dcsimg
Advertiser Disclosure
 
     
Please enter the text to be searched
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect your life and finances, CardRatings will remain committed to providing timely information related to credit cards and personal finance topics via our coronavirus financial services resource page. Email editor@cardratings.com with specific questions.

Best credit cards for new homeowners of September 2020

It's never fun when something goes wrong with your home, but the right credit card can help make repairs less painful. CardRatings editors reveal the best credit cards for homeowners, DIYers, and people who are still renting, too.
Jennifer Doss, CardRatings Editor Last Updated, September 22, 2020

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 credit cards for new homeowners Looking for the best credit cards for new homeowners? Or maybe you're on the hunt for the best credit cards for home improvement? Nobody could blame you, which is why we're bringing you our top picks for the best credit cards for new homeowners from our partners. 

It isn't a secret that houses are expensive, but many homeowners are likely caught off guard by how costly it is to own a home beyond the mortgage. In the beginning, you're buying a ton of furniture and maybe a lawn mower or some appliances, if the house didn't already have some.

But even after that, it isn't exactly always smooth sailing. Those appliances could eventually break. You may decide you want to remodel. Or maybe you'll have to remodel because your basement has flooded, and homeowner's insurance won't pay for all of it. Perhaps your roof needs to be replaced, and homeowner's insurance won't pay for that either. Or maybe your dog has chewed a hole in your carpet, and you need to fix that.

You get the idea. There are a lot of reasons you might feel the need to look for the best credit cards for new homeowners - or best credit cards for home improvement. Either way, we have you covered. Read on for some ideas on the type of cards you may want to keep in your wallet now that you’re embarking on the journey of homeownership.

LIST OF WINNERS

BEST NO-ANNUAL-FEE CREDIT CARDS FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Being a homeowner means you'll likely have home improvement, decorating, yard upkeep, and many other expenses on top of those, so a cash-back card can help you earn simply across all those purchases.

The Bonus: Earn a $200 cash-back bonus once spending just $500 within the first three months of account opening. Plus, enjoy 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining at restaurants and on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) in your first year of card membership.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • You'll get good bang for your buck with the welcome offer. You only need to spend $500 to earn $200 cash back.
  • The 1.5% cash back offered by this card on all non-bonus purchases is higher than what you'll find with many other no-annual-fee cash-back cards. Plus, there's that 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores for your first year, which has potential to pay off huge.
  • If you need to carry a balance, the intro 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases is an added bonus. After the intro period, 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR applies.

CONS:

  • The 1.5% rate on all non-bonus purchases is good, but to really make the most of your rewards this card requires a bit of strategy.
  • If you travel internationally, be aware that a 3% foreign transaction fee is applied to all purchases made in a foreign currency.

Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

You might consider holding both Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® to maximize rewards. Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns cardholders 1.5% cash back on non-bonus purchases while Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% back up to $1,500 quarterly in combined purchases in bonus categories each time you activate, and 1% on non-bonuses categories. Since the rotating categories are usually popular everyday expenses, these two cards can go hand-in-hand as they allow you to maximize on the amount of cash back you can earn.

If you want to take things one step further, you might consider adding the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to your wallet as well. With this card, rewards are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, and because Chase lets you combine all of your rewards into the account of whichever card makes them the most valuable, when you pool rewards under your Preferred® account all rewards will be worth extra when redeemed for travel.

The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards.


5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: There are purchases many of us have to make every single day– homeowner or not‐ so you might as well get rewarded for them, right? Plus, with no annual fee, it only makes sense to have this card on hand. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: Earn 3% back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets annually (then, 1%); earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores; earn 1% on your other purchases.

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent

PROS:

  • Might as well take advantage of your new kitchen by whipping up a feast at home! Enjoy 3% back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 spent annually (then 1%).
  • Department stores have beautiful clothes, but many also have great home decor and appliances. Shop for these items with this card and earn 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores.
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months.

CONS:

  • Earning 3% back at U.S. supermarkets is a nice rewards rate, but if you spend heavily in this category you might want to consider the sister Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express instead. It charges an annual fee, but also earns a bit more on U.S. supermarket purchases.
  • This isn't a great card for international travel as it charges a foreign transaction fee.

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

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: With this card, earning rewards is simple. You get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, so you'll earn on everything from new furniture for your living room to food delivery for those busy nights of unpacking. There's also a 0% APR introductory period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for the first 15 months. Understandably, cash might be a little tight after buying something as large as home. This offer gives you a little extra time to pay off things like unexpected trips to the home improvement store or new decor. After the introductory period, a regular 13.99%-25.99% Variable APR will apply, so you’ll want to be sure to pay off any large purchases before this offer expires.

The Bonus: Receive a cash-back bonus of $150 after spending $500 in the first three months of opening an account. As an added bonus, new card members can enjoy a reward rate of 1.8% cash back for the first 12 months on qualifying digital wallet purchases, such as those with Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®. And let's not forget about the introductory 0% APR period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. This bonus has the potential to go far for new homeowners.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: New card members can enjoy a reward rate of 1.8% cash back for the first 12 months when using a digital wallet such as Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®, otherwise it's 1.5% on all purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • The 1.5% cash back rate makes this card a good choice for anyone, but if you use a digital wallet like Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®, this is definitely the card for you. Purchases made with a qualified digital wallet earn 1.8% cash back for the first 12 months after opening an account.
  • Those who carry a balance will benefit from this card's introductory 15-month 0% APR, which is available for both purchases and balances transfers. After the intro period, regular 13.99%-25.99% Variable APR applies.
  • If you have a mortgage through Wells Fargo, cash back can be applied to your loan's principal.

CONS:

  • While the card offers flexible redemption options, you'll need a Wells Fargo account for ATM withdrawals and direct deposit.
  • This isn't the best card for international travel since it charges a fee on foreign transactions.
  • Watch out for fees on balance transfers, which are 3% (minimum $5) for transfers made within 120 days of opening an account and 5% (minimum $5) after that.

Read our full Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card review.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If you're a homeowner, whether you like it or not, you'll likely end up working on some home improvement projects from time to time. Maybe you'll pay people to do them, or maybe you'll do them yourself, or something in between. In any case, if you're visiting home improvement stores, department stores, ordering things online, and paying contractors, you'll be happy to know that this card will give you 2% cash back on all of that (earn 1% when you make a purchase, and then another 1% when you pay purchases off).Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: Enjoy an intro period of 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards:Earn 1% cash back on all purchases made, and then an additional 1% when you pay those purchases off.

Credit Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • With a 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, this is one of the top balance transfer cards available. After the intro period, regular 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) applies.
  • The potential 2% total cash back offered by this card make it one of the most rewarding no-annual-fee flat-rate cash back cards on the market.
  • Should you make a late payment, you won't have to worry about paying a fee the first time.

CONS:

  • This card offers neither a welcome bonus nor an introductory interest rate for purchases.
  • Rewards will expire if you go 12 months without earning any cash back.

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

BEST INTRO 0% APR CREDIT CARDS FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Buying a home is expensive, and sometimes you might need a little extra time to pay certain purchases off. If that's the case, a credit card with a 0% intro APR period could be your best friend; especially this one as it has whopping 18 month offer of 0% APR on balance transfers and new purchases. (After the intro periods, regular 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR applies.)

The Bonus: Enjoy 18 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers from the date of the first transfer, and for 18 months on new purchases (then 14.74% - 24.74% Variable).

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: This isn't a traditional rewards card, but the intro 0% APR periods are a huge reward in and of themselves.

Credit Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • If you need to transfer a balance, it's hard to beat this card's 18 month intro 0% APR offer.
  • New cardholders also get a 0% APR on purchases for 18 months.
  • This card doesn't charge an annual fee, and its regular APR has the potential to be quite low (14.74% - 24.74% Variable).

CONS:

  • While one of the best zero-interest cards on the market, this card doesn't come with any traditional rewards.
  • There is a 3% fee (minimum $5) on balance transfers.
  • Be aware of the 3% foreign transaction fee if plan to travel overseas.

Read our full Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review.

Wells Fargo Platinum card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If you're looking for a no-frills credit card but one that can help you escape some crushing credit card debt you racked up doing some home improvements or buying something big for your house – or if you're looking to buy something big soon, and you don't want to pay it off all at once – then this might be your card. You get an intro 18 months to pay off balance transfers and purchases, interest free (then, 15.49%-24.99% Variable). Plus, you get $600 worth of cellular phone insurance (subject to a deductible) when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with the card.

The Bonus: Enjoy a long, 18-month intro period of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a 15.49%-24.99% Variable APR rate will apply.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: The reward here is the 18-month intro period of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfer. Something that's sure to come in handy for many homeowners.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • The Wells Fargo Platinum card offers a 0% APR for 18 months on not only balance transfers but purchases as well (then 15.49%-24.99% Variable).
  • This card comes with a bevy of valuable perks including cell phone protection, travel accident insurance and roadside dispatch.
  • Cardholders get free access to their FICO credit score.

CONS:

  • The card's cell phone protection is a great benefit but doesn't cover lost devices.
  • Wells Fargo may limit the number of its credit cards you have, and if you have opened another Wells Fargo credit card within 15 months, you may not be eligible for the introductory APR.
  • With a 3% foreign transaction fee, this card shouldn't be your first choice for international travel.

Read our full Wells Fargo Platinum card review.

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR PUTTING YOUR KITCHEN TO USE

4
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If the kitchen was a priority during the search for your perfect home, and if the supermarket is a place you frequent often, this may be the card for you. Thanks to 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), if you cook at home often, you’ll quickly see the rewards add up. Depending on your family size, $500 spent at the supermarket each month is not uncommon. That’s $30 cash back each month, or $360 each year. And that’s just earnings on U.S. supermarket purchases. This card offers a plethora of other ways to earn rewards, further discussed below.

The Bonus: New cardholders can earn a $250 bonus once spending $1,000 within the first three months of opening an account. Plus, enjoy a low APR intro period of 0% APR for 12 months on purchases, then 13.99%-23.99% Variable.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then earn 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions such as Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora; 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on ground transit including trains, ferries, subways, taxis, ride shares, and parking fees; and 1% on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent

PROS:

  • By offering 6% cash back on up to $6,000 worth of U.S. supermarket purchases each year, this is considered by many to be the best rewards card for groceries.
  • This card offers 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months after opening an account (then 13.99%-23.99% Variable).
  • The welcome bonus is easy to earn and could go a long way towards future grocery purchases.

CONS:

  • American Express doesn't consider Walmart or Target to be a supermarket so you won't get 6% cash back on grocery purchases there.
  • To get all the card's great benefits, you'll need to pay a $95 annual fee.
  • There is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee for any purchase made in a foreign currency.

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

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If you’re not already a Costco member, now that you’re a homeowner, it might be time to make the commitment. Not only does a Costco membership help you to save on groceries, bulk size purchases, appliances, furniture, and other miscellany, but it’ll get you access to cards such as this one, which further helps put more money back in your pocket. First of all, you can use it anywhere - not just Costco. Secondly, you get 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases for the first $7,000 per year - and then 1% afterwards. You also get 3% cash back on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on anything you buy from Costco and Costco.com and 1% on everything else.

The Bonus: NA

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases for the first $7,000 per year, and then 1%; 3% on restaurant and eligible travel purchases; 2% on anything you buy from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on everything else.

Credit Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • This is the only co-branded consumer credit card for Costco customers, and it offers 2% cash back on Costco purchases.
  • Even if you don't regularly shop at Costco, this card can be an excellent choice for gas rewards. Cardholders receive 4% cash back on up to $7,000 of eligible gas purchases each year, including those made at Costco.
  • There is no annual fee for this card.

CONS:

  • Rewards are issued only once a year and sent in the form of a certificate that can be redeemed for cash or merchandise at Costco.
  • Cardholders forfeit rewards if they close their account prior to a rewards certificate being issued or if they fail to redeem a certificate by December 31 of the year it was issued.
  • Gas purchases made at other supermarkets, superstores, convenience stores or other warehouse clubs will only earn 1% cash back instead of 4% cash back.

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

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR ORDERING IN

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Maybe the kitchen in your new home wasn’t your most important priority. Maybe you eat out a lot, or order delivery a few times a week, and then find yourself saying “I shouldn’t do this so much… it’s cheaper to cook at home.” But then you continue to eat out and order delivery… If that pattern sounds familiar, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card might be a good fit for you. With this card you’ll earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases and 2% at the grocery store for when you do decide to cook at home, and 1% on everything else. Plus, through Jan. 31, 2021 enjoy 5% back on Uber Eats purchases.

The Bonus: Earn $300 after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • If you enjoy dining out (or ordering in), you probably won't find a better card. This card offers a whopping unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
  • What's food without a show? You will earn 4% cash back on all entertainment purchases, including sporting events, concerts, etc., too. This is a great perk for those nights you need to get out of the house.
  • This card has flexible redemption options, including the opportunity to use cash back to make purchases on Amazon.

CONS:

  • It's waived the first year, but you'll pay $95 a year for this card moving forward. However, the rewards can easily offset this cost. For instance, if you spend $3,000 in purchases within three months of opening an account, you'll get $300 cash back.
  • This card is a great choice for dining, entertainment, and grocery purchases, but you'll only get 1% cash back on everything else.

See our full Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Not all homeowners like to cook, or have the time for it, and that’s okay. If you find yourself on the go a lot and eating out/ordering in often, you might as well get rewarded for it. Not only does this card offer three points per dollar on dining purchases, it’ll reward you for your busy on-the-go lifestyle with three points earned on travel purchases (things like flights, hotels, homestays, transit, and car rentals) and gas stations purchases as well. Plus, it also offers a 12 month intro period of 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, giving you some more time to pay off things like a new entertainment system or streaming service subscriptions for those nights you do get to relax at home. After the intro period, a 13.99%-25.99% Variable will apply.

The Bonus: You'll earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, worth $200 in cash redemption value.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: Earn three points on eating out and ordering in; gas, rideshares, and transit; flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals; and on popular streaming services. Earn one point on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • It's easy to start earning substantial rewards with this card. Once you have spent $1,000 on purchases within three months of opening an account, you'll receive 20,000 bonus points worth $200.
  • This can be a good card for travelers with many travel and transit purchases earning three points per dollar spent.
  • If you pay your wireless bill using this card, your phone is eligible for cell phone protection. That will pay up to $600 per claim and $1,200 per year should your phone be stolen or damaged.

CONS:

  • Cash back can't be redeemed in any amount and must be withdrawn in $20 or $25 increments depending on the redemption method.
  • If you lose your phone, the card's cell phone protection won't cover the loss.
  • Cardholders who have opened another Wells Fargo credit card within the past 15 months may not be eligible for introductory APRs or bonus point offers.

Read our full Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card review.

BEST TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARDS FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If you’re looking for flexibility this is a great card to consider. Not only is it flexible when it comes to earning rewards (earn two miles on all purchases made), but it’s also flexible when it comes to redeeming them. You can transfer your miles to several leading travel loyalty programs or simply redeem them for a statement credit to “cancel out” a recent travel purchase. The welcome bonus of 100,000 miles, for example, could be redeemed as a statement credit for say, $1,000 toward travel. Just make the purchase and then redeem it for a statement credit. It’s as simple (and as flexible) as that.

The Bonus: Enjoy 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 in your first 12 months or earn 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Earn two miles on every purchase made.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This is a solid all-purpose travel rewards card, offering an unlimited two miles per dollar spent.
  • Among the perks offered is a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓™ applications.
  • Frequent International travelers will appreciate that there are no foreign transaction fees.
  • Even on vacation a nice night in can be appreciated. Make the most of it with a delicious meal, without the work. Through Jan. 31, 2021 enjoy 5X miles on Uber Eats purchases.

CONS:

  • Although the Venture® Rewards program offers some transfer partners, your options are limited if you want to move points to another loyalty program.
  • If you want to earn the card's welcome offer of 100,000 bonus miles, you'll have to spend $20,000 in 12 months to do so.

Read our full Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This is a great credit card for traveling. What does that have to do with homeowners? Well, owning a home is hard work, with all the mowing and cleaning and calling a plumber when your sump pump goes out. You're going to need to get away at some point, right? And with the point earning potential that comes with this card, you should be able to go far. For every dollar you spend on travel and dining purchases, you'll earn two points. For anything else you spend money on, you'll earn one point. Plus, if you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you'll get 25% more value.

The Bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account, worth $1,000 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Earn two points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. 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.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

The information related to this credit card has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.

PROS:

  • Travelers will love that the 80,000 bonus points new cardholders can earn are worth $1,000 in travel rewards.
  • You'll get double points on travel and dining purchases. Chase Sapphire Preferred® awards two points per dollar spent in these categories.
  • There are flexible redemption options including the opportunity to boost point values by 25% by redeeming for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

CONS:

  • Although the welcome offer is lucrative, cardholders need to spend $4,000 within three months to earn it. That may put it out of reach for some people, especially after making a purchase as large as a new home.
  • This card charges a $95 annual fee.
  • There is also no introductory APR available for this card, meaning those who carry a balance will be charged interest from the start.

Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

WHAT ARE THE BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS?

From decorating costs to yard upkeep, homeowner expenses can be all over the place, which is why we often recommend a good flat-rate cash-back credit card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer to new homeowners. It's a no-annual-fee card, so that's one less cost you have to worry about, and it offers rewards on all purchases made, so no matter what your expenses look like, you can rest easy knowing you're getting rewarded for them.

Every homeowner will have specific needs though, so what's best for one homeowner might not be ideal for another. When shopping for a credit card, evaluate your needs, and stick with a card that meets them. It doesn't make much sense to apply for a card with great travel rewards if you hardly ever leave home, nor does it make any sense to choose a card just because it has a great balance transfer offer if you have no balance to transfer. These may sound like obvious things, but choosing a credit card can be an overwhelming process, and added perks can be distracting. Pick a card that rewards you for your spending habits, instead of trying to match your spending habits to a card's rewards.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE CREDIT CARD REWARDS

Smartly using a rewards credit card is an excellent way to put more money back in your pocket (something we imagine you'll really appreciate now that you have a mortgage payment on your hands). Whether you're taking advantage of a 0% APR offer, a card with no annual fee, or a card that offers rewards, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you're making the most of your credit card:

  • Use the right credit card. Seems redundant to even mention it, but you'd be surprised how often people stick to just one credit card, forgetting that they actually have another that would be better suited for the situation. If you have a credit card that earns you extra rewards on gas purchases, make sure you're using that credit card each time you fill your car up. If you have a card that earns you more at supermarkets, use that card when you stock up on groceries. Etc. Different cards maximize different things. Be aware before you swipe and always use the best credit card for the situation. And on a similar note...
  • Actually use your card. Again, it feels a bit silly evening mentioning it, but if you don't use your card, you won't earn rewards. Channeling every single purchase on your card and then paying your balance off each month only benefits you. If you have a credit card that earns you 4% cash back on dining purchases, don't just stash it away when dinner is done. Use it for gas, groceries, new furniture, airfare, clothes, etc. (unless you have another credit card that'll earn you more on those categories - see point one). Just because it offers a bonus in one category doesn't mean you won't earn in other categories as well. Remember, most rewards cards offer at least 1% back on all "other" purchases, and 1% back is better than none. Take the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card we discussed above, for example (). It offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase made, and it has no annual fee. Therefore, say you put every purchase you can on that card and spend $30,000 over the course of a year. That's $450 cash back (or $540 if it's your first year as a cardholder and you spend that amount using a mobile wallet)! At no extra cost to you!
  • Make sure you meet the bonus spending threshold before the introductory period expires. This goes hand in hand with actually using your card. If you sign up for a card that offers you a welcome bonus and you must spend a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time to receive this bonus, make sure you do just that. Even if you don't think you'll spend that much with your card every month, try and do it at least during the introductory period so you don't miss out on the bonus.
  • Pay close attention to offer period details. Some of the rewards cards we mention in this post offer a number of time frames you'll want to be aware of. Whether it's a rewards bonus period like we just covered above, a zero-interest introductory period for purchases and/or balance transfers, or rotating rewards categories, you'll want to be sure to pay close attention to your card details. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card offers 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories. If you're looking to make a large purchase at a home improvement store, and the 5% cash back bonus is offered at home improvement stores between, say, January and March, you won't benefit as much if you stock up on paint and other home supplies in April. Or say you want to use your Wells Fargo Platinum card to refurnish your living room, but you need a little extra time to pay the cost off. It won't help you much if you rack up a lot of interest-free debt, let it sit for 18 months (the length of the 0% APR intro period) and then decide to pay it all off at month 19 when the intro period is over and the regular rate of 15.49%-24.99% Variable applies. You'll find yourself worse off than you started if that ends up being the case. Most issuers make these type of details pretty transparent to users. Just make sure you're paying close attention.

PERSONAL LOANS VS. CREDIT CARDS

If you're a new homeowner, chances are, you just took out the most substantial loan you may ever take in your life, and the thought of taking out another loan sounds unbearable. Life is full of unexpected surprises though, and finding yourself with a new financial burden (in addition to your mortgage) so quickly after buying a home can feel overwhelming.

If you're looking to finance a project or to pay for an emergency situation, and you don't quite have all the funds you need yet, you might want to see if you qualify for an intro 0% APR credit card. We talk about a few of our favorites above, but there are a plethora of other 0% APR credit card options to consider as well. Some of these cards offer 12, 15, and even 18 month introductory periods where you won't have to pay interest on new purchases during that time frame. Pick the right card and you can easily spread out your payments over a year to a year and a half without paying interest or fees.

If You take this route though, you'll want to be sure to pay off your balance before your zero-interest introductory period ends, as the standard APR will then kick in, and standard credit card rates are rarely cheap forms of a loan.


To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards in this post, please visit the following links: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees); Blue Cash Everyday® 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.

Comments
0 Comments

Be the first to comment!