21 Best Credit Cards for Teachers in 2018

21 Best Credit Cards for Teachers in 2018

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Posted: June 20, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

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 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.

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers a flat-rate 1.5% cash back on all purchases, plus an easily attainable signup bonus, all topped off with an intro-APR offer good on both new purchases and balance transfers.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.74%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.74%-26.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card has the same 1.5% unlimited cash back as the Freedom Unlimited®, but offers a slightly larger signup bonus and a slightly shorter intro-APR offer.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases.
  • Earn $100 bonus cash back when you make $500 in card purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track and no caps on cash back.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.99% - 24.99% (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
  • 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 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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 $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Excellent Credit
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • 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
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

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.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 16.90%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.90%-26.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 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 50K 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
  • Named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card for 2017’ by MONEY® Magazine
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$450
Excellent Credit

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.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

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 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in qualifying restaurant purchases. Plus, you’ll earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all non-category spending year-round.

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 US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • Earn 3% cash back at US gas stations and US department stores
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

The secondary bonus categories of the American Express Blue Cash Preferred are also worth mentioning, as they offer 3% cash back for both gas and department store purchases, which can come in handy for field-trip fuel-ups and keeping extra clothes in the classroom.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

The Chase Freedom® 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.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

As with the Freedom®, the Discover it® card offers quarterly rotating bonus rewards categories that offer 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in category purchases each quarter you activate your bonus category. Grocery stores as a bonus category is a new addition for Discover, but wholesale clubs have been on the calendar for a couple of years now.

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
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
3.8

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (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.