The holidays always seem to sneak up on us, don’t they? Every December, you vow not to be caught off guard again, but next thing you know, it’s November. The holidays are just around the corner and you may not have the budget for gifts.
2022 has been a challenging year financially, and if you’re feeling strapped for cash, you aren’t the only one. Millions of people have been impacted by the rising cost of essentials, and 1 in 4 people quit their job this year. Combine that with the continued uncertainty of COVID-19, and you’ve got a recipe for a tight budget.
No matter how tight your budget is, you still want to show your family and friends how much you care about them. You want to capture that holiday magic with the perfect gift, but you need to come up with a room in the budget ASAP. What’s a holiday shopper to do?
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Get holiday cash with credit
There are lots of ways to make extra money. But if you need quick cash, you might have to take out a personal loan or open a credit card. Today, we’ll be talking about that last option. So which credit card is best for holiday shopping?
The best credit cards for holiday shopping 2022 will give you long term payoff, as well as a quick cash boost. Many credit cards have cashback or points perks that you can use later on. Even cards that don’t have those perks can help you build your credit.
With credit cards, you have lots of options. It can feel overwhelming, especially when you add holiday stress into the mix.
Before applying for a credit card, you’ll need to know your credit score. Has it been a while since you’ve checked your credit? Checking again before applying is a good idea. Maybe you’ve never checked your credit score. Don’t worry; it’s easy!
Make your list, check your credit
First, know your rights. You’re legally entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. This report doesn’t impact your score or cost you anything. But it doesn’t stop lots of websites from trying to charge you for a credit report, though, so don’t let them trick you!
These credit reports will give you your credit score. Once you know your that, you can start looking at credit cards. The credit cards with the best rewards usually require “Good” or “Excellent” credit scores.
Knowing your credit score before applying for a credit card is essential. If you apply for credit cards and get denied, it can hurt your overall credit score. This gets you stuck in a vicious cycle. You apply and get rejected, which hurts your score, so you’re more likely to get rejected next time, too.
When you know what your credit score is, you can pick the best credit card for holiday shopping without hurting your score in the long run. You’re also more likely to get approved quickly if you apply for credit cards within or below your credit range.
Let’s take a look at the three best credit cards for holiday shopping so you can start wrapping those presents.
Already have good credit?
Our first pick is the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. It’s the best credit card for holiday shopping when you don’t need to build your credit, but do need extra cash. You’ll need good to excellent credit (a score of 690 to 700) to qualify – so double-check your score before you apply.
If you do qualify, though, the perks on this card make it perfect for shopping this holiday season.
- New card members get a $250 bonus when you spend $500 within the first three months. When you’re shopping for gifts, that’ll be a piece of cake!
- Low intro APR gives you 15 months to pay off your holiday splurge
- Cashback on every purchase
- Cashback rewards never expire
- No annual fee
- Not a good pick for someone working to build or repair credit
- After the 15 months of 0% intrest, the APR increases to around 14.99%–23.74% – a pretty high rate for someone with a good credit score
- No automatic increases to your line of credit
Looking for a new bank?
Our second pick is the Alliant Visa® Signature Credit Card with Cashback. This credit card requires you to be a member of Alliant Credit Union to apply, so if you’ve been looking at switching banks, this one is perfect for you.
Alliant keeps things simple. They only offer two cards, and the cards are pretty similar. This card was our pick because of cashback options. They offer cash back on every purchase, making this their best credit card for holiday shopping.
- Unlimited cashback on every purchase, no categories to track
- Up to 2.5% cashback on your first $10,000 of eligible purchases
- APR as low as 12.24%
- Since membership is required to open a card with them, you can also take advantage of their high-interest rates in their checking and savings accounts.
- No introductory rate
- Fewer card options give you less flexibility long-term
Building or repairing your credit?
This third pick is for people who don’t have “good” or “excellent” credit. If your credit score needs to be built or repaired, check out Credit.com. Credit.com’s tagline is “Better Credit For All”, and they live up to that.
Credit.com lets you look at cards across several different companies and pick the one that’s best for you. You start by inputting what your credit score is and what you’re looking for in a card.
Then Credit.com pulls up all the cards that fit your criteria and gives you a snapshot of the features. Once you have all the info, you can pick the best credit card for holiday shopping and your wallet.
- Card options for any credit score
- A wide variety of partners gives you flexibility
- Preference filters let you tailor a card to your needs
- Allows you to check your credit score for free every 14 days
- Recommendations aren’t always accurate
- You’ll need to double-check that your card is a good fit
- Directs you to lenders rather than lending directly
Other Credit Cards For Holiday Shopping
A. Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
Annual Fee: $0
Rewards: Unlimited 2% cash rewards
Sign-Up Bonus: $200 cash reward after you spend $1,000 on your purchases in the first three months
APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months after you qualify the balance transfers. Current APR is 14.99%-24.99% Variable
B. Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card
Annual Fee: $0
Sign-Up Bonus: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 18 months; current APR is 12.99%-24.99% Variable
C. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Annual Fee: $0
- 5% cashback at Whole Foods Market and Amazon.com
- 2% cashback at drugstores, gas stations, and restaurants
- 1% cashback on all other purchases
Sign-Up Bonus: Varies – usually in the form of Amazon gift cards.
APR: The current APR is 14.24%-22.24%, Variable.
D. Target REDcard™ Credit Card
Annual Fee: $0.
Rewards: 5% discount on every eligible Target purchase.
- Unique and exclusive gift offers
- Early, easy access to promotions
- Free standard shipping, including two-day shipping on qualifying items
- Thirty days of extra time for returning purchases.
APR: The current APR is 22.90% Variable.
E. Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Annual Fee: $0.
- 2% cashback on qualifying purchases
- 1% cashback for every dollar spent
- 1% cashback for each dollar paid off
Sign-Up Bonus: None.
APR: For 18 months on Balance Transfers, you get 0% intro APR. The current APR is 13.99%-23.99% Variable.
Find The Best Credit Cards For Holiday Shopping 2022
Ultimately, there is no “best credit card” when it comes to holiday shopping. There are a lot of factors that go into finding a credit card that works for you.
The best credit card for someone with an excellent credit score isn’t going to be the same as the best credit card for someone with a poor credit score. Some people use their holiday credit card all year round, while others need a one-time use.
The most important thing finding a card that fits your needs and helps you out.
Do you need to improve your credit for buying a home or a car in the future? Picking a card that’s designed to help you build credit is a great choice.
Do you travel a lot for work or fun? Pick a card that has rewards points you can put towards travel.
Maybe you have some smaller debts with high-interest rates. A credit card can help you rearrange your finances to work for your benefit.
The key to choosing the best credit card for holiday shopping is finding a card that fits your short- and long-term financial goals.
Picking a card like that means you can keep earning and saving pennies, all while shopping for the perfect gift. Choosing a credit card that fits your goals takes away some money stress. Less stress leaves you free to enjoy the best part of the holidays: spending time with the people you love most.
Happy Holidays from Penny Calling Penny!
Here at Penny Calling Penny, our holiday articles are only a part of our growing library. We’re dedicated to helping you learn to manage your money, no matter where you’re at on your financial journey. Subscribe to our newsletter so you never miss a Penny, and we’ll see you next time!