Consumer Reports Picks Top Credit Cards for Your Needs

By Meg Favreau. Last updated 15 September 2020. 1 comment

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Figuring out which credit card works best for your lifestyle and spending habits can feel like a financial Where's Waldo, leaving you scanning over a sea of card offers, hoping that the one you're looking for will pop up in your vision.

Consumer Reports — the non-profit organization that rates everything from airlines to air conditioners — put their Money Lab to task on the credit card problem, evaluating 53 cards to come up with the top options in three categories: cash back rewards, travel rewards, and balance transfer / low-rate cards. We've featured the highlights of their findings below, along with some commentary and additional information.

Best Balance Transfer / Low Rate Card

According to Consumer Reports, the Chase Slate is great for consumers who want to transfer a large balance. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee on transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (16.49%–25.24% variable applies after that). Plus, receive your monthly FICO Score for free. There is no annual fee.

The information related to the Chase Slate® card has been collected by Wise Bread and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Key Features About Balance Transfer Cards

If you're trying to pay down credit card debt, the only card you should consider getting is a balance-transfer card. You have two options here:

Balance-transfer cards are a great option if you can pay your debt off within the introductory rate period (usually a year to a year-and-a-half). After paying the transfer fee of 3%-5% required by most cards, you'll enjoy a 0% rate for that introductory period. After that, the rate jumps up.

Low-rate cards, Consumer Reports points out, are better for those with longer-term debt — instead of possibly jumping up to a rate over 20%, these will stay at a lower-than normal rate for a longer period.

Best Travel Rewards Cards

Key Features About Travel Rewards Cards

Consumer Reports points out that travel rewards cards often offer big sign-up bonuses for new customers — sometimes enough to get one or more round-trip tickets. These cards do often have annual fees, but perks like free checked baggage, travel insurance, and lounge access more than make up for the fee. These fancy freebies used to be only available to business travelers, but thanks to the competitiveness of the market they are now offered to regular consumers as well.

We're proud to note that our credit card experts independently came up with pretty much the exact same list of cards. Consumer Reports' top choice for each category has been recommended by Wise Bread for months!

Check out our credit card guides for the best:


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Will Chen's picture

I guess great minds think alike! Congratulations to our credit card writers for independently coming up with the same recommendations as the venerable Consumer Reports.