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2020‘s best credit cards for teachers

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

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Too often, teachers have to spend out-of-pocket to cover classroom supplies. The costs add up quickly, but teachers can lessen that burden with the right credit card. In this guide, we’ll cover the best cards for teachers — products that offer discounts, cash back or even 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.

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 variety of categories

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠ logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
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.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022, 5% back on travel purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 5% back on rotating categories on up to $1,500 each quarter. After reaching the cap and on all other purchases you earn 1% back. The exception here are drugstores and restaurants, including takeout and delivery, which earn 3% back.
  • Signup bonus. Earn $200 after you spend $500 in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn 5% back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 during your first year.
  • Intro APR. Get 15 months of 0% intro APR period on purchases. After that, a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
Rewards 5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases

Best for general flat-rate cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

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

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Apply now
on Citi's secure site
740
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 2%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
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.
  • Cash back. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase — 1% back when you make the purchase and 1% back when you pay your balance.
  • No annual fee. Earn rewards without worrying about paying for card membership.
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 groceries and cash back

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express logo
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
Up to 6%
Cash back
$250
Welcome offer
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, you'll find an excellent rewards rate on groceries and in other bonus categories.
  • Excellent grocery rewards. Earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • Great secondary rewards. Earn 3% cash back on gas at US gas stations, as well as bonus rewards in a few other categories.
  • Intro APR. Get a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer $250 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases

Best overall credit card for teachers

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Target REDcard™ Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (580-850)
Read review
580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
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.
  • Everyday discount. Get 5% off at Target, in store and online.
  • Free shipping. Enjoy free two-day shipping on eligible items at Target.com.
  • Extended returns. Get 30 extra days to return items purchased from Target stores or Target.com.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 22.9% variable
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards 5% discount at Target stores and Target online

Best for 0% intro APR

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
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.
  • Intro APR. You'll get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 20 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
  • No annual fee. A $0 annual fee means you can pay less out of pocket for essential classroom purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 20 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards N/A

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.

Compare credit cards for teachers

Want to compare teacher cards side-by-side? Select your credit score below and click “Show cards” to start comparing.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$95
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
13.99% to 23.99% variable
$0
Earn up to 2% on every purchase with no annual fee. This is the highest flat-rate cashback card on the market.
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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.

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