Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping

If you tend to skip the brick-and-mortar experience in favor of virtual shopping sprees, these cards can reward you handsomely.

Melissa LambarenaJune 17, 2020
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An online shopping spree can free you from bustling crowds, long lines and overly enthusiastic retail employees — and the right credit card can stretch that spending further.

You can use the introductory incentives and ongoing points or cash back to bring down your overall bill, treat yourself to a fancy dinner or maybe even fund your next vacation.

Here are some of our favorite credit cards that offer top rewards for online purchases.

Nerd tip: "Online shopping" and "online streaming" are not necessarily synonymous when it comes to credit card bonus categories. If you're looking for a card that specifically rewards the latter, see NerdWallet's best credit cards for streaming services.

Top credit cards for online shopping

  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

  • Discover it® Cash Back

  • Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

  • PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

  • Target REDcard™ Credit Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Customization and flexibility

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on two categories of your choice from a list of several options (on up to $2,000 spent per quarter on combined purchases).

  • 2% cash back on an everyday category of your choice, such as gas, groceries or restaurants.

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card lets you choose from several 5% categories, and among the choices as of September 2019 were select department stores, sporting goods stores and electronics stores. Depending on where you shop, the rewards for these categories may extend to some online purchases. And if you need some padding for your purchases, the long introductory 0% APR can offer an interest-free break.

DRAWBACKS

Note that neither Walmart nor Target qualifies as a department store or electronics store. Also, some effort is required to rake in that prized 5% cash back rate. You have to remember to opt in to bonus categories every quarter and keep spending caps in mind to maximize your rewards.

Discover it® Cash Back

Our pick for: Seasonal shopping

Discover it® Cash Back
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CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 5% back in rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter (requires activation); 1% after that.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The Discover it® Cash Back is similar to the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card in that it features bonus categories that you must activate each quarter. In the past, its 5% bonus categories have included things like grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and wholesale clubs — not to mention specific online retailers that tend to be timely or seasonal. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2019 (just in time for holiday shopping), the bonus categories on the calendar were Amazon.com, Target (in-store and online), and Walmart.com. The intro APR period can also help.

DRAWBACKS

Unlike the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, you can’t choose your own categories; they're set by the issuer. If categories don’t match your spending, you’ll have to wait until the next quarter for new ones.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Our pick for: Bank of America® customers

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 3% back on a category of your choice and 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 spent per quarter in these categories combined (1% after).

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card lets you choose your own top earning category from a list of six options, and "online shopping" is one of them. (Gas, dining, travel, drugstores, and home improvement/furnishings round out the list.) Examples of merchants that qualify include Amazon.com, Apple.com, Bestbuy.com, Macys.com, Nike.com, Nordstrom.com, Target.com, Ticketmaster.com and Walmart.com. If you're already a Bank of America® customer, you can earn higher rewards rates through the Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program. This card also offers a lengthy intro APR that can offer breathing room on purchases.

DRAWBACKS

This card is not ideal for big spenders. If you spend thousands of dollars each month on purchases in your choice category, plus grocery stores and wholesale clubs, the $2,500 spending cap can limit your rewards.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

Our pick for: Simplicity

PayPal Cashback Mastercard
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CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: The ongoing APR is 19.99% - 26.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT

With the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®, there’s no guessing which purchases qualify as an “online shopping” category. You don’t have to track categories, stay on top of spending limits or opt in to earn a great 2% rate on all purchases. That can add up quickly.

DRAWBACKS

You’ll need a PayPal account to apply for this card, but it’s free to create one. You won’t get a sign-up bonus or a 0% introductory APR period.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Our pick for: Avid Amazon fans

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
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Amazon Prime customers can use the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card to get 5% back on purchases made through the retailer and at Whole Foods. That’s an outstanding uncapped rate that can potentially defray the cost of an Amazon Prime membership (typically a $119 annual expense). You’ll also earn a handsome 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else. The card's annual fee is $0.

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

Our pick for: True-blue Walmart fans

Walmart customers can use the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® to get 5% back on Walmart.com and Walmart app purchases. A minimum spending amount is required to qualify for free shipping. The card also offers rewards in other categories: 2% back on in-store purchases at Walmart (including Murphy USA and Walmart fuel stations); 2% back on travel and at restaurants; and 1% everywhere else. The annual fee is $0.

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Our pick for: Target loyalists

Target REDcard™ Credit Card
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For frequent Target shoppers, the Target REDcard™ Credit Card offers a 5% discount on most in-store or online purchases, free two-day shipping on qualifying items, an extended window for returns, and special offers. Exclusions apply. You can stack your savings, when possible, with deals available on Target’s app. And on every cardholder anniversary, you can look forward to a 10% discount. There's no membership fee, and the annual fee is $0. But like many store cards, it has a sky-high ongoing interest rate: The ongoing APR is 22.90% Variable, making it a poor choice if you maintain an ongoing balance.

Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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