The Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending

Estimated read time: 9 minutes

In a typical day, you probably do at least some spending, between the gas you put in your car, your morning coffee run, the grocery store on the way home, and the online shopping you do late at night. If you're not already putting those purchases on plastic, you could be losing out on some benefits, including consumer protections, cashback rewards, and more. For the everyday shopper, credit cards can be a great tool, especially if you choose cards that align with your spending style to boost your reward potential.

In other words, some credit cards are better than others depending on the types of purchases you tend to make. Plus, if you apply for a credit card that isn't a good fit for your wallet, the card's best perks might prove useless to you. The good news is there are credit cards for all types of spenders, whether you're constantly picking up groceries, like to dine out, or do a lot of traveling. Depending on your credit history and the level of card for which you can qualify, you can even rake in some big rewards by spending strategically.

If you're like many consumers, you're most likely not taking full advantage of all the benefits credit cards have to offer. You're in luck because we did some digging to highlight the top credit cards for serial swipers who use credit cards for their daily purchases.

Methodology

In order to come up with our list, we looked for cards with one or more of the following criteria:

High rewards potential. If you're an everyday user, it should mean that the more you spend, the more benefits you earn.

Simple redemption. Whether you choose a cashback card or one that offers more in the way of points and miles, it should be easy to redeem your earnings without jumping through hoops or worrying about expiration dates or exclusions.

Some built-in bonuses and perks. Whether it's an appealing signup bonus or a really long 0% interest introductory period, we looked at some of the extras that can serve as a tiebreaker when choosing from among similar credit cards.

With those attributes in mind, we compiled this list of five cards that are ideal for everyday spending. See which one (or more) might be right for you:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The card boosts jetsetting rewards with everyday purchases.

If you're someone who loves to travel and dine out, you'll be well on your way to free flights and hotel stays with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card—that is, if you know how to maximize it. For starters, you'll earn steady 2X points per $1 on dining at restaurants, as well as 2X points per $1 on travel. You also receive 1X point spent on all other purchases. This makes Chase Sapphire Preferred a favorite for many who spend on a wide variety of purchases.

Then, if you book travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you'll get even more value. Other cool benefits include:

Use it all over the globe. With no foreign transaction fees, you need only pack this card when you travel abroad.

Lots of ways to use your points. You can transfer points to a variety of travel programs, such as United MileagePlus or Marriott Rewards at a 1 to 1 value.

It's hard to find a better signup bonus

You do have to spend $4000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening in order to qualify, but you'll get 60000 points. Boost your bonus. Time your application for when you have to book a trip anyway (and make sure you pay off your balance in full each month) so you can meet the minimum spend, and earn extra points while you're at it.

Redemption is super flexible

Yes, you can redeem for cash or gift cards, but as mentioned, booking travel through Chase or transferring the points to other programs will allow you to squeeze out more value.

But what about the annual fee?

While the fee for using the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is waived the first year, you're on the hook for $95 per year after that. If you take advantage of the signup bonus, though, you've out earned the fee for the next six years.

If your credit is awesome, this card is for you

Before you apply, you'll want to be sure you're in a strong credit score range, with at least a 690 or above FICO Score. Plus, you'll need to have a good handle on your self control if you're going to meet the signup bonus spending without getting in over your head.

If you're aiming to reap rewards in the form of travel benefits, doing all of your daily purchasing with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card—especially dining out for the point bonus—will help fund your next getaway.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

The card is perfect if you want no brainer, travel-focused rewards.

What makes this card great for everyday spenders? Unlimited 2x miles on every single purchase PLUS 5% miles back each time you redeem for your next redemption. Additionally, you can book your travel however you like and get reimbursed for your miles. In other words, the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® is ideal for those who like to shop around for the best flight and hotel deals without being tied to particular programs.

A concierge is at your service. Hate dealing with travel itinerary details? In addition to Mastercard's already awesome customer service, you'll get a 24/7 travel assistant who's there to help.

Tap into the big bonus

Limited Time Offer: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days That makes the $89 (waived first year) annual fee a bit easier to swallow (and you don't have to worry about that for a while since it's waived in year one).

Redeem at your leisure, your way

You can get a travel statement credit on pretty much any travel-related purchases you make with the Barclay Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard card as long as you redeem within 120 days of booking. Or, you can choose to redeem for cash back, gift cards, or merchandise.

Can you transfer a balance?

Indeed! Another benefit of this card is its 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.

Apply if you've graduated to good credit

Because most cardholders have a 690 FICO or better, you'll want to be sure you're in great standing before you apply. All in all, the Barclay Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard card offers the best of both worlds: elite benefits and rewards for top tier consumers, without the complex rotating categories or confusing redemption options of other programs.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The card is strong on all around rewards for all around spenders.

Not everyone is a travel buff so, if you have more varied spending, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and it's automatic, without any minimum or expiration (as long as your account remains open) is where the card gets its name. Another selling point: a nice zero interest cushion. If you want to make a large purchase that's slightly outside your budget, but don't want to pay interest, this card's APR is 0% for 15 months from account opening. The same intro period goes for balance transfers, too.

Yes, there's even a bonus!

While you can find a higher everyday reward rate on other cards, the $ bonus you'll get with the Chase Freedom Unlimited provides an impressive short term payoff. Just spend $ on purchases in your first 12 months from account opening to qualify. Plus, if you add an authorized user who also makes a purchase in those first three months, you'll score an additional bonus.

Redeem anytime you want so no waiting months to reach a minimum

Unlike most cards, you don't have to hit a $25 or $50 plateau in order to redeem your rewards—you can do it whenever! Better yet, there is no cap on how much you can earn.

Can you transfer points?

Many advanced card hackers like to use this card in tandem with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, since points earned here on everyday, nontravel or dining purchases like groceries earn a higher rate and can be transferred over. Once converted to Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll have even more redemption options and a boost in value.

Applications are welcome for those who don't abuse credit

At one point, you had to apply for this card at Chase branches, but now you can do so online. If you're in the good credit score range (around a 690 or above FICO Score), you should be golden. One caveat—if you've applied for more than five cards in the last 24 months, you will not be approved. It's rare to get a $ bonus without an annual fee, which is the big selling point that sets the Chase Freedom Unlimited apart from other cash back cards.

Blue Cash Preferred

The card is great for daily supermarket runs.

If you spend a lot on groceries, you can earn 6% at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). That's more money in your pocket and it requires less effort than clipping coupons. In fact, that's among the highest cashback rewards percentage of any card. Receive 3% cash back at US gas stations. You'll also get 3% at select U.S. department stores. You'll earn some rewards back for anything you buy, even if the cashback rewards percentage isn't as hefty as the categories listed above. That makes this a great all around rewards card.

Other reasons this card makes our everyday list:

Lots of wiggle room. If you have a balance you want to knock out from another card, or you want to make a big purchase for which you don't have the cash on hand, the Blue Cash Everyday card's 0% on balance transfers for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers will come in handy. Just be sure to pay it down before the period is up.

Opt in for AMEX Offers as you spot them. You'll have to log into your account and activate offers to take advantage, but it's worth the effort.

The signup bonus is easy to earn

All you have to do is spend $1000 in the first 3 months (you can do that just spending $80 or more in groceries per week), and you'll score $250 statement credit.

Redemption is seamless

Every time you reach $25 inReward Dollars, you can cash them in for a statement credit, or you can select from among gift card or merchandise choices. So if you were only using the card exclusively for groceries, you'd reach $25 for every $750 you spend. Plus, you can accelerate those earnings by using the card for other purchases.

But is this a travelworthy card?

Putting it bluntly, no. If you're a travel buff, there are better everyday cards for you. First off, this card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it's not ideal for travel abroad. And, if you book a lot of flights and hotels, you'll only earn 1% back.

You'll need respectable credit to qualify for the card

Most cardholders who qualify for the Blue Cash Everyday card have a credit score of 690 or above. To truly maximize the Blue Cash Everyday card, start by committing to using it on supermarket and gas spending, and make sure you qualify for the sign-up bonus. Then, keep watch for those rotating AMEX Offers—they could be a great way to save, especially during periods of higher spending like the holidays.

Citi Double Cash

The card rewards those who spend and use credit responsibly every day.

The Citi Double Cash Card is an all around cash back card, with above average cashback rewards. It's ideal for credit card users with varied spending who want a steady flow of simple rewards—no categories to track, no fine print, just some of your cash coming back to you.

Additional perks:

Bang out that lingering balance for good. You'll get 0% for 18 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening. That should be ample time to pay down a debt. Just be mindful that there's a 3% fee.

Leniency on your first late payment. Everyone has that one month where life gets in the way and you forget to schedule your credit card payment. Citi gives you a free pass the first time. (Just don't do it again!)

You get a redemption check, you get a credit statement, you get a gift card …

Every time your rewards balance hits $25, you can redeem it however you'd like. Here's a tip, though—if you use it towards your balance, you'll lose out on the payback rewards, so you're better off with a check or gift card.

But seriously, no signup bonus?

Sorry, you won't get an upfront perk with this card. That could be a deterrent when you've got great offers hitting your mailbox, but it's still a rock steady everyday card over the long term.

If you have so-so credit, you'll pay higher interest

When applying for the Citi Double Cash card, keep in mind that the APR will range from 15.74-25.74% based on your credit history. Of course, you should aim to pay on time and in full each month. If you tend to spend on a variety of random things and rarely carry a balance, the Citi Double Cash card's steady rewards rate is a good choice for you.

Get Big Rewards

With these solid choices, you can power up your everyday spending.

When choosing the best card for everyday spending, think about the type of rewards that are most appealing to you, and consider where you stand creditwise.

Ask yourself:

Will I qualify? High level cards, like ones here that have annual fees attached to them, are earmarked for people with top notch credit scores. But even if you're not there yet, you can choose an entry level card that provides perks for frequent swiping.

What do you spend money on? Grocery store shoppers and world travelers have very different spending styles. Your spending patterns may even change from month to month. Either way, there's an option right for you. Don't forget: No matter which card you're using for your everyday spending, you'll only truly benefit if you pay the balance in full each month. If you're comfortable putting most of your everyday purchases on credit, and responsible enough to manage that debt, then it's in your best interest to choose one of these cards.

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