Best Mastercard Credit Cards for 2021

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.

Editor's Top Picks: Best Mastercard Credit Cards

Best for getting more value from small purchases

Citi Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 - 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 ThankYou® 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:
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)

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 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best flat-rate cash back card

Citi Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 - 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® Double Cash Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Welcome Offer:
N/A
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% - 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Some of the offers on this page may have expired.

The information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and Citi Simplicity Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.


Bankrate’s guide to Mastercard credit cards

As one of the world’s largest payment networks, Mastercard has the connections to offer some of the top credit cards on the market. Thanks to partnerships with financial institutions like Capital One and Citibank, you can find the Mastercard logo on cards for cash back, credit building, students and more.

Bankrate has the essential information on Mastercard and the benefits of having a card connected to its global payment network.

Best Mastercard credit cards for 2021

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One Platinum Credit Card  People building credit 3.9/5
Citi Rewards+℠ Card  Getting more value from small purchases 4.6/5
Citi® Double Cash Card Flat-rate cash back card 4.7/5
Citi® Simplicity Card (not currently available) Best intro APR period for purchases 4.4/5
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card  Average credit 4.4/5
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card  Dining and entertainment 4.9/5
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students College students N/A
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card  Good intro APR on purchases and flat-rate cash back 4.7/5

What is Mastercard?

Mastercard, much like Visa, isn’t a true issuer of credit cards but rather a payment network partnering with well-known banks and credit unions to provide credit card options. It offers products in areas including consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payment systems.

Mastercard also partners with merchants all over the world. Its global presence helped Mastercard earn nearly $17 billion in net revenue in 2019.

What sets Mastercard apart?

Many of Mastercard’s products offer benefits and rewards typical to the credit card business, but there are a few areas where the company distinguishes itself from competitors.

When opening a Mastercard credit card, you have the ability to qualify as a World or World Elite member, bringing you a variety of high-end features:

Mastercard World and World Elite benefits

World

  • Free shipping with more than 140 online retailers
  • Home sharing — options to choose from over 10,000 rentals worldwide
  • The Priceless Cities travel experience program
  • Identity theft protection
  • Room upgrades
  • Vacation packages
  • Airport concierge service

World Elite

Includes all World benefits, plus:

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

Other Mastercard features

  • Savings with Lyft: Mastercard and Lyft partnered in 2019, creating an opportunity for cardholders to ride at a discount. World Elite cardholders can earn $10 back in Lyft credit after taking five qualifying rides in each calendar month, limited to once per month.
  • SecureCode: A private code made for your Mastercard account, SecureCode helps protect your card in over 122 countries worldwide.
  • 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, is designed for online, in-app and in-person shopping. Your card information and address can be stored electronically. Masterpass purchases are a secure way to shop and are also protected by Zero Liability for any unauthorized purchases.

Who are Mastercard credit cards good for?

Mastercard’s credit card options have a selection of different features that you can focus on to find the best option for you.

Rewards for on-the-go families

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card earns 2x ThankYou Points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year, plus 1x ThankYou Points on all other purchases.

Incentive to earn cash back responsibly

The Citi® Double Cash Card has a two-part system for earning cash back: 1 percent when you make eligible purchases and another 1 percent when you pay for them on your monthly statement.

Making fair credit into better credit

With the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, you’ll be automatically considered for a higher credit limit after 6 months of on-time monthly payments. The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, a foreign transaction fee, a balance transfer fee or penalty APR.

Building credit while learning credit

Credit-building can be uncharted territory for students and other young adults, but cards like the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students can help show the way. You can apply with little or no credit history and even earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases.

Food, fun and more

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment, 2 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent on all other eligible purchases. The lack of foreign transaction fees makes it a useful item to pack for your next overseas trip.

How we chose our top-rated Mastercard cards

Bankrate’s personal finance experts have evaluated the top Mastercard credit cards according to our 5-star rating system. The list of criteria for rating credit cards includes:

Rewards

Whether the card offers cash back, travel points/miles or multi-purpose rewards for eligible purchases and the potential returns based on rewards rate (1 percent cash back per $1 spent, 1 mile per $1 spent, and so on).

Perks and benefits

Whether the card offers extras such as retail discounts, extended warranties on purchases, travel insurance and financial management tools.

Annual fee

Whether the card charges an annual fee and if so, how much the card’s overall value and benefits might offset the fee.

Introductory offers

Whether the card has a sign-up bonus, a zero-interest welcome offer or similar sign-up incentive and how much it adds to the card’s overall value.

Variable APR

How the card’s annual percentage rate (APR) compares with current averages as an indicator of cost and value.

Foreign transaction fee

Whether the card charges a foreign transaction fee for international purchases and how the fee affects the card’s overall value.

Learn more about Mastercard credit cards


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, loans, mortgages and other personal finance products for Bankrate since 2018. His work has also appeared on websites including Nasdaq.com, Zillow.com and The Simple Dollar. He was previously an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

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

* 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.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.