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- Everyday spending cards offer cash back in common spending categories, taking the hassle out of choosing the right credit card for each purchase.
- Some of the most popular everyday spending cards include flat-rate and bonus rate cards that offer bonuses on categories like gas, groceries and travel.
- Whether you should add a new everyday card to your wallet depends on your budget and spending habits, as well as the cards you already own.
What credit card do you use for your day-to-day purchases? Whether you’ve thought about it or not, you probably have an everyday spending card — that is, a card you automatically reach for every time you complete an in-store checkout or make an online purchase. Tools like digital wallets make this process even easier by allowing you to select a single credit card as your default card.
So, how do you choose the best everyday card for maximizing the rewards you earn? Here is a short list of the best credit cards for daily use. We’ve also included some tips for getting the most out of your rewards by combining an everyday spending card with a specialized credit card.
Should I get a credit card for everyday purchases?
When considering a credit card for daily use, you first want to determine which type of reward card benefits you the most. If you’re trying to stock up on points to cover the cost of a big trip, you should put your day-to-day shopping on a travel credit card or an airline credit card. That way, you’ll have the opportunity to earn rewards that you can redeem towards your next vacation. Plus, you might even earn a sign-up bonus that can significantly increase your total points or miles.
Or, you may prefer earning rewards that go straight to your budget’s bottom line. Many prefer using a more flexible rewards credit card for everyday expenses, such as a flat-rate cash back credit card that earns at least 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase. While travel credit cards often reserve their best rewards for purchases related to travel, flat-rate cash back cards give you the same percentage of cash back no matter what you buy. Then, you can redeem that cash for everything from statement credits to Amazon purchases.
After evaluating your spending habits, you may realize that most of your day-to-day expenses fall into a single shopping category — like groceries, gas or online shopping. If so, you might want to consider a card that specifically rewards that type of spending. Use our guides to the best credit cards for groceries, the best credit cards for gas and the best credit cards for shopping online to help you choose the best credit card for day-to-day use.
Need more help choosing a credit card? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.
How to choose a credit card for daily spending
Selecting the best credit card for day-to-day use comes down to a matter of your spending habits and personal preferences. With a variety of cards to choose from, you are sure to find a card that meets your personal goals and needs.
For example, if you spend a lot of money each month on groceries or dining, cards that offer cash back and welcome bonuses in these categories may be a good choice for daily use. Earning a higher percentage of cash back on these purchases could help you earn hundreds of dollars more in cash back every year.
If you’re hoping to maximize your cash back earnings and your spending is more varied, a card that offers bonus cash back in rotating categories may be the best credit card for daily use. These rotating bonus categories often earn up to 5 percent cash back on things like streaming services, gas stations and drug store purchases.
A flat-rate cash back card can also be a great tool for everyday spending, especially if you are concerned about simplicity. These cards offer an easy to understand flat cash back rate on all purchases. With a card like this, you can earn a solid level of cash back on every purchase without worrying about any bonus categories.
On the other hand, if you love to travel, a cash back card may not be the best fit for your everyday spending. Using a travel rewards credit card or airline credit card instead can help you earn points and miles that you can redeem for flights, hotel stays and more. This type of card could help you save big money on your next trip.
Comparing the top credit cards for everyday spending
|Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
|Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
|$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases within first 3 months
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
|1% to 6% cash back, depending on category
|$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases within first 6 months
|Discover it® Cash Back
|1% to 5% cash back, depending on category
|Discover’s Cashback Match™ for the first year
|Chase Freedom Flex℠
|1% to 5% cash back, depending on category
|$200 bonus after spending $500 within first 3 months
There are several factors to consider for selecting the top credit card for everyday spending. Not only is the rewards potential a vital consideration, but so is a card’s annual fee. Plus, if your goal is to maximize potential rewards, you’ll want to meet your card’s minimum spending requirement to earn welcome offers or sign-up bonuses. Keep in mind these are usually only available for brand-new cardholders.
A closer look at the best credit cards for everyday spending
What’s the best credit card for everyday spending? It depends. Many of today’s best credit cards could be excellent everyday spending cards, depending on where your money goes every month. If you’re looking for some tips on choosing a credit card, here are four of our favorite everyday spending cards for you to consider.
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Discover it® Cash Back
Chase Freedom Flex℠
How to combine an everyday spending card with a specialized credit card
Everyday spending cards are great on their own, but they’re even better when combined with a specialized spending card. For example, suppose you have a flat-rate cash back card and an airline credit card. In that case, you can maximize your credit card rewards by putting the majority of your day-to-day spending on your everyday spending card while putting all of your airline and travel purchases on your airline credit card.
Not only will you earn both cash back and miles, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of the other perks that come with the top airline credit cards — including elite membership status, annual airline credits, companion passes and more.
How do you know which specialized credit card to choose? Consider whether there is one category of spending that takes up a large percentage of your budget. Combining an everyday spending card with a store credit card, for example, could save you a lot of money every time you shop at your favorite retailer. Some people pair an everyday spending card with a travel, airline or hotel credit card to get the most out of every purchase, whether at home or on vacation.
Knowing where your money goes and where you’d like to earn the most rewards will help you choose the credit card combination that works best for you.
What credit score is needed for an everyday-spending credit card?
If you want a credit card that offers the most lucrative rewards, you’ll need a good to excellent credit score rating. Generally speaking, the more attractive the rewards program is, the more stringent the qualifications are for approval.
If your credit score falls in the poor or fair categories, you still have options. You may qualify for a credit builder card or a secured credit card option, and you can always work towards improving your credit score for future applications.
The bottom line
How do you choose the best credit card for everyday spending? It all comes down to where your money goes and what you hope to get out of your purchases.
If you want to earn the same cash back rate on every purchase, a top cash back card may be the best everyday spending card for you. On the other hand, if most of your budget goes towards gas and groceries, credit cards offering higher rewards on those purchases could be a better fit. Or, if you’re planning a vacation, using a travel credit card every time you shop could help you save big on your next trip.
*Issuer-required disclosure statement
Information about the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected independently by Bankrate. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.