Unlike the beginner “get-out-of-debt” personal finance ranters, I’m actually a fan of responsible credit card use: they can help you raise your credit score, they offer purchase and consumer protections you can’t get anywhere else, plus they automatically track your purchases and provide healthy amounts of cash-back rewards each year as well. Just be sure to use them in a Mustachian way.
The tool below provides links to applications to a host of competing cards which you can compare, to see which work best for your situation. You’ll want to pick cards that offer at least something useful, since that is the standard these days – there is no need to sign up for a credit card that offers you nothing
Quick recipes to my own favorites:
Issuer -> Chase -> Chase Sapphire Preferred: a $400 signing bonus(!) and no fee for the first year. I also like that there is no foreign transaction fee on international purchases when I travel. They disguise the bonus as 40,000 “points”, but you can redeem them for a mailed check or an immediate statement credit, which is what I did myself with this particular card last year.
Issuer -> Chase ->(next page) -> Ink Cash or Ink Bold: very good business cards – I use Ink Cash for my own LLC, and Ink Bold is even better if you have large enough spending to qualify for that card, as the $500 startup bonus is great. No foreign transaction fees on Bold.
Issuer->American Express->Blue Cash Preferred $100 signing bonus, plus 6% back on groceries, 3% on gas, 1% on everything else.
There is a $75 annual fee for the Amex, but if you use it as your “groceries and gas” card, you should get back about $400/year in cash back (assuming your annual grocery bill approaches the $6000 limit). This makes it a profitable addition to the wallet.
Issuer->Capital One->Next->Quicksilver One 1.5% back on all purchases with no limits. Assuming you crank $24k annually through your card, this card delivers $360/year of cash back, versus the $240 you’d get with a standard 1.5% reward card. The $120 difference is enough to justify the $39 annual fee. The margin of benefit increases for higher spenders.
Remember to watch out for annual fees – many of the cards have no fees, but some of the highest-paying ones start charging after the first year. Do the math to make sure you pick a card that is optimal for your situation.
Other notable cards include: Chase Slate (no balance transfer fee and 0% APR for 15 months).
Related Article – Gaming the System – with Rewards Credit Cards