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BEST OF

Best Credit Cards for Home Improvement and New Homeowners of June 2024

Updated: May 24, 2024
Melissa Lambarena
Senior Writer
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Melissa Lambarena
Senior Writer
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
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NerdWallet's Best Credit Cards for Home Improvement and New Homeowners of June 2024

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Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Our pick for

Fixer-uppers

Our pick for

Filling your home

Our pick for

Smaller-scale jobs

Our pick for

Big rewards at specific retailers

Our pick for

0% financing for projects

Our pick for

Stocking the pantry

Our pick for

Simplicity

Our pick for

Getting it all online

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT AND NEW HOMEOWNERS

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Our pick for: Fixer-uppers

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card gives you a little more control over your credit card rewards by letting you choose which category earns the highest cash-back rate, from a list that includes gas stations, restaurants, travel, home improvement and more. You also get bonus rewards at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, plus a great new-cardholder bonus offer. Read our review.

Merchant categories: The "home improvement and furnishings" 3% cash back category on the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card includes purchases made under these merchant category codes:

  • Air conditioning and refrigeration repair shops.

  • Antique shops for sales, repairs and restoration services.

  • Architectural, engineering and surveying services.

  • Building materials, lumber stores, carpentry.

  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning | contractors, concrete.

  • Crystal and glassware stores.

  • Drapery, upholstery and window coverings stores.

  • Electrical contractors.

  • Electrical parts and equipment.

  • Equipment, furniture and home furnishings stores (except appliances).

  • Equipment, tool, furniture and appliance rental and leasing.

  • Fireplace, fireplace screens and accessories stores.

  • Floor covering stores.

  • Florist suppliers, nursery stock and flowers.

  • Furniture reupholstering, repair and refinishing.

  • General contractor/residential building.

  • Glass, paint, wallpaper stores.

  • Hardware equipment and supplies.

  • Hardware stores.

  • Heating, plumbing, air conditioning contractors.

  • Home supply warehouse stores.

  • Household appliance stores.

  • Landscaping and horticultural services.

  • Lawn and garden supply stores.

  • Masonry, stonework, tile setting, plastering, insulation contractors.

  • Miscellaneous house furnishing specialty shops.

  • Office and commercial furniture.

  • Paints, varnishes and supplies.

  • Plumbing and heating equipment and supplies.

  • Roof, siding and sheet metal work contractors.

  • Special trade contractor (not elsewhere classified).

Retailer examples: Bank of America® identifies the following merchants as examples of purchases that qualify in this category. However, this is not a complete list of eligible retailers:

  • Ace Hardware.

  • Bed Bath and Beyond.

  • Crate and Barrel.

  • Harbor Freight Tools.

  • IKEA.

  • Lowe's.

  • Menards.

  • Pottery Barn.

  • Sherwin-Williams.

  • The Home Depot.

  • Trugreen.

  • Williams-Sonoma.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Filling your home and paying your bills

If you don't mind putting some work into your rewards, check out the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card. It might be the most customizable cash back card available. You pick which categories earn the most cash back — you get two 5% categories and a 2% category — and you can change those options every quarter. There's a good bonus offer for new cardholders, too. Read our review.

As of February 2023, the 5% cash back options on the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card were:

  • Furniture stores.

  • Department stores.

  • Electronics stores.

  • Sporting goods stores.

  • Select clothing stores.

  • Home utilities

  • TV, internet and streaming services.

  • Cell phone providers.

  • Fast food.

  • Movie theaters.

  • Gyms/fitness centers.

  • Ground transportation.

For examples of specific retailers in each category, see this page at U.S. Bank.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Our pick for: Smaller-scale jobs

The Citi Custom Cash® Card offers a lot of value for a $0 annual fee: 5% back automatically in your eligible top spending category on up to $500 spent per billing cycle (1% back on other spending). The list of eligible 5% categories is varied and includes biggies like restaurants, grocery stores and more. And unlike with its competitors, there's no activation schedule or bonus calendar to keep track of. Read our review.

Citi describes eligible merchants in the "home improvement stores" category this way:

"Includes purchases at home supply warehouse stores, lumber and building materials stores, paint and wallpaper stores, hardware stores, nurseries — lawn and garden supply stores and paints, varnishes and supplies stores. Excludes florists and florists' supply stores; nursery stock; wholesale construction stores; and glass stores."

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Big rewards at specific retailers

The U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card is tailor-made for consumers who spend a lot of money at retailers that don't fit into (or are specifically excluded from) the bonus categories offered by other credit cards. The card also offers a higher-than-usual rate on spending outside its bonus categories. The downside: There's an annual fee. Read our review.

  • Ace Hardware.

  • Apple.

  • Amazon.com.

  • Anthropologie.

  • Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

  • Best Buy.

  • Chewy.com.

  • Crate & Barrel.

  • Disney.

  • Home Depot.

  • Ikea.

  • Kohl's.

  • Lowe's.

  • Lululemon.

  • Macy's.

  • Menards.

  • Nordstrom.

  • Pottery Barn.

  • QVC.

  • Restoration Hardware.

  • Target.

  • Walmart.

  • Wayfair.com.

  • Williams Sonoma.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Our pick for: 0% financing for projects

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has one of the longest 0% intro APR periods on the market — approaching almost two years. You'll be hard-pressed to find a longer interest-free promotion, and it applies to both purchases and balance transfers. Read our review.

Prime Visa

Our pick for: Getting it all online

If you drop a lot of money at Amazon and/or Whole Foods Market, this is the card for you, with 5% back on such purchases, plus bonus rewards at restaurants and gas stations, plus local transit and commuting (including rideshare). There's no annual fee, but you have to be a Prime member, and that does have a fee. Read our review.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our pick for: Stocking the pantry

If your household spends a lot on groceries, gas, transit and streaming, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is for you. The rewards it pays in those categories — particularly at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions — are among the richest of any card. There's a nice welcome offer for new cardholders and an introductory APR period, too. The generous benefits come at a cost, though: Unlike most cash-back cards, this one charges an annual fee. Terms apply. Read our review.

Citi Double Cash® Card

Our pick for: Simplicity

Year after year, the Citi Double Cash® Card has been a top choice among flat-rate cash-back cards. You earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. There's no 0% intro period for purchases and no bonus categories, but the high rewards rate more than makes up for the lack of bells and whistles. Read our review.

MyLowe’s Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: Big box home improvement shopping

Unlike store cards whose rewards have value only if you return to the store and spend more money, the MyLowe’s Rewards Credit Card gives you an immediate 5% discount on almost everything you buy, with a $0 annual fee. That makes it a compelling choice not just for loyal Lowe's customers, but also for those who spend heavily on home improvement elsewhere and could easily shift to Lowe's. Read our review.

IKEA Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: Ikea fans

The IKEA Visa® Credit Card earns 5% on Ikea purchases (including Traemand kitchen installation and at-home assembly services from TaskRabbit, which Ikea owns); 3% back on dining, grocery and utility spending; and 1% back on all other purchases. A drawback is that the rewards are redeemable only for more Ikea purchases — but if you enjoy wandering the maze in Ikea's showrooms, that may only add to the appeal. Read our review.

• • •

OTHER RESOURCES

Using credit cards strategically on home improvement projects

Americans spend a lot on their homes — not just buying them, but also maintaining them. NerdWallet’s 2022 Home Improvement Report found that Americans embarked on 134.8 million significant home improvement projects in the 2019-2021 period, with total spending of $624 billion. Of those projects, 53 million projects were DIY.

Fewer than half (42%) of the respondents in a NerdWallet survey for the report said they were able to "easily" pay for their recent home improvement projects, 20% said they had to make sacrifices in other areas, and 12% took on debt for the projects.

That's where using the right credit cards can help. With extra rewards in home improvement categories, 0% introductory APR periods that help you finance big purchases without interest, and generous sign-up bonuses, credit cards can stretch your home dollars further.

Here are ways to use credit cards to help offset the cost of home improvement expenses:

1. Reward yourself as you renovate

The simplest way to use credit cards to save on home improvement is to earmark your rewards for home purchases. For example, use a flat-rate cash-back card to earn 1.5% or 2% cash back on every purchase everywhere, then redeem those rewards for statement credit against purchases made for your project.

Taking it a step further, you can get a card that offers bonus cash back in relevant categories, like one of the cards described above. A card that offers 5% on home improvement, for example, generates a more-or-less-instant $50 in savings on a $1,000 project.

2. Leverage sign-up bonuses

Many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses of $150 to $200 or more when you spend a certain amount of money in the first few months after opening your account. Get a new card for your project, and you may be able to hit the requirement easily. Then you can put that “free money” toward the project and lower your overall costs even more.

3. Use a 0% intro APR offer for financing

If you'll need to spread the cost of a project over several months, consider applying for a card with a 0% intro APR period, which can save you money on interest. Some of the best rewards credit cards — including those that offer high rates on home improvement — come with 0% periods of well over a year. Just be sure to pay off the cost before the promotional period ends and interest charges kick in.

4. Evaluate store cards

If you plan to spend a significant amount at a particular store as you spruce up your home, take a look at that store’s branded credit card. Keep in mind, though, that while store cards tend to pay solid rewards for in-store shopping, they tend not to offer sign-up bonuses and they rarely come with a 0% interest period. Some of them may offer interest-deferred "special financing" on larger purchases, but be careful with these.

A version of this section was originally published by Forbes.

• • •

NerdWallet's Kimberly Palmer contributed to this article.

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

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best credit cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen as among the "best" in multiple categories. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

About the author

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Melissa Lambarena

Melissa is a credit cards writer at NerdWallet. Her work has been featured by The Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today. Read more
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