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Society has slowly been moving away from using cash for a few decades. Credit and debit cards made their respective debuts in the 1950s and 1970s. They’ve become more common and used more frequently in the decades. Cash was still the principal payment for a long time, but it has declined in the last 15 years.  

In 2010, 56% of all payments were made in cash. By 2015, cash would drop down to 45% of all payments. In 2020, the numbers would free fall to historic lows as only 17% of purchases involved cash. The use of cash isn’t going away anytime soon, but it’s becoming less common every day. 

There are four different credit card networks, and each of them serves millions of customers. Visa is the largest, with 341.72 million cards in circulation, with MasterCard (245 million), Discover (59.8 million), and American Express (53.8 million) rounding out the list. 

While MasterCard is still firmly in second in terms of circulation, it has made up some ground in recent years. Many prefer to use MasterCard over Visa and are convincing others to join them. Once you see the benefits of using MasterCard credit cards, you might also make the switch.

Which MasterCard credit cards are the best?

In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were more than 1.46 billion MasterCards in circulation worldwide. Nearly a quarter of these MasterCards were allocated to the U.S.. Not all of these MasterCards were the same. There is a wide variety of options for a MasterCard as they’re partnered with hundreds of banks worldwide. 

Here are the four best options for MasterCard in 2023:

1. Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card is the best cash-back card. There are no confusing point systems or rotating categories. Just a straight cash back system that gives cardholders a 2% rewards rate back on all their new purchases; 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

The average variable APR (annual percentage rate) with this card ranges from 18.99% to 28.99% variable and comes with the following features:

  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back rate on all purchases (1% for every dollar spent and 1% for dollar paid back)
  • Receive a sign-up 0% introductory APR period for balance transfers for the first 18 months, then a variable APR of 18.99% – 28.99%
  • Welcome offer of 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $5) during the first four-month period of time after account opening, followed by 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)
  • No cash back limit

There are quite a few downsides to the Citi Double Cash Card. The biggest one is that the welcome offer doesn’t apply to purchases and only intro balance transfers. There is also a foreign translation fee of 3% anytime this card is used internationally.

2. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is the best option for an entertainment-based cash-back rewards program. Dining and various forms of entertainment earn at least 4% cash back when using this card.

The average intro APR for this card ranges from 20.24% – 28.24% variable APR and includes the following features:

  • Receive a $300 cash back bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account
  • Earn 8% cash back for buying tickets through Vivid Seats
  • Earn 5% cash back for hotel rooms and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn 4% cash back when using the card for dining, entertainment, or streaming service subscriptions
  • Earn 3% when using the card at grocery stores, U.S. supermarkets, drugstores
  • Earn 1% for all other purchases
  • Cash back rewards don’t expire for the life of the account and are unlimited
  • No foreign transaction fee for international purchases

There aren’t many drawbacks to this card, but the few downsides are pretty steep. The $95 annual fee means you’ll need to use this card frequently to cover the cost. There is also no introductory period or intro purchase APR offered for purchase or balance transfers. 

3. Citi Premier® Card 

The Citi Premier Card has the best card details for travel rewards. You can earn three points for every dollar you spend on travel-related purchases. These points can later be redeemed for various gifts and bonuses.

The regular APR for this card ranges from 20.99% to 28.99% variable and provides the following features:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points if you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account and for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
  • Earn three points for every $1 spent in bonus categories (at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels)
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No expiration date or limit for the points that you earn
  • No foreign transaction fee for international purchases
  • Flexible travel redemption options that include no blackout dates
  • Add authorized users at no additional cost

The biggest downside to using this card is that it comes with an annual fee of $95. You must frequently travel to justify paying $95 for a credit card. There is also no intro APR offer for large purchases or balance transfers and a high penalty APR. The point transfer option is decent, but other options are better.

4. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is the best credit card for people with less than excellent credit who want to improve their creditworthiness. Using a new credit card responsibly is a perfect way to improve your FICO score, and this card was designed specifically to help its users improve their personal finance.

The average APR for this card is 29.99% variable and includes the following features:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • Receive a $200 bonus if you spend $500 within the first three months of account opening 
  • Cash back doesn’t expire for the life of the account
  • Automatically get considered for a higher credit line in the first year (as little as six months of card activation)
  • $0 Fraud Liability protects you from unauthorized charges
  • Earn 5% cash back on hotel rooms and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Contactless card options are available
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • No foreign transaction fee for international purchases

A credit card designed for people with a middle-of-the-road credit score will naturally have a few downsides. The annual fee of $39 isn’t the worst on this list but requires you to spend at least $2,600 to cover the cost via cash back. The flat rate cash back is lower than other options and doesn’t feature any boosting categories. There is no introductory APR for balance transfers or purchases.

What is MasterCard?

MasterCard is a payment network processor that partners with financial institutions worldwide to offer branded payment cards. By doing so, MasterCard provides a platform for consumers, businesses, and organizations to make electronic payments to one another. MasterCard offers various cards, including debit, credit, prepaid, and commercial cards. Each card is almost universally accepted as it’ll work with 150 different currencies in 210 other countries and territories worldwide.

Get a MasterCard and reap the rewards

It’s very bizarre for someone not to have at least one Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express card. Not only are they more convenient than cash, but they also come with many benefits. You can earn various rewards, receive protection against fraud, build up your credit score, and increase your purchasing power. These benefits are precious for individuals and businesses alike.

A lot of perks can come from using a credit card. The critical thing to remember is to use it responsibly. There are twice as many consequences from a credit card if you use it irresponsibly. The high-interest rates of a credit card can make it challenging to pay off your balance. Missing one payment can lead to compounding interest and a debt cycle that’s hard to break.

Credit card companies make a lot of money off of high-interest rates and the resulting late fees. They want to use your card as often as possible and for every purchase. It will be up to you to manage your account and avoid playing into their hands. You should only use your credit card for purchases you know you can quickly pay off within a month. Sticking to this rule can help you avoid the negative consequences and enjoy the perks worry-free.

Information provided on Entrepreneur Guide is for educational purposes only. Your financial situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, advisory or brokerage services, we do not recommend or advise individuals to buy or sell particular stocks or securities. Performance information may have changed since the time of publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results

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