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Best Credit Cards for Cash-Back and Travel Rewards

I've been thinking about getting a new credit card for quite some time. I currently carry an airline Visa card that charges me a pretty hefty annual fee. This doesn't make sense for me anymore now that I have small children and rarely take vacations. The only thing standing in my way of a cheaper and more appropriate charge card is the time to research one that will offer me the best deal for my current lifestyle. Thanks to Consumer Reports, I can now stop procrastinating. The publishing arm for Consumers' Union came out with a new survey that lists the best cash-back and travel rewards and low-interest/fees cards.

Turns out I'm not the only one looking for a new credit card. According to Consumer Reports, only 45% of survey respondents are completely or very satisfied with the plastic they carry in their wallets. So the publisher decided to scour the marketplace for the best credit card deals for consumers that both pay off their balances in full each month and for those who carry a balance. The writers placed an emphasis on reward programs and only included nationally available cards that don't limit the amount of points, miles, or cash-back consumers can earn. Another perk: they also don't charge an annual fee in the first year.

So which cards made the list? Here are Consumer Reports' top picks (in alphabetical order):

Cash Back Rewards
Who should sign up? These cash-back reward cards only make sense for consumers who pay off their balances each month since they carry pretty high APRs.

The list: Rewards Visa, American Express Blue Cash, American Express Costco TrueEarnings, Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards, Chase Freedom, Fidelity Rewards American Express and PenFed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards.

Travel Cards
Who should sign up? These cards are great for frequent travelers since they can rack up an unlimited number of miles. Unfortunately, they don't offer a remedy for jet-lag.

The list: Capital One Venture Rewards and PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express.

Low- Interest/Low Fees
Who should Sign up? The low interest rate and low fee cards are ideal for consumers who carry a balance or want to transfer one.

The list: Iberiabank Visa Classic and PenFed Promise Visa, Simmons First Visa Platinum.

So which card will I choose? As I mentioned, I don't travel like I used to so I think it's time for me to switch to a cash-back rewards card. I'll now take Consumer Reports' list and compare the features of the different cards on some of the credit card websites, including, and

Are you in the market for a new credit card?

Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents.

Credit Cards image courtesy of Flickr, CC 2.0.

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