dcsimg
CardRatings is here for you during the COVID-19 crisis. Our coronavirus financial services resource page includes helpful information about credit cards and other personal finance topics. Check back often for updates, and let us know if you have specific questions by emailing editor@cardratings.com.

Best credit cards for retirees of May 2020

Last Updated, May 7, 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 retirees

Best credit cards for retirees As a retiree, you have the world at your feet. Want to visit family? Perhaps you want to binge watch a new show and order in all day? Maybe it's time to embark on that epic road trip that the daily 9-to-5 always prevented? Or have you always dreamed of visiting some far-flung and exotic locale? What if you finally undertake that new hobby or home improvement project you've considered for years but have never found the time to tackle? Luckily the best credit cards for retirees from our partners can help you along with any of these dreams and more.

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR RETIREES

Whether you're on the hunt for cash-back rewards, travel rewards, a balance transfer offer or just the security of having a credit card rather than cash or a debit card, one of the top cards below could be just right for you. Remember to consider your credit history and be honest about your lifestyle and spending habits before applying; that way you can find the card that fits right into your life.

CASH BACK | TRAVEL | DINING/FOOD

BEST CASH-BACK CARDS FOR RETIREES

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: Every day is your own when you're retired, so it's good to have a credit card that can adjust to your life as you go. You get to CHOOSE where you'll earn the most cash back from a list of six categories and Preferred Rewards Bank of America clients will even earn a bonus on all their earning.

Bonus: Earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus if you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. Furthermore, you can take advantage of an introductory 15 billing cycles no interest on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days. (After the intro period the APRs jump to See Terms and balance transfers).

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

The Rewards: Earn 3% cash back on a category of your choosing from among the following list: gas, online shopping, travel, dining, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. You'll also earn 2% back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases for the first $2,500 spend in combined choice category/grocery/wholesale club purchases each quarter. Earn 1% cash back on all your other purchases and once you hit the spending cap. Furthermore, if you are a Preferred Rewards client with Bank of America, you can boost your rewards earning on every purchase by 25%-75% depending on your tier. Read our full Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card review.

EXPERT TIP

Consider this: If you choose "online shopping" as your 3% choice category, everything from medical bills you pay online to plane tickets you book online could fall under that 3% heading (up to the quarterly cap, of course). Given the number of things and services you can purchase online today, that means that 3% cash back could apply to a wide, wide range of purchases and/or expenses.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: Another tiered rewards card, but with a slightly different rewards structure than the Bank of America card above. Perhaps this one better fits into your regular spending habits or you prefer the ease of set categories rather than needing to choose one. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser).

Welcome Offer: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. You can also enjoy an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then, 12.99% - 23.99% Variable).

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

The Rewards: Cardholders earn 3% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1 percent), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Read our full Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express review.

Discover it® Cash Back

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: There aren't many ways to get 5% cash back on some of your everyday purchases, but that's what this card offers you with it's bonus categories that rotate quarterly. Plus, Discover did us a favor and announced its full 2020 bonus categories calendar upfront so you can take a look at what's to come and decide whether this card fits into your lifestyle and spending habits. Check out the full bonus categories calendar.

Bonus: Discover will match, dollar-for-dollar, all the cash back new cardholders earn during their first year. That means that if you rack up $200 in cash back during your first year, you will have effectively earned $400 in cash back during that year.

Annual Fee: See Terms

Foreign Transaction Fees: See Terms

Rewards: Cardholders earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 you spend in categories that rotate each quarter (you must activate the bonus categories quarterly). After you reach the spending cap, and on all your other purchases, you earn 1% cash back. Read our full Discover it® Cash Back review.

Chase Freedom®

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: This is another rotating categories cash-back card, but the categories are different from those of the Discover card mentioned above. That means it may not be a bad idea to carry both in your wallet so you can earn 5% cash back on a wider range of purchases each quarter. That's especially true given that neither requires an annual fee.

Bonus: Earn a $150 cash-back bonus after you spend just $500 in the first three months as a cardholder. Also, take advantage of an intro 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then, 16.49% - 25.24% Variable).

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

The Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 you spend in categories that rotate quarterly (you'll need to activate the bonus categories each quarter to earn the bonus). Earn 1% cash back on purchases over the spending cap and on all your other purchases. Check out this quarter's bonus categories. Read our full Chase Freedom® review.

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

EXPERT TIP

Chase Freedom® is the rotating categories cash-back card, but there's a flat-rate version as well: Chase Freedom Unlimited®. With Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases, which means you could choose to use Chase Freedom Unlimited® for all of the purchases that don't earn 5% cash back with Chase Freedom®. Yes, it takes a little thought and planning, but it's worth more cash back to you. (The information related this credit card has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.)

If you want to get truly fancy with your rewards-earning, you can combine one or both of these cards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card discussed in the travel rewards section below. Do that, and all the points you earn with your Freedom® or Freedom Unlimited® cards could be worth 25% more value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. We'll explain below.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: If you're looking for a truly simple cash-back rewards card, this Wells Fargo card could be it. This card features a simple-to-understand flat-rate rewards earning structure and offers you the added perk of cell phone protection against covered damage and theft as long as you pay your cellular bill on the card; that could save you $100 or more a year in insurance premiums alone.

Bonus: Receive a $150 cash rewards bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months as a cardholder. Plus, you'll earn 1.8% cash back (as compared to the standard 1.5%) on qualified digital wallet purchases during your first 12 months as a cardholder. Lastly, you can take advantage of an intro 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then, 13.99%-25.99% Variable).

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

Rewards: Earn a flat 1.5% cash back on all your purchases without having to worry about categories or spending caps. Read our full review of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card. Remember, too, that you'll earn 1.8% cash back on qualifying digital wallet purchases during your first 12 months as a cardholder.

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: This card rewards your responsible credit card use by offering you rewards both when you make your purchase and then another bit of cash back when you pay off your purchase. Plus, if you're needing a little extra time to pay off an existing credit card balance, this card offers an introductory no interest period on balance transfers for 18 months (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).

Bonus: There isn't an early spending bonus on this card, but if you need a few extra months to pay off an existing balance from another card, that introductory 18 months of no interest on balance transfers could certainly be considered a bonus for your wallet.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

Rewards: Earn 1% cash back when you make your purchases and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases by paying your credit card bill. That effectively means you can earn a 2% cash back on all your purchases. Not too shabby for a no-annual-fee credit card. Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review.

BEST TRAVEL REWARDS CARDS FOR RETIREES

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: Travel rewards cards don't have to be complicated – you can simply earn rewards, redeem rewards to cover travel purchases. And that's what this card offers you... along with a few other bells and whistles.

Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles – equal to $500 in travel – after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Additionally, save money with up to a $100 statement credit to cover your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee.

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

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn two miles per $1 spent on every purchase. Those miles can be redeemed as statement credit to offset travel purchases on your card or you can transfer them to one of several travel loyalty programs for possibly even more value. Read our full review of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

NO ANNUAL FEE, STILL REWARDING

If you like the sound of the Venture® card, but aren't keen on paying an annual fee, you should consider the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, (This card is not currently available on CardRatings) its no-annual-fee little brother. With this card, you'll earn 1.25 miles per $1 spent on your purchases (again with no limit on the amount you can earn and the same reward redemption options) and the welcome bonus opportunity is 20,000 miles (worth $200 in travel) after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: This is among the most popular travel rewards cards out there and for good reason. It offers solid rewards earning, excellent "fine print" perks and features, more value if you redeem your rewards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal and the ability to transfer your points to multiple popular airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Those points are worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal or transfer them to one of Chase's airline or hotel loyalty partners for possibly even more value.

Annual Fee: $95

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

The Rewards: Earn two points per $1 spent on dining and travel purchases and one point per $1 on your other purchases. Your rewards are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, meaning that each point is worth 1.25 cents instead of the standard $.01 each. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: This no-annual-fee card offers plenty of nice perks and rewards opportunities; plus, it features the cellular phone protection insurance benefit of other Wells Fargo cards – just pay your mobile bill with the card and you're protected against covered damage and theft of your phone.

Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points – that's worth $200 in cash value – after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. There's also an introductory no-interest period of 12 months on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 120 days (after the intro, the APR jumps to 13.99%-25.99% Variable).

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 spent eating out and ordering in; for gas station, rideshare and transit purchases; on travel purchases, including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals' and on popular streaming services. Earn 1 point per $1 on your other purchases. Keep in mind that earning that level of points on travel purchases is usually reserved for travel rewards cards with annual fees. This is a special card, indeed. Read our full Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card review.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: If luxury when you travel is your thing (And why not? You earned it with all those years of working toward retirement), then this card could be the perfect complement to your jet-setting retirement years.

Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on your card in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $550

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn five points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. You'll also earn five points per $1 on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com. Additional perks include access to the Global Lounge Collection of airport lounges across the globe, an airline fee credit of up to $200 per calendar year to cover baggage fees and more with one pre-selected airline, and credits with both Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue each year (terms apply). Read our full The Platinum Card® from American Express review.

Discover it® Miles

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: This card features a simple, flat-rate way to rack up rewards toward your next trip and it comes with that bonus match that Discover is famous for.

Bonus: Discover will match all the miles you earn during your first year as a cardholder. Earn 30,000 miles (worth $300, by the way) and Discover will make that 60,000 miles (worth $600) at the end of your first year.

Annual Fee: See Terms

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent on every purchase, every day. Remember that Discover will match all you miles earned at the end of your first year, which means you'll basically be earning three miles per $1 spent on all your purchases during year one. Read our full Discover it® Miles review.

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR DINING

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: Everybody has to eat so we are excited by a card that rewards you for doing just that whether you choose to dine out or buy the groceries to prepare dinner at home.

Bonus: Earn a $300 cash back bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

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

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn an unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on everything else. Also, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020. Read our full Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

NO ANNUAL FEE, STILL REWARDING

Can't bring yourself to pay an annual fee? Consider the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card (This card is not currently available on CardRatings) instead. With this card, you'll earn 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on everything else. The welcome bonus is still lucrative at $150 cash back bonus after you spend $500 within the first three months.

AARP® Credit Card from Chase

Why We Like It: Excellent rewards earning on dining and gas station purchases make this a great choice for people who are on the road and enjoying life gastronomic pleasures along the way.

Bonus: Earn a $100 cash back bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months.

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

The Rewards: Cardholders earn 3% cash back on dining purchases, whether white tablecloth or fast food; 3% cash back at gas stations; and 1% cash back on other purchases.

Please note: The information related to The AARP® Credit Card from Chase has been collected by CardRatings.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.


WHY RETIREES SHOULD CONSIDER A NEW (OR ADDITIONAL) CREDIT CARD

As a retiree, you've likely spent a number of years by now building a credit history and credit score. In theory, you're in the best financial shape of your life after having spent your working years being financially responsible. That means banks and credit card issuers have every reason to offer you the best of their products and those products often come with money-saving or luxury-bestowing features and perks.

Additionally, you aren't working every day now, which means that the credit card you've been using for the past several years may not be right for you anymore. Your day-to-day has changed, and your credit card probably should too. 

Whether you've been a credit card user for years or are now considering diving into the credit card rewards world, here are some reasons to shop for a new credit card as a retiree:

1. Take advantage of an introductory 0% interest period. Did you notice that many of the cards above feature some length of a 0% intro APR on purchases and/or balance transfers? Those 0% interest periods could save you a bundle if you have a purchase, emergency, trip or some other expense that you need a few extra months to pay off.

2. Enjoy added security as you shop online or travel. Credit cards are simply more secure to carry, especially when you travel, than a wallet full of cash (or even a debit card, for that matter, thanks to how the laws are written). Lose a credit card or have someone steal your identity and your credit card company will protect you against fraud and federal laws will back that up. Lose your cash or debit card, and you could be out hundreds of dollars. Simply having a credit card for secure shopping is a solid reason to keep one around.

3. Rack up rewards. Let's be clear: we're in it for the rewards. Credit card reward options are vast these days and can be incredibly lucrative. You don't have to be a travel rewards expert to reap the benefits of travel rewards. You don't have to be an accountant to understand that getting cash back is always a nice perk. The level of focus you want to put on rewards is up to you, but you certainly will have everyday expenses; why not earn rewards on those at the very least?

One last note, if you do decide to jump into the world of travel rewards, take a look at our free online course, "Travel Rewards 101." It's designed to help beginners master traveling with rewards and could be just what you need to start planning that trip you now have time take.


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

Comments
1 Comments

  1. Paula Dennis
    June 22, 2015 - 6:10 pm
    I am looking for a low interest credit card to transfer a high interest card. I need enough credit to cover 7,743. Thank you
      Reply »