The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, November 27, 2020

12 Best Credit Cards for Doctors

Best Credit Cards For Doctors

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Updated: September 22, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Physicians have interesting financial profiles. New doctors usually carry substantial student debt. Many doctors maintain their own practices, which makes them businessmen as well as healers. And doctors frequently travel to professional venues such as medical conventions and conferences.

Couple that with well-earned vacations that may include travel to distant locales, and it’s obvious why there is considerable interest in the best credit cards for doctors. Physicians, treat thyselves — to credit cards that support your busy lifestyles and reward you with benefits you can use.

Cash Back | Travel | Business | FAQs

Best Cash Back Cards for Doctors

These four credit cards offer cash back rewards that physicians can put to good use, such as paying down student debt and financing major purchases or general expenses. Furthermore, these credit cards help young doctors fill in thin credit histories while offering reasonable APRs.

But whether you are a first-year resident or a seasoned physician, these cash back cards may offer the perfect prescription for your needs.

1. Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Cash Back Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Cash Back card provides bonus cash back on quarterly rotating merchant categories like restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, Amazon.com, and more. You can earn the bonus cash back, up to the quarterly purchase limit, by activating the category each quarter.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card has a simple reward scheme — a cash back rate on every purchase, every day. Busy doctors don’t have to concern themselves with quarterly activations or purchase limits. All this for no annual fee, plus you receive a wide variety of additional security and purchase benefits.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card provides three tiers of unlimited cash back rewards. All other purchases earn the base tier reward of 1%. New cardmembers can earn bonus cash back by spending a set amount on purchases during the first three months after account opening.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is another flat-rate cash back card, paying you an unlimited cash back on every purchase. Your cash back rewards don’t expire while the account remains open. This no-annual-fee card gives new cardmembers a cash bonus for spending a set amount on purchases during the first three months. The card charges no foreign transaction fees.

Best Travel Cards for Doctors

Doctors are always attending medical conventions, conferences, symposia, and other professional meetings. And I personally know a few successful doctors who enjoy scuba holidays in the Caribbean and skiing junkets in Europe.

These four travel cards are highly rated because they allow cardmembers to redeem points or miles for travel and hotel stays.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is a premium credit card with a premium annual fee. In return for that fee, you get excellent travel and insurance perks, starting with a $300 annual credit to reimburse travel expenses.

You receive 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You also get comprehensive travel insurance and free access to airport lounges.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card gives you unlimited 2X miles on all purchases with no annual fee for the first year. There is a one-time mileage bonus when you spend the set amount on purchases during the first months of account opening. See above for details.

The card also reimburses up to $100 for TSA Preè or Global Entry fees. You can redeem your miles for no-blackout-date travel/hotel stays or transfer them to any of a dozen travel partners.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card credit card lets you earn 25% more value for your rewards when you redeem them at Chase Ultimate Rewards® for travel arrangements.

There are no foreign transaction fees, but the card charges an annual fee. You also receive many other travel and purchase benefits, including a signup bonus.

8. Discover it® Miles

This card is currently not available.

Air Miles Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Miles card offers miles rewards for each dollar spent on purchases. This card lets you redeem miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. New cardholders enjoy friendly introductory terms and a unique year-end bonus after the first year.

Miles never expire (even when you close the account) and you can redeem any amount at any time. Redeemed miles are not subject to blackout dates for airline flights, car rentals, or hotel stays.

Best Business Cards for Doctors

Private practice doctors are also business people. For them, a business credit card makes a lot of sense. Think of all the equipment and supplies a practice must purchase.

The following four cards are well suited to business owners who also happen to be physicians.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99%-20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers 3X points on combined purchases, up to $150,000 per year, in select categories that include travel, shipping, internet, phone, cable, and social media advertising. All other purchases earn 1X points.

Your points go 25% farther when you redeem them at Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel-related purchases. Your points don’t expire while the account is open, and you can redeem them for gifts cash back, and more.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card provides 5% cash back, up to the yearly purchase cap, for internet, cable, and phone services and purchases at office supply stores. You earn 2% cash back, up to the annual limit, for combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations.

All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back, and you can add employee cards at no extra cost.

11. Discover it® Business Card

This card is currently not available.

Business Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Business Card offers cash back rewards on all purchases. Business benefits include downloadable transactions, fraud liability protection, immediate account freeze, and free FICO scores.

In addition, you can pay your bill by phone (with no fee) or online until midnight of the due date.

12. Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

This card is currently not available.

Business Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card lets you earn unlimited 2% cash back on all your purchases and waives the annual fee for the first year. Benefits include free employee cards with customized spend limits, $0 fraud liability, transaction download, year-end summaries, no foreign transaction fees, automatic and recurring transactions, and a flexible monthly due date.

Are there Credit Cards Specifically for Doctors?

In general, no credit cards are specifically designed for doctors. However, some cards are marketed to physicians because they offer a package of benefits that suit the general needs of doctors.

NIH FCU Logo

NIH Federal Credit Union offers credit cards that are only available to medical professionals.

For example, the terms of several credit cards from the NIH Federal Credit Union compare very favorably to common credit card terms from banks. The terms of its Signature cards include no annual fee, low APRs, no penalty APR, low fees, cash back or travel rewards, and free travel/baggage insurance.

The 12 cards in this review offer many features desirable to doctors. For frugal new physicians with oppressive student loans, our top cash back card, the Discover it® Cash Back, is a smart choice for everyday spending if you can keep track of rotating bonus categories.

Doctors with their own practices may prefer one of the reviewed business cards, such as the top-rated Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. It offers features that any business person may find handy, such as rewards on selected business purchases with 25% more value for points redeemed at Chase Ultimate Rewards, and no foreign transaction fees.

Peripatetic physicians benefit from travel cards that reward them for frequent professional and personal trips. Our top travel card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, provides 50% more value when you use Chase Ultimate Rewards to redeem your points for travel.

Can I Get a Credit Card with Student Loan Debt?

Student loan debt is not an insurmountable impediment to doctors seeking a credit card. The reasons include:

  1. Student loans represent installment debt, not the revolving debt associated with credit cards. While large amounts of revolving debt can make it harder to obtain a credit card because of your high credit utilization ratio (CUR), installment loans are not included when computing CUR. Therefore, student loan debt should not impact your credit score.
  2. Generally, doctors are regarded as trustworthy individuals unless proven otherwise. They also earn or, hopefully, will someday earn, substantial income. These characteristics may increase the likelihood that a credit card issuer will approve a physician’s credit card application.
  3. The fact that an applicant has student loan debt may even count as a small plus. The reason is that 10% of your FICO credit score stems from your credit mix. The three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) like to see you successfully manage more than one type of credit when they compute your credit score.
  4. As time goes by, physicians are increasingly better able to afford the top (i.e., most expensive) credit cards from an issuer. Credit card issuers know this and may want to groom you for their premium cards by getting you started on one of their less extravagant cards.

Thus, even with significant amounts of student loan debt, many issuers will approve a doctor’s credit card application.

Should I Get a Business Card if I Have My Own Practice?

Business credit cards are optimized for business owners, including doctors who own their practice. A doctor’s practice shares many characteristics with other types of businesses, including:

  • A desire for accounting support. A business card like the Discover it® Business Card allows you to download your transactions so that you can incorporate them into your own accounting software. In addition, the card will provide helpful annual reports specifying all card activity.
  • The requirement for free employee credit cards, which allow you to accumulate rewards based on the authorized spending of your employees. For example, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card offers free employee cards as well as the ability to set a spending limit for each employee.
  • Seeking higher rewards for business-related purchases. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card lets you earn a limited cash back rate for payments for phone, internet, and cable services, as well as purchases at office supply stores.

Three of our business card picks either charge no annual fee or waive it for the first year. Some provide automatic payments and recurring transactions. All are solid choices for doctors with their own practices.

The Best Medicine for Your Spending Needs

Our review of the 12 best credit cards for doctors encompasses card types that suit the lifestyles of many physicians. The cash back cards are handy for new doctors who can use some extra cash as they repay their student loans. Of course, any doctor who likes the universal flexibility of cash back may also want one of these cards.

Similarly, we reviewed cards that generously reward travelers and businesses, of note to doctors who travel often and/or run their own practices. For many doctors, owning one or more of these cards can be the best medicine for their spending needs.

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