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 credit cards — including some with great rewards and savings on interest.
We compared cards that were most useful to consumers making home improvement purchases, including their features such as interest rates, rewards and simplicity of use and introductory periods. Those cards that shined in a given category were selected for highlight on our list.
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.
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.
Quick look: Best credit cards for home improvement
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.
Best store credit card: Lowe's Advantage Card
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. Otherwse, you’ll pay interest accrued from the day you made your purchase.
Best for 0% intro APR: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
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.
Best for online home improvement purchases: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
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.
Best for furniture shopping: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
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.
Best for everyday purchases: Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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.
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.
Other options for flat-rate cash back
The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® offers great flat-rate cash back for a no-annual fee card, but it doesn’t offer the highest rewards. For even higher rewards, consider the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card:
It offers 2.5% cash back on all purchases.
Your annual fee will be waived for the first year. Starting your second card year, you’ll pay a $99 annual fee.
You’ll earn more rewards with Alliant’s product during your first card year. But starting the second card year, you’ll need to spend around $20,000 per year to earn more rewards than you would with the PayPal Credit card.
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 Loews or Home Depot store 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.
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.
Compare credit cards for home improvement
Looking for a side-by-side comparison of cards great for home improvement? Select your credit range below and click on “Show cards” to start comparing.
With the right card, your home improvement spending can yield strong rewards. Alternatively, you can opt for promotions that help you save on 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.
Yes. You must make at least the minimum payment due each month. If you don’t, your provider may revoke your intro APR.
This means you’ll earn the same rewards rate on every purchase you make.
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
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