By Jonathan Roisman, NextAdvisor.com
The holiday shopping season is rapidly approaching, and we've got a few suggestions to save you some money when paying with a credit card. There are two major ways you can save some cash while you shop for your friends and family this year.
First, you can earn money while you shop by using a cash-back credit card. Some cards will earn you 3% to 6% cash back on select holiday categories, allowing you to recoup some of what you pay for in gifts. Why not earn some cash back on purchases you already plan to make? Next, get a credit card that offers a 0% intro APR. With a no interest card, you can buy whatever you need for the holiday season without paying interest charges for as long as 18 months, just in case you can't pay your balance in full. And some cash-back credit cards offer the best of both worlds, up to 6% cash back combined with 15 months of no interest!
Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping
Since there are so many options when it comes to credit cards for holiday shopping, we've broken down the top cards that offer a long 0% intro APR cards with cash back benefits and those that simply offer the longest 0% intro APR.
Long 0% Intro APR plus Cash Back
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers a fantastic blend of rewards and an intro 0% APR. To start, you'll get a 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Although there's a $75 annual fee, you'll receive one year of Amazon Prime and a $100 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership, which is a good benefit for people planning on doing a lot of holiday shopping. Not only that, but the card offers amazing 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases), unlimited 3% on gas station and department store purchases (great for holiday shopping), as well as 1% on all other purchases. If you're looking for a card that offers similar features without the annual fee, check out the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. This card comes with the same 15-month 0% intro APR but a lower intro bonus and cash back rates.
If you're an online shopper, the Discover it Card is the best choice for this year's Cyber Monday sales. That's because from now through Dec. 31st, you'll get 5% cash back on any online shopping or department store purchases up to $1,500. Discover it's 5% cash back rotates each quarter, letting you take advantage of earning cash back on different kinds of purchases every three months. Other great benefits include 14 months of 0% intro APR, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases and no annual fee.
In addition to a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months, the Chase Freedom card also earns an excellent 5% cash back on up to $1,500 worth of purchases on rotating categories and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Through the end of this year, the categories are holiday-shopping themed. You'll get 5% cash back on purchases from Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores (including Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Sears and many, many more). Best yet, there's no annual fee with Chase Freedom and you get a $100 cash back bonus when you spend $500 within the first three months of opening the account. And unlike the other cards on this list, you don't need excellent credit to be approved for Chase Freedom. Those with merely "good" credit scores (typically 660 or higher) have a chance to be approved.
The Citi Double Cash Card is another top choice for paying no interest on your holiday purchases while earning cash back. With this card, you'll get a 0% APR for the first 15 months so you don't have to worry about racking up interest on your gifts this year as long as you make the minimum payment each month. As one of the newest credit cards on the market, Citi Double Cash offers a unique way to earn cash back. You'll get 1% cash back on all purchases you make and another 1% for each dollar you payback on your bill. In essence, you can up to 2% cash back on an unlimited amount of purchases when you pay off your statement. Although there's no signup bonus, this card does not have an annual fee.
If you want a credit card that earns generous cash back regardless of the time of year or shopping category, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards is good choice. You'll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and pay a 0% APR until June 2015. The card also comes with a $100 cash back bonus when you spend $500 in first three months of opening the account and has no annual fee. Like Chase Freedom, you only need good, not great, credit to be approved.
Longest 0% Intro APR
With a whopping 18 month 0% intro APR, the Citi Simplicity card is a great choice if you need to pay your balance off over time without the threat of interest charges. In addition to this generous purchase intro APR, this card also has an 18-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers. Citi Simplicity also has a unique no fee policy -- no late fees, penalty rates or annual fees -- ever!
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card also comes with a lengthy 18-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. In addition to paying no interest on your purchases, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card allows you to earn Citi Easy Deals Points that can be redeemed for online deals on name-brand merchandise and gift cards. To top it off, there's no annual fee.
This blog post originally appeared on NextAdvisor.com