The Best Credit Cards for Retirees


credit card advice

Laura Slawny
By: Laura Slawny
Posted: August 14, 2014
Our personal finance experts dish out the most trusted credit card advice on the web, including juicy tips, tricks and secrets from inside the credit card industry.

Retirees have different needs than those still in the workforce, and they should tailor their finances to fit those needs. That includes using the right credit card for their new lifestyle.

There are many credit cards for retirees available. Here’s what you should look for when choosing the best credit card for your needs.

If you are an AARP member:

AARP has the best collection of perks for members 50 years and older. Now the AARP Visa Signature Card from Chase Bank offers cash back.

  • 3 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants
  • 1 percent everywhere else
  • No annual fees
  • Earn $100 cash back after spending $500 within the first three months
  • Visa Signature line comes with added upgrades and complimentary concierge

Consumers of any age can join AARP as an associate member to get this card, so it may also be a good card for people in their 40s.

If you plan to travel:

Unless you are brand loyal, travelers should go with a card that offers as many options as possible, like the Capital One Venture Rewards Card.

  • 2 percent cash back when used for travel-related purchases
  • Use miles to pay down previous purchases or book new travel
  • Includes flights, hotel rooms, car rentals and gift cards
  • Never any foreign transaction fees with Capital One cards
  • $59 annual fee is waived for the first year

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is limited in where you can use points, but you can earn enough for two free round trip flights just for signing up!

  • 50,000 bonus for spending $2,000 in first three months
  • 3,000 point anniversary bonus
  • 2 points = $1 in Southwest and AirTran purchases, partner hotel and car rentals
  • 1 point = $1 for all other purchases
  • 1 point = $1 in balance transfers within 90 days
  • $69 annual fee

“Rewards programs

can be confusing.”

If you want the best rewards:

If you put everything on your credit card and you have a great credit score, use it to get the highest rewards with preferred cards.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card lets you use points for a statement credit or rewards. You can transfer points to partner programs and it routinely offers special bonus deals.

  • 2 points = $1 spent on travel, hotels, rental cars and taxis
  • 2 points = $1 spent on any restaurant, including fast food
  • 1 point = $1 everywhere else
  • 7 percentage points dividend every year on new points, including those already redeemed
  • $95 annual fee is waived for first year

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers one of the highest cash back programs available, which can be redeemed as a statement credit.

  • 6 percent cash back from supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year)
  • 3 percent cash back on gas station and department store purchases
  • 1 percent cash back on everything else
  • 0 percent APR on new purchases for 12 months
  • $75 annual fee

If you like simplicity:

The Capital One Quicksilver Card makes it easy for the consumer.

  • 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
  • No limits to cash back rewards, redeem them anytime
  • Get cash back as an account credit, check or gift card
  • No annual fee

If you carry a balance:

Introductory offers of zero percent APR for six to 12 months are great on two conditions: The transfer fee is low and you really do pay it off before the APR jumps to a sky-high interest rate.

Another option is the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard, which offers a low APR and rewards.

  • No balance transfer fees
  • 8 percent APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • 1 percent statement credit on balance transfers within 60 days
  • No annual fee
  • No fees for going over your limit

No matter what kind of card you are looking for, it’s easy to compare them online. Keep watching for special offers. Many cards offer 25,000 or more bonus points just for signing up.

As always, read the fine print, and if you want to know your rights, see how the American Credit CARD Act can help you avoid pitfalls.

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