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Updated July 17, 2014 1:57 PM PT

Study: Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping

Here are the best credit cards on CreditDonkey for online shopping

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To attract new customers, many credit cards offer special deals specifically for online shopping - and you could easily earn cash back and rewards just for buying things you’d be buying anyway.

Why not give to yourself while you’re giving to others? All you need to do is make sure you’re armed with the right credit cards before you start filling up your shopping cart.

We’ve done the hard work by zeroing in on the new offers that will give you the best payback. Of course, this money-saving idea assumes you’ll pay off your balance when it comes due, otherwise the late fees and interest charges negate the sweet perks.

Here were the guidelines we used in our study: Taking into account nationwide averages, we measured the perks of various cards based on an average American consumer (for the purposes of this article, we’ll call him Jake). Jake spends $700 shopping online from Thanksgiving through December, of which 10% is through Amazon.com and the rest is through various online retailers (that’s fairly typical behavior for an American consumer).

Below are the credit cards that came out best for an online holiday shopper like Jake:

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom comes in with Jake pocketing $107 by the time he's done. Assuming Jake was new to using the Chase Freedom card and he used only that card for all of his online shopping, he would earn:

  • $100 from Chase’s bonus offer since he’s a first-time cardmember and spent over $500 within the first three months of opening his account.

  • $7.00 from the 1% cash back on the $700 Jake spent.

Chase Freedom
Apply for Chase Freedom
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99%-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between July 1 and September 30, 2014 at gas stations and Kohl's®
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa comes in with Jake earning $107. If Jake solely used his new Citi Dividend card for his $700 online shopping spree, he would receive:

  • $100 from the bonus cash back after spending over $500 in purchases within the first three months of opening his account.

  • $7 from the 1% cash back on his $700 online shopping spree.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card
Apply for Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card
  • Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 5% Cash Back in categories every quarter. Right now, on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 - 9/30/14
  • Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year, excluding the $100 cash back with this offer. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months. After that, the APR will be 12.99%-22.99% variable based on your creditworthiness*
  • No Annual Fee*
  • Click Apply Now to see pricing details
Introductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionBaggage InsuranceTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability Identity Theft Assistance
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0%* for 12 months*
0%* for 12 months*
12.99% - 22.99%* (Variable)
$0*


For all the cards mentioned with 5% cash back categories, consumers must manually enroll in the 5% bonus spending categories, which change each quarter, but the process is quick and easy. All of the cards limit the amount of spending that can fall into the 5% bucket (earn up to $75 per quarter for Discover It and Chase Freedom and earn up to $300 per calendar year for Citi Dividend Platinum Select.)

Honorable Mentions

For shoppers with an existing balance, take a look at the Discover It.

This card is particularly helpful for people looking for a balance transfer deal. Discover It offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, after which the variable purchase APR comes into effect (currently 10.99% - 22.99%). You’ll pay a 3% fee for each balance transferred.

Discover it
Apply for Discover it
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months - then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.
  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 Stars by over 4,000 cardmembers.*
  • No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for you paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements.*
  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.*
  • 100% U.S.- based customer service - anytime, day and night.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Cash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackNo Limits on RewardsExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection$0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
10.99% - 22.99% Variable*
$0

For travelers who plan to spend over $3,000 within the first 90 days, take a look at the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. It offers 40,000 bonus miles if you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account – that's worth a $400 travel statement credit. Moreover, you earn 2x miles on all purchases. There is an $89 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Apply for Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • Book the travel you want - airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsTravel RewardsCar Rental RewardsTravel Accident InsuranceEmergency Assistance
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
14.99% or 18.99%* (Variable)
$89 - Waived first year

For big spenders who plan to spend thousands of dollars, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The card will give you 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. That alone is worth $500 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. There is a $95 annual fee, but that is waived the first year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% (Variable)
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwised endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

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CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.