As summer starts to recede, thoughts naturally turn to fall, and with that, the beginning of a new school year. While the dawning of a new term can be a nerve-racking time for kids, it can be an equally challenging period for parents, albeit for slightly different reasons. According to The National Retail Foundation, most parents of elementary school-age children intend to spend at least $696.70 per child on back to school essentials. It’s even worse news for parents of college-age students, who can expect to fork out a massive $976.78 per child. Fortunately, there’s help on hand; if your finances won’t stretch to a new pencil, let alone a whole new wardrobe, a credit card can provide a quick fix solution. That said, not all cards are created equal. Before signing off on a new application, make sure to do your homework on which cards offer the most bang for your buck. To help get you off to a flying start, we’ve put together a list of the top ten cards for back to school shopping in 2019.
1. Capital One VentureOne Reward
If you travel frequently (whether for business or pleasure), the Capital One VentureOne Reward is a solid option. With a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles when you spend at least $1000 on purchases within 3 months of opening the account (equating to around $200 in travel redemptions), a 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months, and no annual fee, you’ll soon make your money back on all those back to school necessities (or some of them, at least).
2. Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express
As is becoming increasingly common, the Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express offers a tiered rewards system, giving you the opportunity to earn 2x points per dollar on supermarket purchases, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. You’ll also receive 100,000 points if you spend $1000 in the first three months, equating to around $180 in redemptive value. Last, but not least, you’ll also benefit from an intro APR of 0% for the first 15 months on all purchases and balance transfers.
3. Capital One Quicksilver Card
Use your Capital One Quicksilver Card for all back to school purchases, and you’ll be halfway to meeting the $500 minimum spend needed to access the $150 cashback sign up bonus. Other key benefits include a generous 1.5% cashback on all your purchases and an intro APR of 0% for the first 15 months on all purchases.
4. Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash card will not only offer you 2% cashback on all your back to school purchases, but it will also award you 1% on all your other purchases, and a top-up cashback of 1% when you pay those purchases off. Another handy perk for cardholders is Citi’s Price Rewind: Citi will automatically check for other retailers offering a lower price on your purchases, and if it finds one within 60 days, it may offer a reimbursement against the difference.
5. Discover it Cashback
Take out a Discover it Cash Back card and you’ll qualify for 5% cashback on certain purchases each quarter, along with a 1% cashback on all other purchases. At the end of the year, Citi will match all the cashback you’ve earned up to that point… if you’re a big spender and don’t mind waiting, this could put you in line to receive a full reimbursement against all your school purchases. As an added perk, you’ll receive an intro APR of 0% for the first 14 months on all balance transfers and purchases (reverting to 14.24%-25.24% (V) thereafter).
6. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
Sign up to a Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express and you can expect to receive a $250 initial bonus when you spend $1000 in the first 3 months, a 6% cashback on supermarket purchases (a great way to get money back on all those essential school supplies), and 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services (another solid way of recouping some of the costs of streaming educational content). Added bonuses include 3% cash back on gas station and transit-related purchases, and 1% cashback on all other purchases.
7. Chase Freedom Unlimited
The key reason to choose the Chase Freedom Unlimited is its solid cashback offer: earn 3% cashback on all purchases up to $20,000 in the first year and 1.5% thereafter. With a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months and no annual fee, you’ll soon see a return on all those back to school essentials.
8. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
The new school year may bring about some unwanted costs, but with the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll at least get the benefit of a healthy cash back scheme (equating to 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back on grocery purchases, and 1% on all other purchases), along with a generous sign up bonus ($300 when you spend $3000 within the first three months of account opening). If you can manage to buy most of your school requirements at supermarkets, the 2% cashback should come in very handy.
9.Capital One Spark Cash
Take out a Capital One Spark Cash and spend $4500 in the first three months from account opening, and you’ll qualify for a $500 bonus. All purchases will get you a 2% cashback, which can be redeemed for any amount for the life of the account. The first year comes with no annual fee, while a charge of $95 will apply from the second year on.
10. Bank America Credit Card
With a 0% intro APR on all purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening for the first 18 months, the Bank America Credit card is a great way of avoiding high interest on back to school expenses. As an added extra, there’s no annual fee.