11 Different Types of Credit Cards

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Types of Credit Cards

Credit cards make payments easier, simplifying everyday life. You don’t have to dig through your wallet for change and can easily make purchases online. In addition, with so many people earning points and rewards, finding ways to have more on everyday purchases can be rewarding. The right credit card fit for your needs is important, but it’s also not rocket science. 

Below, you’ll find a clear overview of types of credit cards, from cashback or travel rewards cards to secured or prepaid credit cards. There is a solution to make payments easier for anyone. With help from the list below, you can choose a card that will help boost your credit score. 

MoneyLion can help you explore a wide variety of credit card options tailored to different needs and preferences.

1. Rewards credit cards

Cards that offer rewards such as cashback, points, or miles for every dollar spent can be redeemed for various benefits like travel, merchandise, or statement credits. Many of the specific credit cards below, such as travel cards, balance transfer cards, or specialty store cards, fall into the general category of rewards credit cards. You’ll find more on those rewards credit card types below.

While the credit cards with the greatest rewards are usually marketed to consumers with good to excellent credit history, there are rewards credit cards with lower bonuses for fair to good credit history as well. 

These cards may offer a signup bonus when you meet a minimum spend (usually within three months) or a higher reward rate in certain categories. 

2. Travel credit cards

Travel credit cards are designed for frequent travelers. A common feature of many travel credit cards is no foreign transaction fees, allowing you to use the card wherever your travels take you. While technically a sub-category of rewards credit cards, travel cards offer rewards and perks specifically targeted for frequent travelers. 

For example, some offer free lounge access at thousands of airport lounges or reimburse you for the cost of TSA precheck. Other common perks include free breakfast during hotel stays or free room upgrades. 

Travel credit cards also typically offer higher points or miles when you book hotels, flights, or rental cars, although some require you to do it through their dedicated shopping portal for the highest rewards. 

Popular travel credit cards include:

3. Balance transfer credit cards

A balance transfer credit card is a traditional credit card, usually with an introductory or promotional 0% APR offer. These offers range from 12 to 21 months of a 0% APR, encouraging new cardholders to make a big purchase or transfer high-interest debt to the card, helping save on interest charges. 

Note that most cards charge a balance transfer fee, usually 3% to 5% of the balance transferred. That means if you transfer $5,000 in debt, you’ll typically pay a fee of $150 to $250. However, if you need a year to pay off that debt, the interest savings could be worth it. 

Popular balance transfer credit cards from March 2024 include:

  • Discover it Cash Back
  • Wells Fargo Reflect Card 
  • U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
  • Citi Diamond Preferred Card
  • Citi Double Cash Card
  • Citi Simplicity Card
  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card

4. Secured credit cards

Secured credit cards are geared towards individuals with limited or poor credit history. These cards require a security deposit as collateral and can help establish or rebuild credit when used responsibly. Secured credit cards typically have lower credit limits than traditional credit cards. 

While you could technically put a deposit of up to $10,000 on a secured credit card, most consumers don’t go above $1,000. And there’s usually no reason to unless you want to make a large purchase on the secured credit card. 

Many major credit card issuers offer a secured credit card option, including:

  • Discover it Secured Credit Card
  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Secured Visa® Card 
  • Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card 

5. Student credit cards

Student cards are tailored for students with limited credit history. These cards typically offer features like lower credit limits, no annual fees, and rewards geared toward student spending habits. A student credit card is an excellent option for a first credit card. With no annual fees, you could use it to build your credit history and keep it open to maintain your length of credit history—helping to build your credit score over time. 

Good student credit cards include:

  • Discover it Student Cash Back
  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card for Students
  • Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card for Students
  • Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card for Students

6. Business credit cards

Business credit cards, as the name implies, are designed for small to medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs. These cards offer perks such as expense tracking tools, employee cards, and rewards for business-related spending. A business credit card can help small businesses separate personal and business expenses.

In addition to offering better rewards than personal credit cards, business credit cards are one of the simplest ways for businesses to access capital. They give companies of all sizes a simplified solution for easily reviewing transactions, tracking expenses, and documenting activity. 

Some of the best business credit cards include:

  • Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
  • The Business Platinum Card from American Express
  • Venture X Business
  • Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business
  • Ink Business Cash Credit Card

7. Specialty store credit cards

With specialty store cards, retailers partner with a lending bank to offer a revolving line of credit to make purchases at that specific retailer. These might include retailers such as major department stores or clothing stores, gas stations, or other co-branded cards.

A common feature of a specialty store credit card is that it typically offers better rewards, points, or discounts when used at that retailer. For example, gas cards usually offer rewards or discounts on gas purchases. 

Sometimes, a store credit card is limited to use at its issued retailer, although many store cards can be used at other retailers without the same rewards.

Some of the biggest retailers offer specialty store credit cards. The most popular specialty store credit cards as of April 2024 include: 

  • Capital One Walmart Rewards Card
  • Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
  • Amazon Prime Visa
  • Target RedCard
  • Lowe’s Advantage Card
  • Gap Good Rewards Mastercard
  • Home Depot Consumer Credit Card
  • My Best Buy Visa Card
  • Amazon Business American Express Card

8. Cashback credit cards

Another subset of rewards credit cards are cashback cards that offer a percentage of all eligible purchases as cashback. This allows you to access direct monetary rewards redeemed as statement credits, checks, or deposits into bank accounts. Most cashback credit cards offer a base rate of 1% cashback, but some may offer higher rates in certain categories or with other conditions. 

For example, the Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cashback on purchases and an additional 1% cashback when you pay off those purchases, while the Citi Custom Cash card offers 5% cashback in your highest spend category. 

Other popular cashback credit cards include:

  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature® Card
  • Discover it Cash Back
  • Chase Freedom Flex
  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

9. Low-interest credit cards

Cards with lower ongoing interest rates are rare, but you can find them. These cards are suitable for cardholders who carry a balance and want to minimize interest charges over time. Of course, paying off your credit card in full each month can help you avoid interest charges altogether; a low-interest credit card is a reasonable solution if you have to carry a balance from month to month. Some of these also come with a 0% APR balance transfer offer. 

Remember that these cards often still have higher interest rates than a personal loan (after any introductory period), so consolidating debt could be a better solution if you have to carry the debt long-term.

Options for low-interest credit cards include:

  • Chase Slate Edge
  • Citi Diamond Preferred Card
  • Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
  • Wings Financial Visa Platinum Credit Card
  • The Plum Card from American Express

10. Premium credit cards

Premium credit cards are high-end cards with exclusive perks and benefits, such as concierge services, luxury travel amenities, elite status with hotels and airlines, and high reward rates. However, you pay for these premium features as they also often come with substantial annual fees. However, if you will use the services offered, the higher fees can be worth it.

Top premium and luxury credit cards include:

  • The Platinum Card from American Express
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
  • Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
  • United Club Infinite Card

11. Prepaid credit cards

Prepaid credit cards are loaded with funds by the cardholder and can be used for purchases like a regular credit card, but they are not tied to a line of credit. They’re often used by individuals who want to control their spending or those who don’t qualify for traditional credit cards. You can get prepaid credit cards directly from Visa or Mastercard, as well as retailers like Target and Walgreens. 

How to choose the right type of credit card

Choosing the right type of credit card requires careful consideration of your financial goals, spending habits, credit history, and personal preferences. While it requires some research, it’s not rocket science. Consider a few key criteria:

  • Are you in the market for a reward credit card, or do you need to build credit with a secured, prepaid, or student card?
  • If you want a rewards credit card, do you know your credit score? 
  • Do you qualify for a card that requires good to excellent credit?
  • Do you prefer cashback, travel rewards, or store rewards?
  • Do you want a card with no annual fee, or do the rewards justify the annual fee for your lifestyle?
  • Of course, if the credit card is for your business, you’ll want to look at the best business credit card offers to narrow down your options. 

Based on those criteria, you can usually narrow down the type of credit card for your current needs. While it’s usually not a good idea to apply for more than one credit card every three to six months, there’s no reason you can’t apply for another later. For example, you might choose a travel rewards credit card now and a cashback credit card later, or vice-versa.

Should you have multiple credit cards?

Credit cards of all types offer a practical way to make purchases online and in stores. Choosing different types of credit cards at different times can make sense for many consumers and for building a strong credit score at different phases of life, with responsible use. You could use the cards for specific rewards, to maximize signup bonuses, or to separate business and personal finances. 

Credit cards also make it easier to track expenses and get a clear picture of spending categories. Choosing the right credit card for your needs is a personal decision, but regardless of the card you choose, it’s important to follow good credit-building habits. Find more tips to use credit wisely or learn to improve your credit score in three months to access more credit card options.


What are the different types of credit cards?

Many major banks offer a range of cards focusing on different consumers. You’ll find a diverse range of cards to meet your needs. For example, you can find secure or prepaid credit cards, student cards, travel or cashback rewards cards, business credit cards, balance transfer credit cards, and more. 

How many different types of credit cards are there?

There are 11 different types of credit cards. These include everything from specialized rewards credit cards from major retailers, airlines, or hotels to cashback cards and credit cards designed to help you build credit or consolidate debt. You can find an overview of all these cards above. 

What type of credit card should I get?

The type of credit card you should get depends on your financial situation, credit score, and rewards goals. You can compare credit card types in the MoneyLion app. 

What are the main types of credit cards?

In a broad sense, the main types of credit cards are cashback cards, travel rewards cards, debt consolidation cards, and credit-building cards. The latter categories can help consumers with low or no credit scores build credit. Rewards and cashback cards are offered for consumers with a wide range of credit scores. 

How many different types of credit cards should I have? 

According to Equifax, one of the three credit bureaus, having two to three credit cards at a time is generally recommended. However, that varies widely by financial goals and personal considerations. Some people prefer a single credit card, so it’s easy to keep track. Others are passionate about travel hacking as a hobby and may have 10 credit cards or more, but most people are somewhere in between. 

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