There can be pros and cons to using a credit card for day to day purchases. However, if used smartly, the benefits and rewards can be great. Not only do many cards come with added protection against fraud and identity theft, they also let you earn points. Depending on the card, these can go towards cash back, free or discounted travel, and more.
Here are some of the most highly recommended cards. Of course, the key thing is to always avoid carrying a balance so you won’t be subject to interest charges.
1. The AARP Card from Chase
Chase offers an AARP Visa which is one of our top picks for seniors who want to earn rewards. It’s the only card we’ve chosen here that’s specifically made just for seniors, too. There’s no annual fee, plus it offers 3 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants. For everything else, you’ll still earn 1 percent cash back. Cash back the points won’t expire either so long as the account is kept open.
This card has an introductory APR of 0 percent for the first year on both balance transfers and purchases. If you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months, you’ll also claim a $100 cash back bonus.
The downsides? The card has a high variable interest rate after the 12-month introductory period is over. Plus, there’s also a 3 percent foreign transaction fee.
2. Discover it Cash Back
If you just want to rack up the cash back rewards, check out the Discover it card. Each quarter, the card offers 5% cash back at different places. Sometimes you’ll earn more at grocery stores, other times you’ll earn more at restaurants. You do have to remember to activate the cash back bonuses though. And, regardless, you’ll still automatically earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The intro offer is pretty crazy too. For all the cash back you earn, they’ll match it at the end of the first year. There’s no limit either. Plus, you can redeem your cash back at any time, in any amount, and the rewards never expire. (You can even redeem rewards when checking out on Amazon.com.)
There’s no annual fee, and for the first 14 months there’s 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. Of course, after the intro period, you’ll want to avoid carrying a balance.
3. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Our favorite card for jet setting seniors is Capital One’s Venture Rewards card. There are no foreign transaction fees and it helps seniors easily earn great travel rewards. Of course, to reap the best rewards, it requires some pretty heavy spending in the first three months. By spending $3,000 on purchases in that three-month period, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points. That’s worth $500 in travel.
Bonus aside, you’ll get two points for every dollar spent on all purchases. Plus, you’ll be able to earn 10x miles when you use your card at thousands of hotels.
Again, there are downsides. For one, there’s a high variable APR, so you really don’t want to carry a balance. There’s also no intro APR period, so you’ll have to be extra careful. This is especially true if you’re going for that 50,000-point bonus, too. Additionally, after the first year, the card has a $95 annual fee.