The 8 Best Back to School Credit Cards for Parents

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Take the sting out of the high cost of back to school shopping by using a credit card that rewards you for all your purchases. Parents spent an average of $674 on back to school shopping in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation. That makes the back to school season a smart time to apply for a new credit card.

Credit card companies are offering sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars in travel or cash back. You just need to apply for a new card and spend a certain amount during the first few months your account is open to earn the sign-up bonus. For the markers, glue sticks, laptops and new clothes already on your list, using the right credit card for back to school shopping can mean extra money back in your wallet fast.

You can save a surprising amount on your back to school shopping and your everyday purchases with the right credit card. Use cash back credit card rewards for something extra special for you and your family. Or, choose a travel card and start building up miles for a spring break trip. If your finances are tight use one of the long 0% introductory APR cards. You could get a year or longer of 0% interest. We did the homework and found these credit cards passed the test for parents.

Here are CompareCard’s 8 best credit cards for back-to-school spending in 2017:

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best for Packed Lunches and Clothes. Growing kids means big appetites. If you’ve got kids you probably spend a lot on groceries. Families can earn substantial cash-back rewards with this no-annual fee card. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year). Advancing to the next grade also means it’s time for new clothes and shoes. Again. Parents will earn 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores. There are about 15 popular stores on Amex’s list including Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Sears and Dillard’s. You will also earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and earn 1% cash back on everything else, which can add up significantly at the end of the year. Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Best for Laptops, Big Ticket Items. If expensive electronics, like a tablet or laptop, are on your back to school list, you can earn big cash back rewards with this card. That could be substantial for the big-ticket items on your list. This is a hard-working, high-earning cash back rewards card that will pay you twice. The simple cashback program rewards you with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases. That makes it one of the highest all around cash-back reward cards. There is no annual fee and no limit to the amount of cash you can earn. If you are looking to transfer high-interest credit card debt, this card offers a long introductory APR of 0%* for 18 months on Balance Transfers*.

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Best for Cash-Back Bonus. We give Discover an A+ for their originality with this sign-up bonus that could be worth hundreds of dollars depending on your spending level. This is a no-annual fee, high earning cash back card. Discover delivers with a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year automatically. That means you could turn a $200 bonus into $400 with Cashback Match™. You will also earn an industry high 5% cash back (up to $1,500) in bonus categories each quarter and 1% cash back everywhere else.

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

If the budget is tight right now, you will get an ultra-long 0%* for 21 months on purchases* introductory APR with this card. That means you will have well over a year to pay down your balance with no interest charges. This is the classic no-hassle credit card. It’s the only card with no late fees, no penalty rate, and no annual fee. If you have high interest credit card debt you’d like to transfer, there is an introductory 0% on balance transfers too.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for Spring Break Travel Bonus. This flexible travel card earns high marks for its impressive sign up bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The massive sign-up bonus will go a long way toward making your spring break plans a reality. Cash in your points on hotels, airfare, and even car rentals or cruises with this flexible travel card. Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Your points are worth 25% more when you book airfare, hotels or car rentals through the easy to use Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. The annual fee is $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Best for High Ongoing Travel Rewards. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns top grades with its all-star line-up of benefits that will take families far. Earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. These miles are easy to redeem, can be used to fly on any airline or stay at any hotel with no blackout dates, and miles won't expire for the life of the account. Parents can also nail down an impressive sign-up bonus. Earn a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening, equal to $400 in travel. The annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $59 after that. If you don't want an annual fee consider its sister card the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Best for Business Owning Parents. For parents who own their own business and are eligible, this card delivers 5% cash back on popular business categories including office supply stories. Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You will also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each year and 1% on all other card purchases. Take advantage of introductory APR 0% for 12 months. There is no annual fee.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases

Best for Balance Transfer. This card towers above the competition with its long introductory 0% period. With the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases, you get a long balance transfer and purchase intro rate. This card is perfect for parents who want to do a balance transfer and pay it offer over a long period of time with no new interest piling up. What sets this card apart from other long 0% intro APR offers are extra features often seen only on travel cards or premium cards. Parents who travel will appreciate the 24/7 access for travel and emergency assistance, worldwide car rental insurance and trip cancellation protection. Card holders are eligible for Citi® Price Rewind that can save you money on items you’ve already bought. No annual fee.

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Picture of John Tomerlin

By: | Sep 17, 2017

we have the Barclay Arrival plus card and have never seen a better deal.

Picture of Gisele Banks-Wesley

By: | Aug 23, 2017

My credit score is 627. Can you tell me the best credit card I can get?

1 Reply

By: CompareCards | Aug 25, 2017

With a score in the low-mid 600s, your credit is considered fair/average. Check out our page for credit cards for fair credit to see all the best options!

Picture of Nancy Jacques Lowell

By: | Aug 11, 2017

I'm looking for a credit card to transfer to one that has 0% interest for BT for my OLD NAVY CREDIT CARD. I don't care about cash back on purchases. I just need a lower intrest rate CARD.!!!!

2 Replies

By: CompareCards | Aug 14, 2017

Check out some of our best balance transfer cards for some cards with long intro APR periods on balance transfers.

By: Herman Kirkpatrick | Aug 23, 2017

You need to pay your card in full every month. That's the only way to save on interest. You should NEVER carry a credit card balance. Any financial consultant will tell you that.

Picture of Alvin C Paculanan

By: | Jul 3, 2017

Hi, i have a fico score of 728, how's my chances of getting approved for a wells fargo cash wise visa or a chase freedom unlimited?

1 Reply

By: CompareCards | Jul 11, 2017

With a score in the low/mid 700s, your credit is considered "good" and approaching "excellent". This means you have a pretty good chance of getting approved for any credit cards that require "Good/Excellent" credit!

Picture of Kani Saeed

By: | Apr 27, 2017

Hi, I have excellent credit, and pay off full amount every month. I want a cash back card with no annual fees. I am considering Chase Freedom (5% rotating categories) and Blue cash Everyday American Express.

1 Reply

By: Mike Nusinov Serio | Jun 22, 2017

I have Chase Freedom, and I pay the balance off each month as well. There are no annual fees. About 3 years ago, I requested to cash out on my "Rewards" and they sent me a check for $720.00. I have had no problems with Chase Freedom card

Picture of Lisa Ennis Mcculley

By: | Feb 25, 2017

Have only fair credit and trying to improve it with establishing credit card after filing bankruptcy is there any that would accept unsecured?

2 Replies

By: CompareCards | Feb 28, 2017

Check out our fair credit cards page to see all the best options! A few great choices are the Capital One QuicksilverOne and the Credit One Bank Credit Card.

By: Thomas Palmer | Jul 24, 2017

After my divorce my credit was in the low 500's, I could not get approval except for a pre-approved card with a annual fee. I was lucky, My daughter who had excellent credit, agreed to be a cosigner on one a new card for me with no annual fee, therefore I had two credit card to start building my credit with. You can also check into pre-paid credit cards.

Picture of Joyce Quintern Anderson

By: | Nov 28, 2016

I have excellent credit & pay my balance every month. What is the best no fee card with the greatest cash back ?

5 Replies

By: CompareCards | Nov 28, 2016

When picking the best cash back credit card, it's important to consider what you already spend the most money on. For example if you spend a lot on gas and groceries, then the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express or the BankAmericard Cash Rewards could be a great card for you. But if you're more interested in earning a flat cash back rate, the Citi Double Cash would be a great choice!

By: Martin Markowitz | Mar 30, 2017

Citi double cash back in my opinion. 1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay on the card. No annual fee.

By: Pala Aujla | Apr 8, 2017

The best credit card for cash back is Mastercard from Bank of America, it is no cap on unlimited cash back.

By: Zdivinita Gordillo | Jun 20, 2017

The best so far is the citibank double cashback with 2% in everything

By: Lester Moore | Jul 15, 2017

We use Costco Credit card for 4% back on gasoline, 3% at restaurants, and 2% at costco. For everything else we use Citicard Double Cash to get 2% back. Occasionally we look for new cards that pay a $150 bonus for spending $500 in 3 mos.

Picture of Lisa Steinmeyer

By: | Oct 24, 2016

How can i get a card with no credit?

1 Reply

By: CompareCards | Oct 25, 2016

If you have no credit, you will need to start with a secured credit card. Secured cards work just like normal credit cards, but you have to put down a refundable security deposit to get approved. After a year or so of responsible use, you should have built up enough credit history to get approved for a standard, unsecured credit card. The Capital One Secured MasterCard and the Discover it Secured Credit Card are both great options.

Picture of Danielle Martin

By: | Oct 7, 2016

i have bad credit but i am trying to get it back what do yall reccommend

1 Reply

By: CompareCards | Oct 11, 2016

If you have bad credit, you will probably need to start with a secured credit card. Secured cards work just like normal credit cards, but you need to put down a refundable security deposit to get approved. We recommend the Capital One Secured MasterCard and the Discover it Secured Credit Card

Picture of Gary Byllesby

By: | Aug 28, 2016

I have had various American Express cards continuously since the early 70s. I have had the Everyday AX Blue card for 20 years. No annual fee and great cash back. Customer Service is tops. I was pick pocketed in Vienna, Austria and American Express had a new card to me in an hour. They are also great about handling disputes. Another criteria that should be included in the comparison of credit cards is the percentage charged by the card for foreign transactions.


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