[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
New parents certainly have a lot on their minds — and a laundry list of purchases they need to make that may be weighing down their wallet (I should know — I’m currently awaiting the imminent arrival of my third child). A good credit card can help make life with a new baby a little bit easier, given the convenience and rewards it can provide.
Of course, you’ll want to read carefully the terms and conditions of any offer you are considering so you find the credit card that’s right for you. Also, keep in mind, any credit card is best paid off in full when possible, particularly if it features rewards, since you’ll otherwise lose your points, miles or cash back to interest. And you’ll want to check your credit before applying for a new piece of plastic, since a good credit score generally helps you net the best offers. (You can see where you stand by viewing your two free credit scores each month on Credit.com.)
With all that in the mind, here are some credit cards for new parents to consider.
1. The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card from American Express
American Express actually created this card with busy parents in mind. Their idea was that parents and other busy people just don’t want to deal with bonus categories that change every few months, and don’t want to have to remember to use a particular card at certain stores to get the most rewards. So, while this card does offer some generous bonus categories, it also gives users a 50% bonus on their rewards when they use their card to make 30 transactions in a statement cycle. Trust me, this is generally not a problem for stressed out parents who are all over town buying baby supplies, food, and coffee.
Cardholders earn 3x the points back at U.S supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 2x the points back at U.S. gas stations, and 1x the points back everywhere else. New applicants also earn 30,000 bonus points after they spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months. There is a $95 annual fee for this card and purchase annual percentage rate (APR) of 13.24% to 22.24%, depending on creditworthiness.
2. US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Credit Card
This card allows you to earn 5% cash back on two categories that you choose each quarter including select clothing stores, department stores, and furniture stores. So, as your child grows and your needs change, this credit card can provide some much-needed flexibility. Cardholders also earn 2% cash back at one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores (again, your choice), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee for this card. The APR is between 13.24% to 24.24% based on your creditworthiness.
3. The “R” Us Credit Card
This card offers 2x the points back at both Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores, which is where new parents may find themselves spending plenty of time and money. You also get one point per $4 back everywhere else MasterCard is accepted; 125 points equals $5 in “R” Us Reward dollars. In addition, new cardholders earn 15% off their first day purchases or can select a special financing option (though the purchases you make with the financing don’t earn points). Other benefits include advance notice of sales, access to special promotions and a Geoffrey’s Birthday Club member offer. There is no annual fee for this card. The purchase APR is 26.99%.
While some new parents are looking for rewards for their spending, others are simply trying to find a way to pay for all of the expenses that come with a new child. The Citi Simplicity card (see full review here) offers 18 months of interest free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers (with a 5% balance transfer fee), which will take you almost up until your baby is a year and a-half! (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.) After the introductory period, the purchase APR will be 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable), depending on your creditworthiness. This card also lives up to its name by having no late fees and no penalty interest rates in case a new parent loses track of their bills while they are losing sleep. (You’ll want to try your best not to, of course, since late payments can damage your credit score.) There is no annual fee for this card.
5. Target REDCard
New parents may be too busy to run around town, so going to a discount retailer like Target that carries baby items, among other things, may prove helpful. The REDCard offers a generous 5% back on all Target purchases and features free shipping from Target.com. In addition, you get an extra 30 days for returns. There is no annual fee for this card. The purchase APR is 23.15%.
At publishing time, the Citi Simplicity credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.