Whether it’s a small-scale DIY project, fixing up a home for resale or investing in new accessories to make your new home welcoming for guests, choosing the right credit card for your home improvement projects can earn you cash back and other lucrative rewards.
The Bank of America content was last updated on March 8, 2021.
Warmer months are an ideal time to tackle the home improvement projects you’ve been putting off. During the COVID-19 pandemic, time at home may be on your side, but costs may not be.Costs for DIY or other home improvement projects add up quickly. Working on projects yourself instead of hiring help can save labor costs, but another way to save money is to pick the right credit cards. Many cards can offer you not only rewards for spending but bonus incentives in certain shopping categories or flexible repayment for purchases for your DIY undertaking.
When selecting a credit card to finance your projects, consider opting for one with a 0% APR introductory offer – especially if you don’t have the cash on hand to cover all the expenses. This offer can help you finance the costs with a grace period to pay off the debt without hefty interest charges. Additionally, using plastic can help earn rewards like points, miles and cash back just for using the card to pay for home improvements.
Here are five of our top picks to choose for home improvement spending:
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for long-term flexibility
If you have home improvement expenses on the horizon but want a card that offers great long-term rewards variety, the Chase Freedom Flex is worth a look. In the short-term, the card will be a perfect fit for small-scale projects, offering 5% cash back on your first $1,500 in eligible purchases at home improvement stores through June 2021 (upon activation, then 1%). However, since the card’s 5% cash back categories rotate every quarter based on Chase’s rewards calendar, you can enjoy bonus cash back in a wide variety of categories throughout the year.
The Freedom Flex also comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases for your first 15 billing cycles (14.99% to 23.74% variable APR thereafter), which will allow you to pay off those home improvement purchases over time while avoiding interest charges and the risky deferred interest programs offered by many stores.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card: Best for small-scale home improvement projects
For home improvements for the weekend warrior, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise card is a standout for sprucing up your home on a smaller scale. This no-annual-fee card offers a solid flat rate of 1.5% cash back on purchases, and if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months, you get an additional $150 cash back bonus. This extra dough can come in handy for more swag in your home.
Plus, this card boasts a 0% introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, but keep in mind it’s only for the first 15 months of your account opening (14.49% to 24.99% variable APR thereafter). That intro period gives you a little wiggle room to pay off your various projects over time.
Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card: Best for long-term home renovations or an addition
Planning on renovating your master bedroom suite or building out your family room? The Alliant Visa Signature Card’s cash rewards rate of 2.5% on eligible purchases (up to $10,000 per month) is hard to compete with for a large-scale, pricey renovation.
Plus, this cash back card doesn’t require any special spending categories to take advantage of its generous 2.5% reward rate. Just a couple of caveats: You have to be a member of Alliant Credit Union (you can join once approved), and cardholders must have excellent credit. Plus, there is a $99 fee after the first year, so plan to spend enough on this card to break even the second year in cash back rewards.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card: Best for a large fixer-upper project
Reach for the Bank of America Cash Rewards card first because of a generous introductory 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers – must be made in the first 60 days of account opening – for your first 15 billing cycles. After the intro APR offer ends, a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (minimum $10) applies to all balance transfers. This length of time should give adequate time to pay off the balance before that interest rate kicks in.
For large-scale renovations that involve a combination of professional hands and your own toiling, this card is a great pick – as it allows a cardholder to select a 3% cash back spending category from several choices. One of these choices is home improvement, so qualifying purchases on this card yield a smart benefit of 3% cash back. Then, you can also enjoy 2% cash back at wholesale clubs, which can be a great place to shop for necessities for your projects (on up to $2,500 a quarter in combined 2% and 3% categories). For all other purchases, the rewards still roll in with 1% cash back.
See related: Which is the best card to use on Costco purchases?
Note, combined purchases in your chosen 3% bonus category and at wholesale clubs and grocery stores are capped at $2,500 per quarter. You’ll earn 1% thereafter.
Lowe’s Advantage Card: Best for the store loyalist
If there’s a go-to Lowe’s in your neighborhood, the Lowe’s Advantage card stacks up very well, especially for large purchases. Cardholders save 5% off eligible purchases and orders – think paint, fixtures, plumbing, appliances and any other item to make your dream renovation.
The savings can quickly add up when purchasing expensive items, and for these purchases, there are both deferred interest options and fixed-payment financing plans. One of the most attractive offers is to spend $299-plus and get a six-month grace period to pay with no interest.
Amazon Prime Rewards card: Best for home décor sprucing
The convenience of buying accessories and home décor accents online will be rewarded by choosing the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, which boasts no annual fee. An Amazon Prime membership is required, but the cash back benefit is a generous 5% cash back on every Amazon.com purchase. So, browse away for soft furnishings, picture frames, dishes, bedding and small furniture. The benefit of free shipping makes the value here even greater.
See related: Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Whether it’s a small-scale DIY project, fixing up a home for resale or investing in new accessories to make your new home welcoming for guests, choosing the right credit card for your home improvement projects can earn you cash back and lucrative rewards just for spending.
Even with a working budget, there will be unexpected costs that creep into your home improvement projects that you haven’t anticipated. But, if you use the right credit card, you can save on these expenses and even benefit from added perks like cash back, promotional financing and more.