Best credit cards for home improvement for July 2024

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You may be ready to break ground on a home renovation or start your latest DIY, but is your wallet?

It pays to budget for the cost of a project before you get started — whether you’re spending upwards of $10,000 on a kitchen or bathroom remodel or you just want to freshen up your outdoor space.

No matter how big or small your project is, the right credit card can help you earn rewards and even gain some extra time to pay off your balance without interest. These are our top credit card picks for maximizing home improvement spending.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days.

Intro offer: Introductory 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on new purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening (3% balance transfer fee within those 60 days, then 4% fee).

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back in your chosen category: gas and EV charging stations; online shopping, cable, internet, phone plans, and streaming; dining; travel; drug stores and pharmacies; or home improvement and furnishings*

  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs*

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    *Up to the first $2,500 in combined spending across categories per quarter, then 1%

Why we like it: The Bank of America Customized Cash card may require some strategizing, but it’s one of the most rewarding cash-back credit cards for home improvement purchases. If you choose home improvement and furnishings as your choice 3% category, you can potentially get up to $75 back each quarter before maxing out the category. Depending on the length of your project, you may continue to choose this category and keep earning 3% rewards.

In addition to home improvement rewards, the Bank of America Customized Cash card also carries a solid introductory 0% APR period. You’ll have 15 billing cycles after opening to pay down the home improvement spending you charge to your card before the standard APR kicks in.

Finally, you can maximize your spending even more if you’re already a Bank of America customer. Through the Preferred Rewards program, you can earn 25% to 75% more on your spending (depending on the tier you qualify for based on your combined balances across eligible Bank of America and Merrill accounts). That could increase your 3% home improvement rewards to a potential 3.75% to 5.25% cash back.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: N/A

Intro offer: Introductory 0% APR for 21 months on new purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Rewards: N/A

Why we like it: This card may not earn you any rewards on home improvement spending, but it does carry the longest 0% APR intro period you’ll find today. You’ll have a full 21 months after opening your Wells Fargo Reflect before any of your purchases begin to earn interest. If you don’t already have the full amount of cash you’ll need to complete your project, this is a great way to give yourself some extra time without taking on any added costs.

Just make sure to keep track of your balances and timeline. If you don’t pay your card’s balance in full before the 21-month intro period ends, you’ll start accruing interest on the remainder. At this card’s ongoing variable 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% APR, that’s a quick way to rack up expensive interest charges.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 within the first 6 months

Intro offer: Introductory 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases and balance transfers

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets*

  • 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases*

  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations*
    *Up to $6,000 spent in each category per year, then 1%. Cash back is received in the form of reward dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or on Amazon.com at checkout.

Recommended credit score: Good to Excellent

Why we like it: The Blue Cash Everyday from Amex is already among our top cash-back credit cards for everyday spending, but it can also add major value to your home improvement plans. If you’re planning to order any of your tools, supplies, furniture, appliances, or other necessities for your project online, you’ll get 3% back on up to $6,000 per year. If you max out that category over the year, you could total $180 cash back toward home improvement spending — and that’s before accounting for added rewards at the supermarket or gas station.

Like many other cards on our list, you’ll also enjoy 15 months of 0% interest on your purchases with the Blue Cash Everyday. So if you’re looking to finance the new couch or washer-dryer set you order online, this card will give you extra time to pay it off while you earn rewards.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on every purchase, up to the first $20,000 spent over the first year (worth up to $300 cash back)

Intro offer: Introductory 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠

  • 3% cash back on dining

  • 3% cash back at drugstores

  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

Recommended credit score: Good to Excellent

Why we like it: While its highest rewards categories may not be the most useful for your project, the Chase Freedom Unlimited does carry a lot of value in its minimum 1.5% on all purchases. And you can get even more as a new cardholder. This card’s current welcome offer awards an extra 1.5% on every purchase for the first year — meaning you can boost that standard 1.5% cash back to 3% cash back on any purchase (up to the first $20,000 you spend across categories).

Say you use your card to spend $5,000 toward your home improvement project — all on non-category purchases that would regularly earn 1.5% back. Instead of the $75 you would typically net, you’ll get $150 on that spending the first year.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited also has an intro 0% APR period. So while you’re earning those extra rewards over the first year, you won’t pay any added interest charges. Just make sure to pay down your balance before the 15-month intro period is up to avoid the 20.49% to 29.24% variable APR.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Earn $200 after spending $1,500 within the first 6 months

Intro offer: Introductory 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases and balance transfers

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back in your top eligible category (up to the first $500 spent per billing cycle, then 1%): restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Why we like it: The Citi Custom Cash is another card with different options for earning its highest rewards rate. But instead of opting into your choice category, you’ll automatically earn the 5% cash back in the category you spend most each month. If you have an upcoming project that requires spending at home improvement stores, you may want to dedicate this card solely to those purchases to get your 5% back.

Definitely consider this card’s spending limits, though. The Custom Cash Card may be best for projects that extend over a few months, since you’ll only get the full 5% cash back on your first $500 spent in the top category. Each billing cycle, the 5% cap resets. So while you’ll only get a maximum $25 back in your 5% category every month, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to keep earning it over time.

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Earn a $25 statement credit when you opt into automatic payments within the first 3 months

Intro offer: N/A

Rewards:

Why we like it: If you’re looking to save on your home improvement project while building credit at the same time, the Chase Freedom Rise could be a good option. With this starter credit card, you’ll have the chance to track your credit score and can qualify for a credit line increase after just six months.

There’s also no annual fee, and you can earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase — no matter where you spend. One thing to note: This card doesn’t have an introductory 0% APR period. Make sure you’re able to pay your balances each month so you can avoid the Freedom Rise’s steep variable APR. Even better, opt into automatic payments so you can earn the $25 bonus and never miss a due date.

It’s useful to compare different credit cards to find one that will save you the most money over the course of your home project and beyond. Here are some important details to consider:

Because you’ll probably be spending more than you otherwise would, your home improvement project is a great opportunity to maximize your purchases and put money back in your pocket. Focus on cards that offer either flat rewards across any spending category or those that specifically reward home improvement spending.

With flat rewards, you can earn up to 2% cash back or 2x miles on every dollar you spend. Whether you’re shopping at a home improvement store, placing an order online, paying a contractor, or paying any other expense you can charge to a card, you’re guaranteed to get the maximum amount back.

Cards with home improvement rewards categories, on the other hand, may offer a higher 3% to 5% back on purchases you make specifically with home improvement retailers. For every other purchase, you’ll typically earn a 1% return. If you know what purchases you need to make and they fit within a home improvement category, this can be a great way to get the most out of your project cost. These cards often have a range of other top-earning categories, too — so you can continue to use them on regular spending even after your project is complete.

If earning rewards on home improvement spending is your top priority, here are some other options you may want to consider. These include both cards with home improvement rewards categories and top flat cash-back rates:

An introductory 0% APR offer is ideal for funding a large upcoming purchase. Whether you’ll need to stock up on different supplies for your project or you’re buying some big-ticket items, a 0% APR offers extra time before you need to pay it off.

Many intro offers today range from 12 months to 18 months, with some as high as 21 months — or nearly two years interest-free. Throughout that time, you won’t take on any interest on new purchases you charge to your card. You can chip away at the balance without having to worry about it growing larger from interest charges.

But if you’re unable to pay off your credit card balance in full by the time the intro period ends, you’ll start to accrue interest at your card’s regular variable APR. To avoid high-interest debt, always track your balances and budget enough money throughout the intro period to ensure you can pay off your project in time.

If you’re looking for the longest available intro APR periods for new purchases today, these are some other top picks:

Instead of a general cash-back credit card or rewards credit card, you may also consider a retail card from your favorite home improvement store.

These cards often come with discounts and financing options, too — but in most cases, home improvement store cards offer either savings on your purchase or special financing, unlike the cards on our list, which offer both rewards on your spending and introductory 0% APRs.

Take the MyLowe’s Rewards Credit Card, for example. When you make an eligible Lowe’s purchase with the card, you can choose to get 5% off or opt into one of two financing plans, depending on your total. If you spend $299 or more, you can get six months of special financing and pay no interest as long as you pay in full over that time. If you spend $2,000 or more, you can choose an 84-month fixed monthly payment plan with a reduced 9.99% APR (the ongoing purchase APR is 31.99%). Remember — if you choose either of these financing options, you won’t earn the 5% discount.

Special financing offers differ from introductory 0% APR offers, though. They’re often deferred interest plans. That means if you don’t pay your purchase off in full by the end of the promotional period, not only will the remaining balance begin to accrue interest, but you’ll also have to pay interest on the full purchase going back to the purchase date.

Here are some cards from home improvement retailers with either rewards on your spending or promotional financing offers:

These are some of the benefits and drawbacks to think about before you use a credit card for your project:

  • Save money with rewards: Whether you choose a card with cash back, points, or miles, you can potentially score a big return with your spending. Let’s say you spend $5,000, and you’re able to earn 3% rewards over the course of your project timeline — that’s $150 back on your home improvement costs alone. Just remember to pay down the balance before it accrues interest charges that could wipe out the value of your rewards.

  • Take advantage of intro APR periods: Taking on any home improvement job can be stressful, but having extra time to pay off your expenses interest-free can help alleviate some of the pressure. While you should have a plan in place before starting your project, a card with a 0% intro APR can be useful if you need some extra time to save up the full cost. Many cards offer intro periods longer than a full year or more before interest kicks in on new purchases.

  • Long-term spending: Don’t just focus on the short-term benefits. If you’re thinking about opening a new credit card to fund your home projects, make sure it offers some long-term value, too. Many of our top home improvement cards come with a range of rewards categories (or flat rewards on every purchase) to make it easy to continue to maximize spending even after you finish your reno.

  • Rewards caps: Many cards with top rewards in home improvement categories cap your high-rate earnings after you spend a certain amount. While you can still earn 1% rewards on those purchases, you’ll have to wait until the next billing cycle or quarter (depending on your card’s terms) to earn the boosted rate again. If you need to make your home improvement purchases in a limited time frame, you could lose some potential rewards.

  • Special financing risks: Always read the terms and conditions of your credit card’s financing options before you opt-in. The majority of cards with introductory 0% APR offers will only begin to accrue interest on any remaining balance after the intro period ends. But, some cards (typically retail cards with special financing) use deferred interest, which may require you to pay interest on the full balance going back to your purchase date if you still have a balance at the end of the promotional period.

  • Alternative financing options: Credit cards aren’t the only way to fund a home improvement project. A personal loan with a relatively low interest rate can be useful for larger projects, for example. Or you can tap into the equity you’ve built up in your home over time using a home equity line of credit (HELOC). While a credit card can have some great perks for home improvement, these other financing options may be a better fit, depending on your situation.


To determine the best credit cards for home improvement, we began by determining a set of criteria to look for in all of our picks and used that to find the overall best cards within each sub-category.

First, each of the cards on our list has no annual fee. Because home improvement projects are already expensive, we eliminated cards that would increase the cost burden. While there are some highly rewarding cards with annual fees — and even some that may be valuable for home improvement — we wanted the cards on our list to help reduce costs as much as possible.

Next, while only one card on our list is specifically chosen for its long intro APR period, we prioritized card picks across categories that offer a 0% APR on new purchases for some length of time. While not everyone taking on a home project will need this benefit, it does offer a safety net for the large costs and ballooning budgets that these projects can often incur.

With the exception of our top 0% APR pick, we only included cards that earn more than the standard 1% on costs associated with home improvements. Not every option will work for everyone’s project — one rewards online purchases only, while another limits rewards to specific home improvement stores, for example — but each card on our list offers valuable rewards related to home spending.

Finally, we gave preference to cards that offer value on your spending even after your project is complete. These rewards cards don’t only offer a return on home improvement spending; they also carry a range of everyday categories to help you maximize the things you buy daily.

This article was edited by Alicia Hahn


Editorial Disclosure: The information in this article has not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. All opinions belong solely to Yahoo Finance and are not those of any other entity. The details on financial products, including card rates and fees, are accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information. This site doesn’t include all currently available offers. Credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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