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Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Certain credit cards are geared more for online use than others. We searched the web for the best offers available to consumers right now. These are the cards that provide the highest cash back rewards and bonuses for virtual shopaholics. For most consumers, the Discover it® Cash Back will be the best option. However, we assigned each card to one of five categories in case you’re looking for something particular.

Best Online Shopping Credit Cards 2019

Best Credit Card For Online Shopping: Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back is our favorite option for online shopping due to its high rewards rates and fantastic bonus. Cardholders can earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter, up to $1,500 in purchases (activation required). For 2019, the categories include grocery stores (January-March), gas stations, Uber & Lyft (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com (October-December). Most years, these categories tend to include things like gas stations, restaurants and -- most importantly for online shoppers -- Amazon.com. When you use this card to pay for things outside of those bonus categories, it returns just 1% back. Discover will also double all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year for new cardmembers. For example, if after 12 months you earn $200 back in rewards, you’ll get another $200 credited to your account.

Highlights

  • Discover doubles all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year for new cardmembers.
  • Read full review

Amazon Rewards Card

If all the shopping you do online is through Amazon.com, then you should absolutely sign up for the Amazon Rewards Card. This card will give you unparalleled cash back rewards whenever you shop with the online retail giant. The card awards an unlimited 3% back on Amazon.com purchases, and 5% back if you're an Amazon Prime member. Note that these cash back rewards do not extend to Amazon subsidiaries like Zappos and Twitch. They also don’t apply to Amazon.com’s international sites, like Amazon.ca.

When you take the card offline, it also has some impressive rewards on restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases. The Amazon Rewards Card awards 2% back in these categories, while all other spending earns 1% back. There are also no foreign transaction fees on this card, and that means you can take it with you and use it whenever you travel abroad.

Highlights

  • 3% cash back on Amazon.com purchases. 5% back from Prime members
  • $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval
  • 2% Cash Back For Gas, Restaurants and Drugstores
  • Read full review

The information related to the Amazon Rewards Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to Chase credit card offers. See chase.com for more information.

Best Fixed-Rate Cash Back: Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is perfect for online shoppers who value simplicity and flexibility. This gives above-average rewards no matter where you use it -- Amazon.com, Etsy, or your next eBay auction. Users receive 1% cash back at the time of purchase, and another 1% back when that purchase is paid off. While that’s a lot lower than the 3-5% we’ve seen from other credit cards on this list, remember that those cards could only provide those kinds of rewards in only a few categories. The Citi® Double Cash Card can even provide rewards on some online services that few other cards can, like Netflix.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is an ideal card for someone who wants to earn rewards without putting in much effort. The cash back is credited to your account and you never have to worry about which card you should be using when, and whether you hit some sort of rewards cap for the quarter.

Highlights

  • 1% cash back at the time of purchase, plus another 1% back when that purchase is paid off
  • No sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Read full review

Best Online Shopping Credit Card For Students: Discover it® Student Cash Back

Given that the Discover it® Cash Back was named our best overall credit card for online shopping, it’s no surprise its student variant made the list as well. The Discover it® Student Cash Back is almost identical from a rewards standpoint. If you buy textbooks and school supplies via Amazon.com, this card has the potential to get some of the highest rewards possible. Students can earn up to 5% cash back in categories that rotate each quarter, up to a quarterly maximum (activation required). For 2019, the categories include grocery stores (January-March), gas stations, Uber & Lyft (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com (October-December).

On top of all the rewards we mentioned above, the Discover it® Student Cash Back provides additional benefits to students with good grades. You will get a $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for the next 5 years.

Highlights

  • $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years
  • Dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year
  • Read full review

Best Credit Card for Online Shopping Bad Credit: Discover it® Secured

Another Discover card rounds off our list of best credit cards for online shopping. The Discover it® Secured is the best option for anyone with bad credit. There’s nothing about this card that makes it specifically tailored for online-use. However, it is one of the only credit cards for bad credit to give cardholders cash back rewards. Users will get 1% back when paying with this card online. The card is at its best when used at restaurants and gas stations, where it earns 2% back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Like other Discover credit cards, the Discover it® Secured offers a cash back match at the end of your first year.

Keep in mind this is a secured credit card, which means you’ll have to put down a security deposit to open an account -- at minimum this has to be $200. If you have bad credit, this is par for the course. While some unsecured credit cards exist, they are loaded with other fees that make them a worse deal for consumers. After eight months pass, Discover it® Secured users are evaluated and may be transitioned to an account with no security deposit.

Highlights

Summary of 2018’s Top Credit Cards for Online Shopping

In case you want a recap of everything we discussed above, here is a table summarizing the best credit card options for online shoppers.

CardBest for…Rewards
Discover it® Cash BackCash BackDiscover doubles all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year for new cardmembers.
Amazon Rewards CardAmazon Shoppers3% cash back at Amazon.com (5% back for Prime users)
Citi® Double Cash CardFixed-Rate Cash Back1% cash back on all purchases, plus another 1% back when the purchase is paid off
Discover it® Student Cash BackStudentsDiscover doubles all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year for new cardmembers.
Discover it® SecuredBad Credit2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter

Tips For Using Your Credit Card Online

Before you start your online shopping spree, there are a few useful tips you should know about to best protect your wallet and finances.

  • Avoid saving your credit card information online. First of all, whenever you save your payment information with an online retailer, you are potentially leaving your credit card information exposed if a data breach were to happen. You don’t know what kind of security measures your favorite online store employs, so it's better to be safe than sorry. In the past, even big brands have used outdated cyber security practices that left their customers vulnerable. With the increasing number of online fraud being committed every year, it's best to be extra cautious. Also, saving your card information online may increase the chances of impulse buys, since it makes it easier for you to get through a checkout. If you have poor impulse control, this is another reason to keep your card off a website's system.

  • Make use of virtual credit cards for added security. Some services allow you to use a temporary virtual credit card number when you pay for things online. The number is good for a single use, and expires immediately after. Therefore, if some hacker were to obtain your payment details, they would be completely useless -- protecting your account. This is known as a virtual credit card. Currently, only Citi and Bank of America offer the service natively for their customers. However, there are some third-party websites that will offer something similar.

  • Check whether your credit card offers online shopping portals. Chase, Citibank and other credit card issuers have their own websites through which you can get additional cash back bonuses on your online purchases. We recommend you call up your customer service line and ask whether such a portal exists for your card, and how you can navigate to it. Most are accessible from your online dashboard.

Comments and Questions

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).