The best credit cards for home-improvement projects

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This page includes information about the Discover it® Cash Back product, which is currently not available on Business Insider and may be out of date. MoMo Productions/Getty Images This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by […]

This page includes information about the Discover it® Cash Back product, which is currently not available on Business Insider and may be out of date.

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This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

  • If you’re sprucing up your space, make sure to think long and hard about how you’ll pay for the project.
  • Covering for your home or landscaping remodel with a credit card can yield some significant benefits, including 0% APR, cash back, or travel rewards. 

  • Some of the best rewards credit cards let you earn a significant sign-up bonus as well, which can help you rack up more points for travel, gift cards, statement credits and more. 

  • If you’re not interested in rewards but you want to save money on interest, the top 0% APR credit cards may be worth considering. 

  • See Business Insider’s list of the best rewards credit cards »

With the summer season in full swing and interest rates at record lows, it’s not surprising to see people working on indoor and outdoor projects meant to bolster their home’s value. Some sources say that home remodeling is booming during the pandemic, as more and more people are stuck at home, looking around, and getting the itch to complete long-awaited projects. 

No matter the type of home upgrade you’re dreaming of, you should know that some credit cards offer rewards and perks that can make using them more beneficial than paying with cash or using a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). Of course, that is all predicated on the idea you can use credit to pay for your indoor or outdoor project, reap the benefits, and pay your credit card balance off before any interest accrues.

We looked up the average cost of three home remodeling projects — an asphalt roof replacement ($24,700), vinyl siding replacement ($14,359) and a garage door replacement $3,695) — to see how much you could benefit with a few top rewards cards. All information on pricing comes from Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 cost versus value study. 

If you’re considering a new deck, new windows, or an outdoor landscaping overhaul this year, the following credit cards could be your best bet. 

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best sign-up bonus

If you want to parlay your home remodeling project into a big sign-up bonus, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This card starts you off with 60,000 points (Ultimate Rewards points) (worth $750 in travel when you redeem them through Chase) when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 5x points on Lyft purchases through March 2022, 2x points on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. 

A $95 annual fee applies, but you can redeem your rewards in a ton of different ways. The new Pay Yourself Back feature lets you redeem points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to wipe home-improvement purchases from your statement. Your points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when you redeem them this way — and you can also use Pay Yourself Back on dining, grocery, and charity purchases.

You can also use Ultimat Rewards points to book travel through Chase, transfer them to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio, redeem them for cash back or merchandise or cash them in for gift cards from an array of popular retailers, dining establishments, and more.

You can even redeem your rewards for gift cards to places like Lowes or Home Depot, where you can use them to buy more supplies for projects around the home. 

Here are the rewards you’d earn on three different types of home-improvement projects, based on the pricing from Remodeling Magazine’s cost versus value study:

• Asphalt roof replacement ($24,700): 84,700 Chase points, worth a minimum of $847

• Vinyl siding replacement ($14,359): 74,359 Chase points, worth a minimum of $743

• Garage door replacement ($3,695): 64,000 Chase points, worth a minimum of $640 (when you meet the remaining minimum spending requirement by spending another $305 on your credit card within three months of account opening)


Regular APR

15.99%-22.99% Variable

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • 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
    • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
    • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
    • Strong travel coverage
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit or any other statement credit benefits


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    Discover it® Cash Back: Best if you’re paying with PayPal

    The Discover it® Cash Back rewards you with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly bonus categories after activation (then 1% back) as well as 1% back on all other purchases.

    While bonus categories change every three months, you can currently earn 5% back on PayPal purchases, which can apply to a broad range of home remodeling supplies purchased online. Also, next quarter’s 5% back category (October through December) includes Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com, so there’s more potential for rewards there.

    This card doesn’t have an annual fee, and Discover will even match all the rewards you earn after the first 12 months. When it comes to redeeming your rewards, you can cash in for statement credits to your account, money in your bank account, or purchases made through Amazon.com or PayPal. 

    • Asphalt roof replacement ($24,700): 49,400 points worth $494 after year one

    Vinyl siding replacement ($14,359): 28,718 points worth $287 after year one

    • Rewards earned on garage door replacement ($3,695): 7,390 points worth $73 after year one


    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • The information related to the Discover it® Cash Back has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
    • Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
    • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. 1% back on all other purchases.
    • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
    • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.
    Pros
    • Generous cash back for quarterly bonus categories
    • Discover will match your cash back at the end of your first account year
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • Cap on how much bonus cash back you can earn each quarter
    • If the quarterly categories aren’t convenient for you, you can earn more cash back with a different card

    Chase Freedom: Best for buying supplies off Amazon.com

    Like the Discover it® Cash Back, the Chase Freedom® does not charge an annual fee and earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories after activation(then 1%) and 1% back on all other purchases. You also start off with a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening.

    This quarter’s Chase Freedom bonus categories (July through September) include Amazon.com, which offers a wide range of home remodeling products and supplies. Once you’re ready to redeem your rewards, you can cash them in for statement credits, gift cards, travel, merchandise, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. 

    Finally, you’ll get 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a 14.99%–23.74% variable APR.

    • Asphalt roof replacement ($24,700): 44,700 points worth a minimum of $447

    • Vinyl siding replacement ($14,359): 34,359 Chase points worth a minimum of $343

    • Garage door replacement ($3,695): 23,695 Chase points worth a minimum of $236


    Regular APR

    14.99%–23.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • The information related to the Chase Freedom® has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
    • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
    • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    • Cash Back rewards do not expire
    Pros
    • One of the highest cash-back rates — if you work for it
    • No annual fee
    • You can turn your cash back into travel rewards if you have another eligible Chase card
    Cons
    • Cap on quarterly bonus cash back
    • If the quarterly categories aren’t convenient, you can do better with another card


    Read Our Review
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    Citi Double Cash Card: Best for flat-rate cash back

    If you want to earn a flat rate of rewards on your home remodeling project without having to worry about where you shop, it would be hard to beat the Citi® Double Cash Card. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, yet you’ll earn 2% back for each dollar you spend — 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. 

    You can redeem your rewards as a statement credit, or for a direct deposit or a check. 

    • Asphalt roof replacement ($24,700): 49,400 points worth $494

    • Vinyl siding replacement ($14,359): 28,718 points worth $287

    • Garage door replacement ($3,695): 7,390 points worth $73 


    Regular APR

    13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

    2% cash back on all purchases

    Balance Transfer Fee

    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
    • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
    • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
    • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
    • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
    Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Simple earning structure
    Cons
    • Some cards earn higher rates of cash back on rotating categories


    Read Our Review
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    Consider 0% APR offers

    Finally, don’t forget the benefits of securing 0% APR for a limited time. The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 0% APR on purchases (and balance transfers) for 18 months, so you could complete your project and pay it off without interest for more than a year. Note that the APR goes up to 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) once the introductory offer expires, so you would definitely want to pay your balance in full during that timeline. 

     

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