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

21 Best Credit Cards for Teachers in 2020

Best Credit Cards For Teachers

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: April 7, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

If you’re an educator, finding the best credit cards for teachers can help ease the up-front costs that are often necessary for a fully functioning — and effective — classroom. We’ll take a look at some of these cards in the article below.

Between classroom supplies, snacks, and professional development purchases, the average teacher spends as much as $1,000 of their own money each school year. For a new teacher, that could mean as much as 3% of your entire income spent on things that would be provided in other professions.

While changes in policy and funding are slow to happen, you can reduce your out-of-pocket classroom expenses with the smart use of credit card rewards. You can earn big rewards on every field trip, ice cream party, and a box of tissues simply by using the right credit card for your purchases.

Cash Back | Travel | 0% Intro APR | Dining | Grocery Stores | No Annual Fee | Store Cards

Best “Cash Back Rewards” Credit Cards for Teachers

While not the biggest earners, unlimited cash back credit cards are a good option for the teachers who’d rather spend their time worrying about grades and lesson plans than getting every last point from their credit card rewards.

With unlimited cash back cards, you’ll earn the same rewards on every new purchase, regardless of where or what you buy, with no limits on the number of rewards you can earn. Enjoy no-fuss redemption for a statement credit.

  • 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® offers a tiered cash back rewards rate on travel, dining, and drugstore purchases, and a flat-rate 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. Combine this with an easily attainable signup bonus, all topped off with an intro-APR offer on new purchases, and this is a card that works well in anyone’s wallet.

2. Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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 Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card let’s you earn up to 4% cash back, and your rewards will never expire as long as your account remains open. Your annual fee is also waived the first year.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice! Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance Transfers do not earn cash back and will have a fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

While the Citi® Double Cash Card advertises unlimited 2% cash back, it’s not all awarded at once. You’ll earn 1% when you make a purchase, then the other 1% cash back when you pay off your balance.

Best “Travel Rewards” Credit Cards for Teachers

Similar to their students, many teachers look forward to summer break as a time to get out of the classroom and enjoy some well-earned relaxation. If you like to spend your summers traveling the world, then a good travel rewards credit card is a surefire winner.

Although there are a number of co-branded travel cards that offer special airline or hotel perks, the most versatile travel rewards cards are those that offer points or miles that can be redeemed on nearly any travel expense, free from blackouts or brand restrictions.

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

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

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

If you’re interested in getting the most value out of your travel rewards, look for cards that allow points transfers to hotel and airline partners. This allows you to turn your flexible rewards into branded loyalty points that can unlock big-value redemptions.

Best “0% Intro APR” Credit Cards for Teachers

For new teachers, a small starting salary, big classroom costs, and the nearly inevitable student loan payments can all mean a strict budget that doesn’t have room for things like interest fees.

With a good intro-APR credit card offer, however, you can make interest-free purchases for 12 months or more. Plus, you’ll even earn rewards on those interest-free purchases if your card offers cash back, points, or miles.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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

Be sure to look at the specific details of your intro-APR offer before making purchases. While some offers apply to both new purchases and balance transfers, others may only apply to one transaction type.

Best “Dining Rewards” Credit Cards for Teachers

From end-of-semester pizza parties to field trip dinners, teachers can find themselves paying for any number of large meals over the course of the school year. And let’s not discount the nights eating take-out to finish grading that last round of papers.

Putting those purchases on one of our top credit cards for bonus dining rewards can net you at least 4% cash back on every dine-in or take-out meal, putting a little more room in the food budget.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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

While you’d need to be a really big eater to make up the Chase Sapphire Reserve®‘s annual fee on dining rewards alone, a healthy restaurant habit paired with the card’s annual travel credit can make short work of that fee. For some teachers, this card is a good all-in-one option for school-year meals and summertime travel alike.

11. Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall 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

Although you’ll only earn bonus rewards on restaurant purchases up to one quarter each year with the Discover it® Cash Back, during that activated quarter, you’ll get a top cash back rate on qualifying restaurant purchases. Quarterly spending limits apply.

12. Uber Visa Card

The Uber Visa Card from Barclays is a solid choice for cash back restaurant rewards, offering an unlimited 4% cash back on dining purchases, including sit-down, take-out, and UberEATS.

Uber Visa Card

  • Earn 4% cash back on dining purchases, including restaurants, takeout, bars, and UberEATS
  • Earn 3% cash back on hotel & airfare, 2% for online purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

Don’t forget about the card’s other perks, either. Flights and accommodations for long-distance conferences or summer-break getaways can earn 3% cash back, and online purchases net a cool 2% cash back.

Best “Grocery Store Rewards” Credit Cards for Teachers

One of the biggest expenses for teachers is office supplies, but few consumer credit cards offer office supply store bonus categories. This means a card with good grocery store rewards is usually the next best thing to keep your classroom stocked.

In fact, your local grocery store is a great place to find just about everything you need for a classroom, from pens and binders to snacks and tissues. Especially when you can earn as much as 6% cash back on your grocery store purchases.

13. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has the highest grocery store category bonus on the market, offering a huge 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in grocery store purchases each year. While the card does come with a $95 annual fee, you can easily make it back with the rewards from only $31 in groceries each week.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6k a year) & on select U.S. streaming services
  • Earn 3% cash back on U.S. gas station and transit purchases
  • Pay a $95 annual fee

The secondary bonus categories of the American Express Blue Cash Preferred are also worth mentioning, as they offer 6% on select streaming services, plus 3% cash back for gas and transit, which can come in handy for field-trip fuel-ups.

Chase Freedom FlexSM Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • 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 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% 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 FlexSM offers 5% cash back on qualifying bonus category purchases each activated quarter on up to $1,500 in category purchases. Chase has offered grocery stores as a bonus category the last four years running, so you can likely count on at least one quarter of 5% grocery store purchases each year.

15. Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall 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

As with the Chase Freedom FlexSM, the Discover it® Cash Back card offers quarterly rotating bonus rewards categories that offer bonus cash back for purchases made in categories that change every three months. Grocery stores and wholesale stores have both been featured in years past.

Best “No Annual Fee” Credit Cards for Teachers

With so much of your salary going toward the classroom, throwing extra money at seemingly frivolous expenses, like credit card annual fees, can seem downright ridiculous.

But while some annual fees may be worth paying, there are a huge number of quality rewards credit cards available that will offer good rewards rates without charging you a huge annual fee — or any annual fee at all.

BEST OVERALL 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

17. Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall 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

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
3.8

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set.
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

Of course, don’t assume that because there is no annual fee there are no fees at all. Carrying a balance from month to month will still incur interest fees (unless you have an active 0% APR offer), and non-purchase transactions, like balance transfers or cash advances, will still come with their own fees, as well.

Best “Store Rewards” Credit Cards for Teachers

Although there are many open-loop credit cards that can help you maximize rewards in most of your favorite stores, sometimes the best year-round savings can be had with a closed-loop store credit card.

Of course, these cards are only usable at their associated stores, which limits their usability. But with those offering 5% rewards for branded purchases, it may be worth keeping one or two of these unitaskers in your wallet.

19. Amazon.com Store Card

If you need it, Amazon.com likely has it, making the Amazon.com Store Card a useful option for nearly any Amazon Prime customer. Note that only Amazon Prime members actually earn rewards with this card, so while the card has no annual fee, you’ll need to pay for Prime membership to get the most use out of it.

Amazon.com Store Card

  • Receive special financing on eligible Amazon.com orders of $149 or more made with your card
  • Amazon Prime members also get 5% cash back on Amazon purchases
  • Pay no annual card fee (Prime fee may apply)

Both cardholders with and without Prime membership do qualify for the card’s deferred financing options on orders over $149, but be sure to pay off your purchases in full before the promotional period expires or you’ll be charged interest on your entire purchase.

20. Target REDcard

The Target REDcard can be a good way to save on any number of items, from classroom essentials to after-lunch snacks.

Target REDcard

  • Get 5% off your total purchase at checkout for eligible in-store or online Target purchases
  • Receive exclusive deals and discounts
  • Pay no annual fee

Unlike most rewards cards, the Target REDcard doesn’t earn rewards that are redeemed later. Instead, you’ll get an instant 5% off at the register for every qualifying purchase.

21. Staples® More Account — Personal

A Staples® More Account can go a long way to helping you save on office supplies, offering 5% back on your Staples purchases. Rewards are earned as Staples Rewards®, however, which are only redeemable at Staples.

Staples® More Account — Personal

  • Earn 5% back as Staples Rewards® on in-store and online Staples purchases
  • Receive free next-day delivery on orders over $49.99
  • Pay no annual fee

If you need to make a big purchase, perhaps something like upgrading your personal computer, your Staples® More Account also comes with special financing on orders over $299. Keep in mind that the financing is deferred, so you’ll need to pay off your full purchase before the end of the financing term to avoid paying interest on the entire amount.

Do You Have an A+ Credit Card?

For the typical teacher, teaching is more than a simple job — it’s a calling. Unfortunately, that calling often comes with extra costs to keep the classroom — and its students — properly outfitted.

And, until the inherent policy and funding issues are addressed, it’s often up to teachers to make it work.

With a little organization and a handful of quality credit cards, you can not only earn rewards on your regular personal spending, but also maximize the rewards you earn on classroom-related expenses, taking some of the bite out of your budget.

Of course, no amount of rewards can make up for high interest fees, so be sure to keep your budget on track to avoid a costly test of your finances.

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