Every major retailer has an online store these days. That means consumers no longer have to leave their couch to buy clothes, books, groceries and more. But in a sea of credit cards, it can be hard to pick the best one for shopping online.
I’ll tell you how you can maximize your cash back while shopping online. I’ve included our roundup of the most rewarding credit cards. Plus, you’ll learn how to use shopping portals to earn 10 percent cash back or more. I managed to get 17 percent back for a recent purchase!
The Absolute Best Credit Card for Online Shopping: Uber Visa
You might not expect it from a ridesharing company, but the Uber Visa is great for earning extra cash back while shopping online. The card offers generous rewards in a variety of other shopping categories, too.
Dining earns 4 percent cash back, and airfare and hotels get 3 percent. Best of all, you’ll enjoy 2 percent back for all online purchases. All other purchases earn 1 percent.
More than just online retailers earn double points. You’ll also get 2 percent back for Uber and video and music streaming services. Not bad for a no-annual-fee rewards credit card. You’ll even get $100 after spending $500 in the first 90 days.
You can redeem your cash back for Uber credits starting at 500 points for $5. Gift cards and statement credits start at 2,500 points for $25. The Uber Visa is a great cashback card offering solid returns for online purchases.
Get 10 Percent or More Cash Back Shopping Online with Discover it or Chase Freedom
Discover it and Chase Freedom are no-fee cashback credit cards that are solid choices for online shoppers. If you have the Discover it Cashback Match card, it is a particularly good option during the first year of card membership. It works a little differently than the other cards on our list, which can be a good thing.
You’ll earn 5 percent cash back in quarterly rotating categories with either of these cards. Those categories often include Amazon, plus PayPal, Apple Pay and other digital payment options.
The rewards calendar features traditional vendors, too. Depending on the quarter, you might see grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, wholesale clubs and more. The 5 percent earning rate is capped at $1,500 in spending per quarter for both cards.
The best perk of the Discover it credit card, though, is its unlimited cashback match feature. There’s no sign-up bonus per se, but at the end of your first year as a cardholder, the issuer will match all of the cash back you’ve earned in the previous 12 months.
That means that the purchases you make in the rotating bonus categories will earn a whopping 10 percent back during the first year, and all other purchases earn 2 percent back.
Everything you buy with your Discover card during the first year, including purchases from online retailers, earns at least 2 percent cash back. And if Amazon is featured during a quarter, which usually is at least once a year, you can get a whopping 10 percent back. You won’t get that with any other card.
Let Me Show You How It Works:
When wholesale clubs are a featured rotating bonus category, as they are for Q1 of 2018, you’ll get 5 percent cash back for shopping at Sam’s Club. You’ll get another 5 percent back for shopping via the Discover portal. Discover will then double your cashback at the end of the first year, which works out to a huge 20 percent back. It’s hard to beat that kind of return!
Chase offers cardholders an opportunity to shop online via a similar rewards portal, and you can use the same strategy with your Chase Freedom card.
Keep in mind that there’s no cashback match at the end of the first year with Chase. However, there is a sign-up bonus of $150 back after spending just $500 on the card in the first three months of being a card member.
The shopping portals and bonus earnings make the Discover it and the Chase Freedom cards the best options if you often make purchases online and you want to maximize your cash back.
Amazon is the Best Retail Card for Online Shopping
Perhaps the best retail store card for online shopping is the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card. If you’re an Amazon junky, look no further. This is the card for you.
This cashback store card has no annual fees, and new cardholders receive a $50 Amazon credit upon approval. Shoppers who use the Amazon rewards credit card earn 3 percent back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores, and 1 percent back on everything else.
Rewards can be redeemed online at Amazon.com in any amount toward all or part of your purchase. The card also offers extended warranty protection and purchase protection, which is great to know when shopping online with a credit card.
The Most Balanced Cashback Credit Card for Online Shopping
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a no-fee credit card that earns 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, even when you’re shopping online. That includes paying your bills, buying groceries, getting gas, ordering from Amazon, bidding on eBay and more. Your rewards are unlimited.
This cashback card even comes with a sign-up bonus. You’ll get $150 after spending $500 within the first three months of card membership. The rewards you earn can be applied to any statement in any amount.
Combining the Freedom card with either of the Chase Sapphire cards makes it even more valuable because it opens up a lot of great redemption options. We’ll get into the details of how that works a little later on.
What makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited card great for online shoppers is the Ultimate Rewards Mall. When you make a purchase via Chase’s designated cashback shopping portal, you can earn even more rewards on online purchases.
Participating online merchants have different payouts, but you can earn an additional 1 to 5 percent, and sometimes more, on every purchase you make with your Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. Keep in mind that, in addition to having a Chase credit card, you must also use a Chase card at checkout to secure the bonus.
The Best Online Shopping Card for Travelers
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is perfect for anyone who shops online and loves to travel. That’s because every purchase, including internet retailers, earns double miles, and those miles can be redeemed toward any travel purchase.
The reason the Barclaycard Arrival Plus isn’t higher on our list is the fact that it charges an annual fee of $89 after the introductory year. However, it’s hard to beat double miles on all purchases.
New cardholders earn 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. The miles are worth one cent each when redeemed toward any travel purchase.
You’ll also get 5 percent of the miles you redeem back into your account so you can use them for the next redemption. For example, if you use 4,000 miles to pay for a $40 taxi ride, you’ll automatically get 200 miles deposited back into your account. That’s worth $2 toward your next ride.
It’s worth noting that this card may not be the right choice for a casual internet shopper. The Barclay Arrival Plus credit card is really geared toward high spenders who like to travel and who will make enough purchases to justify the fee after the first year.
Barclays also offers its customers an online shopping portal for even more rewards. Card members can shop online via the Barclaycard RewardsBoost and earn point multipliers on purchases made with participating merchants.
How I Got 17% Back With the Uber Visa by Using an Online Shopping Portal
The rewards you earn while shopping online can be lucrative, especially if you know how to maximize your return. Online shopping portals are a great way to do that since they frequently offer bonuses for purchases from specific merchants.
If your card of choice doesn’t offer an online shopping portal, you can shop through any third-party shopping portal or a travel/airline portal.
For example, I need a new suitcase for an upcoming trip. I see that eBags offers 15 percent cashback via the GoCashBack. So, with my Uber Visa card, I earn 2 percent cashback, plus another 15 percent simply by making my purchase through the shopping portal.
If I use my Uber card directly at eBags, I would earn just 2 percent back, but by combining cashback opportunities, I earn a total 17 percent back. That’s better than any standard offer from a cashback card.
Different merchants offer different return rates, and it’s definitely worth checking whether your favorite retailer is listed in your shopping portal of choice.
Don’t Forget Your Credit Card’s Auxiliary Benefits
Before deciding which credit card to use for online shopping, I recommend looking over your card agreement in detail. Many cards will come with extra benefits, such as purchase protection, extended warranty, fraud protections and more, that can be great if you’re shopping online.
First and foremost, all credit cards include zero liability protection. Unfortunately, information theft happens, particularly while shopping online. But you will not be responsible for unauthorized charges in the event your card number is stolen. Debit cards and prepaid cards don’t offer consumers the same protections.
Another great benefit is purchase protection. The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards offer a 120-day protection benefit. If you swipe your credit card to buy an expensive item, such as a cell phone, and it’s either damaged or stolen in the first three months, it’s covered up to a maximum of $500 per claim.
It’s worth looking over all these benefits to see what’s offered and to get the most out of all your online orders.
Get the Right Card and Start Shopping
It isn’t hard to earn 5 percent or more cash back on your online shopping. The best way to maximize your return is to choose a credit card that offers a high cashback rate and combining that with the right online shopping portal. I’ve done that many times with the Discover it and Freedom cards.
Making online purchases with a credit card can also offer you a little extra peace of mind. The added protections, such as purchase protection, extended warranty and fraud protections, make it that much safer. So find the card that works for you, and happy shopping!