5 Credit Cards to Help Fund Your Summer Renovations

Big home projects come with a lot of upfront expense, but the right credit card can help you finance the work.

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

Home renovations and updates come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they have in common is a lot of upfront expense. Whether you’re landscaping your yard, replacing your hot water heater or remodeling your kitchen this summer, you may need help financing your project.

The right credit card can help you do that. With that in mind, here are five card options worth considering.

1. Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

The Draw: Discounts and special interest-free financing offers

Signup Bonus: None

Annual Fee: None

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types, then variable 17.99% to 26.99%

Why We Picked It: Home Depot’s credit card can help you fund your project and give you time to pay it off interest-free.

Benefits: For Home Depot purchases of $299 and up, you’ll get six months with no interest. Home Depot also regularly offers promotions of up to 24 months with no interest for various project types, such as garages or water treatment purchases. There are special discounts available for certain products as well. Finally, cardholders get a year of hassle free returns, nine months longer than Home Depot’s standard return policy.

Drawbacks: The card is tied to Home Depot, so if you want to purchase your project materials elsewhere, keep looking.

2. Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card

The Draw: 5% off Lowe’s purchases, 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types

Signup Bonus: None

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types, then 26.99%

Why We Picked It: Lowe’s customers get a 5% discount and long intro periods to pay off their purchases without interest.

Benefits: Purchases of $299 and up qualify for six months interest-free if they’re paid off in that time period. Lowe’s also offers 10% discounts and 24 months interest-free on specific purchase types like patio furniture and grills. Cardholders get 5% off all eligible purchases, but that discount can’t be combined with most other offers.

Drawbacks: Once the interest kicks in, it’s quite high. Those who don’t shop at Lowe’s will see no benefit from this card.

3. Discover it

The Draw: 5% cash back on quarterly rotating purchase categories, 1% cash back on all other purchases

Signup Bonus: Discover will match all cash back earned in the first year.

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for 14 months, then variable 11.74% to 23.74%

Why We Picked It: If you move fast, you can earn 5% cash back on your home improvement purchases.

Benefits: The card earns 5% cash back on rotating purchase categories on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter. Right now, the bonus category includes home improvement stores, but you’ll have to act quickly because the category will roll over in July. The card also offers 0% intro APR for 14 months, a long time to pay off your project. Plus, as we mentioned, Discover will match your earned cash back for the first year.

Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track rotating purchase categories, this card will be a headache. You also need to move quick to take advantage of 5% cash back on home improvement store purchases.

4. Citi Double Cash

The Draw: 1% unlimited cash back on purchases and an additional 1% as you pay off those purchases

Signup Bonus: None

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%.

Why We Picked It: The card earns 1% cash back on your renovation expenses, then gives you an extra 1% incentive to pay your balance down quickly. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

Benefits: By the time you’ve paid off a purchase, it’s earned you a total of 2% cash back, significant for an expensive home renovation project. Plus, Citi Price Rewind automatically searches for a lower price on items you register, and will issue a reimbursement if a lower price is found within 60 days of the date of purchase.

Drawbacks: Because you don’t get a full 2% cash back rate until you pay, this card isn’t a good fit for those that tend to carry a balance.

5. Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Draw: Unlimited 1.5% cash back

Signup Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%

Why We Picked It: The card earns an automatic 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and has a lengthy 0% intro APR period.

Benefits: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back, with no purchase categories to track or hoops to jump through. Cardholders also won’t incur interest for 15 months, a substantial time frame to pay off your project.

Drawbacks: This isn’t the highest cash-back rate available.

How to Choose a Credit Card for Your Home Project

The type of renovations you’re doing could determine the right card for your project. For instance, if you’re installing a shed in your backyard, and Home Depot is offering a deep discount on sheds, that might be enough of a draw to choose that card.

However, if your project requires many different purchase types spread across multiple stores, or if you also want a card that you can use for everyday spending, you’re likely better off with a general spending card with cash back rewards.

If you’re looking to take advantage of a 0% intro APR offer, you’ll want to estimate the cost of your project and find a card with a payback period long enough for you to pay off the project in full. Otherwise, you’ll wind up getting hit with interest once the intro period expires.

What Is Required to Get a Card for My Home Project?

Cash-back rewards cards generally require good to excellent credit to qualify, while store branded credit cards may have looser requirements. No matter what card you wind up choosing, you’ll want to be confident you can qualify before you apply. You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com to get an idea of where your credit stands and which cards you may be eligible for. Need to improve your scores? You can read more about how to do so here.

Image: shironosov

At publishing time, the Discover it, Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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