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Best credit cards for new homeowners of 2019 from our partners

Last Updated, June 13, 2019
Credit cards for new homeowners

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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. 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.

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS

BEST NO ANNUAL FEE CREDIT CARDS | BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR ORDERING IN | BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR PUTTING YOUR KITCHEN TO USE | BEST CREDIT CARD FOR DIY PROJECTS | BEST INTRO 0% APR CREDIT CARDS | BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR VACATION | BEST CREDIT CARD FOR EXTENDED WARRANTIES


BEST NO ANNUAL FEE CREDIT CARDS FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS

Chase Freedom®

Why We Like It:  Chase Freedom® rotates its rewards categories, and since home improvement sometimes shows up as one of the 5% cash back categories, using this card during that time frame is a great way to save a bundle on home improvement projects. Overall, it's a great credit card for anyone who doesn't mind keeping track of rotating categories. You're always getting 5% cash back on something (up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate), like gas or groceries, and last we checked, homeowners and human beings in general tend to spend a lot of money in those categories as well. Plus, you’ll earn 1% back on all other purchases, so whether you’re making purchases in bonus categories or not, you’re still earning cash back on every purchase you make.

The Bonus: Earn a $150 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 and balances, then 17.24% - 25.99% Variable.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

EDITOR'S NOTE:

You might consider holding both the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to maximize rewards. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card earns new cardholder 3% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year, then unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made, while the Chase Freedom® earns 5% back up to $1,500 each quarter in combined purchases in bonus categories each time you activate, and 1% back on all other purchases. Since those rotating categories are usually popular expenses like gas, groceries, or restaurant purchases, for instance, 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, if hold this card alongside the Chase Freedom®, all rewards will be worth 25% more when redeemed for travel.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

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 12 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 APR 16.24%-28.24% Variable 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 $200 after spending $1,000 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 when using a mobile wallet such as Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®. And let's not forget about the 0% APR intro 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 mobile wallet such as Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®, otherwise it's 1.5% on all purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR ORDERING IN

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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 - plus, 2% at the grocery store for when you do decide to cook at home, and 1% on everything else.

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

The Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

The Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

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 16.24%-27.24% Variable will apply.

The Bonus: You'll earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, worth $300 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 one point on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR PUTTING YOUR KITCHEN TO USE

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser. Terms apply.

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 and balance transfers, then 15.24% - 26.24% Variable. Terms apply.

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. Terms apply.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

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


BEST CREDIT CARD FOR DIY PROJECTS

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

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). What's more, the Citi Price Reward feature may get you some of your money back if an item goes on sale after your purchase. With this program, you shop, and Citi will search for a lower price than the one you got. If the same item is found at retailers’ sites within 60 days, you can be refunded the price difference up to $300 per item, and up to $1,200 per year.

The Bonus: Enjoy an intro period of 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 15.74% - 25.74%* 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, Good


BEST INTRO 0% APR CREDIT CARDS

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card

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 18 months to pay off balance transfers and purchases, interest fee. 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 13.74%-27.24% 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

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: You get an even longer period for interest free balance transfers - 21 months! For purchases, you can reverse the number 21 (you get 12 months). And there are no late fees when you pay late. Also, there's the Citi Price Rewind feature, so you may get some money back if an item goes on sale after you buy it. All in all, though, it's a pretty no-frills card, but if you have a ton of credit card debt that you're looking to transfer and then pay off, this is a great card. That said, you do have to have a high credit score to get the card. This isn't the card, unfortunately, for somebody with bad credit who is looking to find a way to pay off revolving credit card debt.

The Bonus: Enjoy a 21-month intro period of 0% APR on balance transfers, and 12 months of 0% APR on purchases. After the intro period, a 16.24% - 26.24%* Variable APR rate will apply.

The Annual Fee: $0*.

The Rewards: Again, the reward here is the long 0% APR intro period for purchases and balance transfers.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR ESCAPING CHORES

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account, worth $750 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.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

EDITOR'S NOTE:
You might consider adding this card alongside the Chase Freedom® or the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to maximize rewards. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns new cardholder 3% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year, then unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made, while the Chase Freedom® earns 5% back up to $1,500 each quarter in combined purchases in bonus categories each time you activate, and 1% back on all other purchases. Since those rotating categories are usually popular expenses like gas, groceries, or restaurant purchases, for instance, these cards can go hand-in-hand as they allow you to maximize on the amount of cash back you can earn. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® 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, if hold this card alongside the Chase Freedom® or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, all rewards will be worth 25% more when redeemed for travel.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

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 over 12 leading travel loyalty programs or simply redeem them for a statement credit to “cancel out” a recent travel purchase. The signup bonus of 50,000 miles, for example, could be redeemed as a statement credit for say, a $500 flight to Mexico. Just make the purchase and then redeem it for a statement credit. It’s as simple (and as flexible) as that.

The Bonus: Enjoy 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.

The Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

The Rewards: Earn two miles on every purchase made.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


BEST CREDIT CARD FOR EXTENDED WARRANTIES

Citi Premier Card

Why We Like It:  We like this card because it makes what we don't like, more pleasant. We don't like it when things break in our home. Fortunately, Citi Premier Card, and really all of the Citi cards, have a good reputation for having good extended warranty benefits. That's why this card is among the best credit cards for home improvement and certainly among the best credit cards for new homeowners (because once you pay for a home, the last thing you want to do is fix something within that first year or two.) The Citi Premier Card will extend the manufacturer's warranty of most things that you buy by two years, with the total coverage not going past seven years from the purchase date. And if you happen to buy an extended warranty and then realize your Citi Premier Card already has one, don’t worry. Citi's coverage will start at the expiration of the warranty, so you'll still likely not have wasted your money. The coverage does have limits, though (up to $10,000). Oh, and, yes, there's a reason to get this card other than being fearful of things breaking. It has a terrific rewards program that should cheer up any homeowner: three points per dollar on travel including gas stations; two points on dining and entertainment; one point per dollar on everything else.

The Bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first three months. Points are worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Citi ThankYou® Travel Center.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Earn three points per dollar spent on travel (including gas purchases), two points on dining and entertainment, and one point on everything else.

Credit Needed: Excellent


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 sign up 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® 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 Visa 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. 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 of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express please visit the following link: 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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