Big purchases are great to charge to your credit card—if you have a personal payback plan and picked the right card, that is. Whether you’re buying a new television, remodeling the kitchen, or even covering an emergency bill, certain credit card perks can help you save money whenever you have to spend. A card with an introductory 0% APR period can also be a great financing choice when you want a long, interest-free repayment period. Plus, many cards come with extra benefits, like cash-back options or product warranties, that can add value to the item you're buying.
When it comes to maximizing savings on large purchases it can be hard to know where to start. Credit cards, in and of themselves, are tools you can use to help your purchase your desired item, but you do eventually need to pay off the debt. That being said, credit card issuers have created fantastic incentives for you to use their cards, so putting a big purchase on plastic could be a better deal than buying the same item with cash.
Here are our recommendations for the best credit cards to help you save:
Long introductory period APR rates are only a short-term incentive. Potentially high APR rates snap into effect after the card’s intro period ends, which could cost you a lot in interest if you’ve left your balance unpaid. It’s really important—especially when getting a card for a big purchase—to keep an eye on your finances, and keep an eye on the calendar.
APR rates and credit limits vary based on your individual credit. Credit limits and interest rates for each card are determined based on each cardholder's personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating these cards. Remember to pay your card off in full every month, so you will not be charged interest.
Banks have final say on who they accept for a credit card. These recommendations were put together with the assumption that applicants would have good or excellent credit. That being said, banks decide who they will issue credit cards to using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual's credit score when evaluating each applicant.
How We Evaluated
I’m a veteran writer who has covered travel rewards and the intricacies of credit card points and miles. I kept a few smart rules in mind when evaluating credit cards to help you save:
Look for long 0% intro APR periods. That way you’ll have plenty of time to pay off your charges interest-free.
Avoid credit cards with an annual fee. Why pay to save, when so many good options have no annual fee?
Tack on as many benefits as you can. Some cards offer useful and valuable perks just for being a member.
I used these guidelines to pick recommendations based purely on their ability to help you save money or put some cash back in your wallet when you have to make a large purchase. That being said, which card you ultimately choose depends on which goal you value most.
Best for cash back
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card gives you a straightforward path to redeem cash bonuses and accrue cash back rewards quickly. If you have a big, one-time purchase on the horizon, than these perks can help you cut the overall cost.
Points: The card awards 1.5% cash back on all your purchases, no matter the vendor or price. So, if you buy a $1,000 item, you’ll receive $15 in points back. With no cap to the awards limit, collecting points can pay big dividends in the long term.
Perks: Though the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card has no annual fee—in addition to no foreign transaction fees—it has a surprising amount of potential for your wallet. If you spend $500 in the first three months, you’ll get a $200 cash bonus—a pretty good reward for simply spending money.
Add that to a 0% APR intro rate for the first 15 months, and you’re looking at a card with high upside and even higher dividends. Once the grace period expires, the APR increases based on your creditworthiness.
If you need a lot of time to pay down your bills without accruing interest, then the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card is your best bet. The card offers a generous 0% intro APR for the first 20 billing cycles.
Points: This is the card for spreading out your payments over time, not racking up points or getting cash-back incentives. Therefore, we recommend U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card if your primary goal is a long intro APR. With this introductory period, that $1,000 television comes out to just $50 a month. Just make sure you pay down your debt before the variable APR kicks in at the 21st cycle.
Perks: Again, this card is the best for worry-free spending, not racking up rewards. There’s no annual fee, though, which is nice. One side aspect we like is the Platinum Card’s cell protection program. Get $600 coverage on broken or stolen phones (up to two claims per year) with only a $25 deductible.
Make the most of cash-back offers with Capital One’s SavorOne, one of our favorite rewards cards with an APR intro period longer than a year.
Points: The SavorOne is primarily geared toward everyday purchases, but its incentive structure rewards big purchases, too. You’ll quickly redeem the $200 cash reward: It comes online after you’ve hit $500 in the first three months—a low threshold in the land of big-ticket items.
On the everyday spending front you can also use the card's tiered model to your advantage. Get 3% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else. There’s no cap to the cash-back rewards, either.
Perks: On top of its cash rewards offerings, the SavorOne card’s 15-month intro APR rate of 0% makes it a strong contender for your large purchase card portfolio. After that, it's a variable APR based on your personal creditworthiness.
No annual fee, high rate of return: We picked the Wells Fargo Cash Wise as much for what it has as for what it doesn’t. This card gives you an easy path for turning money spent into money made.
Points: The Cash Wise Visa rewards holders with 1.5% back on all purchases. It’s a straightforward approach to cash-back, and potentially more appealing than other tiered programs, which require a lot of planning to fully maximize benefits. The card’s $150 bonus also stands above the competition. Spend $500 in the first three months from account opening, and it’s yours.
Perks: With 15 months of 0% intro APR, this isn’t as forgiving as some of the other top choices to make the list. Nevertheless, it’s a good option to consider if you want a solid card with some extra perks. Keep in mind that the interest rate will increase after 15 months.
If you’re saving up for a new phone, then this perk is for you. The card comes with a $600 cell phone protection program, available to all Wells Fargo cardholders who pay their monthly phone bill with their card. While there’s a $25 deductible, it's a worthy perk nonetheless.
The only travel-focused rewards card to make this list, VentureOne from Capital One is excellent if you anticipate spending big when booking accomodations for your next trip.
Points: You’ll get 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend on anything, and there’s no limit to the rewards you can earn.
Perks: The VentureOne card rewards you with 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $500 on your card within the first three months. If you decide to take convert those points to cash back, that’s an easy $200, and a great additional perk on top of the hefty miles rewards program. Plus, there's no foreign transaction fees when you're abroad.
The only downside is the card’s relatively short 12-month 0% APR introductory period, which transitions to a variable APR after the first year. This is not nearly as forgiving as some of our other top rewards cards. But if points and miles are your game, and you need a no-annual-fee card for your next big buy, VentureOne from Capital One is at least worth a hard look.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.