How We Chose the Best Credit Cards for Seniors
Choosing which credit card to apply for can be challenging. To help, we’ve narrowed down the choices to what we believe are the best credit cards for seniors. We evaluated criteria like annual fees, perks and rewards, APR rates, and sign-up bonuses to create a curated list with an option for every older adult.
Do I Need a Credit Card?
When used wisely, a credit card is a useful tool for managing your finances. But whether or not you need one depends on you. Some older adults find credit cards too tempting, causing them to spend money they don’t have on goods they can’t afford. Others like using credit cards for the perks like travel rewards and cash back. Still others need one to help build up credit so they can get approved for a loan in the future.
Whichever side you lean toward, it’s important to know that seniors aren’t immune to credit card debt. As of the fall of 2021, adults over the age of 60 owe more than $145 billion in credit card debt, which is more than other age groups.3 If you decide to get a credit card, make sure you have the means to pay off your balance each month. That might be Social Security funds, other retirement funds or a pension, savings, or earnings from a part-time job.
How to Choose the Right Credit Card
Even with a narrowed down list to choose from, you might still be wondering, how could I possibly pick one? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing.
1. What is your credit score?
Your credit score helps determine your approval for a new credit card. Most credit card companies, or affiliate companies, advertise the score range needed for approval. Check your credit score online and compare it to that range. Doing this can help you narrow down your options, especially if you don’t have stellar credit.
2. What are your financial goals?
You need a credit card that will help you meet your financial goals. So, what are they? Are you looking to build credit, save money on interest, or earn rewards? Choose a card that gets you closer to your goals, whether that’s frugally paying for a trip abroad with airline miles or making a large purchase, like a new appliance, without worrying about interest.
3. Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
When evaluating a credit card, make sure you read the fine print carefully. Does the card have a yearly fee? How much does it cost to transfer a balance? If there’s a zero percent introductory APR, what’s the ongoing APR? You need to decide if the cash-back or travel perks make up for any annual fees, foreign transaction fees, or a higher APR.