Best Credit Cards for Families: Parents, Young Parents and Single Parents

Everything in life tends to change once you have kids, doesn’t it? Gone are the days of apartments downtown, lazy weekends, and fun cars. Instead, we trade it all for a house in the suburbs, Saturday morning soccer, and minivans. Even our credit card needs change when we start a family, meaning that the card you carry might not suit your needs anymore.

Depending on your family dynamics, there are certain credit cards that are a better choice than others. By picking the right card for your household, you can earn more rewards, save money, and take advantage of great benefits along the way.

Here’s our list of the best credit cards for families including parents, young parents, and single parents.

Best Credit Card for Parents

There are a few things that parents everywhere have in common: they spend more on gas and groceries than ever before, they like saving money where they can, and they have a never-ending laundry pile. While the right credit card still can’t help you with that last one, you can help mitigate the first two with these credit cards:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Cashback redemptions are easy, and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a reasonable annual fee.

In addition to the 6% cash back on groceries and gas, this card also offers a statement credit on The Disney bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. When kids are small, they can watch tons of Disney movies (over and over) and then move on to Star Wars, Marvel, and live sports. This, plus the 6% cash back on streaming makes this card a winner.

Rewards:

1% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
3% cash back
Gas
3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
6% cash back
U.S. supermarkets
6% cash back on groceries up to $6,000 per year in purchases at U.S. supermarkets, then 1%
6% cash back
Streaming services
6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and for 12 months on balance transfers. After the intro rate expires, the regular APR is 19.24% - 29.99% variable.
  • Reward Redemption Options: Statement credit or gift cards (equal value)
  • Why We Love It: If you buy food and fill your gas tank, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the best cards around offering elevated rewards on those categories.

Read more in our Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Review


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is my personal favorite for traveling, as it provides some incredible protections for cardholders. Add that to the excellent rewards (and redemption options), and the is easily a family favorite.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other purchases
2x points
Travel
2x points on all other travel purchases
3x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 3x points on online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
3x points
Streaming services
Earn 3x points on select streaming services
3x points
Dining
3x points on dining
5x points
Travel
5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel(SM)
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: None
  • Reward Redemption Options: Statement credit or travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal (when redeemed for travel through Chase, you get 25% more value for your points)
  • Why We Love It: With a 25% bonus for redeeming your points for travel, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card makes it easy for your family to vacation–whether to Disney or just to see the grandparents.

Read more in our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review


Citi Custom Cash® Card

Signing up for a favored cash back category can easily fall off your to-do list. But the Citi Custom Cash® Card makes it so easy. There’s nothing to sign up for, keep track of, or enroll in. You simply earn 5% cash back on your highest spend category (up to $500) each month.

Rewards:

1% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
5% cash back
Select Categories
Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer:  Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: Get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your rate will be 19.24% - 29.24%, variable, depending on creditworthiness.
  • Reward Redemption Options: Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou® points. Redeem your points for cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, or check.
  • Why We Love It: 5% cash back on whatever category you’re going to spend money on anyway, and Citi calculates it for you automatically. Stress-free earning is something parents need.

Read more in our Citi Custom Cash® Card Review


USALLIANCE Visa Signature Credit Card

Two things become clear to you when you have children: how much they eat and how much the cost of groceries has increased. The USALLIANCE Visa Signature Credit Card can help. It offers 6 points for every dollar you spend at the grocery store, up to $2,000 a month, which should cover almost every family. You need to join the USAlliance Financial credit union and maintain a checking account to redeem your rewards, though.

Rewards:

2x points
On all other eligible purchases
2x on all other eligible purchases.
6x points
U.S. supermarkets
6x points on eligible grocery store purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: None
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: None
  • Reward Redemption Options: To redeem for cash or statement credit you must have at least 2500 points and you must redeem in increments of $25. Points can also be redeemed (in any amount) on the scorecardrewards.com member portal.
  • Why We Love It: Although you need to jump through a few hoops to get this card, you won’t find a higher cash back rate on groceries. It also offers cell phone protection which is a nice added perk.

Read more in our USALLIANCE Visa Signature Credit Card Review


Best Credit Card for Single Parents

Parenting is hard when you have a teammate in the trenches with you. When you’re a single parent, life is even crazier, which makes the right credit card (that can save you money and simplify your life) so much more important.

Prime Visa

Show of hands: who shops on Amazon? I know that as a busy mom, I rely on this speedy company for everything from vitamins to pantry goods, birthday gifts, and everything in between. With the Prime Visa, you’ll not only earn cash back on those purchases but everything else you buy, too.

Rewards:

1% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
Earn unlimited 1% back on all other purchases.
2% cash back
Dining
Earn unlimited 2% back at restaurants.
2% cash back
Gas
Earn unlimited 2% back at gas stations.
2% cash back
Transit
Earn unlimited 2% back on local transit and commuting (including rideshare).
5% cash back
Select Categories
Earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership.
5% cash back
Travel
Earn unlimited 5% back on Chase Travel purchases with an eligible Prime membership.
10% cash back
Select Categories
Eligible Prime cardmembers earn 10% back or more on a rotating selection of items and categories on Amazon.com.
  • Annual Fee: $0, but you need a Prime membership to get the best rewards: currently $14.99 a month or $139 a year.
  • Welcome Offer: Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval exclusively for Prime members
  • 0% Intro APR offer: None
  • Reward Redemption Options: Redeem for statement credits, gift cards, travel, or use Shop With Points when buying on Amazon
  • Why We Love It: If you’re buying on Amazon and/or Whole Foods anyway, this card is a good (no-fee) way to earn more. Redemptions are incredibly easy, and you’ll also earn elevated cash back on everyday purchases like gas and restaurants.

Read more in our Prime Visa Review


Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The fee-free sister to the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express above, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers good cash back for families (especially single parents), but without an annual fee.

Rewards:

1% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
3% cash back
U.S. supermarkets
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
3% cash back
Select Categories
3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
3% cash back
Gas
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and for 15 months on balance transfers. After the intro rate expires, the regular APR is 19.24% - 29.99% variable.
  • Reward Redemption Options: Simple statement credit
  • Why We Love It: Want good cash back on those common expenses, but don’t want to worry about whether you are breaking even with an annual fee? Then this card is perfect for you. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and its 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers make it a great addition to any parent’s wallet.

Read more in our Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Review


Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

You can’t get simpler than the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. Earn flat-rate cash back on everything you buy without an annual fee to worry about.

Rewards:

2% cash back
All eligible purchases
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro rate expires, the regular APR is 20.24%, 25.24% or 29.99% variable.
  • Reward Redemption Options: Redeem for eligible purchases, statement credits to your Wells Fargo credit card, checking account, or mortgage, redeem at an ATM with a Wells Fargo ATM or debit card, or gift cards.
  • Why We Love It: There’s nothing to track and nothing to remember with this card. Simply spend and collect 2% back. Easy-peasy, especially for busy single parents (or really, any parent!).

Read more in our Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card Review


Best Credit Card for Young Parents

If you’re a young parent, you likely also have young children. This means that your credit card needs are very different from those of older parents with teenagers or even empty nests.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Young parents are still finding their groove, not only with their children but also with their financial life as a whole. This might mean a changing budget over the years, buying a home or car, kids who slowly begin to eat you out of house and home, etc. That’s why the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is perfect for young parents–you get to pick your bonus categories and can even change them each quarter!

Rewards:

1% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
1% cash back on all other purchases
2% cash back
Rotating Categories
2% cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations and EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants
5% cash back
Rotating Categories
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose
5% cash back
Airfare
5% cash back on prepaid air booked directly in the Rewards Center
5% cash back
Hotels
5% cash back on prepaid hotels booked directly in the Rewards Center
5% cash back
Rental Cars
5% cash back on prepaid car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles and for 15 billing cycles. After the intro rate expires, the regular APR is 19.49% - 29.74% variable.
  • Reward Redemption Options: Statement credit, direct deposit into your bank account, or a rewards card
  • Why We Love It: Your family’s needs might change every couple of months when your kids are young–luckily, this card allows you to change 5% rewards categories based on your needs in any given quarter.

Read more in our U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card Review


Citi Simplicity® Card

Cash back is a great thing to earn. If your credit card bill gets lost in the chaos of family life (or you just forget out of pure exhaustion), you can easily negate those savings with penalty APRs and late fees. With the Citi Simplicity® Card, you can protect yourself from both.

Rewards: None

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • 0% Intro APR offer: 0% intro APR for 12 months on Purchases and 0% 21 months on Balance Transfers. After the intro rate expires, the regular APR is 19.24% - 29.99 variable.
  • Why We Love It: When you have a newborn at home or are getting used to maintaining a family credit card, things can happen and statements can get paid late. This usually means painful late fees and even more painful penalty interest rates. With this card, though, you don’t have to worry about either of those. Plus, no annual fees and a great 0% APR introductory offer on balance transfers and purchases.

Read more in our Citi Simplicity® Card Review


Target RedCard™

Young parents (or new parents) have a lot of expenses, like diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, etc. If you shop at Target, the Target RedCard™ gets you a 5% discount at the register–you don’t have to wait until you get a statement. You also get free two-day shipping and an extended return window. Target also offers a Target RedCard debit card and a reloadable card. All of these options come with the same benefits. If you apply for the credit card, you may eventually be approved for the Target Mastercard, issued by TD Bank, which also allows you to earn cash back on dining and gas.

Rewards:

1% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1% everywhere else outside of Target. Only for guests approved for a Target Mastercard.
2% cash back
Dining
Earn 2% on dining purchases. Only for guests approved for a Target Mastercard.
2% cash back
Gas
Earn 2% on gas purchases. Only for guests approved for a Target Mastercard.
5% cash back
All eligible purchases
5% off every day at Target and Target.com
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: None
  • 0% Intro APR Offer: None
  • Why We Love It: If you shop at Target, this card is a no-brainer. If you’re worried you won’t be approved for the credit card, the debit card has most of the same benefits (minus zero fraud liability and ID theft protection).

How to Choose the Best Credit Card for Your Family

When sifting through card options to find the best one for your household, there are a few questions you want to ask yourself.

Where Do You Spend Most of Your Money?

One of the best benefits of credit cards today is the ability to earn rewards. These rewards–redeemable for cash back, gift cards, travel bookings, and more–are earned when you spend money with said card.

Some credit cards will offer you a flat rate, meaning that every dollar you spend earns the same amount of rewards regardless of where it’s spent. Other cards will offer higher reward rates for purchases at certain stores and in specific categories.

This makes it important to know how much your family spends and where. If you have teenage boys and half of your monthly budget goes toward food, you absolutely want to choose a card that rewards you for grocery store and restaurant purchases. If you have daughters on a traveling soccer team, pick a card that earns more on travel expenses (like gas, flights, and hotels).

Otherwise, if there isn’t a spending category that stands out in your household, a flat-rate rewards card might be the best option.

How Do You Want to Redeem Your Earned Rewards?

It doesn’t matter how many credit card rewards you earn if you can’t redeem them the way you want.

Some credit cards offer you a number of options, ranging from statement credits to issued checks, gift cards, or travel vouchers. Other cards, though, might only allow you to redeem your points for gift cards. Be sure that the card you choose allows you to spend those rewards in the way that suits you best.

You should also look into the rates for each redemption option. For instance, many cards will give you a higher redemption rate (meaning that your points are worth more) when you book travel, but a lower rate if you want cash back. Other cards give you the same redemption rate across the board.

Do You Travel Often, or Not at All?

There are some incredible travel credit cards on the market today. Many of them provide frequent fliers with perks like airline/hotel status, rental car upgrades, free checked bags, and even complimentary TSA PreCheck/Global Entry. Some cards may even give your family a travel credit to use each year on things like hotel stays or airfare.

However, if you’re at home with infant twins, travel-rich card benefits probably aren’t of much use to you right now. It’s important to choose a card that matches your needs in this particular season in life. Later down the line, as your family’s needs change, so can your card choices.

Does an Annual Fee Make Sense?

It might seem counterintuitive to pay an annual fee simply to carry a credit card. However, the right card and the right cash back rewards can make that fee well worth paying.

Whether an annual fee makes sense for your family depends on how much you plan to spend on the account, the benefits you’ll use, and whether you will make more off of the card than you’ll spend for the annual fee. For instance, if a card offers a high cash back rate in all of the categories where your family spends, you could earn hundreds of dollars in rewards each year. This makes a $95 fee more than worthwhile.

Some cards offer hundreds in travel credits each year, which can cancel out (or almost make up for) a premium card fee. Others might give your family perks like Uber credits or elite status with your favorite travel brands.

If the benefits offered are things that your family will use, and/or you’ll earn more in rewards with the card than you’ll spend on the annual fee, an annual fee is worth considering.

Do You Have High-Interest Debt?

If you’re currently carrying high-interest debt, especially in the form of another credit card balance, the right card can be an asset. That’s because many cards today will offer new cardholders an introductory balance transfer offer, often 0% interest for a period of time.

By taking advantage of this offer, your family can double down on debt repayments while also avoiding finance charges. This can help you get out of debt faster and for less money.

Related: A Simple Guide to Credit Card Balance Transfers

If you’re paying money in high-interest fees each month, try to find a new card with a great balance transfer offer, and save yourself a ton in the process.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right credit card for your family truly depends on your family’s dynamics. By picking the card that matches your spending habits, rewards preferences, and needs, you can optimize not only your cash back but also the convenience your credit cards can provide.