Whether you’re shopping for your first house or you’ve already settled in, here’s something you need to know: You’re going to spend a ton of money, especially in the first year.
You’ll want to make the house your own, maybe even changing the color scheme among other home renovation and home improvement projects. You might need a washer and dryer. Oh, and don’t forget the lawnmower, furniture, artwork, flowers, and plants.
Before you know it, you’ve blown through thousands of dollars. Fortunately, homeowner-friendly credit card offers can keep you from draining your savings, whether you need more time to pay off a large purchase without interest or you want to earn cash back on purchases for your new place. If you have a good or excellent credit score, these balance transfer and rewards credit cards could be for you!
Home Improvement Credit Cards
Bank of America® Cash Rewards
Best for: Homeowners and families who make regular purchases at wholesale clubs or in one of this card’s choose-your-own 3% cash back categories.
Rewards: Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: home improvement/furnishing, gas, online shopping, dining, travel or drugstores. You’ll earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, up to $2,500 combined per quarter. After that, 1% cash back for all purchases. You can change your category every month or simply set it and forget it.
Other perks: Extended warranty on purchases, FICO score, car rental collision damage waiver, and travel accident insurance.
Annual fee: None
Bonus offer: $200 sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Discover it® Cash Back
Best for: Homeowners, families and online shoppers.
Rewards: 5% cash back at grocery stores, Amazon, restaurants, and for bonus categories that you activate quarterly. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Redeem cash back rewards in any amount, at any time.
Other perks: Automatic match of all cash back you’ve earned during the first year, with the total credited to your account.
Annual fee: None
Bonus: No sign-up bonus. But keep in mind that this card’s year-end automatic cash back match can add up to a tidy bonus on its own.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred®
Best for: Homeowners planning to spend at least $1,000 in the first three months and families who buy a lot of groceries.
Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year, then 1% cash back. 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Redeem cash back for a statement credit, gift cards or shopping.
Other perks: Pay it® app lets you make a payment equal to a purchase less than $100. Plan it® app lets you create up to 10 active payment plans on a purchases of $100 or more with a fixed monthly fee. Primary car rental coverage available for purchase at a flat rate for up to 42 days.
Annual fee: $95
Bonus offer: an intro offer of $250 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Best for: Homeowners planning to spend at least $1,500 during the months of April-June due to it’s amazing 5% back on home improvement stores during select months.
Rewards: 5% cash back on rotating categories including home improvement stores! This card also offers 1% cash back on general purchases.
Other perks: Purchase protection, auto rental insurance and roadside assistance.
Annual fee: $0
Bonus offer: $150 sign up bonus if you spend $500 in the first 3 months upon account opening.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Best for: Homeowners planning to purchase a lot to renovate and improve their home.
Rewards: 2% cash back on any purchases you’ve fully repaid, making this the perfect cash back card for purchases that don’t qualify for larger bonuses.
Other perks: Citi Price Rewind, purchase protection, Citi Identity Theft Solutions, worldwide travel accident insurance, damage and theft protection, trip cancellation and interruption protection, lost wallet service, free concierge services.
Annual fee: $0
Which Card Might Bring the Most Joy to Your Wallet
If you’re charging a big-ticket appliance or bedroom set, all three cards provide 0% intro APR to help save money on interest. However, Discover it gives you more time (14 months) to pay off the balance and also offers the lowest standard APR of the three cards, just in case you go over your balance payoff goal.
If you’re eager to undertake renovation or decorating projects, 3% cash back in the home improvements/furnishings category with Bank of America® Cash Rewards is attractive. If you have a big family, racking up 6% for every $1 spent on groceries (and 3% on gas purchases) with American Express Blue Cash Preferred sounds good, too, as long as you don’t mind the card’s annual fee.