4 Credit Cards That Can Help You Save for a Car

Saving for a car can be much easier when you've got credit cards with major rewards and perks.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

The more you save up for a down payment on your next car, the better off you’ll be financially when you drive off the lot. A bigger down payment can reduce the amount you need to borrow,  increase the range of cars you can afford and even lower your monthly payments. But saving up for a car can be difficult when you’ve got many other expenses.

Cash back credit cards can help you save by earning money back on your purchases, putting cash back in your pocket.

These four credit cards can earn you cash back and that you can use to help you pay for your next ride.

1. Discover it Card

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter for rotating bonus categories, 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: Discover will match the cash back you earn in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for six months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99%
Why We Picked It: Long-term planners can use Discover’s cash back match for down payment assistance.
For Your New Car: This card earns 5% cash back on bonus categories, such as restaurants and home improvement stores, that rotate every quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Plus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn in the first year. If you have a year or more to save up for your new ride, that bonus can help you make a final push to boost your down payment.
Drawbacks: To get the most out of this card, you’ll have to do the work of tracking and activating spending categories each quarter.

2. Chase Freedom

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter for rotating bonus categories, 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: The 5% cash back bonus categories and signup bonus can help you quickly save.
For Your New Car: With 5% cash back on quarterly rotating bonus categories like gas stations and grocery stores, you’ll have plenty of ways to save. There’s also a $150 bonus when you spend $500 in three months, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
Drawbacks: Like Discover it, this card requires a bit more maintenance.

3. Blue Cash Preferred by American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in yearly spending at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 24.99%
Why We Picked It: Multiple ways to earn special cash back rates means you’ll have many ways to save for your car.
For Your New Car: With 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and certain department stores and 1% cash back elsewhere, there’s no shortage of opportunities for saving. Plus, $150 bonus cash can go right toward that down payment.
Drawbacks: There’s a $95 annual fee, which slightly reduces the potential profitability of your card.

4. Citi Double Cash

Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 1% upon payment
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 18 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: If you religiously pay off your balance each month, you’ll consistently earn 2% cash back on all purchases. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For Your New Car: With all purchases earning 2% cash back by the time you pay, you can earn a solid cash back rate no matter what you’re buying.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to wait until you pay to earn the full cash back rate.

Choosing a Credit Card to Help Save for a Car

Cash back is the primary way credit cards can help you save for a car. When picking a credit card to help you afford your next ride, you’ll want to choose a card that rewards the way you spend. You can try to find a card that offers special cash back rates on the purchase types you make most frequently. Or, if you tend to spread your purchases around at many types of merchants, a card with quarterly rotating purchase categories or a flat cash back rate on all purchases might be a good fit.

Be sure to check the cash back redemption options on any card you’re evaluating. Some cards will let you redeem your cash back as a deposit to your bank account, while others may only provide a credit to your credit card statement. The latter method can still help you save for a down payment as you’ll have a smaller credit card bill, but it’s something you should keep in mind.

It’s also important to remember that a cash back card works best when you pay off your balance in full each month, especially once any 0% APR period expires. That’s because interest charges will eat into the cash back you’ve earned.

What Credit Is Required for a Card That Helps You Afford a Car?

Cards with strong cash back offers and signup bonuses usually require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, you’ll want to be reasonably sure you can get approved, as a hard credit inquiry resulting from a credit card application can slightly hurt your credit score. You can check two of your credit scores completely free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Discover it, Chase Freedom, Blue Cash Preferred by American Express, and Citi Double Cash credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

Image: BraunS

The post 4 Credit Cards That Can Help You Save for a Car appeared first on Credit.com.

6 Credit Cards for New Homeowners

Like a new home, a credit card is a big commitment that can seriously pay off.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Buying a home is one of life’s biggest financial events and someone with a new mortgage may primarily be focused on how they’ll afford their new mortgage payment. But it takes more than a mortgage to make a home, with additional expenses such as furniture, remodeling projects and other needs adding to the overall cost.

You may be wondering how you’ll afford all these costs on top of a mortgage payment. Credit cards with low intro APR offers and cash back rewards can help.

Here are six credit cards worth considering if you’re a new homeowner (or will be soon).

1. Citi Simplicity

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 21 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: This card offers an extremely long intro 0% APR(Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For Your New Home: With 0% APR for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, you’ll have nearly two years to make purchases or pay off a balance interest-free. That’s a long time to furnish your home or pay off a remodeling project.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards.

2. Blue Cash Preferred by American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in yearly spending at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $250 bonus cash when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 24.99%
Why We Picked It: New homeowners have many ways to earn great cash back rates on purchases.
For Your New Home: The card earns 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back everywhere else. That means you can earn big cash back rewards as you stock your fridge, pick up accessories and appliances at department stores and fill up your gas tank for all those shopping trips. Plus, you get 12 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: There’s a $95 annual fee.

3. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Signup Bonus: $200 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 25.99%
Why We Picked It: Wells Fargo borrowers can put their cash back directly toward their mortgage.
For Your New Home: You’ll earn a solid 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Plus, if your mortgage lender is Wells Fargo, you can redeem your cash back as a credit to your mortgage principal. You’ll also get 12 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: Some competitors offer stronger cash back rates.

4. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months, a $25 bonus when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: A solid cash back rate and a long intro 0% APR period make this card a contender.
For Your New Home: You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. Plus, you’ll get 15 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: There are higher cash back rates out there.

5. Citi Double Cash

Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on purchases and an additional 1% upon payment
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 15 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: You’ll earn a great cash back rate on all purchases with a strong incentive to pay them off quickly.
For Your New Home: With 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 1% upon payment, you’ll be motivated to pay off your home expenses. Plus, you’ll have 15 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers.
Drawbacks: You won’t earn your full cash back until you pay your bills.

6. Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

Rewards: None
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types, then variable 21.99% to 26.99%
Why We Picked It: This card can help fund your DIY remodel and repair projects.
For Your New Home: Home Depot purchases of $299 and up get six months with no interest. Home Depot also offers 0% financing promotions for up to 24 months on many different purchase types, including appliances, windows and roofing. Cardholders also get access to special discounts and a year of hassle-free returns.
Drawbacks: If you don’t shop at Home Depot, this card isn’t right for you.

Choosing a Card for Your New Home Expenses

There are two primary ways credit cards can help with home expenses: cash back and 0% intro APR offers. New homeowners should look closely at these policies when evaluating a credit card.

If your priority is cash back, you’ll want to choose a card that rewards the way you’ll be spending on your new home. For instance, if you’ll be entertaining a lot, you may want a credit card that offers special cash back rates on groceries. If you’ll be ordering a lot of gadgets and appliances online, you’ll want a card for online purchases. If you tend to spread your purchases around, you may want a card with a good, flat cash back rate on all purchase types.

Intro 0% APR periods are helpful because you can avoid interest for a predetermined amount of time. If you have a lot of upcoming purchases, you won’t have to worry about paying interest for a while. If your new home expenses have already contributed to a high credit card balance, you can get some relief by transferring that balance to a card with a 0% intro APR offer. When choosing a card, look for one that gives you enough time to pay off your balance transfer or make most of your initial home purchases interest-free.

What Credit is Required to Get a Card for New Home Expenses?

Cards with cash back and strong balance transfer offers usually require good to excellent credit. To increase your chances of approval, you should know your credit score before you apply. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Citi Simplicity, Blue Cash Preferred by American Express, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Citi Double Cash credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

Image: courtneyk

The post 6 Credit Cards for New Homeowners appeared first on Credit.com.