4 Best Credit Cards for Retirees

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The credit card industry is so competitive that you can find a card that serves just about any need. This ultimately benefits all consumers, but it can be particularly helpful for retirees.

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Many seniors live on a fixed income, and perks they can get from a credit card can help ease the cash crunch, particularly in a time of rising inflation. Others have extensive travel built into their retirement plans, and using a rewards credit card can ease some of the burden of getting from one place to another.

With these considerations in mind, here’s a list of some of the best credit cards for retirees

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can be a great option for retirees because it provides significant extra cash back for spending in categories that seniors typically use. Specifically, the card offers a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), and on U.S. streaming subscriptions, and 3% cash back on U.S. gas stations and transit, including rideshares and parking.

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With a , the card also offers a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months of card ownership, in addition to a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After the introductory period, the APR will apply.

While this card doesn’t provide big travel perks like lounge access, free baggage or elite status, it does offer huge amounts of cash back for retirees that prefer to stay more at home or take road trips rather than fly. At a 6% cash earnings rate on groceries and streaming, retirees need only spend about $132 per month in those categories to offset the annual fee. 

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Retirees that are averse to paying an annual fee on a credit card can get many of the same benefits of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card by picking up the no-fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Although the benefits aren’t quite as high as the $95-annual-fee version, the cash back amounts are extremely high for a no-fee card.

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The Blue Cash Everyday® Card provides a quite generous 3% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per year in purchases in each of these categories, then 1%), in addition to a $7 monthly credit towards the Disney Bundle and a $15 monthly credit towards Home Chef. Also, you can earn up to $250 in welcome offer bonuses. First you will earn $100 after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months. You can also earn up to $150 back when you shop with Paypal. You will earn 20% back as a statement credit on purchases when you use your new Card to check out with PayPal at merchants in the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $150 back. 

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As with its heftier brethren, the bonus categories with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card cater to those often used by retirees, making it an enticing option. 

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AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard From Barclays®

The AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard From Barclays® doesn’t offer travel rewards or huge benefits, but it does focus its value on spending categories like to be used by retirees. Specifically, the card offers unlimited 3% cash back on gas and drug store purchases, along with 2% back on eligible medical expenses.

While cash back on gas purchases is a fairly common rewards feature, it’s harder to find a credit card that gives extra cash for drugstore and medical purchases, making the AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard From Barclays® a nice fit for some seniors. Perhaps best of all, the card has no annual fee, making its rewards essentially free.

New card members also earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending just $500 on the card in the first three months and can enjoy a 15-month 0% promotional rate on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. [33]

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For retirees that are a bit more on the go, the Capital One Venture X Card offers a host of valuable travel-related features and benefits. The card carries a stiff annual fee, but it also rebates $300 annually on travel booked through the Capital One Travel portal. Additionally, the card provides 10,000 bonus points every card anniversary, which can be redeemed for $100 of travel. Combined, those two rewards alone more than offset the annual fee.

New cardmembers can earn a 75,000-point sign-up bonus by spending $4,000 in the first three months of card ownership, and they’re also entitled to a free Priority Pass membership, allowing lounge access across the globe. Capital One Lounge access is also included. On top of these headline rewards, the card pays 10x points on car rentals and hotels and 5x points on flights booked through the Capital One Travel portal. Those signing up for or renewing Global Entry or TSA PreCheck are entitled to a $100 fee credit once every four years.

Overall, the card can offer great value for retirees who enjoy traveling. 

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All information about American Express card offers has been collected independently by GOBankingRates and has not been reviewed or approved by American Express. These offers are not available through GOBankingRates.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.
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