read full review

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply

on Capital One's website

Fair, New to Credit

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

APR

26.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

1.5% cash back on All Purchases

Annual Fee

$39

Card Details
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app

How to Choose the Best Credit Card

There are some key factors you should consider when trying to choose the best credit card for your needs.

Check the Credit Score Requirements

The highest-earning rewards credit cards require applicants to have excellent credit, so you should review your credit report and score and think about whether you will be eligible for the card you want before applying. If you've just started to build credit, you may want to find out how to get your first credit card.

If you don't know your credit score, you might be able to request it for free from your bank or current credit card issuer. Experian also provides free FICO® Scores . If necessary, there are ways to improve your credit score, such as cutting down on debt and making all debt payments on time.

Consider the Annual Fee

Many rewards credit cards charge an annual fee. Before you open a card, calculate the amount of rewards you would earn by using it for purchases in a typical year, and make sure the value of those rewards is more than enough to offset the yearly cost.

Review the APR

If you think you might need to carry a balance on purchases with your new card, or transfer balances from another credit card account, you should review the annual percentage rate, or APR.

Some credit cards offer 0% intro APR on purchases, balance transfers, or both, for a period of several months. That means you won't accrue interest on the applicable transactions during that time, and you won't have to pay interest if you pay off your balance before the end of it. However, if you still have a balance at the end of the promotional period, you could incur interest charges on it at a much higher variable rate, so strategize carefully.

Aim for High Welcome Offers

Finally, you might want to aim for a credit card that is offering a welcome bonus, such as rewards points or extra cash back in the form of statement credits. Many introductory offers require you to hit a certain spending requirement, such as $500 in purchases within the first three months (many spending requirements are higher). Just make sure you can reach the required spend responsibly and without racking up debt.

How to Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Once you home in on the right card for your needs, you'll want to make a plan for maximizing its rewards.

Use One Card for Everyday Purchases

The keystone of your credit card strategy should be carrying one card that earns a solid rate of return on everyday purchases so you don't have to take too much time thinking about which card to use at which places. Look for one that earns at least 1.5% cash back on everything, such as the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Look for Bonus Categories

Many rewards credit cards offer what are known as "bonus categories." These are the types of merchants or transactions that earn extra cash back or points, and it's worth picking up a card that offers this type of perk for purchases you make often.

For instance, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5% cash back on most purchases, but an even better 3% back at drugstores and on dining at restaurants, and a stellar 5% back on travel purchased through Chase. If you have this card, you want to make sure you use it for those types of purchases instead of charging them to another card in your wallet.

Mix and Match Cards

Over time, you might consider getting both a card that racks up bonus rewards on all purchases and another that earns even higher bonuses in categories where your major expenses are each month. That way, you can maximize your spending even further.

Should I Use My Credit Card for Everything?

Using credit cards to pay for as many of your expenses as possible is a great way to boost your rewards, but you should beware certain pitfalls. On the positive side, using a credit card for everything will help with:

  • Earning rewards: Of course, the most obvious benefit of using credit cards for everything is that you will then earn rewards on everything you purchase, which can help you offset some of your costs.
  • Convenience and security: It's also easier and safer to use credit cards for purchases than carrying cash since many cards offer built-in security features like $0 fraud liability against unauthorized charges.
  • Special financing: If you open a card with a 0% introductory APR on either purchases or balance transfers, you can take advantage of that special financing to pay off large items over time without falling into debt or getting hit with high interest charges.

That said, beware of overextending your purchasing power. If you use your credit card for everything but have trouble paying off your balance on time and in full every month, you could fall into debt, get dinged with late fees and interest charges, and even see your credit score go down over time.

The best credit cards for everyday spending earn rewards on purchases no matter where you use them, and perhaps even bonuses in certain categories. Many also extend welcome offers worth hundreds of dollars, and introductory special financing that can help you pay off purchases or balances responsibly. Before you open a new credit card, review your Experian credit report and your FICO® Score with a free Experian CreditWorksSM account, where you will also be able to see how your score has changed over time. Then check Experian CreditMatchTM for the best current options personalized just for you.