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Best credit cards for families of July 2021

From soccer games to home-cooked dinners to family trips and back-to-school supplies, families rack up a lot of expenses. These top credit cards for families can help you offset some of those costs with excellent rewards and perks.
Brooklyn Lowery, CardRatings Senior Manager Last Updated, July 20, 2021

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers (terms apply) from our partners. How we make money.

best rewards credit cards for families

TOP CREDIT CARDS FOR FAMILIES

No matter the size, shape or composition of your family, one thing is the same across the board: Families have to spend money.

And, since all families spend money, we wanted to create a "Best credit cards for families" from our partners list to help you maximize that money you're going to be spending anyway. What if the money you spend on groceries could earn you cash back to put in a rainy day fund? Or your fill-ups at the gas station during all those carpool trips could earn you points toward your next family (or solo) getaway? What if you could transfer those wedding charges to a card with an introductory 0% APR card that would allow you to pay off the balance without accruing interest? Maybe you want to pool points with some neighbors so you can make a donation to a local school. 

So settle in with a good idea of your monthly budget and your rewards dreams and take a look at our top credit cards for families:

BEST OVERALL CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
There's so much to think about when it comes to keeping up with a family; that's why we appreciate a card with a flat earning rate. No matter where you shop or what you buy, you'll earn a flat amount of cash back on all your purchases. Plus, that cash back accumulates as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which can be redeemed for a variety of travel purchases and more in addition to the standard cash back. Even better, you can also earn 3% cash back when you dine at restaurants and 3% on drugstore purchases.

The Bonus: New cardholders can earn $200 cash back once spending $500 in the first three months from account opening. Additionally, earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) during your first year.

The Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, as well as 3% cash back on dining and on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on your other purchases on an ongoing basis. Cash back accumulates as Chase Ultimate Rewards®, so the rewards can technically be redeemed for cash back, travel and more.

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card offers a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all your purchases and there are no purchase categories to keep track of or activate.
  • You also get 0% intro APR for purchases for 15 months after account opening (then, 14.99% - 23.74% Variable), which can help you to save money on interest payments.
  • New cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in purchases in your first three months.

CONS:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases is a decent flat rate without purchase categories; however, you can earn more cash back if you use a card that awards specific categories if your spending is primarily in categories such as groceries or gas.
  • There is no annual fee, but there is a foreign transaction fee, so this isn’t the best card to use for family vacations outside of the U.S.

Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 82.8 86.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.6
Customer Service 8.5 8.7
Website/App Usability 8.2 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.0 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES WITH MULTIPLE BONUS CATEGORIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Family spending often covers a wide range of purchases so it might make sense to use a cash back card that awards many different purchase categories. You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in quarterly bonus categories, 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% cash back on other purchases, all without an annual fee.

The Bonus:  New cardholders can earn a $200 bonus, which can be worth 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening. Furthermore, earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) during your first year.

The Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate quarterly (activation is required each quarter), 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed:  Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card awards 5% cash back and 3% cash back in a bunch of different categories, including groceries (your first year) so families have a better chance of racking up cash back.
  • You can earn a bonus worth $200 just by spending $500 with the card in the first three months of opening the account, which is one of the lower spending thresholds.
  • This card offers other benefits such as cell phone insurance if you use the card to pay your phone bill, which can come in handy.

CONS:

  • Busy families might have a hard time remembering to activate and keep up with rotating categories.
  • There is a 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars fee which can be expensive if you need to use your card for purchases abroad.

Read our full Chase Freedom Flex℠ review

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 84.2 Did not survey
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.4 n/a
Customer Service 8.6 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.3 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.0 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
It's a simple credit card for the cardholder who doesn't want to keep track of rotating categories. And if you are carrying a load of debt on another card, you should take note of the 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)). Additionally, this card offers you an incentive to pay your balance off, which is certainly a nice feature. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser

The Bonus: None, but if you are transferring money from an existing card to this one, you may appreciate the 0% introductory balance transfer APR for 18 months (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)). That said, be aware of the balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

The Rewards: You'll receive 1% cash back on everything you buy and 1% cash back when you pay for the purchases. Just make sure you are paying everything off every month.

The Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card offers 1% cash back when you use your card for your purchases and another 1% when you pay for those purchases, totaling a potential 2% cash back.
  • If you need to transfer a balance from a high-interest card, this card offers one of the longest introductory APRs available. You can get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).
  • There are no specific spending categories, so every purchase you make with the card essentially earns 2% cash back, which is one of the highest flat rates available.

CONS:

  • This is one of the only cards that does not offer a traditional signup bonus. With most cards, this can be worth hundreds of dollars to new cardholders.
  • There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a foreign transaction fee.

Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 88.2 88.3
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.7 8.9
Customer Service 8.9 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.7 8.5
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.4 9.2
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.7 8.9

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR CHOOSING BONUS CATEGORIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Your budget month-to-month probably follows a general pattern, but there are certainly times when you know you'll be spending more in a particular area. That's why we love a card that allows each cardholder to decide where they'll earn top rewards in a given month (from among a list of six categories) and, in this case, "top rewards" means a nice 3% cash back (or even more if you're a Preferred Rewards client!)

The Bonus:  Earn a $200 online cash bonus after you use your card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of card membership.

The Rewards: Earn 3% cash back in a category of your choosing from the following list: gas (the default category), online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. Earn 2% cash back on your grocery store and wholesale club purchases (3% and 2% back is on the first $2,500 spent in your choice category/grocery/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%). Earn 1% on all your other purchases. If you're a Preferred Rewards client with Bank of America, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on each purchase depending on your tier (Preferred Rewards tiers are based on your average three-month balance across eligible accounts).

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good

PROS:

  • This card is popular with people who have families because you can earn cash back in a bunch of everyday categories. It awards 3% cash back in one of six categories that you choose: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings. You also earn 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%, as well as 1% on all other purchases.
  • Since "online shopping" is one of the 3% category options, you could be earning 3% back on everything from your Amazon purchases to birthday party invitations your create and buy online. It's really a very flexible earning option (up to the quarterly cap mentioned above).
  • New cardholders can earn a bonus of $200 online cash rewards if you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening an account.

CONS:

  • There is no annual fee, but there are foreign transaction fees to keep in mind if you plan to travel abroad.
  • You can earn as much as 3% cash back in one category that you choose and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. This is a decent rate of rewards for these particular categories, but not if your spending varies or isn't in these places. It sounds good, but only if it fits your spending habits. Also keep in mind that there is a cap of $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then you’ll earn only 1% for those purchases.

Read our full review of the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 88.1 84.1
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.9 8.5
Customer Service 8.9 8.4
Website/App Usability 8.8 8.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.2 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.5 8.2

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST OVERALL TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This is a great card with really good benefits when it comes to the family that likes to travel. From a simple rewards earning and redemption structure to a reasonable annual fee, this card is a simple one to keep in your wallet. Plus, cardholders are eligible for a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit, not a perk that you often find with cards in this annual fee tier.

The Bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

The Rewards: Earn two miles for every $1 you spend, every day.

The Annual Fee: $95

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • Earn a flat rate of two miles for every $1 you spend, and redeem those miles for completely flexible travel using the Purchase Eraser tool.
  • Capital One has added some airline and hotel travel partners so you can now transfer your miles to a number of loyalty programs and possibly make those miles go even further.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.

CONS:

  • Flexible travel rewards are like gold, but sometimes the best values come with transferring miles/rewards to loyalty programs. This card offers that option, but the partners are fairly limited.
  • While the annual fee is reasonable, if you don't see yourself using the rewards (or even using the card enough to earn rewards), you'll likely find the fee isn't worth it.

Read our full Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 81.6 84.4
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.9 8.2
Customer Service 8.3 8.4
Website/App Usability 8.5 8.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.8 9.1
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 8.6

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST TRAVEL BONUS CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
If you love family vacations, this is a card that can get you from here to there; plus, the current highest-ever bonus to get you started toward your next trip is pretty sweet.

The Bonus: You earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account. If you redeem those points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, they're worth $1,250. Also, Chase offers a number of hotel and airline travel loyalty partners, so you might be able to stretch that bonus even further.

The Rewards: Earn double points on traveling and dining at restaurants around the globe and one point per $1 on anything else you spend money on. Plus, earn five points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's three points in addition to the two points you already earn on travel.

The Annual Fee: $95

Credit needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • You can earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account. This is worth $1,250 in travel if you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn two points on traveling and dining at restaurants around the globe and one point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Having this card in your wallet can make the Ultimate Rewards® points you earn with other cards even more valuable. When you combine all your Ultimate Rewards® points under this card, they're worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal.

CONS:

  • The annual fee is not waived the first year, so it’s important to be sure you can earn the signup bonus and rewards offered.
  • This rewards program focuses on travel and restaurants so if your spending is in other categories, you might want to consider a card that awards those types of purchases.

Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 82.3 84.4
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.3 8.3
Customer Service 8.4 8.7
Website/App Usability 8.2 8.1
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.7 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.8 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST AIRLINE CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
So. much. luggage. That’s the standard wail of traveling families and it gets even louder when you have to pay for your checked bags. Enter Southwest Airlines, where your first two checked bags are always free. Plus, these days it’s common for airlines to charge you if you want to pick your seats. Few families want to risk being spread out all over the plane, so you’ll pay that fee, too. Not a problem with Southwest. You get to choose your seat when you board so, in most cases, you’ll be able to sit together without paying extra.

The Bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, and earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery, for the first year. You'll also earn 6,000 bonus points after your card member anniversary.

The Rewards: Earn two points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases as well as on purchases with Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. Earn one point per $1 on everything else.

The Annual Fee: $99

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • That signup bonus opportunity is a nice jump on earning your Companion Pass. You can learn more in our Guide to the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • You also receive 6,000 bonus points each year after your cardholder anniversary.
  • While not specifically a card benefit, Southwest is known for its policy of no change fees on tickets. That policy could certainly save you money if your plans suddenly change.

CONS:

  • To get the most value out of this rewards program, you’ll need to be a frequent Southwest Airlines traveler. Otherwise, you should consider a general travel rewards or a different airline branded credit card that fits your preferences.
  • The $99 annual fee can isn't bad, but it isn't worth it if you aren’t able to travel enough or earn the rewards needed for award flights.

Read our full Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 85.1 Did not survey
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.4 n/a
Customer Service 8.6 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.2 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.1 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.5 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR ROTATING CATEGORIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
: This is another rotating categories card, but the unique bonus opportunity sets this card apart. Furthermore, a few years ago, Discover began announcing a year's worth of quarterly bonus categories at the start of the year, making it much easier for you to plan your spending so that you can take full advantage of the top bonus amounts. 
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor's Business Daily.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
See More

PROS:

  • You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in categories that rotate quarterly, so this could be a lucrative rewards opportunity (you must enroll quarterly to take advantage). After you hit the cap, and on all your other purchases, you earn 1% back.
  • Discover will MATCH all the cash back you earn during your first year as a cardholder. That makes the welcome bonus for this card potentially huge.
  • You won't pay foreign transaction fees when you use this cash-back card while abroad, a rare feature among cash-back rewards cards.

CONS:

  • 1% cash back on all purchases not in the bonus categories is a typical rate; however, if you aren't going to maximize the rotating categories cash-back, you'd probably be better off with a flat-rate card that offers a higher rewards rate on all your purchases.
  • There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, but you’ll have to plan your spending and be sure to sign up for the rotating categories each quarter to be sure you maximize the rewards program.

Read our full Discover it® Cash Back review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 87.7 88.7
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.8 8.8
Customer Service 8.8 8.9
Website/App Usability 8.6 8.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.2 9.3
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.6 8.8

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR NEWLYWEDS

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Flat-rate cash-back rewards cards are great for the "I just want to earn but don't want to think about it" crowd. This particular card also happens to be good for anyone who wants that mindset while traveling abroad as it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees – a relatively rare feature among cash-back credit cards, especially one with no annual fee.

Bonus: Jump start your cash back earning with a $200 bonus after spending just $500 on purchases during the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases without worrying about categories or spending caps. Plus, if you're looking for a 0% intro offer, this card has you covered with an introductory 15 months no interest on purchases (then, 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)).

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • New cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after spending just $500 on purchases during the first three months of card membership.
  • You can earn a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all your purchases with no spending caps.
  • Enjoy no foreign transaction fees when you use this card while traveling abroad.

CONS:

  • 1.5% cash back is just .5% cash back more than the amount that almost every card awards "other" purchases. If you have an idea of your spending, you might earn more rewards with a card that specifically awards those purchases.
  • There is no annual fee but, again, it awards one of the lowest rates so you might want to consider a card with an annual fee if you’ll earn more.

Read our full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 89 85
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.9 8.4
Customer Service 8.9 8.5
Website/App Usability 8.9 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.3 9.1
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.9 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST LONG INTRO APR CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Hello, wedding and honeymoon debt. If you're looking to pay off that debt and save on interest, a balance transfer credit card like this one could be just the ticket. You'll be almost ready to celebrate your second anniversary by the time this intro 0% APR period on balance transfers and new purchases ends at 18 months (then, 13.74% - 23.74% Variable). 

The Bonus: While this card doesn't offer a traditional bonus, you should think about the money you're saving on interest as a type of bonus.

The Rewards: Once again, there aren't rewards to talk about, but you can consider the interest savings, plus the opportunity to build a solid credit history, as a form of rewards.

The Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • For newlyweds or anyone planning a wedding (or for any life expenses), this card can help with some of the expenses with the 0% intro APR. This card offers a 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases (then, 13.74% - 23.74% Variable).
  • You also get a 0% intro APR for 18 months from the date of the first transfer on balance transfers, with all transfers being completed within your first four months (then, 13.74% - 23.74% Variable). This can be helpful if you are already paying down a balance on a card with a high interest rate.
  • There are a number of extra perks and features that come with this card, making it one to keep around even though it doesn't offer rewards.

CONS:

  • There is no annual fee but there is a foreign transaction fee.
  • There are rewards credit cards that offer intro 0% APRs on purchases and balance transfers, though for shorter periods. If you need some extra time to pay off a balance, but perhaps not a full 18 months, you might consider a rewards card that offers a 0% period as well as the ongoing opportunity to earn rewards.

Read our full Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 80.5 Did not survey
Features Satisfaction 7.9 n/a
Customer Service 8.4 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.4 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.8 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.5 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILY DINING

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This card allows families the opportunity to rack up Membership Rewards® points through high rewards rates in several everyday categories, including dining out, ordering in, delivery and even groceries.

The Bonus: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership.

The Rewards: Earn 4x Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent in a calendar year), 4x points on restaurant purchases, including takeout and delivery, 3x points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or via amextravel.com, and one point on everything else.

The Annual Fee: $250

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

PROS:

  • Families can earn Membership Rewards® points which can be accumulated and used towards future family vacations.
  • Earn up to $120 in dining credits: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations (enrollment required).
  • There are no foreign transaction fees which is nice if you need to use the card abroad.
  • Get up to 12 complimentary months of an Uber Eats Pass subscription when you enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21.

CONS:

  • The annual fee can get expensive but you do get dining credits which can help to offset the fee.
  • American Express cards aren't always accepted as much as Visa and Mastercard. American Express is, however, always expanding its network.

Read our full review of the American Express® Gold Card.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 88.9 84.6
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.8 8.3
Customer Service 9.1 8.7
Website/App Usability 8.9 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.2 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.7 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR GROCERIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
The rewards aren't complicated but they are lucrative, particularly if you're into family movie nights complete with homemade pizza and snacks. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser

The Welcome Offer: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases made on the card within the first six months of card membership, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 within the same time frame. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.

The Rewards: There's a hefty 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases and then 1%) as well as on select streaming services. You also get 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, which includes taxis/rideshares, parking, buses, tolls, trains and more. Lastly, you receive 1% cash back for all other purchases.

The Annual Fee:  $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

PROS:

  • New cardholders can earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases made on the card within the first six months of card membership, up to $200 back, and a $150 statement credit once spending $3,000 within the same time frame which kicks membership off with a nice start.
  • You can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases and then 1%) and on select streaming services. You also earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, such as taxis/rideshares, parking, buses, tolls, trains and more. You can earn 1% cash back for all other purchases. These tend to be top categories for families.
  • Save money with an intro 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months (then, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable)

CONS:

  • The $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. annual fee is high after the first year if you don’t earn enough rewards with the card to make it worth it. There are several other cards without annual fees that award these types of purchases, so you’ll need to calculate what you might earn with this card before signing up.
  • There is a foreign transaction fee to consider, which means you won’t want to use this card on purchases outside of the U.S.

Read our full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 87.0 86.0
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.6 8.3
Customer Service 8.7 8.9
Website/App Usability 8.8 8.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.8 8.6

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST COSTCO CREDIT CARD FOR FAMILIES

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Look, if you're a Costco member, and you're always buying your family a million cases of toilet paper, paper towels and milk, what's not to like? And you'll still get cash back when you use your card anywhere else (hence the "anywhere" in the card's name). If you can take Costco or leave it, then, of course, this probably isn't the card for you.

The Bonus: There's not a traditional bonus with this card, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a look. If the ongoing rewards fit your lifestyle, that's actually much more important than a big initial bonus.

The Rewards: You get 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases up to the first $7,000 spent each year (then, 1%). You receive 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases, 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com and 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Your rewards will accumulate throughout the year and you'll receive an award certificate once each year with your rewards for that year.

The Annual Fee: $0 (but you do have to pay your Costco membership fee).

Credit needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • This card awards 4% cash back on gas up to the first $7,000 each year and then 1%. You can also earn 3% cash back on restaurants and travel purchases, 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases, and 1% on all other purchases. In other words, lots of cash back in lots of categories common to family spending.
  • You can earn even more cash back if you have a Costco Executive Membership, since that membership grants you automatic 2% cash back on qualifying Costco, Costco.com and Costco Travel purchases – and that would be on top of your credit card earnings.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee, so this is a good card to use on purchases outside of the U.S.

CONS:

  • There’s no annual fee for this card but you do need to be a Costco member and pay your annual Costco membership fee (which you're probably planning to do anyway if you're considering this credit card).
  • This rewards program does not provide as much flexibility to redeem your rewards as other cards. Rewards accumulate throughout the year, and then you receive a rewards certificate once a year (much like with the executive membership rewards).If instant graticfication is your thing, this card's rewards probably won't do it for you.

Read our full Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi review.

2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 85.7 85.3
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.6 8.5
Customer Service 8.4 8.7
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.3
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.2 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.6 8.6

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR PARENTS-TO-BE

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Don't panic about the cost of raising a child – instead, open a credit card with cash-back rewards that are redeemed into eligible accounts like 529 College Savings accounts, 401k accounts or another eligible savings account.

The Bonus: There isn't currently a bonus offered with this card, though there has been one in the past and it could come up again at any time.

The Rewards: Earn an unlimited two points per $1 spent on all your purchases. Rewards can be redeemed as deposits into eligible Fidelity accounts as well as for travel, merchandise and more.

The Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • This card is one of the only cards that awards an unlimited two points per $1 spent on all your purchases. You can either redeem for things like travel or gift certificates or deposit them into a Fidelity 401K or 529 college savings account or redeem for statement credit.
  • You can redeem rewards into one account or divide them among several accounts, even the accounts of loved ones.
  • There is no annual fee to think about.

CONS:

  • There isn't a signup bonus to look forward to, which is certainly something to get excited about for many rewards cards.
  • This card is trully designed to benefit cardholders who want to deposit rewards directly into their accounts. If you're looking for more flexible rewards, you're likely to find better value with a different card.

Read our full Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

WHICH CREDIT CARD IS BEST FOR A MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY?

Credit cards aren't one-size fits all, though there is likely a best card for you among the list above.

Deciding on the best credit card for a middle-class family is about getting the best bang for the buck. Families want to be rewarded for purchases while enjoying the benefits that credit cards can bring (fraud protection, extended warranties, etc.) all without breaking the budget.

While choosing any of the above cards could be a good fit for typical middle-class family, the decision can be boiled down to a few key areas.

  • Decide if having an annual fee fits within the budget for your family. You’ll likely want to avoid a luxury card and none of the above cards charge more than low to moderate annual fees, but if even a $95 annual fee is out of the budget, spend some time considering the no-annual-fee options.
  • Decide how you would like to use your credit card rewards. If you would like to save up some travel points to take the family on a vacation, a travel rewards credit card may be a better option than a flat-rate cash back card. If you prefer cold, hard cash, take a look at the cash-back cards instead.
  • Evaluate how your family will use your new card. If you plan on purchasing primarily gas and groceries, a card that specifically rewards those categories would be a good fit. If your spending varies among categories month-to-month, a flat-rate card could be a more rewarding option. The key is to fully understand your budget and lifestyle and choose a card accordingly.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CREDIT CARD FOR YOUR FAMILY

You have a lot to think about when it comes to caring for your family regardless of whether "family" means you and your favorite pup, you and your partner, you and your children or whatever other beautiful form your family takes. While we can't tell you exactly which card is best for your given situation, we can give you some standard steps to determine that best card for yourself.

  1. Know your credit score and history. Credit cards really aren't something you should just apply for a on a whim. Instead, you should take the time to know your credit score and financial situation and then narrow down the card options from there. If you have excellent credit, a steady income and a solid history with credit cards, you're going to have a bunch of cards to choose from that offer a high likelihood of approval.
    If, on the other hand, you're building/rebuilding your credit or are perhaps just starting to have a steady income, your options may be a bit more limited. Take the time to know your credit history rather than just crossing your fingers and hoping a bank won't look at your credit score – applying for cards for which you have a low likelihood of approval will only damage your credit.
  2. Understand your monthly budget and your own money tendencies. A healthy credit card strategy should consider the card a portion of your existing budget rather than a way to extend what you have. In other words, you won't suddenly have more money when you open a credit card. Use your credit card wisely and the rewards could certainly put a little money back in your wallet, but if you over spend and can't pay the bill in full each month, the interest charges will eat up any rewards you earned. Always spend within your budget and your means.
  3. Consider your goals for your rewards. Are you wanting to put some cash back aside for a rainy day? Is your goal to cover the cost of your family's plane tickets for a great vacation or two each year? Do you want to save up for some long-term goals, like paying for college? Think about the rewards that you'll actually put to use and don't let a flashy welcome offer draw you into a card that offers a rewards program you won't use long term.
  4. Look at the fees. Make sure you understand the fees and charges of a card. In particular, determine whether the rewards or extra perks of a card are enough to more than offset any annual fee. you don't want to just break even (that's no fun); you want to know that you paid a $95 fee, but you redeemed rewards and perks worth more than $1,000 (just as a for instance).

BEST PRACTICES FOR USING A REWARDS CREDIT CARD

Even if you know all of this, consider these tips something you can pass onto your kids:

Pay the balance off every month. Otherwise, the interest will wipe out the rewards you're getting.

Don't spend things that you don't really want, just to get the rewards. It's the same principle when you're, say, coupon shopping. You have a great coupon for $3 off of almond milk. So you use it. And then as you're drinking it, you remember, "Hey, I hate almond milk." Earning credit card rewards, or using a coupon, only makes sense and is a good deal if you want or need what you're buying.

Avoid cash advances. The interest on them is just crazy high. If it's an emergency, then, sure, the cash is nice to have. But if it's not an emergency, the interest (which starts accruing immediately) will almost certainly wipe out your rewards, and it's just not a great idea. Plus, you typically won't earn rewards on cash advances or on balance transfers, for that matter. 

Be conscious of foreign transaction fees. If you have a rewards card, and you're saving a lot of money, you may not be saving much if you're using the card overseas on a trip and paying 3% extra on everything. If you're traveling a lot, it's best to use a credit card that doesn't have a foreign transaction fee. None of the travel rewards cards mentioned above charge foreign transaction fees.

Be conscious of all fees. Look, rewards are all about saving money, and any fee – whether a late fee or an annual fee – can wipe out those goals. Now, many cards with annual fees are there because the credit card issuer assumes you're going to use the credit card a lot, and you'll save far more than you spend on an annual fee. And that's fine logic - if you do use your credit card a lot. In any case, when you pay for anything with a rewards credit card, make sure you're also paying attention.

SHOULD YOU ADD YOUR CHILDREN AS AUTHORIZED USERS ON YOUR CREDIT CARD?

It's definitely worth considering. If your kid is going off to Washington, D.C., on an eighth grade field trip or off to Disney World with the marching band, for instance, you may want him or her to have a credit card, just in case. Maybe your kid is going off to college. As you may know, your son or daughter can't get their own credit card until they're 21 (if they're younger and can prove that they have income, such as from a part-time job, they may be able to get a card).

So how young can your kid be, to be an authorized user? That depends on your credit card issuer. You'll want to check with them. For instance, while American Express requires authorized users to be at least 13 years of age, Bank of America, Capital One nor any of the other major banks have minimum age requirements (at least as of this writing), so if you want your 5-year-old to have access to your credit card… well, have fun.

Why would you want your child to be an authorized user for your credit card? Well, you probably don't want your 5-year-old anywhere near your credit card, but as your kid gets older and becomes more independent, and travels places without you, you may want him or her to have that access. Maybe. There are a few pros and cons you'll want to mull over.

PROS OF ADDING CHILDREN AS AUTHORIZED USERS

A credit card can be a good tool to teach your kid financial responsibility. After all, you're on a budget. You're not going to let your kid max you out. Surely, your teen will learn something from being an authorized user.

Your college student will start building a credit history early. Yes, even as an authorized user. Your kid won't build credit fast, but your daughter isn't about to buy a house yet, right? She still has college, or maybe even high school, to finish. One thing to note is that not all banks report authorized users' information to the credit bureaus, so it's possible your child may not see any credit history impact from being added.

It may make your kid safer. Of course, you could get your kid a prepaid debit card or let him or her stuff some money in their shoe. We aren't saying that you're a terrible parent if you don't make him or her an authorized user, but if your kid is traveling without you, it may make things easier if they can use your credit card. Furthermore, if your child has some forgetful tendencies, your money is actually safer on a credit card than as a wad of cash in a wallet that could be left behind somewhere. 

DRAWBACKS OF ADDING CHILDREN AS AUTHORIZED USERS

It's a big financial responsibility. Is your kid ready. Are you? Maybe your teen will max you out. Not every teenager or even young adult is ready for a credit card. Remember, their spending on your credit is, for all intents and purposes, your spending on a credit card. It will be your credit that takes the hit if they run up a massive balance you can't afford to pay.

Credit cards can be windows to ID theft and fraud. What we said above is true: It's safer to carry a credit card than to carry around cash. If your cash is lost or stolen, it's most likely just gone; if your credit card is lost or stolen, federal law protects your from being on the hook for the fraudulent charges. However, it's still no fun to jump through the hoops of canceling a card, sorting out the fraudulent from the appropriate charges, changing out any recurring payment information you have. If your kid isn't likely to treat your card like real money, it probably isn't quite time to make them an authorized user.

SHOULD YOU CO-SIGN A CREDIT CARD FOR YOUR KIDS?

Maybe. If your kid is a RESPONSIBLE college student, it might make sense. There are a lot of good credit cards for college students and graduate students, ones that offer rewards and even ones that try to encourage good spending habits.

That said, if you're leery about the idea, especially because you think your kid is a financial disaster waiting to happen, that may be an argument for making them an authorized user instead. You'll be liable for your kid's spending either way, but you're more likely to be aware of what's happening if the overspending and money mismanagement is on your credit card and not theirs.

WHAT IS THE BEST CREDIT CARD FOR MY TEENAGER?

The best credit card for a teenager is the one they will qualify for and be able to handle responsibly. For a teenager, being able to build your credit score is invaluable. Having your teenager armed with a credit card can give a parent peace of mind that they will not be stranded if they run out of gas or need to make an emergency purchase, but it can also create some worry for parents with opportunities for your teen to act irresponsibly by making purchases that they can’t afford or not paying their bills on time.

If you are set on your teen having their own card, take a look at student-specific cards as they are most likely to approve your teen (remember, by law they must be 18 to have a card on their own) for a card. Discover is well-known for its student cards, which offer similar rewards to Discover's non-student cards and feature no annual fees or foreign transaction fees.


Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2020 to conduct surveys among 1,746 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2020 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were added to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted.

Ranking Methodology: CardRatings experts review the fine print, details, perks, rewards and features of hundreds of cards and compare them side-by-side with similar cards. A card that makes an excellent balance transfer card may not make a great cash-back rewards card even though it offers those rewards. While the Best of the Year list is announced annually, that list – and all other “best of” lists on CardRatings – are regularly reviewed and updated as issuers change the terms and features of each card often.

For rates and fees of American Express cards mentioned in this article, please see the following links: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees)

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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