You’re retired, but that doesn’t mean that the expenses don’t keep coming. There’s also no doubting the fact that cash has lost its role as the primary way to pay in America. And don’t even think about trying to buy anything online without plastic. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, which should you choose? Here are six to consider.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
If you like to shop online or buy your groceries at Whole Foods Market you will like the Amazon Prime Visa Signature Card. It offers 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods Market purchases, 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drug store and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The APR on purchases and balance transfers ranges from a minimum of 14.24%, going as high as 24.24% if your credit isn’t as good as it could be. There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, so this card could be ideal to keep long term and to use for international travel.
Blue Cash Preferred From American Express
If you’re looking for a card with a rewards program, check out this American Express card. You get 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on your first $6,000 of purchases for the first year; after that it’s 1%. You also get 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores. All other purchases earn you 1%. These rewards come in the form of a statement credit.
Amex Everyday Card
If you find yourself using your credit card frequently for small purchases while retired the Amex Everyday can be a good choice because it offers a 20% more in points when you make 20 or more transactions each billing period. It offers 2X points on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, which is a nice feature since we're all eating more at home during the pandemic.
The card comes with a 0% APR for 15 months for purchases. After that it goes to 12.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so this might not be the best card to take on overseas trips.
AARP Credit Card From Chase
If you’re a member of AARP, check out the organization’s credit card from Chase Bank USA, N.A. You earn 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations and 1% on all other purchases. You also get $100 back after you spend $500 in the first 3 months.
The card comes with an APR on purchases of 16.24%–22.99% variable. There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not the best card for international travelers.
Citi Double Cash Card
This card seems to find itself on a lot of best-of lists and for good reason. When you make a purchase, you get 1% cash back. When you pay your balance, you get another 1%. You get 0% APR for the first 15 months, then a rate between 13.24% and 23.24%. The card has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Venture From Capital One
This is another card for the travel enthusiast; you get 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, 2X miles for every dollar you spend and there’s no foreign transaction fee. With no introductory APR, the rate from day one is 17.24%, 21.99% or 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness, and there’s a $95 annual fee. But don’t let annual fee scare you away if the card offers enough value based on your spending. This is another card that finds itself on a lot of best-of lists.
The Bottom Line
Remember that a credit card is a tool. Used skillfully, it can add to your purchasing power. In the wrong hands it can lead to financial hardship. As long as you pay your balance in full each month and spend within your means, you’re using the card wisely. (For more in the cautionary-tales department, see Why Retirees Shouldn’t Use Credit Cards.)