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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

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

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 2%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
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.
  • Earn cash back. Earn 1% cash back when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay your balance for a total 2% cash back. The difference between 1.5% and 2% cashback cards is $100 for $20,000 spent in one year.
  • Intro APR on balance transfers. Get 18 months of a 0% intro APR period for balance transfers. After that, a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies. Most cashback cards offer either 12 or 15 months of interest-free period on balance transfers, which makes the Citi offer superior.
  • No annual fee. You get to earn cash back and save money with balance transfers without paying an annual fee.
  • Foreign transaction fee. All purchases made abroad or online with foreign merchants cost 3% of the amount.
  • No welcome offer. Getting a higher cashback rate on your purchases is compensated with a lack of signup bonus. However, the higher rate offers a long-term value.
  • No intro APR period on purchases. This card offers only an interest-free period on balance transfers but not on purchases.
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
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)

Best for balance transfers
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Citi's secure site
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
n/a
Rewards
n/a
Welcome offer
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.
  • Intro APRs. You'll get an 21 months 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, reverting to 13.74% to 23.74% variable.
  • No annual fee. You won't pay an annual fee to use this card.
  • Additional cards free. You won't pay a fee to add additional cardholders to your account.
  • Balance transfer fees. You'll pay the greater of $5 or 5% on all balance transfers.
  • Four month transfer limit. You'll have just 4 months to take advantage of the balance transfer intro period. Penalty APR. The penalty APR for missed payments is steep at up to 29.99% variable.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 21 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
Welcome offer N/A
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards N/A

Best for everyday rewards
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 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 6%
Cash back
$300
Welcome offer
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 everything else. Max out the grocery cap each year and that's a cool $180 back in your wallet.
  • Cash back. Earn 6% cash back as statement credit at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year. After that, you'll earn 1% back. You also earn 6% back on select US streaming services, 3% back on transit purchases and purchases made at US gas stations, and 1% back on everything else.
  • Welcome offer. Earn $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months of card membership.
  • Intro APR period. Get a 0% intro APR period on purchases for the first 12 months of account opening. After that, a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies.
  • Annual fee. You'll pay a $95 annual fee starting from your second year of card membership.
  • Foreign transaction fee. Every transaction made abroad or online with foreign merchants will cost you 2.7% of the amount.
  • No balance transfers. American Express no longer offers balance transfers on their credit cards.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months
Estimated welcome offer value
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 other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
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 for travel
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
2x
Miles
60,000
Miles welcome offer
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 and a signup bonus worth up to 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within your first 3 months of account opening. This is good stuff for a card with an annual fee of $95.
  • Earn miles. Earn 2x miles on all purchases.
  • Welcome offer. Earn 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck statement credit. Get a $100 statement credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You can get this credit once every 4 years.
  • Annual fee. You'll pay a $95 annual fee to use this card.
  • No intro APR period. This card lacks an intro APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 15.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% to 23.99% variable
Welcome offer Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, every day

Best for Dining and Gas
AARP® Credit Card from Chase

AARP® Credit Card from Chase logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 3%
Cash back
$100
Welcome offer
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.
  • No annual fee. You won't pay an annual fee to use this card.
  • Welcome offer. Earn $100 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Earn cash back. Earn 3% back on restaurant and gas station purchases, and 1% back on everything else.
  • Potentially high APR. Depending on your credit score, you could end up with an APR as high as 22.99% variable, which is higher than the 16% average.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 16.24% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 16.24% to 22.99% variable
Welcome offer $100 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards 3% back at restaurants, 3% at gas stations and 1% on all other purchases
The information about AARP® Credit Card from Chase has been collected independently by Finder and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

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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