Family First: The Best Credit Cards for Parents

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We’ve talked about finding a credit card to suit your score, but what about your needs? As a parent, you have a unique set of spending habits depending on your children’s ages and interests. If you’re looking for ways to save or invest, the right card could offer a few solutions. Read on to learn your options.

For Newbies

Pre-baby, you spent money at restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events and concerts. As new parents, those expenses are quickly being replaced with groceries, diapers, baby clothes and household supplies. Cash in on frequent purchases by finding a card that suits your new family’s needs. If your credit score is 650 or higher, consider:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Annual fee: $75
  • Interest: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, variable APR 12.99%-21.99% based on creditworthiness.
  • Perks: Get $150 back when you spend $1,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days. 6% cash back at supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (1% after that); 3% cash back at gas stations, 3% cash back at qualifying department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases. Travel benefits include roadside assistance, rental car damage insurance and travel accident insurance. Shopping benefits include extended warranty, return protection and purchase protection.

For Frequent Travelers

According to an American Express study, a family of four pays an average of $4,580 for vacation. If your family lives far from loved ones or has a simple case of wanderlust, cut costs by choosing a credit card that offers frequent flyer miles, hotel discounts and other out-of-town amenities. A popular option includes:

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

  • Annual fee: $95, waived the first year
  • APR: Variable APR 15.99%.
  • Perks: 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more in the first 90 days. 2X miles on travel and dining purchases; 1 point per $1 all other purchases. Transfer points to frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 rate with partner airlines like Southwest and United. Discounts include 20% off airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Includes trip cancellation and delay insurance, travel accident insurance and 24/7 customer service and emergency assistance.

For College Savers

Your children may be young, but planning for their future is an immediate goal. According to a College Board survey, the average price of tuition in 2014 was $31,231 for private universities, $9,139 for in-state students attending public universities and $22,958 for out-of-state students. These numbers will only increase with time. For those doing the math, you understand that providing an education for two children could easily top $1 million. While you may rely on scholarships and loans, saving now will lessen the burden. Allow everyday expenses to contribute by connecting them to a 529 savings plan. Consider:

Fidelity® Investment Rewards® American Express® Card

  • Annual fee: None
  • APR: Variable APR 13.99%
  • Perks: 2% cash back on purchases each time you use your card when you direct your deposit into your eligible Fidelity 529 savings account. Every $2,500 spent equals a $50 deposit. Family members may also participate by linking their Fidelity Rewards card to your account. Other benefits include 24/7 customer service, fraud protection, identity theft protection, retail purchase protection, car rental loss or damage protection and travel insurance.

The bottom line: Every family has needs, and budgeting well means finding savings in unlikely places. Put your credit score to work by qualifying for a kid-friendly credit card. The results will make your life easier.

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