Credit Cards for Everyday Use

In general, our philosophy with credit cards is to get the best deals – like most people. However, we picked a few credit cards that we think are the best of the best for 2021. These cards have no annual fee, no usage requirement, and aren’t tied to any particular rewards scheme. Further, we choose cards that give cash back or cash equivalents back because we believe that cash is king for rewards. Finally, we are choosing cards that most people can use for everyday purchases.

Our top choice:

The top choice is Citi’s Double Cash Card. It offers 2% cash back, 1% on purchases and 1% on payments for the purchases. The reason I like this is it’s about the best non-conditional cash back card around. You get 2% back on all purchases with no limits and no annual fees. Not to mention, its very easy to request for a credit limit increase with their app. The downside is if you ever miss a payment with them, they have a pretty big penalty APR of 29.99% which is fairly big. But if you’re good with budgeting, it should never be a problem. The other downside is there’s a high 3% foreign transaction fee so make sure to buy domestically with this card. But with the simple cash back structure and a long-lasting APR offer of 0% for 18 months, it’s among the best all around credit cards you can get.

Second choice:

The second choice is Bank of America’s Cash Rewards Credit Card. It offers 3% in a category of your choice. The categories are gas, dining, travel, drugstores, online shopping, furniture and home-improvement stores. You can change your category once a month. So if you know next month you’ll be making a lot of home improvement purchases, switch it to home improvement and get 3% cash back – I personally keep it on gas and occasionally change it to online shopping around Christmas time for online purchases. The one con this card has is there is a cap of $2,500 for the 3% cash back bonus category, but it resets every quarter. So if you spend more than that every quarter on your chosen category, finding a different card to better suit your needs is totally understandable. But it’s a difficult card to beat, I love being able to choose my category every month to suit my needs and the 3% cash back is great when I do spend my money.

Third choice:

The third choice is Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. The Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express has no annual fee just like the rest of the cards listed here. American express offers a $100 welcome bonus if you spend $1,000 in purchases on your card within the first 6 months. It’s a decent welcome bonus. But if you get this one before buying a bunch of items on Amazon, you’ll earn 20% cash back in the first 6 months, up to $200 dollars. But the reason to like this card in my opinion is the 3% cash back at grocery stores, few cards offer cash back at grocery stores without any annual fee. However, be careful if you apply the card for the grocery cash back, as superstores/warehouse clubs like Walmart and Sams club are not in the 3% category for groceries and there’s a $6,000 dollar limit to the 3% cash back. I personally don’t shop at Walmart very often so it’s a nice grocery card. You will also get 2% cash back at gas stations and other department stores, with 1% cash back on all other purchases.  

How I use these credit cards:

I keep the Blue cash card as my grocery store card and use it when I buy food for the week. Then I use the Bank of America credit card for all of my gas purchases and when I remember to switch the category, most of my online purchases too. Then for everything else I use the Citi double cash card. In general, if you have none of these cards and are concerned about making another hard credit check, I’d opt for the citi card first as it’s always 2% cash back on everything. Then depending upon your other needs Blue Cash Everyday card might be next on your list or possibly the Bank of America card for the flexibility to choose your category every month. Overall, these are my favorite cards for everyday use.

But the ideal thing for good personal finance is to budget and spend frugally. Ideally, you’d be working to invest and save most of your money. If you’re just looking to get started with investing M1 Finance is a great option or if you’re trying to budget more, YNAB is another wonderful choice. Ultimately, we need to be attempting to prioritize our money and get the best bang for our buck, and the above credit cards should help us achieve just that.

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