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Best credit cards for teachers

Earn up to a 9% rewards rate on classroom spending.

The best credit cards for teachers are well-rounded: they offer a competitive combination of discounts, cash back and travel rewards.

We looked for cards that offered excellent rewards for purchases teachers typically make, such as school supplies and classroom snacks. We also included a card that offers a market-leading 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.

What’s changed in 2021?

Many of our picks in 2020 are still stellar choices in 2021. We’ve added the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card for the intro APR category, as its market-leading interest promotion on purchases and balance transfers is far too good to ignore. It’s a fantastic option for cash-strapped teachers who want to avoid getting overwhelmed by debt.

We also added the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which is helpful if you don’t want to mess around with travel points. It happens to be a top everyday card, so it can reward you handsomely for purchases for your classroom and for your family.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express no longer has an intro APR on balance transfers. Furthermore, at the time of this writing, it doesn’t allow balance transfers at all for new applicants. While these changes may sting, the card still has an intro APR on purchases.

With the September 15 updates, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card and its massive rewards rate on a variety of categories found its way on our list.

What are the best credit cards for teachers?

To save on classroom spending, look for cards with bonus rewards at big-box retailers and grocery stores. Cards with discounts and cash back are the easiest to manage. But if you’re feeling adventurous, look into a travel card, which can offer excellent value for your points or miles.

Best for general flat-rate cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
Maybe you'd prefer not to pay an annual fee, and you're too busy to deal with tiered rewards or point transfers. In this case, consider the stellar Citi® Double Cash Card. You'll earn 1% cash back — 1% back when you make the purchase and 1% back after you pay it off — no matter what you spend on.

Best for variety of categories

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With the Chase Freedom Flex℠, you can earn 5% cash back on a variety of categories. Some of them are only for a limited time and some categories rotate every quarter. During this time you can maximize your rewards. Plus, there are other categories that let you earn accelerated cash back without a limit.

Best for groceries and cash back

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great choice if you want straightforward cash back at US supermarkets. Though you'll pay a $95 annual fee starting the second year, you'll find an excellent rewards rate on groceries and in other bonus categories.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.
Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

Best overall credit card for teachers

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

This card is highly versatile because of the breadth of items you'll find at Target. Whether you need school supplies, snacks or the odd item for your classroom, chances are you'll find it at Target. And here's what really makes the card shine: In-store and online, you'll save a fantastic 5% on every purchase.

Best for 0% intro APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
If your budget is tight but you have to make essential purchases now, consider a card with an introductory APR. The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is one of your best options, with a market-leading intro APR period, no annual fee and potentially low ongoing APR.

Pro tip

It’s vitally important to pay off what you owe on your card before your intro APR expires. If you don’t, your purchases will start accruing interest at the normal APR, which can often be substantial. When taking advantage of an intro APR, take a serious look at your finances to see if you can easily pay off what you spend on your card.

How to choose credit cards for teachers

Since classroom spending is so closely tied to your own finances, picking the right teacher credit card can make a big difference in your bottom line. Here are a few considerations to think about when choosing:

  • Can you manage an annual fee? When the school budget is tight, you might not have the extra funds to pay an annual fee. Luckily, there are many great options without this burden. If a card has an annual fee, check that the rewards you’ll earn heavily outweigh the yearly cost.
  • Does the card offer rewards? Rewards are the primary way to get effective savings on your purchases. They can come in the form of discounts, cash back, points or miles. The former two are easier to manage, but the latter two can bring tremendous value if you transfer them to travel partners.
  • Do you need to make a big investment up front? An intro APR can be a godsend when you want to make purchases now and pay them off over a long period of time. Be very cautious with your special interest rate, and only buy what you’re sure you can pay off.
  • Does the card have a welcome offer. The best credit cards for teachers typically don’t have the flashiest welcome offers. But every bit helps, and an extra burst of cash back, points or miles can help in a pinch.

Why you should use a credit card for classroom expenses

The main reason to use a credit card for classroom expenses is the rewards, which offer rebates on your spending. While you may spend a lot on supplies, you can save more with a cash or a debit card.

There’s one caveat: The only way to get the most value from your rewards is to pay off your balance in full each billing cycle. If you don’t, interest will eat into your earnings.

Alternatives to credit cards for teachers

Generally, any credit card that offers some form of reimbursement or makes purchasing your supplies less of a financial strain is a great option for a credit card. That means general reward cards or intro APR cards are both terrific options depending on your financial situation.

Bottom line

As a teacher, consider cards that offer great rewards at big-box retailers and grocery stores. You can often find school supplies, snacks and other items to keep your classroom humming.

If you need more options, look into cashback credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

Can you use the Target credit card at other stores?
No. This is a closed-loop card, meaning it’s valid only within its specified network of retailers.

Should I get a card with travel rewards?
If you plan on using your card for more than just classroom purchases, such a card might be valuable. If you’re sticking to classroom purchases, a store card is likely the better fit.

What is a flat-rate cashback card?
This type of card offers the same rewards rate on every purchase, regardless of category. It can be helpful if you want solid rewards without worrying about bonus categories.

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