Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit of 2019

Your excellent credit can help you qualify for some of the lowest interest rates and best rewards cards on the market. Use it to your advantage by cashing in on rewards and low interest rates with our guide compiling the best credit cards for excellent credit from our partners. The "best" card for each person is going to be different based on your spending habits and current financial situation, so read our analysis to find the right card for you.

Bankrate's best credit cards for excellent credit of 2019:

Best for no annual fee and everyday spending

Chase Image

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards Rate:
Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases after initial $20,000 spend in your first year.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for travel

Capital One Image

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.99% - 25.24% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for first-year rewards

Discover Image

Discover it® Cash Back

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Discover's secure website

Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Welcome Offer:
Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Regular APR:
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

Best for low-cost spending

Citi Image

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Citi's secure website

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Purchases
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • Get 10% Points Back for the first 100,000 ThankYou® Points you redeem per year
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for dining and entertainment

Capital One Image

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$300 after you spend $3000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for personalized cash back rewards

U.S. Bank Image

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good Credit to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On U.S. Bank's secure website

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Rewards Rate:
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose. 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores. 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 in eligible net purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Annual Fee:
$0*
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0%* intro on BTs for 12 billing cycles
Regular APR:
16.24% - 25.74%* (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • New Cardmember bonus: $150 after you spend $500 in eligible net purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose.
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores.
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
  • No limit on total cash back earned.
  • 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 16.24% - 25.74%
  • No annual fee*
  • Great Offer from U.S. Bank, a 2019 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2019

Best for gas & groceries

American Express Image

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Rewards Rate:
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores 1% back on other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
15.24%-26.24% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for rotating cash back

Chase Image

Chase Freedom®

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom®

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Terms and Restrictions Apply

All-around travel rewards

Capital One Image

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Card Details

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 14.24% - 24.24% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for cash back and cell phone protection

Wells Fargo Image

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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.

Apply Now On Wells Fargo's secure website

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Rewards Rate:
Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers
Regular APR:
16.24%-28.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 16.24%-28.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Kendall Little

Have questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.


Learn about your options with excellent credit:

An excellent credit score means you’ll have the best chance of scoring some of the best cards on the market. Use this guide to learn everything you need to know about leveraging an excellent credit score to obtain the right card for you:

How Bankrate reviews cards

Bankrate’s 5 star scoring system evaluates the features that offer maximum value and first-rate user experience, including:

  • Rewards: By matching lifestyle categories with the cards most likely to maximize returns, we’ve made it easy for you to find the card that will offer the best value — points, miles or cash back.
  • Sign-up bonuses: These special offers give you the opportunity to earn hundreds in rewards for using your new card. With different cards offering sign-up bonuses in the form of cash back, miles and rewards points, we take the time to crunch the numbers and assign a comparable value to each card’s welcome offer.
  • Extras and discounts: On top of delivering earnings with every swipe, each credit card on this list has a laundry list of additional features that raises the overall value of the card along with our evaluation. Perks like statement credit on travel, access to travel lounges, and free credit score monitoring allow cardholders to reap the unsung benefits of achieving a strong credit score.

Your credit score shows that you have a knack for making good financial decisions. Our expertise can help you make a wise choice in credit cards as well.

Bankrate’s picks for the best credit cards for excellent credit

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Chase Freedom Unlimited® No annual fee with everyday spending 4.6 / 5
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Travel 4.6 / 5
Discover it® Cash Back First-year rewards 4.8 / 5
Citi Rewards+SM Card Low-cost spending 4.6 / 5
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining and entertainment 4.6 / 5
U.S. Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card Personalized cash back rewards 4.5 / 5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Gas & groceries 4.3 / 5
Chase Freedom® Rotating cash back 4.5 / 5
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card Low APR 4.1 / 5
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card First-year rewards 4.5 / 5

Deeper analysis on the best credit cards for excellent credit

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Pros: This no-frills card offers a flat 3% back on all purchases (up to $20,000 total spend) for the first year and then 1.5% unlimited cash back, all with no annual fee. It’s also a great choice for balance transfers, with a 0% APR for the first 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (then variable 17.24% – 25.99%).

Cons: There isn’t much to dislike about this card, but with a 3% foreign transaction fee, it isn’t optimal for purchases made outside the U.S. You also won’t want to get too attached to the first year 3% cash back, as it will drop down to 1.5% after the first year.

Bottom line: This is a solid no annual fee cash back option and the first year 3% cash back offer is especially compelling. If you have other Chase premium cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited becomes even more lucrative, since you can transfer rewards and redeem them as points with added value using Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Pros: If you want a card with great travel rewards value that’s simple and easy to use, look no further. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, which you can redeem using Purchase Eraser (for a statement credit equal to 1 cent per mile) or with the issuer’s transfer partners. The card also has a generous welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Cons: For the Venture card’s lucrative travel rewards, you will have to pay an annual $95 fee, but that fee is waived the first year. You’ll also have to be diligent about redeeming your miles after making a travel purchase, as you need to complete the redemption within 90 days.

Bottom line: This card is a great pick for frequent travelers who don’t want to think too much about their rewards redemptions. If you don’t mind the statement credit redemption process or the annual fee, the Venture card’s rewards structure, welcome bonus and added travel perks make it one of the best travel cards on the market, especially as Capital One adds more transfer partners to the program.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pros: You’ll earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories with the Discover it Cash Back card, ranging from gas stations and grocery stores to restaurants and Amazon.com purchases up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 after activation, plus 1% cash back on everything else. The best value of this card, though, is Discover’s Cashback Match™ offer, which matches all your cash back earned over the first year of ownership with no limit.

Cons: If you don’t do the majority of your spending within the card’s designated categories, there’s probably a better-targeted cash back option for you. You’ll also have to stay diligent in keeping up with the 5% categories every 3 months.

Bottom line: If you spend big within this card’s quarterly categories, its 5% cash back rate combined with the Cashback Match offer and no annual fee makes it an excellent cash back option. Pair it with another cash back card that covers further categories to earn even more strategically.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Pros: The Citi Rewards+ card’s unique rewards structure can be especially lucrative for your everyday purchases. You can earn 2X ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (on combined $6,000 in purchases annually, then 1X) and 1X points on everything else. The card also rounds up every purchase to the nearest 10-point interval, making your $4 purchase worth 10 points. There’s also a 15,000 ThankYou Point bonus if you spend $1,000 within 3 months of account opening and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (variable 15.74-25.74% after).

Cons: If you’ve earned a sign-up bonus with Citi or closed a Citi account within the past 2 years, you’ll be ineligible for this card’s 15,000 point bonus. The points you earn with Citi Rewards+ are also considered “basic” within Citi’s rewards program, so you won’t earn their maximum value unless you have another premium Citi card, like the Citi Premier Card.

Bottom line: This card’s round-up premise and 2X points categories make it great for everyday purchases and can really add value to your wallet when used strategically, especially when you transfer your points and redeem using another Citi card. You’ll also benefit from no annual fee and access to Citi’s Private Pass and Concierge.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros: If going out is a big part of your week, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is one you need in your arsenal. You’ll earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. You can also earn a $300 bonus after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. For this card’s target audience, one of the best perks may also be the issuer’s focus on exclusive access to premium dining and entertainment experiences across the country.

Cons: There is a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year. If you do a lot of spending on travel, gas and other categories, you’ll likely need to pair this card with another on the market for the best rewards.

Bottom line: This card’s unlimited dining and entertainment rewards are unbeatable for those who enjoy a night on the town, and for big spenders in those categories, the rewards will likely far outweigh the annual fee in value. Capital One’s partnerships with companies like Vivid Seats, Postmates and Resy also continue to add value for Savor cardholders. If you can out-earn the annual fee in rewards value, this will make a fantastic addition to your wallet.

BankAmericard® credit card

Pros: The BankAmericard from Bank of America offers a 0% introductory APR for 18 billing cycles on both purchases and balance transfers made in the first 60 days (variable APR of 15.24% – 25.24% thereafter). If you’re looking for a way to cut out costly interest payments, this card is a great option.

Cons: Unlike some other balance transfer options, this card offers no sign up bonus or long-term rewards. You’ll also incur a 3% or $10 fee on any balances you transfer to the card, whichever is greater.

Bottom line: If your primary concern is paying off any debt you’ve accumulated on other cards and mitigating interest, the BankAmericard’s 18-billing-cycle introductory offer is hard to beat. Once the introductory offer ends, you may also benefit if you qualify for the lower end of the card’s variable 15.24% – 25.24% APR. Just be aware that any purchases you make won’t accrue any points or rewards value.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Pros: The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 3% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year, then 1%), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores and 1% back on everything else. Individuals and families who do much of their spending in these categories can gain tremendous value from this card’s easy-to-use rewards. You also won’t pay an annual fee and can earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 within the first three months.

Cons: If groceries and gas aren’t your biggest spending areas, this is likely not the card for you. If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably also will want to pair this with a travel card for travel rewards and to keep from paying the Blue Cash Everyday’s foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees).

Bottom line: This card’s target audience is most likely on-the-go families who spend big in the tiered rewards categories. It’s a simple cash back card that can help you earn above average rewards without worrying about choosing quarterly categories or paying an annual fee. You can also benefit from the card’s 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for your first 15 months of ownership (then a variable APR of 15.24% – 26.24%).

Chase Freedom®

Pros: The Chase Freedom card offers great cash back value for anyone who doesn’t mind keeping up with rotating categories. Each quarter, you can earn 5% cash back on rotating categories (up to $1,500 per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Past categories include gas stations, mobile wallet payments, wholesale clubs and department stores. You can also earn a $150 sign up bonus after spending $500 within three months of account opening and enjoy no annual fee.

Cons: If you’re looking for simple cash back rewards, this card’s rotating category structure may quickly become tedious. You may need to pair it with another card to earn the best value on the things you buy. There’s also a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not ideal for international purchases.

Bottom line: The Chase Freedom’s diverse array of categories makes it a potentially lucrative cash back option if you’re willing to keep up with your earnings. Pair it with a flat cash back card to earn on your purchases not within each quarter’s categories and transfer your points to another Chase credit card to maximize the redemption value of your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Citi Premier℠ Card

Pros: For another excellent travel option, look no further than the Citi Premier Card. You can earn 3X ThankYou Points on travel (including gas stations), 2X points on restaurants and entertainment and 1X points on everything else. One of this card’s best features is its 60,000 ThankYou Point sign up bonus (equal to $750 in airfare when redeemed through the ThankYou® Travel Center) after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months.

Cons: When redeeming points for their maximum value through Citi’s Travel Center, you’re limited to the select airline and hotel offerings on the portal. This isn’t a good card for balance transfers, as there is no introductory APR. There’s also a $95 annual fee for this card.

Bottom line: The Citi Premier card’s sign-up bonus and broad definition of travel purchases that count towards the 3X points category make it a competitive travel rewards option. Make sure you understand the Citi ThankYou Rewards program and your travel aligns with Citi’s partners in order to see this card’s best value. You can also benefit from Citi’s other perks with this card, like presale ticket access and concierge services.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Pros: If you prefer your mobile wallet over carrying plastic, this is the card for you. The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card offers 1.8% cash back on mobile wallet purchases (including Apple Pay® and Google Pay™) for the first 12 months of ownership, plus 1.5% back on all other purchases, with no annual fee. After the first year, you’ll get 1.5% unlimited cash back on everything. You can also earn $200 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months.

Cons: This card has a variable 16.24%-28.24% APR, which is higher than many comparable cards. It also has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not ideal for international purchases.

Bottom line: For flat cash back rewards, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa is a solid offering. Between its first-year 1.8% mobile wallet bonus and up to $600 cell phone protection offer (when you pay your phone bill with the card), mobile-first users will benefit most from this card.

What is an excellent credit score?

Scoring credit

Credit scores are one of the most important indicators of financial health, but they’re also one of the least understood. Your credit score is calculated using a series of factors pulled from your overall credit report. The most commonly-used scoring systems are developed by FICO (FICO Score 8) and VantageScore (VantageScore 3.0).

Both methods score in a range from 300 (the lowest) to 850 (the highest), with most people falling between 600 and 750. FICO deems 740-799 “very good” and 800-850 “excellent,” while VantageScore is a bit more lenient in considering “excellent” anywhere from 750 to 850.

Scoring systems use predictive analysis based on the individual financial history found in your credit report (pulled from one or more of the 3 big credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), to generate your score. VantageScore and FICO both use data from the credit bureaus but their scores are generated with different mathematical models. Despite their differences, if you have excellent credit, it will generally be reflected in both.

You should be aware that there are other, less common scoring systems with different scales. For instance, the FICO Auto Score 8 ranges between 250 and 900. If your lender uses a score with a different range than the standard 300 to 850, it may impact what constitutes a “good” versus “excellent” score.

Why should you aim for an excellent score?

Lenders use your score to estimate the likelihood that you will pay back and not default on the loan from your lender. Lenders and creditors all have their own thresholds for what makes a score fair, good or excellent and who will have the best chances of qualifying for the lowest rates on mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and most other types of loans. An excellent score can save you thousands of dollars in interest charges over the life of a loan.

If you have an excellent credit score, that indicates that you are timely and consistent with your payments and will make a good candidate for lower interest rates and other perks that someone less creditworthy may not.

The difference between “excellent” and “good” credit

The difference between an “excellent” credit score and a “good” credit score may seem like only a few points, but it can make a big difference for your wallet.

Benefits of excellent credit vs. good credit

Credit cards

If you’re applying for a credit card that offers a variable APR, the issuer will assign a more favorable interest rate if you have better credit, which can save you money. For instance, if you are assigned a 17% interest rate, the amount you owe on any balance carried would increase by .046575% each day. With a 25% interest rate, you would accumulate an additional .068493% daily until your next billing cycle. According to Bankrate’s Credit Card Payoff Calculator, if you carry a $5,000 balance and make $200 monthly payments, the difference between 17% and 25% interest is worth $920 in extra interest payments.

There are more credit card benefits to having an excellent credit score as well. You can qualify for a great credit card with a good score, but many of the most premium cards, those with exclusive benefits and higher rewards earning, require excellent credit. Be prepared to pay the high annual fees that often accompany those premium cards, though, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.

Mortgages

Consider the types of loans you’ll take out over your lifetime, too, like mortgages, which can take decades to repay. According to the most recent data from FICO, a person who takes out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an excellent score can score an average 3.84% interest rate while someone with good credit can get an average 4.07% interest rate. For a mortgage of $216,000, that’s a difference of $9,720 in interest over the lifetime of the loan.

Auto loans

It’s possible to take out a car loan with subprime credit, but those loans often come with high interest rates and subpar terms. If you have excellent credit, though, you’ll qualify not only for a wider selection of cars on the market but also better loan terms and possibly even 0% financing.

Working on your financial health to attain excellent credit will ultimately help you save on many of these big purchases and allow you to pay less over each loan’s lifetime, freeing up your money for other goals.

How to get an excellent credit score

Achieving excellent credit requires a combination of good financial habits and patience.

The best way to start improving your score is by checking your credit report. You can find out where your score stands now and evaluate your report for any errors. Next, familiarize yourself with the factors that make up your credit score.

Your credit score is calculated using a number of factors: debt utilization, the age of accounts, payment history, credit mix and new credit.

How to improve your credit score

Improving your score largely comes down to patience, but there are ways you can begin working towards better credit now:

  • Dispute any errors you find on your credit report. Reach out directly to the credit bureau reporting the error.
  • Work to pay down any outstanding balances on your credit cards and keep your credit utilization ratio around 10%. That means, if your credit card has a limit of $10,000 try to keep your balance around $1,000. Some experts recommend a utilization ratio of 30%, but different scoring methods have different ideal utilization ratios and staying around 10% should cover you under them all.
  • Pay all of your bills in full and on time every month.
  • Avoid opening several new lines of credit in a short time period, as this can indicate risk to lenders and temporarily lower your score.
  • Once you’ve paid off a loan or no longer use a card, don’t remove it from your report. Bankruptcies, late payments and other bad debts are removed automatically after seven years, but your good debt history can improve your score through factors like age and responsible payment history, until it drops off as well, typically after 10 years.

Perhaps most importantly, you need to have patience. You likely won’t achieve an excellent score within months of opening your first credit card. All of the major factors are improved over a long period of time: your history of on-time payments, your available credit, your mix of accounts and the age of all your accounts.

How to keep your credit score from going down

If you’ve obtained an excellent credit score, you’ve likely already established the good habits that it takes to maintain that score, like on-time payments and low utilization. The best way to keep it from dropping is simply to maintain.

You can monitor your credit report every few months to keep track of any changes or practices that may be impacting your score negatively. Keep in mind that there are factors, like opening or inquiring about a new account that can make your score drop temporarily, but you should focus on long-term maintenance rather than short-term fluctuations.

Also remember that you don’t need to strive for a perfect 850 credit score. Anyone with a score within the “excellent” range, which FICO considers 800 and above, can obtain the same perks and rates as someone with a perfect score. Ultimately, if you pay your bills in full and on time, your credit score will remain strong.

How many people have excellent credit?

According to FICO, an excellent credit score isn’t as uncommon as you may think. In 2018, 21.8% of consumers had an excellent score (between 800 and 850), making excellent the most common score among Americans. That’s the result of a steady increase since April 2005, when just 16.2% of consumers had an excellent score.

What’s more, FICO data shows that the average credit score in the U.S. sits at 704, a new high and the result of 8 consecutive years of growth. If trends continue, more and more Americans may find an excellent rating within their grasp.

FICO credits an increase in credit responsibility, reduced negative histories and consumer education for the improvement.

More reviews and research if you have excellent credit

If you have excellent credit, you can qualify for some of the best cards on the market right now. Here are some popular categories that can help narrow down your search:

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.