By Kristina Russo | American Express Credit Intel Freelance Contributor
4 Min Read | September 22, 2020 in Cards
It probably comes as no surprise that online shopping is growing fast: 40% of people surveyed said they shop online several times a month, and 20% make multiple weekly online purchases.1 The attractions of online shopping include convenience, easy comparison shopping, saving money, and avoiding crowded stores. But regardless of what draws you to shop online, if you’re paying by credit card, you may want to know which one is best suited for your online shopping style.
Here’s a review of popular credit card features to consider when choosing the “best” credit card for your online shopping.
Online shoppers tend to be savvy, often comparing product features and prices, searching for coupon codes, or looking for special shipping offers before checking out. They want their credit card to do double duty, earning rewards as they shop, or even triple duty by layering on a rewards shopping portal associated with the credit card. Rewards programs vary from card to card, some earning you cash back or points.
If you fall into this camp, it’s wise to select a rewards program that matches the kind of spending you do. Maybe you shop online for everyday items, rather than large, one-time purchases. Or maybe you prefer to buy from particular online vendors with rewards programs attached to associated credit cards, similar to a store’s own credit card in the offline world. Either way, a rewards program should make sense for your lifestyle. For more on this, read “Earning Rewards and Cash Back While Shopping Online.”
If you plan to pay off a large purchase over time, examine credit card interest rates and fees when selecting a credit card for online shopping. Credit card interest rates average close to 17% per year, which can lead to interest charges that offset even generous rewards programs.2 Look for cards with a low annual percentage rate (APR) or even a 0% intro APR credit card.
Some basic credit card features become even more critical for online shopping – namely, security and customer service. Experts agree that using a credit card is safer for online shopping than using a debit card tied to a bank account. Some enhanced security features of credit cards that may be especially beneficial for online shopping include:
For more credit card safety tips, read “Holiday Credit Card Security: Keeping Your Credit and Identity Safe.”
Online forms make most applications pretty straightforward. You’ll be asked for typical personal profile information like your name, address, and date of birth; basic financial data like income, bank accounts, and housing costs; and security facts such as your Social Security number and mother’s maiden name.
The “best” credit card for online shopping depends on which features are important to you – like how easy it is to apply for, or whether the card offers reward programs or low interest rates. And of course, don’t forget to consider security and customer service.