The best credit cards for new parents.Updated: Aug. 15, 2018

Being a parent is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest joys, but it’s also one of the most expensive commitments a person can make. In fact, the USDA estimated that the cost of raising a child born in 2015 to the age of 17 was $233,610 (or $13,741 per year). While it’s impossible to recoup all of the money you put into your child, credit card rewards and bonuses can make child rearing slightly cheaper by earning you rewards on a number of common purchases. Which cards provide the best offers? Continue reading to learn more about some of the cards you ought to consider as a new parent.

Why should new parents use a credit card?

Credit card rewards allow parents to reduce spending on common purchases, like diapers and food. Additionally, credit cards afford a degree of financial flexibility by providing cardholding parents the ability to defer unexpected expenses that might pop up, such as a visit to the emergency room. This benefit is further sweetened by the number of rewards credit cards that also offer long 0% intro APR periods, allowing parents to not worry about carrying a balance during their first months as a cardholder. Finally, credit cards provide fraud protection that affords peace of mind on nearly all purchases, which is the last thing on your mind when you have another life to take care of.

Which cards are best for new parents?

There are a number of rewards credit cards on the market for parents to consider, but we’ve noted some of the best for every purchase most new parents will make. Continue reading to see what card is best for you.

Best for all purchases

If you’re someone who doesn’t want to stress about using the right card on certain purchases, meaning you don’t want to a card that earns higher rewards in set or rotating categories, one of the following cards is for you.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

credit cards for new parentsWhether you’re buying diapers and baby formula or paying your hospital bill, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card is the perfect card for all of your purchases. That’s because this card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. On top of that, cardholders who spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account ownership will earn a $200 bonus — that’s 20% back! As if that isn’t enough, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card comes with a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with an intro 3% balance transfer fee for 12 months, then it’s 5%). Parents who prefer to pay with a mobile wallet (Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.) will earn even more, as eligible mobile wallet purchases made in the first 12 months earn 1.8% cash back. What’s more, when cardholders use their Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card to pay for their monthly mobile phone bill, they’ll receive up to $600 protection for covered damage or theft (with a $25 deductible and a maximum of 2 claims per year). The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card also has no annual fee and is available to those with good to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 700 or higher).

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

credit cards for new parentsThe Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another great option for new parents to use on any purchase. This card earns 2X miles on all purchases, including necessities for your little bundle of joy, plus 10X miles on hotels booked and paid for at Hotels.com/Venture (note that this offer is valid through Jan. 31, 2020). Additionally, cardholders will earn a one-time 50,000-mile bonus — that’s equal to $500 in travel! — when they spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Miles earned with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can be redeemed for travel without blackout dates or travel restrictions, which is perfect for parents looking to earn rewards they can use to take their first family trip. The card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year and no foreign transaction fees, a necessity for travelers. It’s also available to those with good to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 700 or higher) and comes with a whole host of added perks, like a statement credit of up to $100 every 4 years to cover the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck program application fee, complimentary concierge service and more.

Best for eating out or ordering in

Let’s face it: new parents may not have a lot of time to prepare meals in their child’s first weeks of life. As such, it makes sense for them to use a card that earns rewards when they dine out or order in. Below are two of our top choices.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

credit cards for new parentsThe Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a good balance between cash back on dining and groceries, two categories that are essential for new parents. It earns an unlimited 4% cash back on dining out and entertainment (e.g., purchases at movie theaters, tourist attractions, zoos and live theaters), 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases. The card also offers a nice $500 cash back bonus to cardholders who spend $3,000 on purchases within in the first 3 months. On top of that, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has a $0 intro annual fee (after that, it’s $95) and no foreign transaction fees. It’s also available to those with good to excellent credit (often considered a score of 700 or higher). Prefer a card with similar rewards and no annual fee? If so, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is likely a better option for you, as it offers similar ongoing rewards, a $150 intro bonus opportunity and has no annual fee.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

credit cards for new parentsNew parents who want to earn the most on food delivery purchases should consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card, which earns an unlimited 3X points on eating out and ordering in, gas, travel (e.g., transit, rideshares, airlines, hotels) and popular streaming services. This means you’ll not only earn points on your dining purchases, but you’ll also earn 3X on popular streaming services, like Netflix and Spotify, services most new parents take advantage of. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. Next, cardholders who spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months will earn a 30,000-point bonus — that’s worth $300 when redeemed for cash! Points earned with this card can be redeemed for cash, airline tickets, merchandise or gift cards. Wells Fargo customers can also use their points to pay down eligible Wells Fargo loans and mortgages. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card, which is available to those with good to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 700 or higher), also offers a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with an intro balance transfer fee of 3% for 12 months, then it’s 5%). The card has no annual fee and offers up to $600 mobile protection against covered damage and theft (with a $25 deductible and a maximum of 2 claims per year) to cardholders who use their Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card to pay their monthly cell phone bill.

Best for groceries

Grocery stores are an essential pitstop for new parents, as they not only need to pick up food for themselves, but also stock up on diapers, formula and other baby essentials. New parents looking to make the most of their grocery store purchases should consider the following card.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

credit cards for new parentsThe Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is a money-making machine, as it’s one of the top cards in our Cash Back Credit Card Analysis. First, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers a $200 intro bonus (in the form of a statement credit) to cardholders who spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account ownership. New cardholders also get a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee, $5 minimum). The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express really shines when it comes to ongoing rewards, as it earns a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000/year in purchases, then it’s 1% back), 3% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, like JC Penney, Kohls, Macy’s, Sears and Nordstrom, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. With diapers, baby food and clothes being recurring expenses, the savings this card grants parents can be a boon in your child’s younger years. The card does have a $95 annual fee, but given the cost of raising a child, this is a small investment as most parents will end up earning back the fee through regular use of the card. It also comes with a handful of added perks, including purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty on purchases.

If you want to avoid an annual fee entirely, consider its sister card, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express which has no annual fee and earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000/year in purchases, then it’s 1% back), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% on all other purchases. The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express also offers a $150 intro bonus opportunity to those who spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, as well as a 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee, $5 minimum).

Most customizable cards

Want the ability to pick your own rewards categories, or prefer to earn rewards on a number of different categories? If so, the following cards are for you.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

credit cards for new parentsThe U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card is a card built around the premise that cardholders should be able to decide what their cash back goes toward. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on $2,000 worth of purchases from two of the following categories – ground transportation, select clothing stores, restaurants, cell phones, movie theaters, bookstores, fitness centers and several others. Additionally, cardholders earn 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas or groceries, of their choice, as well as 1% back on all other purchases. All of this adds up to a card that’s flexible enough to handle the variability of the demands of parenting. Whether you’re looking to save on the everyday purchases of parenting, like food and supplies, or incidental costs, like new books, this card has you covered. It’s worth noting that purchases not falling under any designated categories yield 1% cash back, and if a cardholder fails to enroll in any quarterly categories, they will receive this amount on all purchases. Additionally, cardholders who spend $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening will earn a $150 bonus! Aside from the flexibility offered through the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card’s cash back features, it also has no annual fee and a 12-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee, $5 minimum). Finally, it’s available to those with excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 750 or higher).

Discover it Cash Back

credit cards for new parentsThis card doesn’t offer the same flexibility as the previous mentioned card, but it’s worth noting here because it earns rewards on a number of purchases throughout the year. That’s because Discover it Cash Back earns 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter you activate (up to the quarterly maximum, currently $1,500, then it’s 1% back). For example, 2018’s categories include gas stations and wholesale clubs from January to March, grocery stores from April to June, restaurants from July to September, and Amazon.com and wholesale clubs from October to December. As you can see, a lot of these categories, including Amazon.com and wholesale clubs, are perfect for a new parent. What’s more, Discover will match all of the cash back cardholders earn at the end of their first year. For example, if you earn $200 cash back in the first year, Discover will match that $200 to give you a total of $400 back. Other perks of the card, which is the only one on this list that’s available to those with average to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 670 or higher), include no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and a 14-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee) — after the 0% intro APR expires, the go-to APR applies. Discover cardholders also get a number of added benefits, like free identity theft protection alerts and more.

Becoming a parent is a major life change, but if you have the right tools, including the financial ones, you’ll be able to adjust and truly enjoy time with your new bundle of joy. Want to learn more about these cards? Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to see how they compare to others on the market.

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.