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Find the perfect credit card for Christmas shopping

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Save big with rewards, 0% APR, no foreign transaction fees and more.

Christmas is the season for giving. It’s also when many of us turn to plastic to pay for gifts, food and everything needed for this special time of year with family and friends.

What if you took control of your Christmas spending before it got out of hand? It’s simple to do — and it starts with knowing your options.

Which credit card should I get for Christmas shopping?

Buy now, pay later: 0% intro APR credit cards

You can save on interest with a card that offers 0% APR on your purchases for the first 12 to 15 months after you open your account.

With these cards, you get up to a year to repay your holiday spending without unnecessary interest on your purchases. At the end of your intro, any debt remaining on the card accrues interest at a higher revert rate.

Compare 0% APR credit cards

Name Product Introductory Purchase APR Intro APR for Balance Transfer APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
14.99% to 25.99% variable
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
14.99% to 25.99% variable
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
14.99% to 25.99% variable
Earn up to $250 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 back after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months. Rates & Fees
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 13.99% variable)
13.99% variable
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
0% for the first 18 months (then 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable)
0% for the first 18 months (then 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable)
12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable
An 18 months 0%% Intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Earn rewards as you spend: Cashback and travel cards

Reward your own generosity this Christmas with cash back, points or miles on your purchases.

Cashback cards are often the simplest reward cards, offering statement credits or account deposits based on your spending. Cards offering points or miles are more complicated but potentially more powerful. Many cards offer flexible rewards for redemption toward travel perks, gift cards, merchandise, events and statement credits.

Compare rewards credit cards

Updated December 11th, 2018
Name Product Welcome Offer Reward Value per Dollar APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee
Earn $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months
1% cash back
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months
1% cash back
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$95
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
Earn $150 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
1% cash back
16.99% to 25.74% variable
$0
0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
Earn up to $250. Earn $150 after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Earn an additional $100 after you spend an additional $6,500 within the first 12 months
1.5% cash back
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$0
Earn up to $250 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 back after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months. Rates & Fees
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
1x points
17.99% to 24.99% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

What are cashback credit cards and how do they work?

Get rewarded for holiday groceries: Cards for everyday purchases

Many cards are designed to offer exceptional rewards on food and supplies you purchase at grocery stores. You can often earn up to 6% back — a tremendous bonus when you’re the one hosting the holiday party.

What’s more, these everyday cards aren’t just useful for the holiday season: They pay those same dividends over the rest of the year.

Compare credit cards for grocery shopping

Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$95
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$250
See Rates & Fees
50,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
$0
24.9% variable
A no-annual-fee credit card and discounts when you shop at Target.
$0
16.99% to 25.74% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable)
0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.

Compare up to 4 providers

Get rewarded for eating out this holiday season: Dining cards

If you plan to treat visiting friends and family to scrumptious feasts outside the home this holiday season, consider a card that rewards you for dining where you live and on the road. Look for rewards rates of 4% or more on fine dining, fast food, coffee and treats, even food trucks.

Epicureans who spend a lot eating out can earn cash back and benefits well beyond the Christmas season.

Compare credit cards for dining

Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$250
See Rates & Fees
50,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$95
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.99% to 24.99% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

Save on overseas shopping: Cards with no foreign transaction fees

Traveling out of the country for the holidays — or have somebody on your list with a taste for overseas goods? A card that waives foreign transaction fees might help you keep your Christmas costs down. These fees can equal 2% to 3% of your transaction.

Simply use your card to save on overseas spending or online at international retailers.

Compare cards with no foreign transaction fees

Updated December 11th, 2018
Name Product Currency Conversion Fee Annual Fee APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.99% to 24.99% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 26.74% variable
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
None
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
None
$250
See Rates & Fees
50,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
None
$450
17.99% to 24.99% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

Shop without the frills: Cards with no annual fee

If you don’t need all the trimmings this Christmas, consider a practical card with a $0 annual fee.

Compare our top $0-annual-fee credit cards

Name Product Annual Fee APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
Earn up to $250 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 back after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months. Rates & Fees
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
13.99% variable
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
$0
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Manage Christmas debt: Balance transfer cards

If your Christmas wish is to better manage your debt in the new year, start your search for a balance transfer card.

These cards are designed to help you consolidate your existing debt, offering an introductory low or 0% APR — typically for 12 to 21 months — on balances you transfer to your new account. At the end of the introductory period, your card reverts to a higher ongoing interest rate that applies to any debt you haven’t yet paid off.

Name Product Filter values Introductory Balance Transfer APR APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee Minimum Credit Score
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$0
680
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$95
670
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$0
680
Earn up to $250 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 back after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months. Rates & Fees
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 13.99% variable)
13.99% variable
$0
670
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable)
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable
$0
670
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to use a credit card for Christmas shopping

Get the most out of your credit card this Christmas by taking advantage of your interest-free grace period. Nearly every credit card offers a grace period on your spending that can give you time to pay off what you owe without putting a penny toward interest.

Already have a credit card?

With most credit cards, you qualify for the grace period only if you’ve paid your statement in full the previous month. To take advantage of your grace period for holiday spending, plan to pay off any balance due on your card by November.

After that, use your card to pay for gifts, food and other holiday-related needs throughout December. Those purchases will likely qualify for your card’s interest grace period and, after your December billing cycle closes, you’ll have 20 days or more to pay off your new balance before interest accrues.

Learn more about your credit card’s interest grace period by reading the terms and conditions, looking for a section like:

How does credit card interest work?

Getting a new credit card for Christmas?

If you’re applying for a new card, plan how you’ll use it for and ultimately pay off your debt.

To pay off purchases over a long low- or no-interest period, compare credit cards offering introductory APRs. If you’re confident that you can repay what you owe in the interest grace period, consider a card that offers miles, points or other rewards on your spending.

By knowing your goals, you’re better positioned to narrow down the perfect card for your needs.

How do I compare Christmas credit card offers?

family shopping with credit card on Christmas day

Weigh key details of your credit card options to find the strongest you’re eligible for:

  • Intro APRs. Many cards offer an introductory 0% APR on purchases, balance transfers or both. Note how long the intro offer lasts so that you know how long you can wait to repay your debt without interest.
  • Interest rates. Confirm each card’s typical interest rates for purchases and balance transfers. These rates apply as soon as any 0% APR periods end — and could add a lot to your credit card bill if you’re carrying a balance.
  • Annual fee. You can pay as low as $0 and as high as a few hundred dollars a year to use your card. Some cards reduce or waive your annual fee altogether for the first year.
  • Signup bonus. Many cards offer enticing bonuses just for signing up. These extra miles, points or cash back could mean hundreds of dollars for the holidays, if you qualify. Confirm the offer requirements, as you may need to spend a set amount in the first few months before you can get your bonus.
  • Earned rewards. When evaluating a rewards card, look at the cash back, points or miles you’ll earn for each dollar spent. Know about any caps on rewards or spending, and browse the provider’s site to learn when and how you can redeem your rewards.
  • The extras. Complimentary travel insurance, extended warranties, airport lounge access and concierge services can help you get more value from your card. Think carefully about whether you’ll use them, and weigh them against any annual fee or other costs.

Ideas for managing holiday credit card debt

Keep the warm, fuzzy spirit of Christmas alive well into the new year with tips to staying on top of your spending and budget.

  • Put away your cards. Maybe not forever, but perhaps until after you’ve paid off your cards. Avoiding additions to your balance makes it easier to avoid unnecessary interest.
  • Make large payments right away. Especially helpful if you have a 0% APR period, paying off as much as you can each month reduces the balance that accrues interest after your intro rate ends.
  • Find extra money. If your budget is stretched more than you’d like, look for ways to make extra bucks. Sell unused items in your home, rent out a spare room or start a side gig.
  • Set goals you can reach. It can take only a month or two to land into holiday debt, but it can take longer to get out. Create a budget to schedule consistent payments that can get you back on your feet more quickly.

Bottom line

A new credit card can help you get through the holidays. But before you apply, consider what you’re looking for — whether that’s cash back, a low-interest intro period, no foreign transaction fees, no annual fee or other rewards.

Compare your options to narrow down the right card to guide you through the yuletide season.

Frequently asked questions

Pictures: Shutterstock

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Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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US Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Deserve® Classic Card
Deserve® Classic Card

APR

24.49
variable

Annual fee

0 For the first year
More info
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™

APR

16.74
variable

Annual fee

995 For the first year
More info
First Access Visa Card®
First Access Visa Card®

APR

29.99
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

APR

23.9
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
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