Best Credit Cards for Back-to-school Supplies

Aug 11, 2019

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Summer is officially on its way out, which means it is time to go back to school. Whether you have kids still in grade school or you are a college student, the long list of supplies and textbooks can sometimes run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you are simply looking to earn more points and miles, or apply for a new card to hit a minimum spend bonus, back-to-school shopping can be a great way to do so.

Here are the best credit cards for back to school supplies.

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Cash Card offers a generous 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores along with internet, cable, and phone services. Whether you are buying simple supplies or a computer, 5% is a great amount of savings.

If you are purchasing a computer from an office store, consider using this card and a few other factors to using a credit card to make a large purchase. Along with the cash back, you will also have purchase protection and extended warranty.

Many people do not believe they can apply for a business card when in fact you can. You can apply for a business credit card even if you’re a freelancer or have a side hustle business.

The card comes with a whopping $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Along with this, the card also comes with a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months; after that it’s a variable APR of 14.74% – 20.74%. The card has a $0 annual fee to boot.

This means if you were to purchase exactly $3,000 in supplies from an office supply store within the first 3 months, you would earn a stellar $650 in cash back from the welcome offer and the 5% cash back.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

If you can’t get a business card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great alternative. The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers $150 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months and earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

The card comes with a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases. After the intro period, a variable APR of 16.49% – 25.24% applies. It also comes with purchase protection and extended warranty.

American Express® Gold Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

With the American Express Gold Card, you can earn 4x per dollar (up to $25,000 per year) when shopping at US supermarkets or eating at your favorite restaurants around the world.

If you are looking for simple school supplies such as pens, pencils, or paper, consider using this card to earn valuable American Express Membership Rewards at your local supermarket.

This card also comes with an excellent welcome offer of 35,000 American Express Membership Reward points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Along with this, you will earn $120 in dining credit at select restaurants, $100 airline fee credit, and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees). This card does come with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the perks can easily help make that back.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business Plus Card is a great card to use for general back to school shopping. This card does not have any specific spending categories. However, it does come with 2x per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each year (1x per dollar after that). Earning 2x per dollar is worth roughly 4 cents per dollar according to TPG’s valuations.

The card has a $0 annual fee (see rates and fees). With this card, you will also receive a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, after that variable APR of 14.74%-20.74% (see rates and fees).

If you are buying a mixture of back to school supplies, this card may suit your kids needs along with maximizing your Membership Rewards balance.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

If you are planning on making significant purchases on Amazon and avoiding mall shopping this year, consider applying for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.

The card comes with 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Along with this, you will earn a $70 Amazon gift card upon credit card approval. However, you must have Amazon Prime prior to applying.

The biggest drawback is that is that the high return on Amazon spend is all the card really has to offer. While the card comes with purchase protection and extended warranty protection, it doesn’t include important purchase benefits like price protection or return protection, so it’s not ideal for large purchases.

Bottom Line

Going back to school can either be exciting or dreadful. However, the bills from going back to school can rack up quickly. It is reported that back to school costs are roughly $700 per child in clothes and supplies. With this large expense coming up for many people, it is time to plan your cash back or points earning strategies to help alleviate the costs.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, click here.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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