The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

12 Best Credit Cards for Doctors

12 Best Credit Cards for Doctors

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Posted: February 17, 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.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Discover it® Cash Back card provides 5% cash back on quarterly rotating merchant categories like restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, Amazon.com, and more. You can earn the 5%, up to the quarterly purchase limit, by activating the category each quarter.

All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. The card gives you a Cashback Match on all the cash back you’ve earned during the first 12 months.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card has a simple reward scheme — unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, 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 $150 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
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card provides three tiers of unlimited cash back rewards. The top tier earns 3% on dining and entertainment, while the second tier offers 2% at grocery stores. 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 $150 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
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards is another flat-rate cash back card, paying you an unlimited 1.5% 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®
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • 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
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.49% - 25.49% 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, after which you earn 3X points for travel and dining. All other purchases earn 1X points.

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
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • 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✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ leading 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)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
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 three months.

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

★★★★★
4.8

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 & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises 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 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card lets you earn 2X points on your travel and restaurant purchases, plus 1X points on all other purchases. You receive 25% more value when you redeem your points 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.

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Discover it® Miles card offers unlimited 1.5X miles for each $1 spent on purchases. This no-annual-fee card lets you redeem miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. New cardmembers receive unlimited matching miles at the end of 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
17.49% - 22.49% 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 $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 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
  • Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
14.74% - 20.74% 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.

Discover it® Business Card Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, automatically. And no limit to how much we’ll match. So you could turn $350 cash back into $700 with Cashback Match™.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent on all purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Your rewards never expire.
  • Track business expenses. Download transactions easily into Quicken, QuickBooks, and Excel.
  • Add up to 50 free employee cards.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 Months
N/A
14.49% to 22.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

The no-annual-fee Discover it® Business Card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. In addition, you receive a Cashback Match on all your cash back earnings for the first year.

Business benefits include downloadable transactions, free employee cards, 0% fraud liability, no foreign transaction fees, 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.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.49% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

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, charges no annual fee and provides a Cashback Match on all cash back you earn during the first year. You also get limited 5% cash back on quarterly revolving merchant categories and a limited introductory 0% APR after opening the account.

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 limited 3X points on selected business purchases, 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 3X points for dining and traveling, 1X points on all other purchases, and 50% more value when you use Chase Ultimate Rewards to redeem 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℠ Card lets you earn a limited 5% cash back for payments for phone, internet, and cable services, as well as purchases at office supply stores. You also get limited 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

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.