[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you love buying gifts for friends, loved ones, and your postal carrier, you might already be shopping around ahead of the holiday season. But if you use cash or debit to pay for holiday gifts, you’re losing out on rewards. Cash back credit cards can help you earn back money as you shop for gifts.
Here are six cash back credit cards ideal for holiday shopping.
Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases in rotating bonus categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover matches all cash back earned in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers and six months on purchases, then APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: You can earn 5% cash back on gifts from select merchants.
For Your Holiday Gifts: Through December this year, Target and Amazon.com purchases earn 5% cash back, giving you big cash back rewards on a huge range of products.
Drawbacks: You have to track and activate bonus categories every quarter.
Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in yearly purchases at US supermarkets (1% cash back on purchases beyond that threshold); 3% cash back at US gas stations and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Welcome Offer: $200 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases, then 15.24%-26.24% Variable APR.
Why We Picked It: This card provides many ways to earn cash back on your holiday expenses.
For Your Holiday Gifts: There are great cash back rates at supermarkets and gas stations. Savvy shoppers can earn cash back as they stock up on party supplies and fill up their gas tanks on the way home.
Drawbacks: There’s a $95 annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
- Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
- No annual fee
Card Details +
Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases in rotating spending categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back if you spend $500 in the first three months, and $25 bonus if you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within the same three-month period.
Annual Fee: $0
APR:0% for 15 months on purchases, then 17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR.
Why We Picked It: Gifts purchased at Walmart and department stores can earn a lot of cash back.
For Your Holiday Gifts: Through December, purchases at Walmart and department stores earn 5% cash back. Plus, you can earn an extra 1% to 15% cash back by shopping with participating merchants with Shop through Chase, Chase’s online marketplace.
Drawbacks: This card requires you to track and activate quarterly bonus categories.
4. Citi Double Cash Card
Rewards: Earn 2% cash back: 1% cash back upon purchase and an additional 1% upon payment.
Signup Bonus: None
APR: 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 15.24% – 25.24% (Variable) APR on purchases.
Why We Picked It: You can earn double cash back on all purchases.
For Your Holiday Gifts: Purchases earn 2% cash back once they’re paid off, so you can earn a great cash back rate on every gift you buy. With Citi’s Bonus Cash Center, you can earn extra cash back or get discounts from hundreds of merchants.
Drawbacks: Purchases won’t earn 2% cash back until they’re fully paid off.
Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
APR:26.96% (Variable) APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Shoppers with fair credit can earn solid cash back on every purchase.
For Your Holiday Gifts: All purchases for the holidays (and beyond) automatically earn 1.5% cash back, with no hoops to jump through. This card is available to consumers with fair credit, making it more attainable than many other cash back rewards cards.
Drawbacks: There’s an annual fee and a high minimum APR.
6. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Rewards: 3% cash back at Amazon.com (5% with Amazon Prime); 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Signup Bonus:$70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval.
APR:Variable 15.24% to 23.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: With rewards at Amazon.com and more, online shoppers get a lot of value from this card.
For Your Holiday Gifts: The card earns rewards for all purchases, with special rates at Amazon.com, restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores. Your rewards are redeemable for future Amazon.com purchases and gift cards, which can help you cross more items off your gift list. You’ll instantly get a bonus $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval.
Drawbacks: If you don’t like Amazon.com, this card isn’t right for you.
How to Choose a Card for Holiday Gifts
You should choose a credit card that rewards the gifts you tend to buy. If you shop for gifts at a specific merchant type, identify the cards that specifically reward those purchases. If you tend to buy gifts at many different merchants, you might be better off with a card that has a flat cash back rate everywhere.
Cash back rewards can be redeemed for bank account deposits or statement credits, but some cards let you redeem for gift cards and merchandise. The latter option can help you add to your gift inventory, but make sure you aren’t losing any value with this redemption type.
Lastly, you should check if a card issuer has a merchant network, as such networks offer additional ways to earn rewards and discounts.
What Credit Is Required for a Holiday Shopping Card?
There are cash back rewards cards available to shoppers with all types of credit scores. Before you apply for a card, you should check its credit requirements to make sure you measure up. You can check your credit report free at Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Discover it Card, Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, Chase Freedom, Citi Double Cash Card, and Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
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.