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Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping in February 2024

These credit cards could put some money back into your pocket for those online shopping sprees while also making your purchases more secure.

  • CNET'S PICK
    CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    9.5/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    1% - 5% Earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases with an eligible Prime membership; Earn unlimited 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare); Earn unlimited 1% back on all other purchases
    Intro offer available Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval exclusively for Prime members
  • CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    9.5/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    2% Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
    Intro offer available Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
    Apply Now with Wells Fargo
  • CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    6/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    2% - 3% Earn 3% cash back on PayPal purchases; Get 2% cash back* every day, every purchase, every time you use your card. No exceptions. No rotating categories to keep track of
  • CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
    5.5/10
    Annual Fee $0
    Rewards Rate
    1% - 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
    Intro offer available Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
    Apply Now with American Express

It’s hard to find a credit card that offers more than the standard 1% cash back or 1x point per dollar for your online purchases. More often, a credit card will feature higher rewards with specific retailers like Amazon or Walmart, instead of an all-encompassing “online shopping” category.

You could still use your credit card for your online purchases of course, but if it doesn’t have that specific category, chances are you won’t earn very much back on the transaction. Luckily, there are a handful of good rewards credit cards that do feature this specific category -- here are some of the best.

CNET’S PICK
9.5/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval exclusively for Prime members
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% – 5% Earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases with an eligible Prime membership; Earn unlimited 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare); Earn unlimited 1% back on all other purchases
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
19.49% – 27.49% Variable

While the Prime Visa might not have the best rewards for all your online shopping, it may be worth having if you often shop on Amazon. The e-commerce giant offers 5% cash back on purchases from its website through its flagship credit card, along with a $100 Amazon gift card instantly when you’re approved. Unlike most retailer-issued credit cards, there are rewards beyond just Amazon, so you can use this as your daily credit card. But if your goal is to maximize rewards across online shopping regardless of the merchant, you’ll be better off with another pick from this list.

For more information about this card’s rewards and perks, see our full review of the Prime Visa.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.49% – 27.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
5%
Earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases with an eligible Prime membership
2%
Earn unlimited 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare)
1%
Earn unlimited 1% back on all other purchases

While the Prime Visa might not have the best rewards for all your online shopping, it may be worth having if you often shop on Amazon. The e-commerce giant offers 5% cash back on purchases from its website through its flagship credit card, along with a $100 Amazon gift card instantly when you’re approved. Unlike most retailer-issued credit cards, there are rewards beyond just Amazon, so you can use this as your daily credit card. But if your goal is to maximize rewards across online shopping regardless of the merchant, you’ll be better off with another pick from this list.

For more information about this card’s rewards and perks, see our full review of the Prime Visa.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.49% – 27.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
5%
Earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases with an eligible Prime membership
2%
Earn unlimited 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare)
1%
Earn unlimited 1% back on all other purchases
9.5/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Apply Now
with Wells Fargo
Intro Offer
$200 cash rewards Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months. Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2% Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

If you’re looking to just have one credit card for your spending both online and in person, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers the simplest and most widely applicable rewards program on this list. You’ll earn 2% cash rewards on purchases, period. You can also use your online purchases to earn the welcome bonus -- and once you’ve earned it you can redeem it as a statement credit to essentially make up for online purchases, as well. If you’re making a particularly large purchase, you can use the introductory APR to stretch out your payments without incurring interest charges.

For more details about this card’s offer, see our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
up to 5%, min: $5
2%
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

If you’re looking to just have one credit card for your spending both online and in person, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers the simplest and most widely applicable rewards program on this list. You’ll earn 2% cash rewards on purchases, period. You can also use your online purchases to earn the welcome bonus -- and once you’ve earned it you can redeem it as a statement credit to essentially make up for online purchases, as well. If you’re making a particularly large purchase, you can use the introductory APR to stretch out your payments without incurring interest charges.

For more details about this card’s offer, see our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
up to 5%, min: $5
2%
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
The security of virtual credit cards

X1 Card

8.5/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
X1 Card
Annual Fee
None
Rewards Rate
2x – 10x 2X points on every purchase regardless of category; 3X points every time you spend $1,000 in a month; 4X, 5X and even 10X points for every friend who gets a card; Up to 10X points at leading online stores such as Apple, Nike and Sephora when you shop in the X1 App
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
15.50% – 27.75% Variable

The major draw of the X1 Card for online shopping is the card’s superior virtual credit card options. Virtual credit cards are disposable credit card details that can be used to mask your real credit card information online to prevent fraud and identity theft. From the X1 app, you can create multiple virtual credit cards simultaneously so you can keep your information secure and organized. You can preset expiration dates for these cards if you’re signing up for a free trial online, or you can keep different cards open for different websites.

While other credit cards might offer more widely applicable rewards, the base rewards rate of 2x points per dollar spent means you can earn up to 2% back on your purchases depending on how you redeem the points. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for purchases at popular brands across retail, tech, travel and fitness including Airbnb, Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Apple, Lululemon, CostcoWayfair and Ikea. If you’d rather redeem your points for a general statement credit, often referred to as cash back, other cards will net you a higher rewards rate. Points are worth only 0.7 cent each when redeemed for cash back.

For more information about the virtual credit cards and rewards program boosts, see our full review of the X1 Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
15.50% – 27.75% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
2% of the amount of each transfer.
10x
Up to 10X points at leading online stores such as Apple, Nike and Sephora when you shop in the X1 App
4x
4X, 5X and even 10X points for every friend who gets a card
3x
3X points every time you spend $1,000 in a month
2x
2X points on every purchase regardless of category

The major draw of the X1 Card for online shopping is the card’s superior virtual credit card options. Virtual credit cards are disposable credit card details that can be used to mask your real credit card information online to prevent fraud and identity theft. From the X1 app, you can create multiple virtual credit cards simultaneously so you can keep your information secure and organized. You can preset expiration dates for these cards if you’re signing up for a free trial online, or you can keep different cards open for different websites.

While other credit cards might offer more widely applicable rewards, the base rewards rate of 2x points per dollar spent means you can earn up to 2% back on your purchases depending on how you redeem the points. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for purchases at popular brands across retail, tech, travel and fitness including Airbnb, Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Apple, Lululemon, CostcoWayfair and Ikea. If you’d rather redeem your points for a general statement credit, often referred to as cash back, other cards will net you a higher rewards rate. Points are worth only 0.7 cent each when redeemed for cash back.

For more information about the virtual credit cards and rewards program boosts, see our full review of the X1 Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
15.50% – 27.75% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
2% of the amount of each transfer.
10x
Up to 10X points at leading online stores such as Apple, Nike and Sephora when you shop in the X1 App
4x
4X, 5X and even 10X points for every friend who gets a card
3x
3X points every time you spend $1,000 in a month
2x
2X points on every purchase regardless of category
Custom rewards fit to your online shopping

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

7.5/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Intro Offer
$200 $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% – 3% 3% cash back in the category of your choice; 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases); 1% cash back on all other purchases
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
18.24% – 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card* offers 3% cash back on a category of your choice. You can choose from online shopping, gas, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. Note that you’ll have to manually select “online shopping” through your account, as the default category is gas. There is a spending limit to watch out for, too.

You can spend up to $2,500 in combined quarterly purchases within the 3% and 2% rewards rates. The 2% rewards rate applies to grocery stores and wholesale clubs, so if you have a particular month where you might hit that spending cap with online purchases alone, you’ll want to avoid charging groceries to this card to reap the highest reward rates. You’ll earn 1% on your purchases beyond the spending cap.

For more details, see our full review of the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee applies.
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
18.24% – 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee
3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4%
3%
3% cash back in the category of your choice
2%
2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
1%
1% cash back on all other purchases

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card* offers 3% cash back on a category of your choice. You can choose from online shopping, gas, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. Note that you’ll have to manually select “online shopping” through your account, as the default category is gas. There is a spending limit to watch out for, too.

You can spend up to $2,500 in combined quarterly purchases within the 3% and 2% rewards rates. The 2% rewards rate applies to grocery stores and wholesale clubs, so if you have a particular month where you might hit that spending cap with online purchases alone, you’ll want to avoid charging groceries to this card to reap the highest reward rates. You’ll earn 1% on your purchases beyond the spending cap.

For more details, see our full review of the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee applies.
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
18.24% – 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee
3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4%
3%
3% cash back in the category of your choice
2%
2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
1%
1% cash back on all other purchases
6/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2% – 3% Earn 3% cash back on PayPal purchases; Get 2% cash back* every day, every purchase, every time you use your card. No exceptions. No rotating categories to keep track of
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
580 – 850 Fair – Excellent
APR
20.24%, 29.24%, or 32.24% Variable

The PayPal CashBack Mastercard®* offers a competitive 2% cash back on all of your purchases -- but you can earn 3% if you make your online purchases through PayPal at checkout. Your PayPal account acts as a digital wallet and holds your PayPal CashBack Mastercard details, so instead of filling in your credit card information at checkout, you can choose the option to checkout with PayPal with millions of brands online.

Make sure your PayPal CashBack Mastercard is your default payment method in your PayPal account to earn 3% cash back on these transactions. With major online stores such as eBay, Target, Overstock, Nike, Walmart and Home Depot among the millions of brands that offer PayPal at checkout, you can earn 3% cash back on lots of your online purchases, with no spending cap.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.24%, 29.24%, or 32.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
3%
Earn 3% cash back on PayPal purchases
2%
Get 2% cash back* every day, every purchase, every time you use your card. No exceptions. No rotating categories to keep track of

The PayPal CashBack Mastercard®* offers a competitive 2% cash back on all of your purchases -- but you can earn 3% if you make your online purchases through PayPal at checkout. Your PayPal account acts as a digital wallet and holds your PayPal CashBack Mastercard details, so instead of filling in your credit card information at checkout, you can choose the option to checkout with PayPal with millions of brands online.

Make sure your PayPal CashBack Mastercard is your default payment method in your PayPal account to earn 3% cash back on these transactions. With major online stores such as eBay, Target, Overstock, Nike, Walmart and Home Depot among the millions of brands that offer PayPal at checkout, you can earn 3% cash back on lots of your online purchases, with no spending cap.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.24%, 29.24%, or 32.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
3%
Earn 3% cash back on PayPal purchases
2%
Get 2% cash back* every day, every purchase, every time you use your card. No exceptions. No rotating categories to keep track of
5.5/10
CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Apply Now
with American Express
Intro Offer
Earn $200 Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% – 3% 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.; 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Rec. Credit Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.
670 – 850 Good – Excellent
APR
19.24% – 29.99% Variable

If you’re mostly making retail purchases from a variety of brands online, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express will be a good bet. You earn 3% cash back on all U.S. retail online purchases on up to $6,000 in spending per year (then 1%). So if you’re shopping online mostly for clothing or household wares, this will likely be the best option for you. And with the extra cash back categories, this will also be a good fit for everyday use for many wallets. Cash back is earned in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. The welcome offer and introductory APR can also help pad your budget and give you more time to pay off your balance.

For more information, see our full review of the Blue Cash Everyday Card.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
19.24% – 29.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
3%
3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
1%
1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more

If you’re mostly making retail purchases from a variety of brands online, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express will be a good bet. You earn 3% cash back on all U.S. retail online purchases on up to $6,000 in spending per year (then 1%). So if you’re shopping online mostly for clothing or household wares, this will likely be the best option for you. And with the extra cash back categories, this will also be a good fit for everyday use for many wallets. Cash back is earned in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. The welcome offer and introductory APR can also help pad your budget and give you more time to pay off your balance.

For more information, see our full review of the Blue Cash Everyday Card.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
19.24% – 29.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
3%
3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
1%
1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more

What is a good credit card for online shopping?

A credit card that’s good for your online shopping provides rewards for that specific category. The card you choose should earn you the most rewards with your preferred online merchant, whether that’s Amazon or other retailers.

Pros and cons of credit cards for online shopping

Pros

  • Earn rewards for shopping online

  • Some cards include shopping protections to insure your purchases

  • Using a virtual credit card could keep your information more secure

Cons

  • Could lead to overspending if not careful with purchases

  • Credit card debt can accumulate quickly with high interest rates

How to choose an online shopping card

To find the right credit card for your online shopping, first consider the rewards rate and types of purchases the card earns rewards on. Unless you only shop online, it’s usually better to choose a flexible card that earns reward for different types of purchase categories, like online shopping and restaurants.

If you’re looking to make online purchases more secure, choose a card that offers shopping protections or extended warranties. Shopping protection covers your new purchases against damage or theft, usually for 90 to 120 days, while an extended warranty will extend a manufacturer’s warranty for up to a year or more.

Virtual credit cards could also add an extra level of security to your online shopping. These unique, digital card numbers replace your physical card number to prevent the merchant from storing any of your card information when you shop online. American Express, Capital One and Citi all offer virtual credit cards, while the X1 card has one of the best virtual card capabilities.

Also, make sure the card’s online shopping category includes the purchases you make regularly. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday specifies a U.S. online retailer as a purchase made online (or through an app) with a merchant that sells physical items directly to consumers. Otherwise, the purchase will earn 1% cash back.

None of the cards above charge an annual fee (the Prime Visa card does require a Prime membership, however), but if you’re considering one that does, try to see if you can cover its fee through your normal spending habits. Any annual fees will essentially cut into your rewards.

How to get the most from your credit card

To maximize the value of your credit card, first, make sure you’re using it where it earns the most rewards. For the Prime Visa, that would be any of Amazon’s brands, including Amazon.com and Whole Foods. Some cards may let you activate bonuses with certain online retailers too, like through American Express’ Amex Offers program.

Next, review the different ways to redeem those rewards so you can get the most from them. Often, that means redeeming your rewards as statement credits to lower the overall balance on your credit card.

It’s tempting to use your rewards at checkout with your favorite retailer, but that could actually cause you to miss out on some of your rewards. Instead, make the purchase first and then redeem statement credits to cover the transaction on your bill. Or, depending on your card, you could transfer your points to the card issuer’s travel partners where they could be worth much more.

Tips to avoid overspending when shopping online

If your card comes with a higher credit line -- like the X1 card -- don’t let it encourage you to buy things you normally wouldn’t. While credit card rewards can help you save money, if you can only accrue them by overspending, you could find yourself in credit card debt with hefty interest charges.

A welcome bonus could provide even greater rewards, so long as it fits into your budget. Reach it with your normal spending habits to get the greatest value from it. Or, before you apply, have the required spending saved up so you can earn the bonus easily.

If juggling multiple cards sounds like too much work, using one card for online shopping can help you track your spending and better stick to your budget. Only spend what you can afford to pay off right away.

Alternatives to online shopping credit cards

If you don’t want a credit card with multiple bonus categories, consider a flat-rate credit card or a store credit card

Flat-rate credit cards earn rewards no matter where you’re using them, including for online shopping. 

Store credit cards are generally easier to qualify for than standard credit cards, but they often have a high APR and less favorable features. Though there are a few exceptions, for the most part we recommend caution when applying for store credit cards.

How to apply for a credit card

Applying for a credit card is simple:

  • Find a credit card that suits your needs. Make sure its rewards cover the spending categories you spend with the most, whether that’s with Amazon or a broader online shopping category.
  • Apply securely on the card issuer’s website. You’ll need to provide personal and financial information including your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, income and monthly rent or mortgage payment.
  • You should hear back instantly with a decision, or the card issuer may reach out for clarification or more information.

If you receive a message saying the decision is pending, don’t worry. Often times your application will be automatically approved in 5-10 days. If you’re denied, try not to stress. You can oftentimes get the rejection overturned by calling the credit card company’s reconsideration hotline.

The bottom line

Using a credit card for your online shopping is generally safer than using a debit card, due to fraud protections, additional shopping protections and virtual card capabilities. Cards with specific online shopping rewards can also help you put more money back into your pocket each time you check out digitally. Just remember to avoid overspending, otherwise the rewards you earn may quickly get overshadowed by interest charges.

FAQs

It depends on what you’re looking for. The Blue Cash Everyday or the X1 card is likely the most rewarding, but if you shop mostly with Amazon, then the Prime Visa card will suit you best.

Besides using the right credit card for online shopping to earn rewards, there are a handful of other options you can use -- often in tandem with a good credit card. Browser add-ons such as CNET shopping can help you apply promotional codes and other savings with a single click. Some brands offer a one-time discount when you sign up for a newsletter, or you can buy discounted gift cards to make a purchase.

Some credit cards with online shopping rewards allow rewards on international orders, but others do not. For example, you’ll earn 2x points per dollar spent with the X1 Card on online international purchases, but not with the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, which applies only to U.S. online retail purchases. You’ll have to check the details of your credit card in your cardmember agreement.

If you’re looking to maximize your rewards specifically when shopping online at Walmart.com, you can earn 5% cash back on your Walmart.com purchases, including pickup and delivery, with Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®*.

When shopping online at Target.com, you can use the Target RedCard™ Credit Card* or Target RedCard™ debit card* to save 5% upfront on your purchases. These rewards apply to purchases you make at one of Target’s physical retail locations, as well.

Other cards we researched

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, click here.

*All information about the PayPal CashBack Mastercard, Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard, Target RedCard Credit Card, Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card and Target RedCard Debit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Jaclyn is a CNET Money editor who relishes the sweet spot between numbers and words. With responsibility for overseeing CNET's credit card coverage, she writes and edits news, reviews and advice. She has experience covering business, personal finance and economics, and previously managed contracts and investments as a real estate agent. Her tech interests include Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Neuralink.
Evan Zimmer has been writing about finance for years. After graduating with a journalism degree from SUNY Oswego, he wrote credit card content for Credit Card Insider (now Money Tips) before moving to ZDNET Finance to cover credit card, banking and blockchain news. He currently works with CNET Money to bring readers the most accurate and up-to-date financial information. Otherwise, you can find him reading, rock climbing, snowboarding and enjoying the outdoors.