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5 best credit cards for seniors and retirees

Be sure to meet eligibility requirements before you apply.

Retirement can be a new adventure filled with travel, home improvements and learning new skills. But just because you’re living on a fixed income doesn’t mean you should cut up those credit cards. As long as you’re not accumulating debt, keeping a credit card around can help you earn rewards and benefits.

We’ve made a list of providers that accept retired applicants, as well as the documents you’ll need to improve your chances of approval.

What are the best credit cards for seniors?

There are credit cards to help different lifestyles and phases of life. For seniors, there are many options out there, but we’ve narrowed down the best. Here are a few of our favorite credit cards for seniors.

Best for flat cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a great pick for anyone who wants simple and effective cash back on all purchases. For flat rate cashback cards, the Citi® Double Cash Card is the top pick, offering a terrific 2% back so long as you make your payments. You will earn 1% back when you make your purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. You also won't have to worry about an annual fee, making this card a strong fire-and-forget earner.

Best for balance transfers

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is Finder's go-to card for consolidating debt for those aiming to be debt-free before retirement. It's a simple card, but boasts one of the longest balance transfer periods on the market at 21 months. The card also has a $0 annual fee, so you can continue using it for everyday purchases without worrying about the additional fee.

Best for everyday rewards

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

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Terms apply, see rates & fees
If you're still supporting your family during your retirement, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great way to earn cash back on common, everyday purchases. It's big selling point is the outstanding rewards rates: you'll earn 6% back on groceries from US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 6% back on select US streaming services, 3% back at US gas stations and on transit purchases and 1% back on other eligible purchases. Max out the grocery cap each year and that's a cool $180 back in your wallet.

Best for travel

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Capital One Bank®'s secure site
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While there are plenty of terrific travel cards on the market, many have complicated redemption structures or require supplemental cards for point maximization. However, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card card allows you to earn a solid 2x miles on all purchases. This is good stuff for a card with an annual fee of $95.

Best for Dining and Gas

AARP® Credit Card from Chase

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Terms apply, see rates & fees
While the AARP® Credit Card from Chase might not be the first Chase rewards card most think of, it has plenty of earning power and is focused on simplicity over flexibility. You'll earn 3% cash back on purchases made at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% back on everything else. At 3%, the dining rate is actually comparable to Chase's luxury travel card, the AARP® Credit Card from Chase. The trade off here is the AARP® Credit Card from Chase doesn't earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But at a $0 annual fee, this is a great deal if you plan to mainly spend on dining.

Methodology

We compared credit cards with perks and features that would benefit seniors and retirees, taking into account rewards, annual fee and other perks. We’ve selected the cards that had the optimal combination of these perks.

Why should seniors get a credit card?

There are two benefits to using a credit card as a senior: rewards and security. Even with a fixed income, you’ll be spending plenty on your day-to-day essentials, such as groceries, gas, dining or travel. The right rewards credit card can let you earn cash back, miles and rewards on purchases, often for free and with little extra effort on your part.

Credit cards are also one of the more secure payment methods available. In the event of a fraudulent event, credit card security protections ensure you won’t be on the hook for any charge made without your consent.

Application requirements

Applying for a senior’s card often requires the same information — including credit score and credit history — as a standard credit card application. Here are the detailed requirements from the most popular credit card providers.

ProviderWho can applyApplication requirements
AmexRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Total annual income including pension
  • A prior American Express account
  • Credit history
  • Contact number

The credit card department may reach out directly through email or phone for extra information.

CitiRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number
  • Written application or invitation
  • Address
  • Total annual income including pension
  • Contact number
BarclaysRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number or ID
  • Application form
  • Email
  • Total annual income including pension
  • Contact number

The credit card department may reach out directly through email or phone for extra information.

ChaseRetirees and pension holders
  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • ID document
  • Date of birth
TD BankRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number or ID
  • Application form
  • Address
  • Email
  • Total annual income including pension
  • Contact number
Wells FargoRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number or ID
  • Application form
  • Address
  • Proof of permanent citizenship
  • Good credit score
  • Total annual income including pension

The credit card department may reach out directly through email or phone for extra information.

Bank of AmericaRetirees and pension holders
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Date of birth
  • Total annual income
HSBCRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number or ID
  • Address
  • Total annual income including pension

The credit card department may reach out directly through email or phone for extra information.

PNC BankRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number or ID
  • Application form
  • Address
  • Total annual income including pension

The credit card department may reach out directly through email or phone for extra information.

Capital OneRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number or ID
  • Application form
  • Address
  • Contact number
  • Total annual income including pension

The credit card department may reach out directly through email or phone for extra information.

Simmons BankRetirees and pension holders
  • Social Security number or ID
  • Application form
  • Address
  • Contact number
  • Total annual income including pension

The credit card department may reach out directly through email or phone for extra information.

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Mistakes to avoid when applying for your credit card

Before you apply for a seniors’ credit card, avoid the following:

  • Applying without researching
    Rejected applications can negatively affect your credit report. Confirm the information you’ll need to increase your chances of approval.
  • Applying for several cards quickly
    If you’re rejected for a credit card application, don’t immediately apply for another one. Instead, consider why your application was denied. If you didn’t submit the required documents, research and find which ones you’re missing. If you were rejected because of your credit history, take some time to improve your credit score before applying again.

Bottom line

There are many credit card options for seniors, and the application requirements are often the same as the standard credit cards. Always compare credit cards before you apply.

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