credit & debt

Best Credit Cards for Holiday Spending

If you carry a balance, a no-fee card with a 0% introductory rate may be right for you. Otherwise, consider a rewards card.

Figuring out how you will pay for holiday purchases is as important as selecting the right gifts. For example, if you prefer to spread out payments, a no-annual-fee card with a 0% introductory interest rate could be just the thing.

Citibank offers three no-fee cards with a 0% rate on purchases and balance transfers lasting from 15 to 18 months. (You pay a 3% balance-transfer fee.) The Citi Diamond Preferred card (full rate: 11.99% after 18 months) provides access to person­alized concierge services that can help you book hotel rooms and flights. The Citi ThankYou card (full rate: 12.99% after 15 months) awards one ThankYou point for every $1 spent. Points may be redeemed for gift cards, travel rewards or cash. The interest rate on the Citi Simplicity card (full rate: 12.99% after 18 months) won’t increase even if you pay late.

If you pay off your entire balance each month, you may prefer a rewards card that offers a 0% intro rate plus a 5% rebate on varying categories of purchases. The new no-fee U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card (0% for six months, then 13.99%) allows cardholders to select two purchase categories each quarter for which they will earn 5%. You may also choose a category that will earn you 2%. All other purchases earn 1%. The no-fee Discover More card (0% for 15 months, then 10.99%) offers a 5% cash-back bonus on purchases in categories that rotate quarterly. With the no-fee Chase Freedom card (0% for 15 months, then 12.99%), you earn 5% on up to $1,500 spent on airline fares and hotels -- and at Best Buy and Kohl’s through the end of December.

This article first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. For more help with your personal finances and investments, please subscribe to the magazine. It might be the best investment you ever make.

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