What are the Best Bank Credit Cards?

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

Here's a thought experiment. Think of what you like to do most with your money. Now think about doing that more often or for less. Chances are you can find a bank credit card to help you do just that.

What makes credit cards issued from major banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America so popular are the generous perks, from travel rewards to cash back. Of course, a bank credit card also gives you the convenience of having all your accounts under one roof.

So, which one is the best? That depends. Are you an avid traveler? Shopper? What about committed to paying off debt? Here are the best bank credit cards for a variety of lifestyles.

Best cash rewards: HSBC Cash Rewards MasterCard Credit Card

When it comes to credit card rewards, cash is king. According to a 2017 study by payment systems provider TSYS, cash back is the most popular rewards program among U.S. consumers. You're going to spend money anyways on everyday purchases like groceries and gas, so why not earn money for spending money?

If want to put some extra cash in your wallet, look no further than theHSBC Cash Rewards MasterCard Credit Card. Cardholders can earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. That's means there's no restrictions on what you buy or where you shop. Best of all, for all the cash back you earn, you get a 10% anniversary bonus. This additional cash back benefit is what puts this card over the top.

Users can rack up a lot of cash from the start with the card's signup bonus of $150 after spending just $2,500 within the first three months. You can also feel comfortable taking the HSBC Cash Rewards MasterCard Credit Card abroad. Unlike many similar cards, it charges no foreign transaction fees. Best of all, these perks come with no annual fee.

Card highlights:

  • 10% anniversary bonus
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Foreign transaction fees: None

Best travel rewards: Wells Fargo Propel American Express

Everyone says they want to travel more. What often keeps people at home is getting time off work and the costs. Though they may not help with the boss, bank credit card travel rewards can help lower the costs of travel and turn that dream into reality.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Expresslives up to its names with generous travel perks that can help send you farther. This card is all about helping users build up travel points. Right out of the gate, you can earn 30000 bonus points after making $3000 in purchases in the first 3 months of opening the card. It's easy to accumulate more points with the wide variety of spending categories that qualify for 3 points per dollar spent. Among those includes dining out, transportation, including rideshare services, and streaming services, such as Hulu and Netflix. You can also earn three times the points on travel purchases like flights and hotels. So, while you're traveling you're earning points for your next adventure. The points do not expire and there are no foreign transaction fees.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express cardholders earn one point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. They also have the option to redeem points for other gifts through the Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards program, including cash back and gift cards.

Although Wells Fargo Propel American Express cardholders don't get some luxury travel perks like reimbursement for Global Entry/TSA Precheck and airport lounge access, a $0 annual fee may make up for it. Another incentive to sign up is 12 months with 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a variable APR of 14.74-27.24%.

Card highlights:

  • Annual fee: None
  • 3 points for rideshares like Uber or Lyft, and transit, points for travel including homestays like Airbnb, hotels, and car rentals.
  • Rack up 30,000 bonus points, after spending $3,000 within your first 3 months.
  • APR: 0% for 12 months
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

Best everyday card: Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card summed up in one word is freedom. For most bank credit cards, to earn more than the standard one point per dollar spent users must make purchases in select spending categories. Instead, this card offers a generous 1.5 point rate on all purchases, redeemable for a wide variety of travel expenses with no restrictions. That's one reason why the this card is the best everyday card to have in your wallet.

Cardholders are free from an annual fee and foreign transaction fees. The card is the perfect option for those who want the opportunity to earn above-average rewards but don't want the commitment of having to earn enough points to justify the hefty annual fee.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card also gives you a lot of freedom in how you redeem your travel points. You are not restricted to one airline, hotel chain or booking service, and there are no blackout dates. Additionally, the travel costs that qualify are far more inclusive than most cards, including not only airfare and car rentals but also passes to places like art galleries, aquariums and even circuses.

As an added bonus, Bank of America checking or savings account holders can earn even more with a 10% bonus and three points per dollar spent when booking through the Bank of America Travel Center.

Card highlights:

  • No blackout dates and no travel restrictions
  • Redeem points with any airline and hotel – and for many other qualifying travel costs
  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • 1.5 points for every $1 you spend
  • Get 25000 points as a signup bonus when you spend $1000 in the first 90 days

Best for paying Off debt: Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Credit Card

One surefire way to crush your debt is to eliminate the interest you're charged each month. The way to do that is to transfer your existing credit card balances to another card offering low, extended introductory rates.

The best card for this purpose is the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa credit card. It offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. Fees do apply and for balance transfers to qualify for the introductory rate, they must be made within the first 120 days. However, the card has no annual fee.

Another card perk is cellphone protection insurance of up to $600 when you pay your monthly bill with the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa credit card. Not bad for a card that allows users to essentially pay off outstanding credit card debt interest free over an entire year and a half.

Card highlights:

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (fees apply and balance transfers must be made with the first 120 days to qualify)
  • No Annual Fee
    • Up to $600 of protection for your cell phone which covers damage and theft when you pay your cell phone bill with this card. 
    • Gain free access to your FICO credit score.

These are the best bank credit cards in their respective categories. Ultimately, the best one for you depends on what you value most. That is, what you want to redeem your rewards for. Provided you pay off your balance each month, using a bank credit card on all your purchases is a smart way to get more of what you want most.

One thing to keep in mind is that you can often get the most from a credit card by choosing one offered from a bank at which you have a checking or savings account. Therefore, you may want to either look at your current bank's card offers first or sign up for one of these standout cards with the intention of setting up a bank account too.