6 Best home improvement credit cards (2021) | finder.com

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Best home improvement credit card

Get up to 5% rewards and special financing on purchases.

With many people moving to the suburbs or staying at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, home improvement work is on the rise. To help ease the financial burden of these projects there are several excellent home improvement credit cards. We compared cards that were most useful for home improvement purchases, with features such as interest rates, rewards and simplicity of use and introductory periods. Those cards that shined in a given category were selected and highlighted below.

What are the best credit cards for home improvement?

There are several great choices for home improvement purchases. Consider how much you want to spend and over what time you plan on paying off your purchases.

Best for flat-rate rewards
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 2%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
If simplicity is what you're after, it's hard to go wrong with the Citi® Double Cash Card. You'll earn 2% cash back on every purchase 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay your balance. That's an excellent rewards rate not just for home improvement projects, but for all other purchases. And if you want to consolidate your debt, you can use the card's long 0% intro APR period on balance transfers.
  • Cash back. Earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, 1% back when you make the purchase and another 1% back when you pay it off. This is higher than most competitor cards that earn 1.5% cash back.
  • Intro APR period on balance transfers. Get 0% intro APR period on balance transfers during your first 18 months when you open your account. After that, a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies. This is the longest intro APR period on balance transfer you can get with a cashback credit card. Similar cards often have either 12 or 15 months of 0% intro APR period.
  • No annual fee. You get to earn unlimited cash back on all purchases and save money with balance transfers all without paying an annual fee.
  • No signup bonus. Cashback cards often come with a signup bonus of between $100 and $200. Unfortunately, you won’t earn such a bonus with this card.
  • No intro APR period on purchases. The card lacks a 0% intro APR period on purchases. Competitor cashback cards often come with this perk.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)

Best for 0% intro APR
Lowe's Advantage Card

Lowe's Advantage Card logo
Credit recommended (580-850)
Rates & fees

580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Points
$100
Welcome offer
The Lowe's Advantage Card offers helpful benefits no matter how much your home improvement project costs. You'll save 5% off eligible purchases and orders. And for larger orders, you can take advantage of deferred interest or even fixed-payment financing. Note, the deferred interest option only works if you pay off your balance before the interest-free period is up. Otherwise, you'll pay interest accrued from the day you made your purchase.
  • Discount at Lowe’s. Get 5% off on your eligible Lowe’s purchases. Similar store cards offer 5% back instead of a discount, but the rate is the same.
  • Special financing. You can choose whether to get a 5% discount or use special financing for six months on purchases over $299. Special financing means you pay no interest if you pay your full balance before the six months are up. You can also get special financing for up to 84 months, but this isn't an interest-free option.
  • Store card. You can only use this card at Lowe’s and nowhere else.
  • Special financing is a double-edged sword. The interest-free period applies only for purchases paid in full before the financing plan ends. If you don’t, you’ll pay interest accrued from the day you made the purchase.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 26.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 7.99% variable
Welcome offer Up to $100 off your first in-store Lowe's purchase
Rewards 5% off Lowe’s purchases

Best store credit card
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

740
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
n/a
Rewards
n/a
Welcome offer
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is an excellent choice if you want to make home improvement purchases now and pay them off over time with zero interest. This card offers one of the longest intro APR periods on the market, which you can use either as an interest-free loan during the intro APR period or as a debt consolidation tool when you make a balance transfer to this card from another card.
  • Intro APR period on purchases. Get a 0% intro APR period on purchases for the first 20 months when you open your account. After that, a variable APR of 14.49% to 24.49% applies. This is one of the longest intro APR periods you can get with a credit card, which makes it an excellent choice for big-ticket purchases.
  • Intro APR period on balance transfers. Get a 0% intro APR period on balance transfers for the first 20 months of card membership, and a variable APR of 14.49% to 24.49% after that. This is a solid option if you already have large debt on another card and you want to pay it off without interest while the promotional period lasts.
  • Cell phone protection. Pay your cell phone bill with your card and get coverage for your phone from damage or theft up to $600, with a $25 deductible. There’s a limit of two claims for a total of $1,200 in a 12-month period. This is a rare perk offered by a no-annual-fee card.
  • No signup bonus. You won’t earn any bonus when you sign up for the card.
  • No rewards. The card is an excellent choice for its interest-free period, but it won’t reward your purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 14.49% to 24.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 14.49% to 24.49% variable)
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards N/A

Best for online home improvement purchases
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$100
Welcome offer
Amazon offers a huge selection of home improvement products, and it can be your go-to source if you want items shipped to you. When you spend on its website, you'll earn an excellent 5% back. What's more, there's no quarterly or annual cap on your 5% cash back. Note that you'll need a Prime membership to get this card. Without Prime membership, you'll earn 3% cash back on your Amazon.com purchases.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market and Zappos, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and % back on all other purchases. You also earn up to 20% back on rotating Amazon categories and products.
  • Amazon gift card. Get a $100 Amazon gift card as soon as your card is approved.
  • No annual fee. You won’t pay a fee to own the card.
  • You need an Amazon Prime membership. You can get the card without a Prime membership, but you’ll earn a lower cashback rate on your Amazon purchases and your gift card will be $50. But to get the most of the card, you need an Amazon Prime membership.
  • No intro APR period. The card lacks a 0% intro APR period on purchases or balance transfers. Most cashback cards come with at least an intro APR period on purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 14.24% to 22.24% variable
Balance transfer APR 14.24% to 22.24% variable
Welcome offer $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval
Rewards 5% back at Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market and Zappos, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases
The information about Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Finder and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

Best for furniture shopping
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$150
Welcome offer
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is rarity among 5% cashback cards because you get to choose your reward categories each quarter. When you're shopping for furniture, activate that category and earn 5% back on up to $2,000 per quarter. Eligible furniture stores include IKEA, Ashley Furniture, La Z Boy, Ethan Allen, Mattress Warehouse and more. And when you're done shopping for furniture, simply swap your 5% cashback category to something else like electronics stores or clothing stores.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back on up to $2,000 each quarter you activate in combined purchases in two categories of your choice. Earn 2% back on one category like gas or groceries. After reaching the $2,000 cap on the 5% categories and on all other purchases, you earn 1% cash back.
  • Signup bonus. Earn a $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first 90 days when you open your account. This offer is on the higher end of what you can find with similar cards.
  • Intro APR on balance transfers. Get 0% intro APR period on balance transfers for the first 12 months when you open your account. After that, a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies.
  • You must keep enrolling in cash back categories. You must register which categories you want to earn 5% and 2% cash back in every quarter. You can enroll 45 days before the beginning of or during each quarter. If you don’t, you’ll earn 1% back on these categories.
  • Foreign transaction fees. There’s a $2 fee for each transaction in US dollars and 3% fee for foreign currency transactions made abroad or online with foreign retailers.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Welcome offer $150 after spending $500 in the first 90 days
Rewards 5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases

Best for everyday purchases
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (720-850)
Read review
720
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 3%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
With the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you earn accelerated cash back on a category of your choice each quarter. Whenever you need, select the home improvement and furnishings category and earn more cash back at stores like Ace Hardware, Bed Bath and Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Lowes, Pottery Barn, The Home Depot and more. And when you want to earn more cash back on everyday purchases, simply swap the category to anything like dining, gas, online shopping or drug stores.
  • Cash back. Earn 3% cash back on a category you choose between gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement, and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on your first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter. After reaching the cap and on all other purchases, earn 1% cash back.
  • Signup bonus. Earn a $200 online cash bonus after you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days when you open your account. This is one of the highest bonuses you can earn with a no-annual-fee cashback card.
  • Intro APR period. Get 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers for your first 12 months. After that, a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies.
  • Foreign transaction fee. This can be an excellent card for home improvements, but it’s best to avoid using this card at foreign merchants online or abroad or you’ll pay a 3% of the amount.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 15 statement closing dates (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Welcome offer $200 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Rewards 3% cash back on a chosen category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 each quarter combined, then 1% after that and on everything else

What’s changed in 2021

Our list held relatively steady for the start of the new decade. However, we added the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, whose intro APR on purchases and balance transfers is top-notch. It gives a lot of breathing room, interest-wise, if you’re doing a big home improvement.

We also added the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card and the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, both excellent cards with accelerated cashback on a category of your choice.

How to choose the best card for home improvement

The best home improvement cards aren’t always the cards associated with a hardware store. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help guide your decision:

  • Do you have a preferred hardware store? If you frequent a particular hardware store more than others, picking up an available cobranded card might offer great long-term value.
  • Do you need special financing? Some cards offer special financing, which can be useful when you need to make a large purchase for your home improvement project. A card with an introductory APR is also a great opportunity to pay off your home purchases interest free.
  • How long do you plan on using your card? The best home improvement cards tend to have no annual fees. This lets you keep using your card to earn rewards as new projects arise.

How to best use a credit card for home repair

Here are a few best practices for using a credit card for home improvements:

  • Grab an intro APR. Any time you’re making a big purchase, it pays to use a card with a 0% intro APR. So long as you can pay off your purchases within the intro period, you’re going to save a lot of money compared to a standard credit card.
  • Do the math. You should be realistic about your ability to pay off your balance, especially on a 0% intro APR period. Do the math beforehand to figure out how much you can afford to pay each month. If it doesn’t seem you can pay off your balance before the end of the intro period, you’ll want to reconsider or pick another card.
  • Weigh your reward and card options. It might seem obvious to choose a Lowe's Advantage Card or Home Depot Consumer Credit Card for your improvements, but these can lack important features such as intro APR periods – in fact, many of these cards have deferred interest, which doesn’t offer the same benefit. These cards might also limit your reward options since you might find everything you need at just one store.

How much can I save on interest with a home improvement credit card?

Given the potential costs of home improvement, it can pay off to pick up a 0% APR credit card to avoid interest charges. Here’s a quick example:

Let’s assume you spend $6,000 on home repairs with a credit card featuring a 20% APR. You can expect that charge to accrue about $100 in interest each month. If you aren’t able to pay off your balance for six months, you’re going to pay an extra $600 on your purchase over the period of time, give or take. Take longer than that to pay off your original purchase and you could pay even more.

A proper home improvement card with a 0% intro APR on purchases will give you up to 20 months to pay off your purchases interest free. This makes these cards a tremendous value anytime you need to make a large investment.

Should I really use a credit card for home improvements?

There are a few things to consider before using a credit card for home repairs. For example, how much is your home improvement project expected to cost? And how much money will you need for unforeseen hiccups in your project?

Compared to a home loan, a credit card likely won’t offer you as much monetary leeway. In fact, it’s possible your project costs won’t even fit on a single credit card. Remember that maxing out your credit card can lead to a dip in your credit score, especially if you don’t pay it off immediately.

A credit card could also carry a higher APR than a home equity loan. Depending on whether you receive an intro APR period, this could prove expensive over the long run.

If your home improvement project is small though, a credit card could suit your needs. There are a variety of store cards that can help you earn additional rewards on home repair purchases. You can also use a standard cashback or rewards card if you just want traditional rewards for your home improvement spending.

With the right card, your home improvement spending can yield strong rewards. Alternatively, you can opt for promotions that help you save on interest.

You might find other rewards credit cards useful depending on which home improvement purchases you’ll make.

Frequently asked questions

What is deferred interest?
With deferred interest, you have a specified period of time to pay off an eligible purchase. If you do so within that time, you won’t pay any interest. If you fail to do so, you’ll pay interest starting from the date of purchase.

Do I have to make payments on my card during my 0% intro APR period?
Yes. You must make at least the minimum payment due each month. If you don’t, your provider may revoke your intro APR.

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