In a world where one can buy just about anything on the Web, “online shopping” is basically synonymous with “shopping” — minus the whole rigmarole of leaving the house, hitting the stores, and carting your purchases back home.
Despite online retail’s explosive growth of late, the universe of credit cards best suited to online shopping remains distinct from the universe of credit cards best suited to brick-and-mortar retail.
Sure, some overlap exists, including among the cards on this list, but certain credit cards really shine in cyberspace.
Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping
The best credit cards for online shopping include a mix of retailer-specific credit cards and cash-back credit cards with flexible rewards programs that translate well to digital reality. Some also have enticing 0% APR promotions.
If there’s a great deal of online shopping in your future, these credit cards can help you make the most of your spending dollars.
2% Cash Back When You Pay Your Balance in Full Each Month
The Citi® Double Cash Card earns cash back twice: once when you spend and once when you pay your bill making at least the minimum payment. When you pay your bill in full each month, you’ll earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases, including purchases made online.
Beyond the 2% cash-back rate and a long 0% APR balance transfer promotion, Double Cash is a pretty basic cash-back card. But it’s a powerful online shopping aid nonetheless.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Limited Time Offer: Through 11/14/22, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases and 1% cash back on all balances paid by your statement due date (provided you make the minimum payment each month). That’s 2% cash back when you pay your bill in full each month.
- Redeeming Rewards: The best way to redeem is for statement credits or direct deposit to a linked bank account, beginning at $25 in accrued rewards.
- Introductory APR: Enjoy a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months from account opening. After that, variable regular APR applies (currently 18.24% to 28.24%). There’s no corresponding purchase promotion.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the transaction amount.
- Other Perks: Get special event access, presale tickets, and more through Citi Entertainment.
Very Generous Sign-up Bonus and Ongoing Rewards Program
If you lack the patience for quarterly rotating bonus categories, Chase Freedom Unlimited® is more your speed. There’s no need to think much about how or where you’re spending. This Visa card pays unlimited 1.5% cash back on most eligible purchases after the first year or first $20,000 spent. That includes online shopping purchases.
Like Freedom Flex, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers bonus cash back on eligible online travel purchases. The same great sign-up bonus and introductory APR promotions apply here too.
- Sign-Up Bonus: During the first year your account is open, earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to the first $20,000) spent. That's 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
- Earning Rewards: After the promotional period ends, earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on most eligible purchases. Earn 5% cash back on qualifying Lyft purchases (through March 2022 only), and travel purchased through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. Earn 3% cash back on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases.
- Redeeming Rewards: You can redeem with no minimums for bank account deposits, statement credits, gift cards, and noncash items like travel and general merchandise at the Chase Ultimate Rewards marketplace.
- Introductory APR: Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, regular variable APR applies (currently 19.24% to 27.99% variable, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors).
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
- Other Perks: Visa-backed shopping and travel benefits include complimentary secondary loss and damage coverage for rental cars and purchase protection on certain covered items.
Earn 4x Points at Restaurants and U.S. Supermarkets, Up to $25,000 in Annual Category Purchases
The American Express® Gold card is a very generous rewards card that earns 4% back (4x Membership Rewards points) on eligible restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases, up to $25,000 in annual U.S. supermarket spending, and a 3% return on eligible airfare spending in the U.S. and abroad.
This includes supermarket and airfare purchases made online, of course.
- Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first six months of card membership.
- Rewards Rate: Earn 4 points per $1 spent on restaurant purchases, including delivery and takeout orders placed online. Also, earn 4 points per $1 spent on U.S. supermarket purchases, up to $25,000 in annual U.S. supermarket spending or 100,000 in total annual point earnings. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible airfare purchased directly with the airline and at amextravel.com. All other eligible purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
- Redemption: You can redeem your Membership Rewards points for statement credits, travel bookings, gift cards, Uber rides, gift cards, and general merchandise at the American Express Membership Rewards portal. Minimums generally begin at 1,000 points but can vary.
- Introductory APR: None. For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold card, see its rates and fees page.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $250. There is no foreign transaction fee.
- Other Perks: Enjoy a $100 annual airline fee credit that covers incidental fees with your choice of airline. Also, get $10 in dining credits per month, up to $120 per year, with select chains and apps (including Grubhub). Terms apply and enrollment is required to enjoy these benefits.
6% Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets and Select Digital Media Services; 3% Cash Back at U.S. Gas Stations and Transit Providers; 1% Cash Back Everywhere Else
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express really shines on U.S. supermarket purchases, including orders placed online — earning 6% cash back on all such transactions, up to $6,000 spent each year. After that, you’ll earn 1% back on all U.S. supermarket purchases. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
This card also delivers 6% cash back on eligible digital streaming media providers (including online purchases) like Netflix and HBO.
Other real-world bonus categories include U.S. gas station and transit operator purchases, which both earn 3% cash back. Rideshare operators such as Lyft and Uber count as transit operators in American Express’s book.
Unfortunately, American Express doesn’t count the grocery sections of superstores like Walmart and wholesale clubs like Costco as “U.S. supermarkets,” so your spending won’t go as far in those places. But you’ll still take home a nice haul when you buy groceries online from your neighborhood purveyor.
- Welcome Offer: Earn $300 back after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
- Cash-Back Rate: This card earns 6% cash back on select digital media and streaming services like Netflix and HBO, plus 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 in spending per year. You’ll earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit companies, including ridesharing apps, and 1% cash back on everything else. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
- Redemption: The minimum redemption is $25 for statement credits ($25 increments only). You can also redeem for gift cards and other items.
- Introductory APR: Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, after which variable regular APR applies (currently 18.24% to 29.24%). See this card’s rates and fees page.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95 each year after that. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%.
1% Cash Back on All Eligible Purchases; Free Year of Amazon Prime Student
If you’re a U.S. or international student, you could qualify for the Deserve EDU Card, a Mastercard product that just might be the best credit card around for scholars shopping online.
Don’t forget to take advantage of a free year of Amazon Prime Student at sign-up, plus other valuable shopping perks like extended warranties.
- Sign-Up Bonus: None.
- Earning Rewards: Automatically earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
- Redeeming Rewards: Rewards redeem automatically as statement credits in $25 increments.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
- Other Perks: Get a free year of Amazon Prime Student (a $69 value) and enjoy extended warranties on qualifying purchases made with your card.
1.5% Cash Back on All Eligible Purchases; 0% APR on Purchases for 15 Months From Account Opening
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, including those made online, and imposes no restrictions on how much you can earn or how much you need to redeem. For that reason alone, it has a prime place on our list of the best cash-back credit cards.
A very long 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases (and balance transfers) and an enticing early spend bonus are both great news for online shoppers planning big buys.
- Early Spend Bonus: Spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months to earn a one-time $200 cash bonus.
- Earning Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on most eligible purchases. Eligible hotel and car rental bookings earn unlimited 5% cash back when made through Capital One Travel. There are no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn.
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem your cash-back rewards in any amount for paper checks or statement credits against prior purchases.
- Introductory APR: 0% introductory purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months after account opening. After that, variable regular APR applies (currently 19.24% to 29.24%).
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
- Other Perks: This card comes with a nice lineup of purchase and travel protections at no additional cost.
See our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.
5% Cash Back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Purchases
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card handsomely rewards purchases made at Amazon.com, North America’s biggest online retailer.
If you’re willing and able to spend $119 per year for an Amazon Prime membership, you’ll earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com — plus 5% cash back at Whole Foods Market and 3% cash back on eligible restaurant, gas station, and drugstore purchases.
That’s not bad for a card with no annual fee.
- Sign-up Bonus: For a limited time, get a $100 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on eligible Amazon purchases and Whole Foods purchases with a valid Amazon Prime membership. Otherwise, cardholders who are not Amazon Prime members earn 3% cash back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases. Earn 2% cash back on purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. All other eligible purchases earn 1% cash back.
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem in any amount for cash back via statement credit, bank account deposit, or credit against Amazon.com purchases.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee, but cardholders must have an active Amazon Prime membership (which costs $119 per year) to earn 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. There’s no foreign transaction fee.
- Other Perks: Enjoy extended warranties on eligible purchases and reimbursement for stolen or damaged items the original retailer won’t refund.
Each of these credit cards boasts above-average rewards and potentially valuable cardholder perks. Any of these Visa, Mastercard, or American Express products would be a fine addition to your online shopping arsenal.
Before you apply, be sure to consider your chosen card’s strengths and weaknesses against those of the other contenders on this list and make sure your credit score is strong enough to justify a formal credit card application. In a world where anyone with a credit card can buy just about anything online, credit card issuers tend to be choosy.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please visit this rates and fees page.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.