best credit cards for seniorsUpdated: October 11, 2019

When it comes to finances, your age makes a difference, as someone in their 60’s with grandchildren or adult children does not have the same financial needs as someone in their 20’s who’s just out of college. The same concept applies to credit cards. Although you may think all credit cards are created equal, that simply isn’t the case, and some may in fact be better for seniors than others. Whether you’ve spent your life building a positive credit history or have a few hiccups on your credit reports, we have the breakdown of the best credit cards for seniors.

Why even bother with credit cards?

While some of you may be no strangers to credit cards, others may not necessarily see the point of turning to the plastic, especially if you currently have excellent credit. On top of the fact that responsible use of a credit card can help you build a strong credit history, opting for credit for all of your purchases has some other perks.

To start, credit cards are a secure way to pay. In fact, credit cards offer more protection against fraud than debit cards, according to the FTC. If your credit card is ever used to make unauthorized purchases, the maximum you’re required to cover is $50, while you could end up fronting any authorized purchases on your debit card, depending on when you report the fraud. Similarly, if your debit card is ever stolen, you run the risk of having your bank account drained, including any accounts you have linked to the card. As such, opting to use a credit card is usually the best choice.

In addition to security, credit cards can also help you get the most from your purchases. If you use the right credit card, you can earn rewards for purchases you’re already planning to make, which you’ve likely already budgeted for, or unexpected purchases you may not have budgeted for. This means you can maximize your spending by earning rewards at the grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants and more.

Best credit cards for seniors

Best travel rewards credit cards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardWhen it comes to travel rewards credit cards, you can’t go wrong with Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. To start, this card earns you 2X miles per $1 spent on all purchases, and when you use your card to book travel through Hotels.com/Venture, you’ll earn 10X miles per $1 spent (note that this offer expires on Jan. 31, 2020). In addition, when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, you’ll get 50,000 bonus miles. Earned miles can be redeemed for travel, statement credits, gift cards or merchandise. Its $0 foreign transaction fees make it a great choice for frequent travelers. Although the card has a $95 annual fee, it’s waived for the first year.

Best cash back credit cards

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressIf you’re looking to earn cash back on grocery, streaming services, gas and transit purchases, as well as on all other purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is the card for you. In terms of rewards, this card earns you 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets — the highest cash back rate we’ve seen — up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and transit (e.g., taxis/rideshares, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), and 1% on all other purchases. And when you spend $1,000 in purchases on your card in the first 3 months, you’ll receive $250 back (in the form of statement credit). To top it off, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee, $5 minimum). It should be noted that this card has a $95 annual fee.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom®Another great option for cash back is Chase Freedom, as it offers some top-notch rewards. To start, this card earns you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate as well as unlimited 1% on all other purchases. Next, when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, you’ll get a $150 bonus — a great perk if you need to make an unexpected purchase. In addition, Chase Freedom includes a 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, $5 minimum — after that, it’s 5% or $5, whichever is greater). Rounding out the card is no annual fee.

Best credit cards for unexpected purchases

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited®Whether you have to pick up some extra prescriptions, purchase a new tire for your car or any other unexpected purchase, you can’t go wrong with Chase Freedom Unlimited. That’s because you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases – making this a smart choice for seniors who don’t want to track rotating categories or quarterly activation dates. You’ll also earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months. No annual fee and a 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, $5 minimum — after that, it’s 5% or $5, whichever is greater) make this card a solid choice for any senior making an unexpected purchase.

Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit cardIf you need to make an unexpected purchase, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card may be the one for you, as it offers a generous intro bonus and some top-notch cash back rewards. To start, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, you’ll get a $200 online cash rewards bonus. Then in terms of cash back rewards, you’ll get 3% on the category of your choice (you can choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores as well as home improvement and furnishings) and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to the first $2,500/quarter in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases as well as 1% on all other purchases. You can change the 3% category every month, which means you can customize your rewards to your spending habits throughout the year. In addition, you’ll get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers made in the first 60 days (with a $10 or 3% balance transfer fee, whichever is greater) for 15 billing cycles, which means you have ample time to pay off the unexpected purchase, and pay no annual fee. What’s more, Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can earn a bonus of 25% to 75%, depending on their tier status.

Best cards if you’re carrying a balance

BankAmericard credit card

BankAmericard® credit cardWhen it comes to balance transfer credit cards, the BankAmericard credit card is the best of the best. To start, you’ll get an 18-billing cycle 0% intro APR on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening! Note that you will have to pay a balance transfer fee equal to 3% of the amount transferred or $10, whichever is greater. Next, cardholders get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 18 billing cycles, a great added perk if you need to make an unexpected purchase. Rounding out the card is a $0 annual fee and monthly FICO scores from TransUnion for free.

Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever

Citi Simplicity® CardAnother great option is the Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever (a NextAdvisor advertiser), as no card we review tops the length of its 0% intro APR on balance transfers. That’s because this card offers a 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers made in the first 4 months. Although you’ll have to pay a high balance transfer fee of 5% (with a $5 minimum), it might be worth it since you won’t be paying interest for nearly 2 years. On the bright side, the card charges no annual fee, no late fees and no penalty APR, and it has a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases.

Visit our credit card reviews to learn more about the cards detailed in this blog post.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.