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Best Mastercard credit cards for March 2024

Updated February 28, 2024

The best Mastercard credit cards offer generous rewards, long zero-interest introductory periods and tempting sign-up bonuses. Bankrate experts have picked the top contenders in a number of categories. Here are the top Mastercard credit cards available from our partners.

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Best flat-rate cash back card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
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on Citi's secure site
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit
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Intro offer

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1% - 5%

Rewards rate

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Annual fee

Regular APR

Compare Bankrate’s top Mastercard credit cards

Card Name Best For Bankrate Review Score

Flat-rate cash back card

4.2 / 5

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(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site
Image of My GM Rewards® Mastercard®
My GM Rewards® Mastercard®

GM fans

Image of Citi Rewards+® Card
Citi Rewards+® Card

Getting more value from small purchases

Image of Sam's Club® Mastercard®
Sam's Club® Mastercard®

Wholesale club card

*The information about the My GM Rewards® Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

A closer look at our top Mastercard credit cards

Image of Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Best flat-rate cash back card

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The earn-as-you-pay cash back program. It earns 1 percent cash back when you make eligible purchases plus another 1 percent when you pay your balance, resulting in a lucrative 2 percent cash back rate. The card also comes with an intro APR offer on balance transfers, but keep in mind that you’ll be charged interest on new purchases if you carry a balance, including a transferred one. 

Responsible credit users who consistently pay their bills on time each month, guaranteeing their generous cash back rate. It’s also a great fit for those looking to supplement their existing cash back card.

A card that offers a higher rate of cash back could be more suitable, especially if you have a budget that spans various purchases. The  Citi Custom Cash® Card’s 5 percent cash back rate on your top eligible spend category each cycle may fit this bill (up to $500 spent each billing cycle, then 1 percent).

Read our full Citi Double Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

Image of My GM Rewards® Mastercard®

My GM Rewards® Mastercard®

Best for GM fans

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This card carries one of the best rewards rates you can get on general purchases, beating out even the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market. If you don’t mind redeeming your rewards for eligible GM purchases, this could be an incredibly lucrative standalone rewards option.

Current or aspiring GM car owners or lessees who want to redeem points toward the cost of a new or used GM car or a monthly lease payment.

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® card is one of the only other cards that offers rewards on auto-related expenses (unlimited 3 percent cash back on home, auto and health expenses). This makes it a good option if you want to earn points on auto spending but don’t want to redeem points with GM.

Read our full My GM Rewards Card review

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Citi Simplicity® Card

Best balance transfer intro APR

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This card touts an exceptionally long introductory APR period for balance transfers, making it an ideal debt management tool if you need breathing room to pay down a large balance.

Committed debt managers who know how to leverage this card’s long balance transfer intro APR offer and will be sure to pay off their balance before the intro offer ends.

If you want a bit of both worlds with a long intro APR offer on balance transfers and a bit of rewards for other purchases you make on your card, the Discover it® Balance Transfer is a good option. Its rewards-earning element boosts this balance transfer card’s long-term value.

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Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Best for people building credit

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The card comes with solid travel perks and consumer protections, which is uncommon in credit cards for fair credit.

Credit builders and rebuilders alike who want a card that holds them to task on building good credit.

If you want a bit more incentive for your credit building efforts over time, the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card offers modest cash back rewards to start with the chance to increase your rewards rate after making 12 on-time monthly payments. However, the Petal 2 is aimed at those with no prior credit history. If you have an established but poor credit history, you may not qualify for this card. 

Image of Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for average credit

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This option is one of the more accessible rewards cards on the market, making it a feasible choice for people with average credit.

Credit beginners who may have aged out of the student cards market but still want a card that earns a solid rewards rate right away.

The biggest drawbacks for the QuicksilverOne card is the annual fee (though lower than usual) and the steep ongoing APR (See Rates & Fees). If you are intentionally seeking out a low-cost card, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® has one of the more competitive cash back rates for a card designed for people with fair credit and you could be eligible for one of the lowest credit card APRs on the market, depending on your credit history.

Image of Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for college students

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A student card earning unlimited 3 percent cash back on any category is quite rare, let alone multiple categories. This makes the card one of the most lucrative options available for college students and respectable even well after graduation.

College students living on campus or on their own who can make the most of the high rewards rate on dining and groceries purchases.

If you don’t mind a little strategic work, the Discover it® Student Cash Back offers 5 percent cash back when you enroll in rotating bonus categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchase each quarter, then 1 percent) and some of those categories could include dining purchases. The welcome offer on the Discover it® Student Cash Back via the Cashback Match™ program is also generous since Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. 

Image of Citi Rewards+® Card

Citi Rewards+® Card

Best for getting more value from small purchases

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This no-annual-fee card’s round-up feature will take your small purchase earnings to another level. Every purchase’s rewards round up to the nearest 10 points, so a $3 coffee is worth 10 points and an $11 lunch will net you 20 points. This makes it a great choice for city-goers or cardholders frequently on the move. 

Small-budget shoppers whose purchases focus on everyday purchases at places like gas stations and supermarkets.

The spending cap on this card’s rewards categories can be a bit limiting and it only earns basic Citi ThankYou points. The rounding bonus is also less effective on larger purchases compared to multiple smaller purchases. Pair the Rewards+ card with another Citi rewards card like the Citi Double Cash to boost your rewards earnings.

Read our full Citi Rewards+ Card review.

Image of Sam's Club® Mastercard®

Sam's Club® Mastercard®

Best wholesale club card

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The cash back rate on gas is incredibly generous and the bonus spend category on dining and takeout is also a unique perk for a wholesale club card.

Sam’s Club members and frequent roadtrippers who can rake in the rewards on gas.

The Sam’s Club Mastercard requires a Sam’s Club membership, which may not be ideal for every shopper. If you still want to benefit from fruitful gas and supermarket purchase rewards without a membership requirement, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers competitive rates in these categories.

Read our full Sam's Club Mastercard review

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Bankrate Insight

As an ultra-exclusive option, the Mastercard® Black Card™ is available to cardholders who are certain they want an elite card. You can apply for this high-end, metal-coated credit card online — a rarity for black credit card offers, which typically require an invite from the card provider.

What is a Mastercard credit card?

Mastercard isn’t a type of credit card but a payment network. A payment network’s role is to process the transfer of funds between a cardholder and a merchant. Mastercard is only a network and does not issue credit cards. Instead, it partners with issuers to provide credit card options to people. These issuers are financial institutions, including financial giants like Chase, Citi and Capital One, as well as community banks and credit unions.

Mastercard credit cards may include Mastercard-specific credit card benefits, but whether you have access to them depends on the issuer. In fact, the issuer — not the payment network — determines most of the features consumers look for in credit cards, including credit limits, rates and fees, rewards and other perks. 

Where is Mastercard accepted?

Mastercard and its rival, Visa, are considered two of the most widely accepted credit card networks worldwide. According to its most recent Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) filing, Mastercard processes transactions in more than 210 countries and territories. 

Mastercard World and World Elite benefits

One of Mastercard’s major features is that it has broad acceptance — more so than American Express and Discover credit cards.

Additionally, Mastercard credit card benefits come in two tiers: Mastercard World and Mastercard World Elite. Which of the two tiers you receive on a card depends on the card as well as your creditworthiness.

Mastercard World benefits include:

  • The Priceless Cities travel experience program, an offer unique to Mastercard
  • Identity theft protection
  • Room upgrades, if available
  • Vacation packages
  • Airport concierge service — something not provided at the equivalent Visa levels

World Elite includes all World benefits, plus:

  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • 24-hour concierge
  • Exclusive Mastercard discounts on a variety of airlines, travel expenses, entertainment brands and more

Additional Mastercard features

On top of the World Mastercard benefits you might enjoy on a Mastercard credit card, the network offers a few other notable features.  

  • SecureCode: A private code for your Mastercard account that can help keep your account secure when you make online purchases.
  • True Name™ Cards: To take a stand for inclusion and the LGBTQIA+ community, Mastercard worked with other financial institutions to introduce True Name cards in 2020. These cards allow applicants to choose their desired name without proof of a legal name change.
  • Masterpass: Mastercard's digital wallet, Masterpass, stores your card information and address online, facilitating safe online, in-app and in-person shopping. Like in-store purchases, Masterpass purchases are also protected by Zero Liability for any unauthorized purchases.

Mastercard credit card pros and cons

Mastercard credit cards have a solid collection of perks, though they may not be for everyone. 

Pros

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    Special benefits: By qualifying as a Standard/Platinum World or World Elite member with Mastercard, you can access many extra travel benefits and protections.

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    Great card variety: With choices that earn on dining, gas, entertainment and supermarket purchases, there’s no shortage of ways to earn rewards with Mastercard.

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    High acceptance: Mastercard is one of the most connected payment networks in the world. If you carry a Mastercard, you can feel confident that you won’t run into issues using your card while traveling the globe.

Cons

  • Rewards limitations: Some of Mastercard’s options have less-than-ideal caps on how much you can earn in certain rewards categories. Also, some cards earn rewards you can’t transfer to travel partners.

  • Lack of travel options: While there are ways to earn travel rewards with a Mastercard, you can find more rewarding, flexible and travel-focused cards with other providers.

  • Confusing benefit tiers: With several levels of elite status and those perks ultimately determined by the issuer, understanding your benefits can be difficult.

Tips on choosing the best Mastercard credit card

When you’re ready to choose the right credit card for you, the Mastercard logo may not be the most important factor. To find the card that best fits your finances and lifestyle, follow these steps:

  • Credit Good

    Check your score

    Your credit score is one factor that determines your eligibility for different credit cards. If you have good-to-excellent credit (FICO score of 670 and above), you’ll have an easier time qualifying for great cards with some of the best features available. 

  • Credit Card Search

    Know what type of credit card you want

    Whether you want to earn rewards, take advantage of low-interest and balance transfer offers or focus on building credit, you’ll have an easier time finding your ideal card type if you know the category that best aligns with your goals and spending habits. Consider using an online comparison tool like CardMatch. This can help match you with credit cards you may be eligible for using a soft credit pull, which won’t impact your credit score. It may also find cards with special offers and welcome bonuses.

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    Know the features that matter most to you

    Once you know the type of credit card you’re after, it helps to know the features that will give you the most value. For example, if you’re looking for a rewards card, you’ll want to determine what kind of card rewards you want or what perks would increase the card’s value for you. 

  • Credit Card Apr

    Look at the rates and fees

    On top of an APR, your card may have other common credit card fees, such as an annual fee, balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee, and late payment fee. Keep these in mind before you apply for a credit card. If you think you risk incurring one of these fees, you should factor that fee more heavily into your comparisons.

Based on your specific goals and preferred network features, a Mastercard credit card may be well worth it. Several of its common benefits include purchase protection and insurance, concierge services, luxury hotel and resort access, exclusive deals, and more, in addition to worldwide acceptance and access to zero liability protection, global emergency services and cell phone protection. Apart from its Standard, World, and World Elite tiers, you have the opportunity to earn competitive rewards, have $0 annual fees and even pay away debt with an introductory APR offer, depending on the card you choose.

How we assess the best Mastercard credit cards

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250+
cards rated
Congrats
50+
rewards programs valued
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5000
data points analyzed
Credit Card Reviews
40+
perks evaluated

When evaluating the best Mastercard credit cards, we take into account several factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether they offer features that fit the priorities of a diverse group of cardholders, from earning rewards to scoring a large sign-up bonus to saving on interest. 

We analyzed the most popular Mastercard credit cards and selected standouts that may appeal to people across a range of interests and credit levels. We scored each card based on the factors most relevant to its primary category, including its rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, intro APR period, ongoing APR, perks and more. 

Here are some of the key factors that we considered:  

Frequently asked questions about Mastercard credit cards


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

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply