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Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping


Reviewed by Tanza Loudenback

The internet has revolutionized the way we do things, particularly how we shop. Gone are the days when you had to physically visit a store or supermarket to find the best selection of products. Online shopping is quick, convenient, and often allows you to find great deals by comparing prices.

Many people have also realized the perks of using rewards credit cards for online shopping. Whether it's extra points, cash back, or miles you can earn hundreds if you choose the right card.

The best credit card for online shopping will depend on your personal shopping habits and which rewards best fit your lifestyle. Check out this guide for the top cards to consider.

What Is a Shopping Credit Card?

Online shopping has continued to gain popularity because of its convenience, competitive prices, and infinite selection. When shopping online, it's a good idea to use a credit card that provides extra perks and rewards to maximize the value of your purchases.

Most e-commerce platforms have several payment options, but credit cards are the most common. There are many companies that offer credit cards designed for shopping online. It's up to you to choose from a wide range of options available.

You should consider credit cards that offer miles, cash back, or points based on your spending. It's also important to consider credit cards that cover things like price protection, $0 fraud liability on all purchases, extended warranty, and return protection.

Last but not least, a shopping credit card helps you to keep track of your spending better than cash. You are able to see how much you have spent at the end of the month. As mentioned earlier, there are many companies that offer shopping credit cards. All these companies have their own merits and demerits.

How to Pick a Credit Card for Online Shopping?

With so many options available, it can be challenging to choose the right credit card for your shopping purposes. The type of credit card you choose will determine a lot in terms of convenience, affordability, and rewards.

1. Select Your Preferred Credit Card

There are different types of credit cards on the market. The best way to know which credit card is good for you is to understand how it works. After you have decided which credit card to shop with, it becomes easy to pick one from a pool of many. The type of credit card you select should basically be in line with your online shopping habits.

For example, a person who travels frequently will choose a different credit card compared to a student who is still struggling to build his or her credit score. That’s the reason why you should first figure out your reason for getting the card before making the final decision.

Below are some of the reasons why some people apply for credit cards:

  • Improve their credit score
  • Pay off purchases over time
  • Earn rewards on purchases

These are the common reasons why many people apply for credit cards. Try to align the reasons for applying for the credit card to the type of credit card you want. For instance, there are credit cards that are more focused on rewards than credit score rebuilding.

2. Decide on the Most Important Features

The other important factor when it comes to picking a credit card is card features. You need to carefully understand the type of features available in a credit card before making the final decision. Here is how to choose a credit card with the right features:

Credit Cards to Improve Credit Score

If you would like a credit card that will help improve your bad credit, below are some of the features to prioritize:

  • No annual fees: Who wants to incur more expenses when trying to repair their credit?
  • Payments are reported to all credit bureaus: Choose a credit card company that reports your payments to all the three major consumer credit bureaus.
  • Free credit score monitoring: Most reputable credit companies have free credit score monitoring tools. These tools can help you know whether your credit score is improving or not.

Reward Credit Cards

In case you're interested in picking a credit card that can earn you the most rewards and cash backs, here’s what to look for:

  • Reward rates: Check how many rewards you earn from every purchase. Some cards earn you a flat rate like 1% on all items while others can earn you up to 3%.
  • Sign up for bonuses or welcome offers: Some cards give you extra rewards for hitting spending thresholds during a certain timeframe.
  • Annual fees: Some credit companies charge yearly fees while others don’t. You should find out whether paying the annual fee is worth the benefits you get from the card.

3. Compare Different Credit Cards

As mentioned earlier, there are many companies that offer credit cards for different purposes. This can sometimes make it difficult to know which one is the best company to work with. You don’t need to be in a hurry when choosing a credit card to shop online. The best strategy is to shortlist several credit cards and compare them based on your individual needs.

For example, you can decide to compare the number of rewards offered by each of the credit card companies and arrive at the one with the most favorable terms. You may also want to choose a credit card company that has no or lower annual fees compared to those with higher fees.

4. Choose a Reputable Company With Experience

When it comes to online shopping, try to find a credit card company that has a good reputation regarding online payments. Some credit companies can frustrate you and make your online shopping experience a nightmare. That’s why you should check the background of various credit card companies and determine if they're capable of providing quality services in terms of online shopping.

5. Submit Your Application

After you have compared different credit card companies, the next step is to apply for your credit card.

You must go through and understand all the requirements before submitting your personal details. Some credit card companies may approve your application within 24 hours while others can take up to three business days.

How to Use a Credit Card When Doing Your Online Shopping

Getting a credit card is one thing, and using it to shop online is another. It is important to follow the right steps when using your credit card to make your online shopping successful. You don’t want a situation where you're unable to pay for an item that you have already selected.

Here is a simple process to follow:

  • Visit the online store after verifying that it is secure
  • Choose the items you would like to purchase and add them to your cart
  • Go to the “checkout” button – which is usually located at the top right-hand corner of the website. The checkout button is supposed to give you the billing details
  • Enter your personal details such as address name, email address, and telephone numbers. Some companies will request you to register an account to make a purchase
  • Select “credit card” as your preferred payment method after being prompted to choose how to pay for the order or orders. Other payment options may include bank transfer, PayPal, or debit card.
  • Provide your credit card details. Click the “confirm” button to make the payment

How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online

Online shopping has become a norm for many people around the world. While online shopping offers a lot of conveniences, it also comes with its own share of challenges. One of the main challenges is cybercrime. Hackers are always on standby to prey on unsuspecting online users and shoppers. Below are ways to stay safe when shopping online:

1. Avoid Using Debit Cards

When shopping online, it is better to stick to credit cards or services like PayPal as your payment options. This is because debit cards are connected to your bank account. It makes it easy for hackers to target both your personal information and money. Credit cards offer a higher level of security as well as minimal liability in case someone steals your card number.

2. Shop on Secure Sites

Before you start entering your personal or financial information, ensure that the site you are about to visit is secure. The easiest way to verify is to find out if the URL or website's address of that particular site begins with “HTTPS.” A secure website has an “s” after “HTTP”, meaning it is encrypted. Anything less than that puts your personal information at the feet of online predators.

3. Avoid Public Wi-Fi

It's not safe to use public Wi-Fi to make online payments. This is because such connections are weak and vulnerable to hacking. Hackers can easily view your passwords and use them to access your mobile wallet or bank account.

4. Update Your Software

One way to stay safe online is by updating your computer software. Software updates are usually released for the purposes of improving security and combating new tricks developed by hackers daily. Unfortunately, most people do not take this seriously. You must ensure that the software in your computer is always up to date so that you can keep hackers at bay.

5. Use Strong Passwords

Avoid using weak and simple passwords, such as your date of birth or the name of your pet, for your online accounts. Hackers are smart people, and they can easily crack such simple passwords and steal your personal information. A strong password should combine numbers, unique characters, and letters.

6. Be Wary of Phishing Scams

Another trick that hackers use to steal information is to clone genuine online shopping websites and trick users to click on them. Once you have clicked, the hacker is able to access your personal details and probably your bank account as well. Instead of clicking on a website link through an email or text, type the URL or company name directly into a search engine and find the website from there.

7. Avoid Sharing Passwords and Change Them Regularly

It's not safe to share your online passwords with anyone. You may not know how many people can access your account. It is also recommended that you change your passwords every three months to be on the safe side.

Thomas Donaldson is CompareCredit.com's credit card expert. His work has been featured by USA Today, NBC News, Business Insider and many more.

Tanza Loudenback is a CFP® certificant, writer, and editor. From 2015 to 2021, she was a top-read author and editor at Business Insider. Her work focuses on helping people make smart decisions with their money and is published by a variety of online publications. Full Bio

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