Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping 2021

Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping 2021

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is our pick for best credit cards for online shopping, because it offers the same high rewards rate on every purchase.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Citi is an advertising partner

Online shopping can be downright convenient, saving you the time you'd spend and the stress you'd endure shopping normally in a store. Shopping online also makes it easier to compare pricing among multiple retailers, and you can sometimes get free shipping in just a few days.

Of course, online shopping gets even better when you pay with the right credit card. Not only do the best online shopping cards help you earn rewards on your spending, but you can gain important consumer protections like extended warranties, purchase protection against damage or theft and even free shipping on your purchases.

ValuePenguin compared dozens of top rewards credit cards available through ValuePenguin and top issuer sites to find the best options for online shopping. The cards below were chosen due to their rewards for online purchases, purchase protections and other benefits they offer for online shoppers.

Best credit cards for online shopping 2021

Recommended card
Rewards on online purchases
Annual fee
unavailable credit card
Discover it® Cash Back5% cash back on Grocery Stores, Walgreens and CVS for Q1 2021See termsRead Review
unavailable credit card
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card3% back in a category of your choosing, including online purchases ($2,500 purchase limit per quarter)$0
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day$95
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®1.5% cash back$0
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offerEarn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.$0
Apply Now
On Citibank's Secure Website
unavailable credit card
Discover it® Secured Credit Card1% cash backSee termsRead Review
unavailable credit card
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases$0Read Review
unavailable credit card
REDcard5% back on Target and Target.com purchases$0Read Review
unavailable credit card
Walmart® MasterCard®5% cash back on Walmart.com purchases$0Read Review
Recommended cards
Discover it® Cash BackRead Review
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Discover it® Secured Credit CardRead Review
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature CardRead Review
REDcardRead Review
Walmart® MasterCard®Read Review

Discover it® Cash Back

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

ValuePenguin's verdict

The Discover it® Cash Back could be a top option for online shopping due to its high rewards rate in bonus categories. Cardholders earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

For 2021, the bonus categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com (October-December). When you use this card to pay for things outside of those bonus categories, you still earn a flat 1% back, and Discover will also match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. For example, if after 12 months you earn $200 back in rewards, you'll get another $200 credited to your account.

Benefits

  • 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically
  • Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Free FICO score each month

Drawbacks

  • No real sign-up bonus
  • No major cardholder benefits, such as travel insurance protection

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

ValuePenguin's verdict

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card could be an excellent choice for online shopping — as a cardholder, you could Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases. One of the options for the 3% category just happens to be online shopping.

Since you can choose a different category each month, you can opt into the online shopping category for the month to earn 3% cash back on your online purchases. Since you're limited to $2,500 in purchases for the 3% and 2% purchases each quarter, keep in mind you may not be able to maximize this benefit for online shopping if you also use this card for grocery store and wholesale club purchases.

Still, the rewards can get even better if you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member: You can earn 25% to 75% more back for each dollar you spend.

As a final benefit, this card gives you the chance to save on interest with a 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, followed by an APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

Benefits

  • You get to choose your 3% back category, and you can opt for online shopping
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases (then an APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR applies)
  • Generous bonus offer
  • Free FICO score each month

Drawbacks

  • Caps on 3% and 2% back bonus categories
  • It may not make sense to opt into the online purchase category for 3% cash back, since some of the other categories may be more rewarding (especially grocery stores)

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

ValuePenguin's verdict

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card could be an excellent option for online shopping and any in-person purchases you make, mainly due to the fact that you Earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

We like the fact that you can redeem your rewards for any travel purchase you want with this card at a rate of 1 cent per point. Note that you can also redeem your rewards for purchases at millions of online stores when you check out with Paypal.com. You can also redeem your rewards for purchases on Amazon.com, or for transfers to Capital One airline and hotel partners.

This card does have a $95 annual fee, but you get a credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership along with perks like no foreign transaction fees and extended warranties on purchases that come with a manufacturer's warranty.

Benefits

  • Earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Cardholders who spend heavily on this card in the first year will be rewarded with an extremely generous bonus
  • Credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership
  • Flexible redemption options, including for online purchases

Drawbacks

  • $95 annual fee is not waived the first year
  • You'll have to reach a very steep threshold to earn the full sign-up bonus

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

On Citibank's Secure Website

$0

13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

ValuePenguin's verdict

If you don't want to deal with a complicated rewards program and simply want to earn as much cash back as you can, look no farther than the Citi® Double Cash Card . As long as you pay off your minimum payment due by the required date, the card will award you Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Though it doesn't offer a 0% introductory offer for purchases, the card could be a good option for transferring a balance: You'll get an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, followed by an APR of 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable). While we don't recommend racking up new charges on a card while trying to pay down a balance, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a great option worth considering.

Pros

  • Earn a high rate of cash back on every purchase, as long as you pay your bill's minimum on time
  • Cash back is simple to redeem
  • Intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then an APR of 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) applies
  • Cash rewards can be converted to Citi ThankYou points

Cons

  • Doesn't offer a sign-up bonus
  • If you don't pay the minimum on your bill in time, you'll only earn 1% cash back
  • Few benefits outside of its rewards program
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% on purchases made abroad

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

$0

14.99% - 24.74% Variable

660 - 850

  • $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99% - 24.74%.
  • No annual fee.

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

ValuePenguin's verdict

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is among the top cashback credit cards available today, and that's true when you shop online as well as in brick and mortar stores. First, you'll Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

The card's 1.5% rate applies to online purchases — though this rate is not as high as some of the cards on this list, you may well enjoy the flexibility of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. In addition to cash back, you can transfer rewards to premium Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and get a bonus on redeeming them for travel.

Major perks you can look forward to include purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties on items with a manufacturer's warranty, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and free credit score access. You can also save money with a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, followed by an APR of 14.99% - 24.74% Variable.

Benefits

  • Earn a high rate of 1.5% cash back on general purchases, including online purchases
  • Generous rewards, including a sign-up bonus and 5% and 3% bonus categories
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then an APR of 14.99% - 24.74% Variable applies)
  • Flexible redemption options, including cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, travel and more

Drawbacks

  • Though the rewards are more flexible, you'll earn less on online purchases than some cards on this list
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars on purchases

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

ValuePenguin's verdict

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a solid option for anyone who has Limited/Bad/Poor score since it's fairly easy to get approved. There's nothing about this card that makes it specifically tailored for online use, but it is one of few credit cards for bad credit that lets cardholders earn cashback rewards — at a lavish rate for a secured card.

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card earns 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. Like other Discover credit cards, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card also offers Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Just remember that this is a secured credit card, so you have to put down a cash deposit of at least $200 to get started. Your deposit works as collateral and it "secures" your own line of credit; when you close your account or upgrade it in good standing, you'll get your initial deposit back in full.

Most importantly, secured credit cards give you the chance to build your credit score through responsible use over time. This is based on the fact that the Discover it® Secured Credit Card and other secured credit cards report your payments to the three credit bureaus.

Benefits

  • Secured credit card gives you the chance to build credit while earning valuable rewards
  • Free FICO score on your statement
  • Automatic account reviews starting at eight months — you may be upgraded to an unsecured card with responsible card usage

Drawbacks

  • Minimum deposit of $200 to get started
  • $1,000 caps on bonus rewards each quarter

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval.

ValuePenguin's verdict

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card should be at the top of your list of card considerations if you shop frequently on Amazon.com or order groceries from Whole Foods Market. For applicants with an Amazon Prime account, the card offers one of the best rates on Amazon purchases: You'll Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases. Just remember that you must be an Amazon Prime member to have this card, although you can consider a non-Prime version with a lower rewards rate if you are not.

This Amazon credit card also comes with a surprising number of benefits for a cashback credit card with a $0 annual fee. As a cardholder, you'll receive travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, roadside dispatch and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. Perks that work well for online shopping include purchase protection against damage or theft and extended warranties on eligible items that already come with a manufacturer's warranty.

Benefits

  • Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Qualify for important perks for online shopping, including purchase protection and extended warranties
  • Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval.

Drawbacks

  • Must have an Amazon Prime account to qualify for the card (membership costs $119 per year)
  • Not the best option if you never shop on Amazon.com or at Whole Foods Market

REDcard

Earn $40 off a future qualifying purchase over $40 when approved for a RedCard

ValuePenguin's verdict

The REDcard from Target isn't a credit card per se — rather, it's a store card that lets you earn 5% back on all purchases you make in Target stores or on Target.com. Unlike most store cards, though, the REDcard gives you that discount on the spot, saving you the hassle of having to redeem a certificate at a later date. You won't pay an annual fee, and you get an additional 30 days for returns and exchanges — but the card's most valuable benefit may well be that probably you can qualify for free two-day shipping on most Target purchases (including purchases under $35).

In addition to regular purchases, this card also saves you 5% at Starbucks locations in Target stores and on specialty gift cards in the store.

Benefits

  • Save 5% back on all purchases you make in Target stores or on Target.com made in their stores or online
  • Saves you the hassle of redeeming rewards later, since you automatically get 5% off when you check out
  • Free two-day shipping on most purchases, including purchases under $35
  • Additional 30 days for returns and exchanges
  • Qualify for special discounts and deals, along with free shipping on most items
  • $0 annual fee

Drawbacks

  • You can only use this card at Target or on Target.com
  • Like most store cards, it charges a high variable APR (22.99% variable) — avoid charging more than you can pay off each month

Capital One® Walmart® MasterCard®

Earn 5% cash back in Walmart stores for the first 12 months after approval when you use your Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Card with Walmart Pay

ValuePenguin's verdict

The Walmart® MasterCard® might be an excellent option if you shop online with Walmart.com often, and even if you just use them for pickup and delivery. You'll earn an unlimited 5% back on Walmart.com purchases; 2% back on purchases made in Walmart stores and fuel stations, at restaurants, and on travel; and 1% back on other purchases.

If you do some of your Walmart shopping in their brick-and-mortar stores, you'll also be happy to know you can earn 5% back for the first 12 months on Walmart purchases when you use Walmart Pay.

Since this is a Mastercard, you should also rest assured that you can use it for all purchases you make, including those not made at Walmart stores.

Benefits

  • 5% back on Walmart.com purchases; 2% back on purchases made in Walmart stores and fuel stations, at restaurants, and on travel; and 1% back on other purchases
  • 5% cash back in Walmart stores for the first 12 months after approval when you use your Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Card with Walmart Pay
  • $0 annual fee
  • Flexible reward redemptions include cash back, statement credits, gift cards or travel

Drawbacks

  • High variable APR of 17.99%, 23.24% or 26.99% Variable on purchases makes carrying a balance an expensive proposition

How to choose a credit card for online shopping

Before you decide on the best credit card for online shopping, you need to take the time to compare at least five or six options side by side. From there, you should think over the way you actually use credit cards, as well as the perks and benefits you want the most. Here are some questions to ask yourself throughout the selection process.

Where do you shop most often?

Where you shop should play a huge role in which credit card you should use to shop online. Obviously, some credit cards for online shopping offer more points for a specific store, such as Walmart or Amazon.com. Other rewards credit cards offer a flat rate of rewards on all purchases, or on purchases within a specific category.
At the end of the day, you'll want to pick a rewards credit card that will help you maximize rewards based on the stores you shop with the most.

Earning rate on online shopping purchases

Also consider the earning rate you can achieve for your online purchases, keeping in mind that many of the top credit cards for online shopping let you earn up to 5% back. Ideally, you'll wind up with a card that lets you earn bonus points when you shop online as well as other places you use your card.

Sign-up bonus

Take the time to compare sign-up bonuses, although you should steer clear of focusing only on the bonus amount. You'll also need to make sure you can easily meet the minimum spending requirement to earn a bonus without charging more than you can afford to pay back.

Types of rewards

As you compare rewards credit cards, you should also think over the type of rewards you want to earn. Some credit cards only let you earn rewards for statement credits or cash back, but others let you redeem your rewards for gift cards, merchandise, travel and more. Furthermore, some cards dole out rewards that are difficult to redeem, such as coupons that you can only use at a specific retailer within a 30-day time period.

Other shopping benefits

Compare cards based on the other perks they offer, including purchase benefits like purchase protection and extended warranties. Also look for a 0% APR offers that can help you avoid paying interest on purchases you make with your card for a year or more.

Annual fee or no annual fee?

Finally, compare cards based on the fees they charge, including any annual fees. While paying an annual fee can be worth it if you earn a big sign-up bonus or secure a significantly higher rewards rate, there are plenty of excellent credit cards with no annual fee to choose from.

Is it safe to shop online with a credit card?

Shopping online with a credit card is actually much safer than paying with a debit card. Many credit cards come with zero fraud liability, meaning you won't be on the hook for a single cent in fraudulent purchases charged to your credit card. In any case, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) limits your legal liability to just $50 regardless of your card's policy.

The same cannot be said for debit cards. If you shop online (or in-person) with a debit card, you could be liable for up to $500 in charges if you report the fraud more than two business days after you learn about the loss or theft and less than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you. If you're not paying attention and you report the theft more than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you could be liable for "all the money taken from your ATM/debit card account, and possibly more; for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account."

Can you get instant approval for a credit card for online shopping?

Some credit cards for online shopping offer instant approval, meaning you can apply online and start using your credit card right away. You can also find instant approval cards that let you apply in a store, but these aren't quite as popular. As an example, you can apply for the Capital One® Walmart® MasterCard® in the store or online and begin using your card right away if you're approved.

Also note that some credit cards, including American Express credit cards, offer instant card numbers . In this case, you will have to wait for your physical card to arrive in the mail, but you can use your instant card numbers to shop online or add the card to your digital wallet that day.

Tips for stacking up savings and rewards on online shopping

If you want to make the most of the rewards you earn when you shop online with a credit card, there are plenty of tips and tricks to be aware of. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:

  • Use shopping portals to earn even more rewards. There are many online shopping portals that allow you to earn extra rewards on top of your credit card rewards. For example, Chase credit card customers can click through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to earn bonus points in participating stores, and plenty of airline programs have shopping portals as well. Cashback shopping portals like Rakuten can also help you rack up savings or cash back whenever you shop online. Whenever you get ready to make a purchase online, you should check to see which shopping portal might reward you the most.
  • Pair multiple cards with different bonus categories. If you want to boost your rewards haul for in-person and online purchases, you should have more than one rewards credit card in your arsenal. If you carry multiple cards, you can use them strategically to earn more bonus points in categories that apply.
  • Stagger new credit card sign-ups to earn multiple sign-up bonuses. Having more than one card can also help you boost your rewards accounts through multiple sign-up bonuses. Just remember to stagger new card sign-ups so you can meet the minimum spending requirement on each through regular, organic spending and bills.
  • Check for special offers through your rewards credit card. Finally, check for special savings opportunities like ones you can find through Amex Offers or Chase Offers. These exclusive offers let you earn bonus points or cash back when you shop at a participating online store, on top of the rewards you earn for your spending.

The information related to Discover it® Cash Back, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Discover it® Secured Credit Card, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, REDcard and Walmart® MasterCard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Methodology

To make choosing the right card easier, we've looked at credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best rewards credit cards available right now. Our recommendations are based on the additional value you can earn with the cards — including the rewards value, cost of ownership and value of benefits such as travel and purchase protections, lounge membership and airline companion passes. Our choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

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).