Best Credit Cards for September 2021: Top Offers and Rewards

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Though there are many different types of credit cards, they all fall into certain categories based on their features and rewards programs. Here are the different types of credit cards and the best credit cards and credit card deals right now within each category.

Travel credit cards

With travel cards, you can redeem your points or miles for free or discounted travel. There are also quite a few top travel credit cards that offer extra travel perks, such as free access to airport lounges, hotel upgrades, and travel insurance. An airline credit card, hotel credit card, and general travel credit card would all fall under this category.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 3 points per $1 on dining, 2 points per $1 on travel

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best travel rewards credit cards

Rewards credit cards

This category includes every credit card that earns purchase rewards. With so many cards to choose from, you’ll find a diverse mix of rewards credit cards that earn cash back, travel points, and store rewards.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best rewards credit cards

Cash back credit cards

With this type of rewards card, you earn rewards that can be redeemed as cash or a statement credit. Depending on the card, you may be able to redeem your cash back as a statement credit towards your credit card balance, a deposit to a bank account, or as a check. You’ll find cards that earn the same flat rate on every purchase as well as cards that earn extra in bonus categories among the best cash back cards.

  • Discover it® Cash Back: 5% back in rotating quarterly bonus categories you activate up to $1,500 quarterly spending cap, 1% back on all else
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 annual spending cap, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, 1% back on all else. Terms apply.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠: Up to 5% back in rotating categories you active each quarter ($1,500 spending cap quarterly)
  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: Up to 5% cash back in your top spending category each billing cycle ($500 spending cap monthly).
  • Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card: Unlimited, no hassles 2% cash back.
  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: 3% cash back on dining and entertainment.
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Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best cash back credit cards

Balance transfer credit cards

This type of card offers a lower, introductory APR on balance transfers. Many of the top balance transfer cards have a 0% intro APR on balance transfers and intro periods can last for well over a year. If you want to refinance credit card debt and save money on interest, a balance transfer card is ideal.

  • U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: 20-billing-cycle 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases.
  • Discover it® Balance Transfer: 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers. The go-to variable rate applies after the 0% intro APR expires.
  • Citi Simplicity® Card: 0% intro APR for both purchases and balance transfers, plus no late penalty APR or late payment fee.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best balance transfer credit cards

High limit credit cards

Some credit cards tend to offer higher credit limits than most. These high limit credit cards let you spend more, and they can also help you protect your credit by making it easier to keep your credit utilization ratio low. You typically need excellent credit to qualify.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best high limit credit cards

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0% intro APR credit cards

Cards in this category have a 0% intro APR that applies to purchases. They’re a smart choice if you need to buy something expensive, but you can’t afford to pay in full upfront. The most popular 0% intro APR credit cards also often have those intro deals for a year or longer.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best 0% intro APR credit cards

Credit cards for building credit

You need to pay a security deposit to open a secured credit card, which is typically used for rebuilding or building credit. The security deposit is often (but not always) equal to your starting credit limit. High-quality secured credit cards can usually graduate to unsecured cards, meaning you get your deposit back if you make enough on-time payments.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card: A lucrative rewards program plus Discover matches all the cash back earned in the first year.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best secured credit cards

Looking to rebuild credit?: Check out The Ascent’s best credit cards for bad credit

Student credit cards

If you’re in college, you can get started on building your credit with a student credit card. Even though these cards are for students, there are some excellent perks to be found with the best student credit cards. Some cards include free credit score tracking and money back for good grades.

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Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s best student credit cards

Store credit cards

Many chain stores, from Macy’s to Target to Lowe’s, offer their own credit cards. Sometimes these credit cards are accepted everywhere, but often they’re only for use in-store. Store credit cards usually come with exclusive discounts and rewards that can only be used at that store. Make sure to read the fine print on any 0% intro APR offers from store credit cards, as they can involve deferred interest, which is tricky and can lead to hefty surprise interest charges.

Compare more picks: Check out The Ascent’s store credit cards

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