school yearBack to school season means great deals on products, but is there a way to benefit from saving a little more? Rewards credit cards can yield you even greater savings by letting you earn a little extra on your purchases. Since not all credit cards earn rewards on school- and family-related purchases, we’re detailing some cards that will help you the most both during the back-to-school shopping season and throughout the entire school year.

Best for stocking up on essential supplies

What your kid learns from year to year may change, but what won’t change are the basic supplies they’ll need, from pencils, pens and notebooks to clothing, shoes and lunch supplies. Using the right credit card can help offset these necessary costs.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

school yearWhen it comes to making the most out of your school year purchases, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is an all-around solid card. First, the card’s 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000/year in purchases, then it’s 1%) means that you’ll be buying snacks, meals and more on this card. Next, an uncapped 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores, like Sears and Macy’s, will also provide you with good value while you’re doing the dreaded back-to-school shopping for clothes, and as an added bonus, uncapped 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations makes taking the kids to and from school and any extracurricular activities easier to swallow. All purchases outside these categories earn the standard 1% cash back, and you can count on a $150 bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months – easy to do when you’re paying for back-to-school purchases. Outside of its top-notch cash back earnings, the card features a 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (note that there’s a $5 or 3% balance transfer fee, whichever is greater), has no annual fee and offers some added perks for cardholders, like purchase protection and extended warranty on purchases. Finally, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express requires good to excellent credit (typically considered scores of 700 or higher) for approval.

Bank of America Cash Rewards – $200 Cash Rewards Offer

school yearIf you’re looking to do some extensive back-to-school shopping, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card is an excellent companion to have, especially if you have a Bank of America bank account. The card’s 3% cash back on gas means that you don’t have to worry as much about the costs of taking your kids from store to store in search of the perfect backpack. Additionally, this card earns 2% cash back at wholesale clubs and grocery stores (up to $2,500/quarter in combined gas/wholesale club/grocery store purchases, then it’s 1% back), which means you can reap big rewards for stocking up on necessities in bulk, and all other purchases earn 1% cash back. The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card’s perks don’t end there, as the card has a $200 online bonus you can earn after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. It also has no annual fee and a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers made in the first 60 days (with a 3% balance transfer fee, $10 minimum), and if you’re an existing Bank of America customer, any cash back rewards redeemed into your savings or checking account will get you a 10% customer bonus. Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors customers can expect to receive even more back, as their bonuses range from 25% to 75%, depending on their account status, making this a card that will keep you earning rewards all school year long. This card requires good to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 700 or higher) for approval.

Best for those busy school nights

Part of getting students ready for school is having plans in place for those busy school nights where the kids are at practice and you’re in a PTA meeting. The following cards will make sure that the nights where you have to eat out (or order in) aren’t too taxing on your wallet.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

school yearThe Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has very generous rewards for families, as it nets you an impressive unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment and 2% at grocery stores (plus 1% cash back on all other purchases). Whether you’re planning on cooking, buying snacks for the kids or going out to dinner, you’ll benefit greatly from using the card – plus, the cash back on entertainment includes a broad range of categories for the whole family, from movie theaters and live performances to museums and zoos. And this card’s massive, one-time $500 cash back intro bonus that you’ll earn after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months is a great way to ease the pain of school year expenses. One potential downside of this card is its annual fee, which is waived the first year and $95 thereafter. If that doesn’t suit you, consider its sister card, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else, a $150 cash back intro bonus that you’ll earn after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, no annual fee and a 15-month 0% APR on purchases and transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee). Note that you need good to excellent credit (usually a credit score of 700 or higher) to be approved.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

school yearAnother fantastic option to have on hand when the busy school year is in session is the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card, which earns a fantastic 30,000-point intro bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months – equal to a $300 cash redemption value. You’ll earn an uncapped 3X points on eating out and ordering in, popular streaming services, like Netflix and Spotify, gas stations and travel purchases (including flights, hotels, transit, tolls, parking meters/garages, homestays and car rentals) as well as 1X points on your other purchases. Plus, if you’re a Wells Fargo customer with a qualifying Wells Fargo checking or savings account or a PMA package, you’ll earn an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card has no annual fee to worry about, and you’ll get 12 months of 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers (note that there’s an intro balance transfer fee of 3% for the first 12 months, 5% after). Plus, you can get some extra peace of mind with Wells Fargo’s mobile phone protection, which provides up to $600 per claim against covered damage or theft (up to 2 claims per 12 months, with a $25 deductible per claim) if you pay your bill with your card. This card requires good to excellent credit (often considered a credit score of 700 or higher) for approval.

Best for the entire school year

If you want a credit card that will earn you cash back for a range of items on your back-to-school list, as well as all year round, then the options below are your best bet.

Discover it Cash Back

school yearWith the ability to earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter you activate (up to the quarterly maximum, currently $1,500), which have included things like groceries, restaurants, transit and gas stations in the past, and a unique cash back match bonus for new cardholders that matches all of the cash back you earn during your first year, the Discover it Cash Back card is nothing short of phenomenal. Here’s how the bonus works: if you earn $200 cash back in the first year, Discover will match that $200 to give you a total of $400 back. You’re required to activate the 5% cash back each quarter, but Discover will remind you when it’s time and rotating categories provide you with some solid rewards potential, making the activation worth it. For example, from now through Sept. 30, 2018, you can earn 5% cash back at restaurants, which will save you the hassle of trying to prepare dinner on nights when the demands of school and extracurricular activities are too much. And the last category of 2018 (Oct. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018) is Amazon.com and warehouse clubs, which means you can shop for household needs as well as holiday essentials while raking in cash back rewards. Aside from its rewards, this card also has tons of other family-friendly features, like Discover Freeze it, which lets you remotely freeze your card if it’s misplaced, access to free FICO scores as well as identity theft protection alerts that can aid in monitoring your financial security and a 14-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (note that there’s a 3% balance transfer fee) — after the 0% intro APR expires, a go-to variable rate applies. Finally, this card does not charge an annual fee and is available to those with average to excellent credit (scores of 670 or higher).

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

school yearNot up to the challenge of juggling cash back categories? Then a card like the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card that earns a flat rate on all purchases is the ticket. You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, and if you’re a fan of using mobile wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay, you can earn a boosted 1.8% cash back on qualified mobile wallet purchases during the first 12 months. On top of that, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months, you’ll get $200 cash back! This card is a winner in other areas, too, offering 12 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% intro balance transfer fee the first 12 months, 5% thereafter), a $0 annual fee and mobile phone protection of up to $600 against covered theft or damage to those who use their card to pay their monthly cell phone bill (note there’s a maximum of 2 claims per year and a $25 deducible per claim). This card requires good to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 700 or higher) for approval.

The back-to-school season can be hectic, but, as we’ve shown, it doesn’t have to be taxing on your wallet. For more cards that might be useful to you, check out our reviews of the best credit cards.

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.