Best for getting more value from small purchases

Citi Rewards+® Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5X For a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent at restaurants up to $6,000 in the first 12 months and 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent thereafter.
  • 2X Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter.
  • 1X Earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
Intro offer
20,000 points 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 26.49% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best flat-rate cash back card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 2% Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Intro offer
$200 Cash Back 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best wholesale club card

Sam's Club® Mastercard®

Apply now
On Synchrony Bank's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5% 5% cash back on gas anywhere (up to $6,000)
  • 5% Plus members earn 3% back on eligible purchases when shopping in-club or digitally through Sam’s Club when they use their Sam’s Club Mastercard and another 2% back from their Plus membership, for a total of up to 5% rewards on eligible purchases.
  • 3% 3% cash back on dining and takeout
  • 1% 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
No Annual Fee
Regular APR
15.65% or 23.65% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best Balance Transfer Intro APR

Citi Simplicity® Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Compare Bankrate’s top Mastercard credit cards

Card Name Best For Bankrate Review Score
Citi Rewards+ Card Getting more value from small purchases 4.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Double Cash Card Flat-rate cash back card 4.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Sam’s Club Mastercard Wholesale club card 3.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Simplicity Card Balance transfer intro APR 3.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Platinum Credit Card People building credit 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Average credit 4.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card College students 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at our top Mastercard credit cards

Citi Rewards+ Card: Best for getting more value from small purchases

  • What we love about the Citi Rewards+: This no-annual-fee card’s round-up feature will take your rewards-earning to another level. Every purchase is rounded up to the nearest 10 points, so a $3 coffee is worth 10 points and an $11 lunch will net you 20 points.
  • Who this card is good for: Small-budget shoppers whose purchases focus on smaller, everyday purchases at places like gas stations and supermarkets.
  • Alternatives: The spending cap on this card’s rewards categories can be a bit limiting and it only earns basic Citi ThankYou points. 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.
Jump back to offer details.

Citi Double Cash Card: Best flat-rate cash back card

  • What we love about the Citi Double Cash: The earn-as-you-pay cash back program: 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.
  • Who this card is good for: Responsible credit spenders who will always consistently pay their bills on time each month, guaranteeing their generous cash back rate.
  • Alternatives: A card that offers a higher rate of cash back could be more suitable, especially if you have a budget that spans a variety of 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.
Jump back to offer details.

Sam’s Club Mastercard: Best wholesale club card

  • What we love about the Sam’s Club Mastercard: 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.
  • Who this card is good for: Sam’s Club members and frequent roadtrippers who can rake in the rewards on gas.
  • Alternatives: 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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Citi Simplicity Card: Best balance transfer intro APR

  • What we love about the Citi Simplicity: 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.
  • Who this card is good for: 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.
  • Alternatives: 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.

Read our full Citi Simplicity Card review.
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Capital One Platinum Credit Card: Best for people building credit

  • What we love about the Capital One Platinum: The card comes with solid travel perks and consumer protections, which is uncommon in credit cards for fair credit.
  • Who this card is good for: Credit builders and rebuilders alike who want a card that holds them to task on building up good credit.
  • Alternatives: 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.

Read our full Capital One Platinum Credit Card review.
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Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for average credit

  • What we love about the Capital One QuicksilverOne: This option is one of the more accessible rewards cards on the market, making it a feasible choice for people with average credit.
  • Who this card is good for: 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.
  • Alternatives: The biggest drawbacks for the QuicksilverOne card is the annual fee (though lower than usual) and the steep ongoing APR. 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.

Read our full Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.
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Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for college students

  • What we love about the Capital One SavorOne Student: A student card earning unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining is quite rare. This card is one of the most lucrative options available for college students.
  • Who this card is good for: Particularly social college students who can make the most of the high rewards rate on dining purchases.
  • Alternatives: 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 compared to the SavorOne Student’s lack of a welcome offer.

Read our full Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards 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 Mastercard?

Mastercard is a payment network. Its main role is to process the transfer of funds between a cardholder and a merchant. Accepted in over 210 countries and territories around the world, it’s one of the largest credit card networks in the world, coming in second to Visa and ahead of American Express and Discover.

Mastercard, like Visa, 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 cards may include a number of credit card benefits, but whether or not you have access to them is typically up to the issuer. In fact, it’s the issuer that determines most of the features that consumers look for, including credit limits, rewards and other perks, as well as rates and fees.

How to choose 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:

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 a number of great cards with some of the best features available. But if your score falls below 670, you’re likely looking for credit-building cards which may not have as many perks.

Know what type of credit card you want

To help you sort through the thousands of cards available, you’ll want to know the type of credit card you’re looking for. Whether you’re looking 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 card if you know the category that best lines up with your goals and spending habits.

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, not only will you want to decide what type of rewards matter most to you (cash back versus points versus miles), you’ll also want to decide which additional perks would enhance the card’s short- or long-term value for you. From sign-up bonuses and intro APR offers to travel credits and enhanced redemption options, deciding which features matter most and looking out for them can make it easier to find which rewards credit card is right for you.

Keep narrowing down your options

Now that you know what you’re looking for, you’re ready to narrow down your search even further and compare credit cards. To make your search easier, 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 you are likely to prequalify for and be approved for.

Look at the rates and fees

Finally, before you choose the card you want to apply for, make sure you know the various costs of the card. On top of an APR, your card may have a number of other common credit card fees, which include an annual fee, balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee, and late payment fee. Some cards even charge a penalty APR if you make one or more late payments, which could last six months or longer. If you’re worried about this added charge, the best way to avoid it (besides paying your bill on time) is to pick a card that doesn’t charge a penalty APR. Once you know the card’s rates and fees, you’re ready to apply for a credit card.

Pros and cons of Mastercard credit cards

Pros

  • Being a loyal member entitles you to special benefits. By qualifying as a Standard/Gold/Platinum World or World Elite member with Mastercard, you’ll gain access to a plethora of ancillary travel benefits and protections.
  • Mastercard provides a variety of options. With choices that earn on dining, gas, entertainment and supermarket purchases, there’s no shortage of ways to earn rewards with Mastercard. The network even backs student and secured credit cards that offer rewards to cardholders.
  • Widespread 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.
  • Access to exclusive offers. Mastercard’s connections allow them to provide unique offers, such as access to special events, hotel discounts and a variety of other limited-time promotions.
  • Affordability. Many of Mastercard’s options come without an annual fee, so it won’t cost you every year to continue carrying the card. There are also choices with introductory 0% APR offers, another way cardholders can save.

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 points that are considered “basic,” meaning they can’t be transferred 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.
  • Multiple benefit tiers can get confusing. With four levels of loyalty membership, understanding where you stand and what you’ve earned can be hazy. Reviewing the details of Mastercard benefits will help clear the cloudiness.

Mastercard benefits and rewards

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

For starters, Mastercard operates on a multi-rail payment network, meaning it may take more time to completely process a payment (typically one to three days) but the network exchanges data with efficiency and facilitates secure transactions.

In addition to how transactions work, Mastercard stands out with its tiers of credit card benefits and exclusive features. 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. Some of the perks below can be found only with Mastercard:

Mastercard World and World Elite benefits

World

  • 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 Visa Signature or Infinite 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

Other Mastercard features

  • 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.

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.


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Frequently asked questions about Mastercard credit cards

about the author
As a Bankrate credit cards editor, Ashley Parks is fascinated by the ways people can make credit cards work for them when armed with the right knowledge.
about the editor
Courtney Mihocik is an editor at Bankrate Credit Cards and CreditCards.com specializing in credit card news and personal finance advice. Previously, she led insurance content at Reviews.com and worked as the loans editor at The Simple Dollar.

* 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.