Applying For A Credit Card
Before you complete a credit card application, make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions that apply to the card.
If you apply for a credit card from a federally regulated financial institution such as a bank, the application must include an information box. The information box must present key features of the credit card such as interest rates, fees and other charges in a clear and easy-to-understand way.
Best For 2% Cash Rewards
A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.
Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.
- Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
- Welcome Offer:
- Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
- Regular APR:
- 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
- Balance Transfer Intro APR:
- 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
- Annual Fee:
Consider this Wells Fargo card a prime pick if youre looking for a flat-rate cash rewards credit card as its signature feature2 percent cash rewards on purchasesis a step above many of its direct competitors. A generous welcome offer sweetens the deal.
Also Consider: Scotiabank Gold American Express*
The Scotiabank Gold American Express has been a longtime favourite for Canadians, especially those who travel. The first thing youll notice about this card is the Scotia Rewards earn rate is a very healthy 5 points per $1 on groceries, dining and entertainment. Gas gets 3 points per $1, as do spends in two other categories: Public transit and eligible streaming services. All other purchases earn you 1 point per $1 spent. This card also doesnt charge a foreign transaction feeits one of the very few Canadian cards to offer this perk. Consider it a 2.5% bonus on all foreign currency transactions, including online purchases.
- Annual fee: $120
- Welcome offer: You can earn up to 40,000 Scene and travel points by spending $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months. You can also earn an additional 20,000 points when you spend $7,500 in everyday purchases in your first year. Apply by January 1 2022.
- Earn rate: 5 points per $1 spent on groceries, dining and entertainment 3 points per $1 on gas, public transit and eligible streaming services and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- Income requirement: $12,000
If You Want To Save On Interest: Low
A card with an introductory 0% APR and ongoing low interest could be a good match for you if you plan to use your credit card in case of emergencies, or if you have an irregular income and carry a balance from time to time. A balance transfer offer could help you pay off a high-interest debt interest-free. Keep in mind that these offers may be harder to find if you have average or poor credit.
» MORE: Find the best low-interest or 0% APR credit card with this flowchart
Top Credit Cards For Fair Or Average Credit
Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards: This hybrid credit card/personal loan product is an interesting option for people with lower scores. Read our review of the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards.
Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® Credit Card: The card combines features of credit cards and personal loans, and it earns 1.5% back in the form of Bitcoin when you make payments on your balance. Read our review of the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® Credit Card.
Capital One Platinum Credit Card: Build credit and be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months. Read our review of the Capital One Platinum Credit Card.
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Want To Save Money On Everyday Expenses Apply For A Cash
If your primary goal is just to save money beyond travel expenses, consider a cash-back card. Rather than earning travel rewards that are most valuable when redeemed for travel, cash back is worth a fixed value. You can use rewards to save on your monthly credit card bill, or if you have a card that allows you to deposit your rewards into a bank account, you can always start using rewards as a nice nest egg for an upcoming purchase or a rainy day.
There are a ton of cash-back rewards cards to choose from based on which spending categories will give you the most value.
You can find cards with high earning on dining, such as the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, or, if you spend more on groceries, theres the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express® that earns 6% back on the first $6,000 spent per year at U.S. supermarkets . Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is also a popular choice. Its a cash-back card that earns a flat 1.5x points on all non-bonus purchases, making it a great option for everyday expenses that may not fall into other common bonus categories.
The information for the Capital One Savor card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best Travel Credit Card
Why we picked it: Offering 2X miles on all purchases for a $95 annual fee, this Capital One card offers a ton of value to average spenders looking for a travel rewards credit card.
Pros: The Venture Rewards credit card currently touts a sweet sign-up bonus. Cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus miles if they spend $3,000 in their first three months of account opening. The card also touts a number of ancillary travel benefits, including no foreign transaction fees, up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, travel accident insurance and car rental insurance.
Cons: The biggest drawback is Capital Ones relatively thin list of transfer partners, which, most notably, doesnt include a major U.S. airline.
Who should apply? Frequent travelers looking to avoid the pricey $150 to $550 annual fees associated with other standout cards in the travel category can consider the Venture Rewards a great match.
Who should skip? Strategic spenders and luxury travelers are likely better served by a premium travel card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express. If your credit is fair, your Venture approval odds are low, but you can consider the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, which offers lower rewards but has a lower barrier to entry.
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How Many Credit Cards Should You Have
Just as there is no single best credit card for everyone, there is no perfect number of credit cards to have. It depends on your needs and how much effort you want to put into managing your credit cards. Some people carry one card and put everything on it. Others have literally dozens of cards, and for each purchase they use the card best suited for that transaction. When deciding how many is right for you, keep in mind:
There’s no limit to how many cards you can have. Each lender evaluates your credit on its own term, but there’s no hard limit where you have “too many cards.”
You don’t need to have multiple cards to maintain good credit score. Credit scoring formulas tend to reward you for having different types of accounts credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc. but it’s not necessary to have multiple accounts of each type. One credit card, responsibly managed, is enough.
Advantages of carrying multiple cards
RISKS OF CARRYING MULTIPLE CARDS
Losing track of spending: The more cards you have, the harder it is to remember how much youve spent on which card.
Missing a payment: Multiple due dates increase the risk of missing a payment, which can trigger a late fee or even damage your credit.
How To Choose A Credit Card For Building Or Rebuilding Credit
If youre a credit card veteran with a long history and great credit, congratulations! However, if youre starting from scratch or have a spotty credit profile due to things like unpaid debt, late payments or bankruptcies, there are still many credit cards that can meet your needs, but dont expect the bells and whistles that come with credit cards aimed at people with a more established credit profile.
A good place to start is with your bank or credit union in fact, the first card for many is often an ATM card that doubles as a credit card. Some of these are aimed at young adults, college students, or those looking to reboot their credit history. Because youre already a customer, these cards may come with no annual fee and a reasonable APR. You can start with the basics and then graduate to a better card one that offers you rewards or cash back later on.
Students can also qualify for cards meant for those with little or no credit. These unsecured cards are offered to students as issuing institutions bank on the students future loyalty coupled with a steadily increasing earning potential.
Another option, a secured card , requires an initial deposit that you can draw from. If you make your payments every month, you should see an increase in your credit score and potentially an increase in your available credit line.
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Advantages To Having Multiple Credit Cards
Having more than one or two credit cards can be a good fit for most people as a credit card allows you to establish credit history. A good credit history over time will save you money as it can help you qualify for lower rates on other types of loans, like mortgages, auto loans or student loans. Since many rewards cards offer tiered rewards in different areas of spending, for someone with a careful strategy of pairing rewards cards, it can be more beneficial than just one card.
Best For Balance Transfer: Citi Simplicity
|Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.|
|Rewards Earning Rate||This card does not offer a rewards program.|
- Why We Chose It
- Pros & Cons
We chose the Citi Simplicity as the best balance transfer card primarily due to its exceptionally long 21-month 0% APR introductory period along with consumer-friendly terms like no annual fee and no late fees or penalty rates.
While Simplicity offers no rewards, we don’t consider that a negative in the case of a balance transfer card, as rewards can tempt counterproductive additional spending when trying to dig out from debt. Citi does charge a $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer , but the length of the introductory period justifies the extra cost in terms of savings potential.
Outstanding 0% APR offer for 21 months from account opening on balance transfers
0% introductory APR offer on new purchases for 12 months from account opening
No late fees, penalty rates, or annual fees
High fee for balance transfers
3% foreign transaction fee
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How To Decide: What Is The Best Credit Card For Me
To decide which credit is the best for you, you need to look at your priorities. If you normally carry a balance or you want to reduce your debt, then a low-interest or balance transfer card should be the only types you consider.
People who always pay off their full balance every month need to decide whether a travel or cash-back card makes more sense for them. Travel cards can offer lucrative rewards, but if you dont like to travel, theres no point in you getting a travel credit card. If this sounds like you, then a cash-back card may be the way to go.
Now that youve got your category of card selected, take a look at the earn rate, additional, benefits and which type of points you earn for each card. If you happen to spend a lot on gas and groceries, then look for a card that has a high earn rate for those categories.
The annual fee should also be a consideration in your decision making, but if you think youre getting good value out of your additional benefits and youre making more back than you paid with the fee, then it shouldnt be a big deal.
Set A Credit Limit You Can Afford
When you apply for a credit card, your bank or credit provider will offer you a credit limit. This is the maximum amount they’ll lend you, and it is based on your ability to pay it back within three years.
If you’re worried about overspending, you don’t have to take the full amount offered. Think about your spending habits and how much you can comfortably afford to pay back.
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Best For Travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
|Rewards Earning Rate||Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.|
|Foreign transaction fee|
- Pros & Cons
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is our best credit card for travel because of its competitive one-time point bonus and high rewards earning rate. Add to that the fact that points are worth 40% more if you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and the ability to transfer points on a 1:1 basis to eligible hotel and airline partners.
While the annual fee is high, if you’re an avid traveler, the annual travel credit can help justify it and it has numerous other travel-related benefits if you’re not ready to commit yourself to a single airline or hotel.
Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining
Premium travel features
Points are worth 40% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review.
Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards
One of just two credit cards from Canadaâs big banks to waive its foreign transaction fees , the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite also offers impressive lounge access benefits and is issued by Visa so itâs more widely accepted when travelling outside of North America.
In terms of everyday rewards, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite will earn you two Scotia Rewards points for every dollar you spend on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment , and daily transit purchases . For all your other purchases, youâll get one point per dollar. As a new Scotiabank cardholder, you can also earn up to 30,000 bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in everyday purchases within the first three months and another 10,000 points when you spend at least $40,000 on the card annually. 1 Scotia Rewards point is worth $0.01 when redeemed for flights on any airline.
Why we like it:
The cardâs lack of foreign transaction fees is the cherry on top of a number of perks including a $300 travel points bonus and Priority Pass membership with six free visits per year to over 1,200 lounges worldwide. As with other Visa Infinite cards, cardholders have access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Visa Infinite Dining Series.
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