The best credit cards for online shopping of 2021: Reviewed

Table of Contents ​​​What perks can you expect when shopping online with a credit card?How

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If you’ve been stepping up your online purchases recently—whether it’s because of pure convenience or you’re out and about less—you’re not alone. According to Digital Commerce, the pandemic accelerated the volume of online shopping and it isn’t slowing anytime soon. Online retail sales were up 32.4% year over year in 2020 and up by 39% in the first quarter of 2021.

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Whenever you start changing your shopping habits, it’s a good idea to figure out if you’re maximizing your credit card perks and rewards. Some credit cards give you more points or cash back in certain categories, like online purchases, and they may offer features that improve your online shopping experience.

If you think your card is lacking some of these perks, take a look at our lineup of the best credit cards for online shopping. You might want to add one or two to your wallet:

​​​What perks can you expect when shopping online with a credit card?

Shopping online has its pros and cons. Sure, it’s convenient, easy and potentially more hygienic than going to a store in person. But using a credit card online adds a potential cybersecurity risk, and you won’t get to test your new items before buying them. That’s why it’s important to check if your credit card comes with perks and features such as:

  • Account security: Each of the credit cards on this list come with some type of security feature, such as fraud detection, a zero liability guarantee for fraudulent transactions, the ability to lock the account if you misplace the card or a quick replacement if your card is lost, stolen or compromised.
     
  • Purchase protection: Some credit cards offer purchase protection, which pays to replace items bought with your credit card if they are stolen or damaged. This protection may come in handy if, for instance, a delivered package is stolen from your front door before you get to it.
     
  • Extended warranty: A manufacturer’s warranty pays to repair or replace items within a certain time frame after you buy them, and some credit cards extend that original warranty on eligible purchases. This benefit can be useful if your online purchase breaks down earlier than expected.
     
  • Shopping portals: These allow you to earn bonus rewards at hundreds of online retailers when you log in to the portal and then click to the retailer’s site. Some credit card issuers also increase the value of your points (or miles) when you redeem them for travel purchases and statement credits through the portal.

How we evaluated credit cards for online shopping

To come up with this “best of” list, we took a look at 24 top credit cards to review what they had to offer. Then, we combed through the rewards and perks programs to see where online shoppers could come out ahead. We also made sure the cards came with fair terms, such as a low (or no) annual fee and an annual percentage rate (APR) that ranges from average to slightly above average.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is an unsecured card that offers rewards galore for shopping at the online retailer and its major grocer. With an eligible Prime membership, cardholders earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market (both in-store and online). Plus, cardholders earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% everywhere else. The rewards are earned as points that you can redeem for eligible purchases at Amazon.com or for cash.

Fees and APR: There’s no annual fee, but you’ll need to buy an Amazon Prime membership first at a rate of $12.99 per month or $119 per year (plus taxes). Keep in mind: Should you cancel your subscription, you can still earn rewards on grocery and Amazon purchases, but they’ll be at 3%. The variable APR is low compared to other cards, but it increases if you decide to take out a cash advance.

Online-shopping perks: If you buy an item that comes with an eligible warranty up to three years, the Visa Signature program will extend it by an additional 12 months. Your new purchases are also covered for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Learn more about the Amazon Prime Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card happens to be our best credit card for travel. It also comes loaded with special perks and ways to maximize your online purchases, including online grocery orders that earn you 3 points per dollar spent.

Cardholders also earn 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (then 2 points on other travel purchases). You can stretch the value of your points through Chase’s online portal, too. Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel purchases or use the Pay Yourself Back program, which provides a statement credit in exchange for points.

Beyond shopping online, streaming services and restaurant purchases (including delivery and takeout) earn 3 points per dollar and all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.

Fees and APR: This card comes with a $95 annual fee, so you’ll have to figure out if it’s worth the extra expense based on its benefits and your spending habits. The variable APR starts average and ranges to slightly above average.

Online shopping perks: Through the Visa Signature program, you’ll receive an extended warranty of up to a year on eligible purchases, plus purchase protection for 120 days against damage or theft. Chase also monitors your account for unusual activity, lets you temporarily lock your account if you misplace your card and won’t hold you liable for fraudulent purchases.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is all about personalization. You choose your own bonus category and can update your selection once a month.

The list includes “online shopping” purchases, which provides a lot of flexibility. Cardholders earn 3% cash back in the bonus category and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 of combined spending per quarter. After you meet the threshold, your purchases earn 1% back.

There’s a chance to boost the value of your rewards, too. If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 5.25% back on purchases in your chosen category.

Fees and APR: There’s no annual fee and the variable APR range starts low and ranges to slightly above average.

Online shopping perks: When you sign up for online or mobile banking, you can check your FICO credit score and information from your TransUnion credit report for free. Bank of America also blocks potential fraud and won’t hold you responsible for any fraudulent purchases.

Learn more about Bank of America credit cards

Target RedCard

With the Target RedCard, you get a 5% discount on most purchases you make at Target.com—plus free two-day shipping on qualifying items, an extended window for returns and other special offers. The discount also applies to in-store purchases and at the retailer’s Starbucks locations, which boosts your money-saving potential.

You may be able to stack your savings with deals on the Target app, and you’ll get a 10% discount on every cardmember anniversary. Just keep in mind you don’t earn traditional rewards with the card as you do with others. Instead, the discount is automatically applied to your Target purchases.

Fees and APR: There are no annual fees or membership fees, and the variable APR is slightly above average.

Online shopping perks: The Target RedCard comes with Mastercard ID Theft Protection, a full suite of identity theft services. For instance, Mastercard monitors the surface, dark and deep web for your personal information, such as bank account credentials and Social Security number. If they find anything, a resolution specialist will contact you, help you resolve the incident and prevent further damage.

Learn more about the Target RedCard

Citi Double Cash Card

With the Citi Double Cash card, you earn cash back twice: 1% on every purchase and another 1% when you pay for those purchases.

Simplicity is this card’s secret weapon. Since there are no categories to keep track of and no rewards caps, you’ll earn 2% cash back on every single online purchase (as long as you pay your bill on time). That’s one of the highest flat cash-back rates out there.

Redemption options are flexible, too. You can either convert your rewards to points or receive your cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit or check.

This could be a good option if you don’t consistently shop with one retailer and your purchases don’t typically fit into a specific category.

Fees and APR: There’s no annual fee, and the variable APR ranges from low to slightly above average. However, Citi may raise your APR if you miss a payment.

Online shopping perks: This card comes with Citi Identity Theft Solutions, a free service that helps you recover from identity theft—even if the fraud didn’t happen on a Citi card. Once you contact the card issuer, a dedicated specialist will help you contact the credit bureaus, monitor your credit report and advise on how to file a police report. You also won’t be held liable for fraudulent charges to your Citi card.

Learn more about the Citi Double Cash Card

Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card gives you unlimited 2% cash back on everything you buy at Costco stores nationwide and online at Costco.com. The warehouse website offers everything from groceries to mattresses, lawn furniture, pharmacy and optical purchases, home installation services and more. That means your 2% cash back rate can go far if you frequently shop at the big-box retailer. Cardholders also get 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000 per year), 3% back on restaurant and travel purchases and 1% everywhere else.

However, redemption options are limited. You’ll receive your reward annually on your February billing statement, and it’s provided as a certificate you can use on Costco purchases.

Fees and APR: There’s no annual fee for the credit card, but you’ll need a Costco membership, which starts at $60 per year. The variable APR on purchases and balance transfers is slightly below average, which is the best deal among cards on this list. But if you make a late payment, you’ll incur a substantially higher penalty APR.

Online shopping perks: All cardholders receive purchase protection, which pays to repair a damaged or stolen item (or send you a refund) within 120 days of purchase.

Learn more about the Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Other Credit Cards We Evaluated

  • Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express:  We like the Blue Cash Everyday Card—it’s one of our best credit cards for groceries. Beyond that, cardholders get 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom (and that includes online purchases). You’ll also get 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year), 2% at gas stations and 1% everywhere else. While the “online” category is narrow, this card could be good if you want a bump in grocery points and you don’t shop at Whole Foods. It may also make sense if you want to shop at the physical grocery store or you don’t want to pay an annual fee. (See rates and fees.) Learn more
     
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: The QuicksilverOne charges an annual fee of $39 and doesn’t earn as much as the Citi’s Double Cash Card does, but cardholders still get a solid unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. The main draw is that it’s marketed for people with fair credit, so it’s a good option if you’re working on building your credit history. There are also several security features, including $0 fraud liability and the ability to lock the account if the card is misplaced, lost, or stolen. Learn more
     
  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature: Like Bank of America’s Customized Cash Rewards card, the U.S. Bank Cash+ lets cardholders choose their own bonus categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 spent in two chosen categories, which include some online purchases, and 2% cash back on an everyday category of your choice. All other purchases earn 1% back. Bank of America’s cash-back card boosts rewards for its customers—but if you bank somewhere else, this card is a great option for its flexibility. Learn more
     
  • Discover it: The Discover it Cash Back card features bonus categories that sometimes include online purchases, such as Amazon.comWalmart.com and Target.com shopping. You’ll earn 5% back in the rotating quarterly category, on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, after you activate the reward. All other purchases earn 1%. This card didn’t get a top spot on our list because the rewards cap is low. But it could be a good fit if you don’t spend much on your card and your expenses fall under several different categories. Learn more

Please note: The offers mentioned above are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.

Reviewed has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Reviewed and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

See rates and fees for the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.

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