NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for the Suburbs

Consider your spending on things like gas, groceries, furniture and utilities. Here are our favorite cards for those kinds of expenses.

Robin Saks FrankelMay 22, 2020

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You've traded skyscrapers for cul-de-sacs and your subway pass for an SUV. Once you've succumbed to the siren song of suburbia, leaving your urban life behind is going to mean a different set of expenses.

To help maximize the spending patterns that go along with your new residential lifestyle, here are our top picks for credit cards for suburbanites.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our pick for: Big grocery spenders and commuters

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).

  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.

  • 3% back on transit including taxis, rideshare services, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.

  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations.

  • 1% back on everything else.

  • Terms apply.

Welcome offer: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $95.

APR: An intro 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a strong choice for those who spend a big chunk of their household budget on getting around town and filling up the fridge. You'll earn an industry-leading cash-back rate at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year in spending (then 1%), plus 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit expenses. Terms apply. Even for those days when you don't wanna fight the traffic and would prefer to park yourself on the sofa, the card will snag you 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. It also offers extended warranties and return protection on eligible card purchases, giving you additional safeguards for new appliances or other big-ticket items.

DrawbackS

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Our pick for: New homeowners

Card details

Rewards:

  • 3% back in a category of your choice (from a list of six) and 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs, for the first $2,500 of combined bonus category/grocery store/wholesale club spending per quarter (1% back after that).

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: $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: An intro 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

Now that you've made the leap to owning your first home, you're going to have to fill it. The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card can help with that. One of its 3% bonus category options is "home improvement and furnishings." And if you already have the home goods you need? You'll have five other possible 3% categories to choose from, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel and drugstore spending. Also take note of the card's 2% categories: Grocery stores and wholesale clubs can be quite helpful for homeowners. And the sign-up bonus could be enough to cover the food bill for your first housewarming party.

DRAWBACKS

You'll need to be OK with tracking bonus categories and how much you're spending in them. The $2,500 quarterly spending cap applies to the 3% and 2% bonus categories combined; big spenders may hit that cap pretty early.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Utility bills and more

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on two spending categories you pick from a list of multiple options (on up to $2,000 spent per quarter on those combined purchases).

  • 2% cash back on an everyday category of your choice.

  • 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

If you're highly organized and don't mind a little extra effort in exchange for customized rewards, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card can be a good fit. It offers 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose, from a list that typically includes suburban favorites like furniture stores, home utilities, sporting goods stores, gyms and fitness centers, and movie theaters. You also earn 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category like grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants, and 1% back on all other eligible purchases. You can also pair the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card with a flat-rate cash back card for maximum returns on your spending.

DRAWBACKS

It's a fair amount of work to keep track of so many bonus categories.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Our pick for: Wholesale shoppers

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter).

  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases.

  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com.

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: An intro N/A, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% Variable APR.

Why we like it

If you dread making multiple stops to finish your to-do list, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi could be your wallet's MVP. Fill up your tank, pick up a year's worth of ketchup and purchase a new flat-screen TV, all in one trip. The card's gas rewards are among the highest you'll find, and families that dine out often will also be handsomely rewarded.

Drawbacks

While the annual fee is technically $0, you must be a Costco member, which starts at $60 a year. (By comparison, the Sam's Club® Mastercard® requires a membership starting at only $45 annually.)

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Our pick for: Avid Amazon or Whole Foods fans

If you're already an Amazon Prime member, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is perhaps the most valuable store card on the market. It earns 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; and 1% back on all other purchases. So it's great for those times you don't feel like braving the mall, or for those times your kids are craving a jar of 365 Everyday Value-brand organic peanut butter. Officially, the card's annual fee is $0 — but the only way to get it is by becoming a Prime member, and that typically costs $119 annually.

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

Our pick for: True-blue Walmart fans

If you can do most of your shopping online, the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® will save you even more off of the big-box behemoth's already-low prices. With this card, you'll get 5% back on purchases at Walmart.com and items purchased through the Walmart app. This includes items you buy online for in-store pickup, as well as for Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery. You'll earn 2% back on in-store purchases (including those made at Walmart fuel stations) and the same 2% back on travel and restaurant spending; and 1% back on everything else. (In the first year only, you'll also get 5% back on in-store purchases made with the Walmart Pay digital wallet.) There's no annual fee, but unless you can check off most of your shopping list via your computer or smartphone, you can likely get better all-around rewards on another card.

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Our pick for: Those who bleed Target red

If big-box stores are more your jam and you can't do without a weekly Target run, consider the Target REDcard™ Credit Card. Instead of waiting to redeem rewards, you'll get the incentive immediately upon checkout: 5% off nearly anything in the store. The annual fee is $0, and unlike either the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card or the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, no membership fee is required. But the card does have a high interest rate: The ongoing APR is 25.15% Variable. So try not to carry a balance on it.

Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card

Our pick for: Caffeine cravers

Making a Starbucks run is practically synonymous with getting through a busy day. And if you're someone who also uses the ubiquitous chain for its Wi-Fi, your parenting meet-ups, or just to grab a half-caf-triple-foam-whatever on the regular, you can benefit from the rewards on the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card. The card earns up to 3 Stars per $1 spent at Starbucks stores: 1 Star per $1 when digitally loading your Starbucks Card with your Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card (excludes money added at the register), plus 2 Stars per $1 spent when that Starbucks Card is used to pay at Starbucks stores. You'll also earn 1 Star for every $2 you spend at on several everyday categories including grocery stores, local transit and commuting, internet, cable, and phone services and 1 Star for every $4 you spend outside of Starbucks stores. There's an annual fee of $49, though, and rewards can only be redeemed for food and drinks, so this card makes sense only for those who make Starbucks a part of their daily grind.

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.

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

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this page.

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