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.
After the introductory period the APR jumps to a minimum of 13.24%, going as high as 23.24% if your credit isn’t as good as it could be. You also get your monthly FICO score for free, no annual fee and no fee if you charge over your limit. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee, however, making this card a less than attractive choice if you travel abroad a lot. This is not a rewards card.
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.
The card comes with an introductory APR of 0%, which later changes to a minimum of 13.24%, going all the way to 22.24% if you have some work to do on your credit score. It has an annual fee of $75 and a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
If you’re planning to travel during retirement, you want a card that caters to travelers. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard gives you 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in 90 days, double miles on all purchases and 5% of your miles back when you redeem them.
The card comes with a 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers within the first 45 days. After that it goes to 16.24% or 20.24%, based on your creditworthiness. You get a 0% foreign transaction fee, but after the first year you’ll pay an $89 annual fee. (For more, see Top Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee.)
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 a 0% APR for the first year and 16.49% after that. There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not the best card for 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 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, two times the miles for every dollar you spend and there’s no foreign transaction fee. With no introductory APR, the rate from day one is between 13.24% and 23.24%, and there’s a $59 annual fee after the first year. But don’t let annual fees scare you away if the card offers enough value. 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.)