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By Martha C. White
September 24, 2018
Illustration by Ery Burns for Money

It turns out 2018 is a great time to be in the market for a new credit card. Sure, interest rates may be on the rise, but with the booming economy Americans are also spending more. That means the competition for borrowers is fierce and issuers are offering plenty of cards with consumer-friendly terms.

“Banks have still been aggressive,” says Brian Karimzad, co-founder of MagnifyMoney. “If you have a big purchase or have a balance you think is pretty close to getting paid off, there are still opportunities to save on interest.”

Beyond that, the best credit card offers today encompass an ever-expanding world out there of perks, points and credits. The trick is figuring out which combination adds up to the best credit card for you.

To do this, think about how you want to use your new credit card to figure out which features will give you the most bang for your buck, Karimzad advises. Are you trying to build credit, for yourself or your business? Do you want to rack up lots of rewards, or get perks like airline lounge access? Or are you trying to borrow strategically, either to pay down debt or make a big purchase? The best travel credit card isn’t necessarily the best rewards credit card, and neither of those would be the best credit card if you’re looking for a low APR to make a big purchase or transfer a balance.

You’ll have the greatest number of choices — and be eligible for the cards with the most tantalizing perks — if your credit is good, but there’s a card out there for everyone — and responsible use of credit is the best way to improve your credit score and your access to the cards with the most generous terms.

Whatever your reason for getting a new credit card, Money and MagnifyMoney have sifted through hundreds of cards to find the best in nine different categories. Here are the best credit cards of 2018, the cards that will deal a winning hand to your finances.

All credit card terms are as of Aug. 28, 2018

The Best for Travel Rewards

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Best for Cash Back

Winner: Citi Double Cash

The Best for Balance Transfer

Winner: AmEx EveryDay

The Best for Weak Credit

Winner: Capital One Secured Mastercard

The Best for Small Business

Winner: Capital One Spark Cash

The Best for Store Rewards

WINNER Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa

The Best for Students

Winner: Deserve EDU Mastercard

The Best for Low Interest

Winner: Visa Titanium Signature Rewards from Andrews Federal Credit Union

The Best for No Annual Fee

Winner: Capital One SavorOne Rewards

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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