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List of Major Credit Card Companies & Card Networks [History, Most Popular Cards, and More]

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Jarrod West

Senior Content Contributor

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Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in o...
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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...
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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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UpBank-issued charge cards first originated in 1946 when a Brooklyn banker named John Biggins launched the “Charg-It” card. Charg-It card purchases were forwarded to Biggins’ bank, where he reimbursed the merchant and would later obtain payment from the customer in what came to be known as the “closed-loop” system.

Fast forward to 1950 which saw the debut of the Diners Club Card. The Diners Club Card claims the title of the first credit card in widespread use, and while it’s purchases were made on credit, the Diners Club was technically a charge card, meaning the bill had to be paid in full at the end of each month. The card became quite popular, and by the end of 1951, Diners Club had over 20,000 cardholders.

When the original American Express card first launched in 1958, charge cards were rapidly becoming mainstream. In 1959, American Express was the first company to introduce a plastic card, replacing the older cardboard and celluloid cards. Within just 5 years, 1 million American Express cards were in use at over 85,000 merchants.

According to The Nilson Report, there are a total of 1.06 billion credit cards (as of 2017), with close to 1.2 billion cards projected to be in use by 2022. In 2018, there were 41 billion total credit card transactions in the U.S., amounting to $3.8 trillion in purchase volume — over $10.4 billion per day.

In this post, we outline 15 of the largest credit card companies (measured by their number of active credit card accounts), along with some history and facts about the company, and some of our favorite credit cards that they offer.

Card Networks vs. Credit Card Companies

Before we dive in, it is important to make a distinction between a card network and a credit card company.

A credit card company is, put simply, any company that issues credit cards, whether that be a bank, a credit union, or anything in between. So what is a card network, then? When you hear the words “card network,” think about companies like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

Card networks work with credit card processors to transport your transaction data between the issuing bank and the merchant you’ve made your purchase with. The card networks are also responsible for setting their interchange and assessment fees.

While each network sets its fees, it does not collect all of them. The interchange fees, which are the largest cost involved in credit card processing, are passed onto the issuing bank.

Now you may be wondering, “If companies like American Express and Discover are card networks, how do they also issue credit cards?” A company can be both a credit card network and a credit card issuer.

Due to this, credit cards on the Amex and Discover networks are mostly issued exclusively by those 2 companies (with a few exceptions). Meanwhile, a card on the Visa or Mastercard network could be issued by any other credit card company, as Visa and Mastercard do not issue their credit cards.

Make sense? Great! Now let’s do a deep dive into each U.S. major credit card company and network!

Top issuers of credit cards by volume
Top issuers of credit cards by purchase volume. Image Credit: The Nilson Report

American Express

History

American Express, also known as Amex, was founded in 1850 and is best known for its charge cards and credit card products.

In 2016, credit cards using the American Express network accounted for 22.9% of the total dollar volume of U.S. credit card transactions. Amex is the largest issuer of charge cards and the third-largest credit card network in the U.S. As of December 2018, the company had 114 million cards in circulation, including 53.7 million cards in the U.S., each with average annual spending of $19,340.

In 2017, Forbes named American Express as the twenty-third most valuable brand in the world (and the highest within financial services), estimating the brand to be worth $24.5 billion. In 2018, Fortune ranked American Express as the fourteenth most admired company worldwide.

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FoundedMarch 18, 1850Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersNew York CityCEOStephen J. Squeri
Revenue (2018)$36.986 billionOperating Income (2018)$8.164 billion
Employees (2018) 59,000Total Assets (2018)$188.602 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)53.7 millionLogoGladiator/Centurion

Our Favorite Amex Cards

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Without question, the most popular and recognizable American Express card is the Amex Platinum Card. The card is branded as a symbol of status and luxury but isn’t as difficult to be approved for as you may think.

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 125k (or 150k) points with the Amex Platinum. The current public offer is 80,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

The Amex Platinum is easily one of the best travel credit cards on the market with 5x earnings on airfare and AmexTravel.com bookings, combined with incredible travel benefits like hotel elite status, trip delay insurance, Uber and airline incidental credits, and best-in-class airport lounge access.

American Express Gold® Card

Playing second fiddle to the Amex Platinum is Amex Gold card, its second most popular card. The Amex Gold card is perfect for those who want a powerful point earning card at a lower annual fee.

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

The Amex Gold card rewards cardholders with benefits like 4x points per $1 at restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets, 3x on airfare, a monthly dining credit with GrubHub/Seamless or select restaurants.

Hot Tip: Many American Express credit card ads feature a sample American Express Card with the name “C. F. Frost” on the front. This is not a fabricated name; Charles F. Frost was an advertising executive at Ogilvy & Mather, the ad agency that coined the popular “Don’t Leave Home Without Them” campaign.

Bank of America

History

The Bank of America Corporation (abbreviated as BofA) is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is the second-largest banking institution in the U.S., after JPMorgan Chase.

As of August 2018, Bank of America had a $313.5 billion market capitalization, making it the thirteenth-largest company in the world. Bank of America was ranked #24 on the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue.

Bank of America is more widely known for their consumer banking and investment products, but they still have over 54.6 million credit cards in circulation.

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FoundedFebruary 1784Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersCharlotte, N.C.CEOBrian Moynihan
Revenue (2018)$91.24 billionOperating Income (2018)$34.6 billion
Employees (2018) 205,000Total Assets (2018)$2.325 trillion
Cards in Circulation (2018)54.6 millionLogoU.S. flag

Our Favorite Bank of America Cards

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

Aptly named, the Premium Rewards card was Bank of America’s foray into the premium travel rewards card market. Cardholders earn 2x points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5x points per $1 on all other purchases. The points are worth a fixed 1 cent per point towards travel or cash-back.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a great travel rewards card for those looking for a simple approach to earning and redeeming rewards.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a great travel rewards card for those looking for a simple approach to earning and redeeming rewards.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
50,000 points
$500
$95
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is a great option for anyone looking for a travel rewards card with a simple approach to how you earn and redeem your rewards.

From travel and purchase protections to airline incidental and Global Entry credits, there is plenty to love about the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.

Plus, those that hold status in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program can get even more value from the card by boosting their rewards by 25% to 75%!

Pros

  • 2x points per $1 on travel and dining purchases
  • 1.5x points per $1 on all other purchases
  • Up to $100 annual airline incidental statement credit
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
  • Boost your rewards rate with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Points are worth a fixed 1 cent per point, so it isn’t possible to get outsized redemptions via airline and hotel transfer partners
  • Receive 50,000 online bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn 2.5-3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and 1.87-2.62 points on all other purchases, for every $1 you spend.
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don’t expire.
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
  • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Low $95 annual fee.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

An innovative feature of the card allows you to earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase depending on your level of investments with Bank of America. Cardholders who have at least a combined $100,000 in assets on deposit with Bank of America can earn up to 3.5x points on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.625x points on all other purchases.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Provides the potential to earn plenty of miles to fly with Alaska Airlines or over a dozen partners. Plus, get an annual companion fare from just $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)!

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Provides the potential to earn plenty of miles to fly with Alaska Airlines or over a dozen partners. Plus, get an annual companion fare from just $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)!
Get 70,000 Bonus Miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
70,000 bonus + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™
$1,260
$95
18.24% - 26.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

With the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card in your wallet, you could get great perks and earn miles at the same time. This is a win-win if Alaska is the airline you prefer to fly with! Plus, its annual companion fare is a great benefit for traveling couples.

Pros

  • 3x miles per $1 spent on Alaska purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on eligible gas, local transit (including rideshare), cable, and select streaming services
  • 1x mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual companion fare
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 traveling companions
  • 20% back on Alaska inflight purchase

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • LIMITED TIME ONLINE OFFER — 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™!
  • Get 70,000 Bonus Miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that’s a savings of $60 per person roundtrip!
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, local transit (including rideshare), cable, and select streaming services, and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.
  • 10% reward bonus on all miles earned on card with an eligible Bank of America checking, savings, or investment account.
  • Priority boarding on Alaska Airlines when tickets are purchased with card.
  • With oneworld® Alliance member airlines and Alaska’s Global Partners, Alaska has expanded their global reach to over 1,000 destinations worldwide bringing more airline partners and more ways to earn and redeem miles.
  • Flexibility with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights when booking with miles or a companion fare.
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $95 annual fee.
  • This online only offer may not be available elsewhere if you leave this page. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 18.24% - 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Frequent Flyer Program

You may be surprised to see a co-branded airline credit card listed here, but the Alaska Signature card is one of the best airline cards on the market, mainly due to how valuable Alaska miles can be.

Cardholders earn 3x miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, and 20% back on all Alaska Airlines inflight purchases. Each account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare from just $121 valid on all Alaska flights.

Hot Tip: Bank of America operates 4,800 retail financial centers and approximately 15,900 ATMs nationwide. 

Barclays

History

Barclays is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in London. Barclays launched the first U.K. credit card program in 1966 and it moved into the U.S. market in 2004.

Barclays is best known for its travel rewards credit cards and co-branded credit cards, especially their partnerships with American Airlines, JetBlue, and Lufthansa. While their presence is much smaller than many other banks, Barclays still has over 15 million cards in circulation.

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FoundedNovember 1690Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersLondon, U.K.CEOJes Stanley
Revenue (2018)$27.11 billionOperating Income (2018)$4.48 billion
Employees (2018) 79,900Total Assets (2018)$1.145 trillion
Cards in Circulation (2018)15.7 millionLogoEagle

Our Favorite Barclays Cards

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

While the AAdvantage Aviator Red card might not be the best option for your airfare purchase, it can be a solid keeper card for those who frequently fly American Airlines.

Cardholders receive great perks when flying American, like their first checked bag free, priority boarding, 25% inflight savings as statement credits on food and beverages, and $25 back as a statement credit on inflight Wi-Fi purchases.

Hot Tip: Be aware of Barclays 6/24 rule, which may cause you to be rejected from their cards if you have more than 6 new accounts in the last 24 months.

Capital One

Capital One
Image Credit: Isabelle Ohara via Shutterstock

History

Capital One is a bank holding company specializing in credit cards, auto loans, banking, and savings accounts, headquartered in McLean, Virginia. Capital One is ranked tenth on the list of largest banks in the U.S. by assets, ninety-eighth on the Fortune 500, and the fifth-largest credit card issuer by purchase volume.

Despite its short history, Capital One has certainly made a name for itself in the credit card market with its suite of different card offerings. In fact, in the fourth quarter of 2018, 75% of the company’s revenues were from it’s over 89 million credit cards in circulation.

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Founded1994Areas Served U.S., Canada, U.K.
HeadquartersMcLean, Va.CEORichard Fairbank
Revenue (2018)$28.06 billionOperating Income (2018)$5.710 billion
Employees (2018) 48,800Total Assets (2018)$372.538 trillion
Cards in Circulation (2018)89.4 millionLogoCapital One

Our Favorite Capital One Cards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit (670-850)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

Pros

  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)
  • Access to Capital One transfer partners

Cons

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

You’ve likely seen dozens of commercials for the Venture card before, advertising it’s unlimited 2x miles per $1 on every purchase and all earned miles can now be transferred to one of the Capital One transfer partners — unlocking huge value!

Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

An excellent cash-back card that offers rewards for categories like dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery stores. (Information collected independently. Not reviewed by Capital One.)

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

An excellent cash-back card that offers rewards for categories like dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery stores. (Information collected independently. Not reviewed by Capital One.)
Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
$300
$95
20.74%-28.74% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

 

When it comes to rewards credit cards, you can break up most savvy consumers into 2 camps: those who prefer travel rewards and those who prefer cash-back.

Both options can be very lucrative to you and your wallet, especially if you’re using the right card. For those who fall in the “cash is king” camp, you’ll likely find the Capital One Savor card quite compelling.

Pros

  • 10% cash-back on Uber and Uber Eats
  • 8% cash-back on Capital One Entertainment
  • 5% cash-back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 4% cash-back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services
  • 3% cash-back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Uber One membership through November 14, 2024
  • Roadside assistance and rental car insurance
  • Purchase protection/price protection/extended warranty
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • This is strictly a cash-back card, so it features no travel rewards like other cards offer
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases.
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment.
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.74%-28.74% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees:

Card Categories

The Capital One Savor card is a compelling cash-back card that earns 4% cash-back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores.

Cardholders also benefit from perks like no foreign transaction fees, extended warranty on purchases, and travel accident insurance.

fact: Capital One started as a monoline bank, meaning that all of its revenue came from a single product (in this case, credit cards). The company helped pioneer the mass marketing of credit cards in the 1990s.

Credit One

History

Credit One is a U.S.-based bank specializing in credit cards. Their corporate office is located in Las Vegas and they are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sherman Financial Group, LLC. Credit One focuses primarily on 2 types of products, partially and fully secured credit cards, and currently has 7 million cards in circulation in the U.S.

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Founded1984Areas Served U.S.
HeadquartersLas VegasCEORobert DeJong
Revenue (2016)$465.53 millionOperating Income (2016)$109.94 million
Employees (2018) 625Total Assets (2016)$236.06 million
Cards in Circulation (2018)7 millionLogoCredit One

Our Favorite Credit One Card

Credit One Platinum Cash-Back Rewards

This no annual fee card offers 1% cash-back on all purchases, plus up to 10% cash-back with participating merchants. Cardholders also receive free online access to their Experian credit score, so you can monitor your credit health and track your progress.

Hot Tip: For the most part, credit cards from Credit One are marketed towards individuals who have zero credit or need to repair their credit. If you do not fall into either of those categories then it’s likely you can get a much better card from one of the other issuers mentioned in this post.

Chase

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom
Image Credit: Jeremy Lende via Shutterstock

History

JPMorgan Chase Bank, headquartered in New York City, is the largest bank in the U.S. by total deposits. The bank was known as Chase Manhattan Bank until it merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000. The bank now employs more than 250,000 people and does business in 100+ countries.

Chase is a giant in the credit card world, with over 92 million cards in circulation, making up 31.% of the overall credit card revenue market share. Chase credit cards are among the best, from their suite of Ultimate Reward earning cards to their various co-branded partnerships with companies like United, Marriott, and Southwest.

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Founded1977Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersNew York CityCEOJamie Dimon
Revenue (2018)$109.029 billionOperating Income (2018)$32.474 billion
Employees (2018) 250,355Total Assets (2018)$2.623 trillion
Cards in Circulation (2018)92 millionLogoConnected water pipes

Our Favorite Chase Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the top travel rewards cards on the market due to its combination of point earning and travel benefits.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn 5x points on air travel and 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, plus 3x points on all other travel, a $300 annual travel credit, a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, a Priority Pass membership, and best-in-class travel protections.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

For business owners, the Ink Business Preferred card is one of the best business credit cards (and probably our favorite Chase business credit card) — a stellar option that earns 3x points per $1 on up to $150,000 in combined purchases on travel, shipping, advertising purchases made with social media sites or search engines, internet, cable, and phones services.

The Ink Business Preferred card is also one of the few cards to offer up to $600 per claim in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage for you and your employees listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay it with your card.

fact: When Chase launched the Chase Sapphire Reserve card in 2016, the demand for the card was so high that Chase ran out of the metal required to make the card!

Be aware of the Chase 5/24 rule! If you’ve opened more than 5 new credit cards in the last 24 months, Chase will almost certainly not approve you for most of their credit cards.

Citibank

Citibank
Image Credit: TungCheung via Shutterstock

History

Citigroup Inc., or Citi, is an American multinational investment bank and financial services corporation headquartered in New York City. Citigroup is ranked third on the list of largest banks in the U.S. and is ranked thirtieth on the Fortune 500 as of 2018.

Another major player in the credit card world, Citi currently has over 67 million cards in circulation, made of up of their namesake Citi ThankYou cards and co-branded cards with strategic partners like American Airlines.

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Founded1812Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersNew York CityCEOMichael Corbat
Revenue (2018)$72.854 billionOperating Income (2018)$23.445 billion
Employees (2018) 204,000Total Assets (2018)$1.917 trillion
Cards in Circulation (2018)67 millionLogoCiti

Our Favorite CitiBank Cards

Citi Prestige® Card

Hot Tip: At this time, the Citi Prestige card is no longer available for new applicants.

While quite a few benefits have been removed from the card recently, the Citi Prestige can still be quite valuable for those who can take advantage of the 5x Citi ThankYou points on airfare and dining purchases, $250 travel credit, Priority Pass Membership, and the fourth-night-free hotel benefit that can be used twice per year.

Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash is touted as one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market due to its ability to earn 2x points per $1 (that can be converted to cash-back); 1x when you buy and another 1x as you pay.  The card offers no caps on cash-back and no annual fee.

This change makes the card an industry leader when it comes to non-bonused spend, and will allow you to rack up ThankYou points fast that you can redeem for huge value!

Hot Tip: Citibank has a few different rules that determine whether or you will be eligible for their credit cards. Read all out them in our dedicated guide

Discover

History

Founded in 1985 as a subsidiary of Sears, it wasn’t until 2007 that Discover was spun off as an independent, publicly-traded company. Today, Discover is the country’s seventh-largest credit card issuer and fourth-largest card network, based on purchase volume.

When the Discover card was first launched, it offered consumers a small rebate on all their purchases, making it one of the first cash-back cards ever offered in the U.S.

Today, Discover still holds that reputation of a company that primarily offers cash-back cards, and with over 50 million cards in circulation, you could say they’ve been quite successful.

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Founded1985Areas Served U.S.
HeadquartersChicagoCEORoger Hochschild
Revenue (2018)$10.6 billionOperating Income (2018)$4.1 billion
Employees (2018) 15,549Total Assets (2018)$32.5 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)52 millionLogoDiscover

Our Favorite Discover Cards

Discover it® Cash Back Card

The Discover Cash-Back card is easily Discover’s most popular card offering, and you’ve likely seen several commercials advertising the card and its “cash-back match” program.

The Discover Cash-Back card offers 5% cash-back at different merchants each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500) plus an unlimited 1% cash-back on all other purchases.

To increase those savings even further, Discover will automatically match all the cash-back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, with no limit to how much they’ll match. This effectively allows you to earn 10% back on purchases within the quarterly bonus category and 2% back on all other purchases for your first year of card membership.

Discover it® Miles Card

With the Discover Miles card, you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. Unlike airline miles, these miles are worth a fixed 1 cent per point when you redeem them towards travel.

Similar to the Discover Cash-Back card, Discover will automatically match all the miles you earn at the end of your first year. This effectively allows you to earn 3x miles on all purchases for your first year of card membership.

Image Credit: Pixabay via Pexels

Mastercard

History

Mastercard, founded in 1966 and headquartered in Purchase, New York, is the second-largest credit card network in the world with over 200 million cards in circulation worldwide. Throughout the world, it’s business model is to process payments between the banks of merchants and the card-issuing banks or credit unions of the purchasers who use a Mastercard brand debit card, credit card, or prepaid card to make purchases.

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Founded1966Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersPurchase, N.Y.CEOAjaypal Singh Banga
Revenue (2018)$12.497 billionOperating Income (2018)$6.662 billion
Employees (2018) 13,400Total Assets (2018)$21.329 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)200 millionLogoRed/orange Venn diagram

Our Favorite Mastercards

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

The AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite card offers 2x miles per $1 for all American Airlines spending and with restaurants and gas stations. You’ll also get preferred boarding, your first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 4 companions on the reservation, and 25% off inflight food and beverage purchases made with the card.

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

The IHG Premier card earns up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel, 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants, and 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardholders get automatic Platinum Elite status with IHG, plus a free anniversary night certificate valid at properties costing 40,000 points or less per night on each account anniversary.

Hot Tip: Mastercard makes up over 31% of the card network market share in the world. 

PNC Bank

History

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is ranked ninth on the list of largest banks in the U.S. by assets. PNC is the fifth-largest bank by number of branches, sixth largest by deposits, and fourth-largest in number of ATMs. PNC’s credit card offerings are rather small in comparison to other issuers, with just 5 million cards in circulation.

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Founded1845Areas Served U.S.
HeadquartersPittsburghCEOWilliam Demchak
Revenue (2018)$16.329 billionOperating Income (2018)$5.338 billion
Employees (2018) 52,906Total Assets (2018)$380.768 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)5 millionLogoGolden triangle

Our Favorite PNC Cards

PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card

With the PNC Cash Rewards card, you’ll earn 4% back on gas station purchases, 3% on dining purchases, 2% on grocery store purchases, and 1% on all other purchases for the first $8,000 in combined purchases in these categories annually. 

PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® Credit Card

The PNC Premier Traveler card offers cardholders 2x miles for every $1 spent on all purchases, and no foreign transaction fees on purchases. Your PNC miles are worth a fixed 1 cent per point when you redeem them as a statement credit for travel purchases.

Hot Tip: The name “PNC” is derived from the initials of both of the bank’s 2 predecessor companies: Pittsburgh National Corporation and Provident National Corporation, which merged in 1983.

Synchrony

History

Synchrony Financial, founded in 2003, and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, is known for being the largest provider of private label credit cards in the U.S. The company provides private-label credit cards for such brands as Ashley HomeStores, BP, Cathay Pacific, Discount Tire, Guitar Center, J.C. Penney, Lowe’s, and many more. In fact, if you’ve ever opened a store credit card, odds are that it was issued by Synchrony.

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Founded2003Areas Served U.S.
HeadquartersStamford, Conn.CEOMargaret Keane
Revenue (2018)$14.8 billionOperating Income (2018)$2.79 billion
Employees (2018) 16,500Total Assets (2018)$106.792 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)36.7 millionLogoGolden bars

Our Favorite Synchrony Cards

Cathay Pacific Visa

The Cathay Pacific Visa card is easily the best travel rewards card that Synchrony has to offer. It earns 2x miles per dollar on purchases with Cathay Pacific, 1.5x miles per dollar on dining purchases in the U.S. or abroad, 1.5x miles per dollar on other purchases abroad, and 1x mile per dollar on other domestic purchases.

Cathay Pacific Asia miles can be very valuable when redeemed for trips on Cathay Pacific and their partners.

Amazon Prime Store Card

The Amazon Prime Store Card offers 5% cash-back on all purchases on Amazon. This makes the card extremely valuable to those who are frequent Amazon shoppers. Keep in mind that you must have an eligible Amazon Prime membership to receive the 5% cash-back on your purchases.

Hot Tip: Synchrony Bank offers over 100+ different credit card options to their customers. 

USAA

History

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) was founded in 1922 by a group of 25 U.S. Army officers for mutual self-insurance when they were unable to secure auto insurance due to the perception that military officers were a high-risk group.

USAA has since expanded to offer banking and insurance services to past and present members of the Armed Forces and their families. The company ranked #100 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue and currently has over 12.4 million members.

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Founded1922Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersSan AntonioCEOCapt. Stuart Parker
Revenue (2018)$30.016 billionOperating Income (2018)$2.422 billion
Employees (2018) 32,896Total Assets (2018)$155.391 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)7.7 millionLogoEagle

Our Favorite USAA Card

Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

The Cashback Rewards Plus card earns 5% cash-back on your first $3,000 in combined gas station and military base purchases yearly, 2% cash-back on your first $3,000 in grocery purchases yearly, and unlimited 1% cash-back on all other purchases.

If your spending needs would require you to hit the annual cap on both gas stations and grocery stores, using this card would earn you $210 in cash-back!

For more options, check out all of the USAA credit cards and rewards options.

Hot Tip: USAA is the eleventh largest credit card issuer in the U.S. by purchase volume and outstanding balances.

U.S. Bank

History

U.S. Bank National Association is the fifth-largest bank in the U.S. and the sixth-largest credit card issuer based on purchase volume. The company offers many co-branded credit cards with corporate partners like Ace, Club Carlson, Harley-Davidson, and Kroger. U.S. Bank rewards cards are also offered under the company’s FlexPerks brand name.

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Founded1968Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersMinneapolisCEOAndrew Cecere
Revenue (2018)$22.057 billionOperating Income (2018)$6.218 billion
Employees (2018) 72,402Total Assets (2018)$462.04 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)21 millionLogoU.S. Bank

Our Favorite U.S. Bank Cards

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

While the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card is only open to those who have a preexisting relationship with U.S. Bank, it’s a fantastic option for those who are eligible. Cardholders earn 3x points for every $1 on travel purchases and mobile wallet spending, a $325 annual statement credit for travel purchases and a Priority Pass membership.

Hot Tip: U.S. Bank operates under the second-oldest continuous national charter, originally Charter #24, granted in 1863.

Card Brands Ranked by Transactions
Visa remains the largest card network in the world. Image Credit: The Nilson Report

Visa

History

Visa is a credit card network that facilitates electronic funds transfers throughout the world, most commonly through Visa-branded credit cards, gift cards, and debit cards. Visa does not issue any of its own cards or extend credit. Visa is the U.S. largest card payment organization, and the world’s second-largest (debit and credit cards combined), surpassed only by China UnionPay, based on the annual value of card payments transacted and the number of issued cards.

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Founded1961Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersFoster City, Calif.CEOAlfred Kelley
Revenue (2018)$20.609 billionOperating Income (2018)$13.749 billion
Employees (2018) 17,000Total Assets (2018)$69.225 billion
Cards in Circulation (2018)335 millionLogoVisa

Our Favorite Visa Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

POPULAR FIRST CARD
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular travel rewards cards on the market, and with benefits like 3x points on dining and 2x on travel, no foreign transaction fees, and flexible redemption options (including transfer partners), it’s easy to see why. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of our top picks for people who are brand new to the world of points and miles!

Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Freedom Flex card earns 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter, with no annual fee. The card can be extremely valuable when paired with a premium Chase Ultimate Reward earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This allows you to use the points earned with your Freedom Flex card for one of the many Chase transfer partners.

Hot Tip:  In 2015, The Nilson Report, a publication that tracks the credit card industry, found that Visa’s global network processed 100 billion transactions during 2014 with a total volume of $6.8 trillion.

Wells Fargo

History

Wells Fargo, founded in 1852, is the world’s fourth-largest bank by both market capitalization and total assets, as well as ranked number 26 on the 2018 Fortune 500.

While Wells Fargo’s present in the credit card market is nearly as large as the other big 4 banks (Chase, Citi, and Bank of America), it is the eighth-largest credit card issuer in the U.S. with over 24 million cards in circulation.

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Founded1852Areas Served Worldwide
HeadquartersSan FranciscoCEOCharles Scharf
Revenue (2018)$86.4 billionOperating Income (2018)$30.28 billion
Employees (2018) 258,700Total Assets (2018)$1.895 trillion
Cards in Circulation (2018)24 millionLogoWells Fargo

Our Favorite Wells Fargo Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® CardRates & Fees

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card earns 2% cash rewards on purchases with no annual fee.

Learn More(at Wells Fargo's secure site)

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card earns 2% cash rewards on purchases with no annual fee.
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
$200 cash rewards bonus
$0
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR thereafter.
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Pros

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • Cell phone protection

Cons

  • No bonus categories for those who want to optimize certain purchases
  • Select “Learn More” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR thereafter.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction converted to U.S. dollars.

Card Categories

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is one of the top cards from the issuer that we like. This card is a good choice if you want a card that offers a straightforward earning rate (2% cash rewards on all eligible purchases) without an annual fee.

Hot Tip: Wells Fargo was founded to meet the banking needs of pioneers during the California Gold Rush, and holds the first-ever banking charter issued by the U.S. government.

Final Thoughts

Credit cards and the banks that issue them are a dynamic industry that continues to grow rapidly, as the world and our purchases become more globally connected.

Be sure to always take your time to research credit card offers and the companies behind them. Whether it is about your credit score, rewards program, or even the companies that issue the cards, the more you know — the better!

For head to head comparisons of some of the most popular credit card companies, check out these posts”

The information regarding the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card, PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® Credit Card, Amazon Prime Store Card, Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card, U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Discover it® Cash Back Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Discover It® Miles Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Cathay Pacific Airways Visa® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

When did credit cards first originate?

Charge cards first originated in 1946 when John Biggins launched the “Charg-It” card. Purchases were forwarded to his bank, where he reimbursed the merchant and would later obtain payment from the customer.

The Diners Club Card, which debuted in 1950, holds the claim for the first credit card in widespread use.

How many total credit cards are in circulation?

According to The Nilson Report, as of 2017, there are a total of 1.06 billion credit cards in circulation, amounting to over 41 billion transactions in the U.S., and $3.8 trillion in purchase volume.

What is the largest credit card issuer?

The largest credit card issuers is Chase Bank with 92 million cards in circulation.

The largest credit card network is Visa with over 335 million cards being processed over its network.

What is the difference between a credit card and a charge card?

The 2 main differences between a charge card and a credit card are that charge cards have no pre-set spending limit and balances must be paid in full each month.

Many people think charge cards have no credit limit, but this is not true. Charge cards card do not give cardholders a set spending limit, but they will start declining purchases if they believe your balance is becoming higher than you can afford to pay each month.

Similarly, with a charge card, your balance must be paid in full each month. This is not the case with most credit cards, as they allow you to make a minimum or partial payment and carry the rest of the balance over while being charged interest. However, if your charge card is not paid in full, you won’t be able to use your card for any other purchases until it is.

What is the difference between a credit card issuer and a credit card network?

A credit card company issuer is any company that issues credit cards, like Bank of America, Chase, or Wells Fargo.

Card networks work with credit card processors to transport your transaction data between the issuing bank and the merchant you’ve made your purchase with. However, they, too, can issue credit cards. Card networks are companies like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

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About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

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