- The higher your credit score, the better the credit cards and interest rates you can get.
- If you will spend less than $8,000 a year on a card, apply for one with no annual fee.
A credit card is secondary to your checking account. I suggest getting your primary finances in order first.
There are advanced tricks to getting the most out of your credit cards, but before you can do that, you should make sure the one you have is right for you.
First, check your credit score on Credit Karma.
My Recommended Credit Cards:
Note: All Capital One cards have no foreign transaction fees.
Fair Credit Score (<680)
These are easy to get approved for and are used to build your credibility back up again so you can qualify for better cards.
Top Pick: Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard
- 2% cashback on gas, grocery, and utilities, 1% on everything else
- $25 bonus after first use.
The fact that a card this easy to get offers any rewards at all is astounding. A better version is offered for more creditworthy applicants. This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee so don't use it outside of the US.
Contrast the Barclay’s with these cards that offer no rewards and are harder to get:
Good Credit Score (700+) and Spend <$8,000 a year
These cards have no annual fees, but offer less rewards and bonuses than cards with annual fees.
Top Pick: Barclaycard Arrival World (No annual fee version)
- 2.2% cash back on dining and travel, 1.1% everything else
- $200 promo bonus for spending $1000 in first 3 months
- No foreign transaction fee
- 1.5% cash back
- $100 bonus for spending $500 in first 3 months.
If you don't do much dining and traveling, the QuickSilver is the obvious choice.
Other cards in this category offer 5% cash back in different categories every 3 months:
Chase Freedom (This card used to have much better rewards.)
Good Credit Score (700+) and Spend >$8,000 a year
The heavyweights of credit cards.These cards have annual fees that are waived the first year. Because of their annual fees, only big spenders should use these over no annual fee cards. Annual fees are generally never charged the first year.
Top Pick: Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard ($89 annual fee)
- 2.2% cash back on everything
- $400 promo bonus for spending $1000 in the first 3 months
- No foreign transaction fee
Inferior cards in this category:
Chase Sapphire Preferred ($89 annual fee) is the most famous card. It’s hard to get, and you must spend $3000 in the first 3 months to get $400.
Capital One Venture Rewards ($59 annual fee) is Capital One’s contender. It's alright.
What About American Express?
After looking at their cards, I’m convinced this company must be a joke. AMEX users must think there’s prestige in paying huge fees for a card that isn't widely accepted and doesn't offer great rewards. The same type of people who buy a Lexus instead of Toyota, name-brand instead of generic (i.e. you either have a small dick or a small brain.)
My Credit Cards
These are the cards I have in order of which I opened them.:
- Chase Slate
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Sapphire
- Capital One QuickSilver
- Capital One VentureOne (Not recommended)
- Blue Cash Everyday
- Barclaycard Arrival World ($89 annual fee version)
Next time, I will talk about how I use credit to maximize not only my savings but also my credit score.