Best Credit Cards for Car Repairs [2024]: Earn Rewards, Save on Interest

CREDIT CARDS - CASHBACK CREDIT CARDS
The right credit card to pay for your car repairs could help you earn rewards, save on interest, or a combination of the two.
Updated Feb. 21, 2024
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A person is repairing a car

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Car repairs are often expensive, but you can help offset the cost by earning valuable rewards with a credit card. Or you can pay for repairs with a credit card that has a 0% intro APR offer to help avoid interest while you pay off the balance.

Even better, depending on the card, you may earn rewards while taking advantage of an intro APR offer. Let’s explore the best credit cards for car repairs so you can pick the right credit card for your wallet.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • Credit cards can be an easy way to cover car repairs if you don’t have cash available.
  • You can use a credit card to earn rewards on car repairs, or you can take advantage of an intro APR offer to avoid interest charges for a while.
  • There aren’t necessarily any popular credit cards designed specifically to pay for car repairs, but the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® has the unique benefit of providing elevated cash back for many types of automotive expenses.
  • The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card(Rates and fees) and BankAmericard® credit card have some of the longest intro APR offers available.
  • You can also use certain cards that offer both rewards and an intro APR offer, such as the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card(Rates and fees) or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

The 7 best credit cards for car repairs

Best credit cards for car repairs comparison

Card name Essential card details Why we like it
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases (then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable)
BankAmericard® credit card
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases (then 16.24% - 26.24% Variable)
U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
  • Earn $250 after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases in the first 120 days
  • $95 (waived first year) annual fee
  • Earn 6% cash back on first $1,500 in combined eligible purchases each quarter with your choice of two retailers; 5.5% cash back on prepaid hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center; 3% cash back on the first $1,500 in eligible purchases in one everyday category; and 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable)
Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®
  • Earn $200 statement credit by opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions in the first 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 3% cash back on payments for home, auto, and health purchases; 1% cash back on payments for all other purchases

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Best for big expenses

Pros Cons
  • Welcome bonus and intro APR offers
  • Simple rewards rate
  • $0 annual fee
  • No bonus categories
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

The Wells Fargo Active Cash makes sense if you want a simple rewards rate for all types of expenses, including auto repairs. And its intro APR offer on purchases makes it an excellent option to cover big expenses.

Rewards rate: Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases.

Intro APR offer on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable).

Other benefits include:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Intro APR offer on qualifying balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable).
  • Cell phone protection: Receive up to $600 (minus a $25 deductible) of cell phone protection against damage or theft of eligible cell phones.

Why we like this card

There’s nothing complicated about the Wells Fargo Active Cash. The simple rewards rate makes it easy to use this card for all your eligible expenses, so there’s no need to switch between cards depending on your purchases.

Additionally, the Wells Fargo Active Cash has a $0 annual fee, and you can take advantage of its intro APR offer to make necessary large purchases. This means you can save money on interest charges on expensive car repairs you pay with the card for a certain amount of time.

What we don’t like about this card

The Active Cash might not be the best card for you if you want to maximize your earning potential. A flat rewards rate generally makes it easy to earn rewards, but you can typically find higher rewards rates on credit cards with specific bonus categories.

For example, the Active Cash provides 2% cash rewards on purchases, but another card might offer up to 5% back on specific categories, such as dining or groceries.

That’s why you may benefit from using multiple rewards cards that provide high rewards rates for different categories, though it does make it more complicated to keep track of them.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash doesn’t make sense as a travel card because it charges 3% in foreign transaction fees.

Apply now or read our full Wells Fargo Active Cash review for more details.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for earning miles

Pros Cons
  • Welcome bonus
  • Simple rewards rate
  • Up to $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • $95 annual fee
  • No intro APR offers

The Capital One Venture makes sense if you want a simple rewards rate for earning miles you can redeem toward travel.

Welcome bonus: Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Other benefits include:

  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: Receive up to $100 in statement credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
  • Airport lounge access: Receive up to two visits per year to Capital One or Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Avoid paying foreign transaction fees on purchases you make abroad.

Why we like this card

The Capital One Venture has a generous welcome offer and a rewards rate that makes sense for travelers who don’t want more than one or two credit cards in their wallets.

With a base earning potential of at least 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, you can use this card for car repairs, groceries, gas, and more.

Then, you can redeem your miles for flights, hotel stays, and car rentals through Capital One Travel. Other useful redemption options include transferring miles to travel partners or covering past travel purchases.

What we don’t like about this card

The Capital One Venture has a $95 annual fee. To justify paying this cost, you have to get value from the card’s perks and rewards. That’s more than possible, but it could be more of a hassle than using a no-annual-fee card.

The Capital One Venture also has no intro APR offers for purchases or balance transfers. So you can pay for your car repairs with this card and earn rewards, but you can’t avoid immediate interest charges without an intro APR offer.

Read our full Capital One Venture Card review for more details.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card: Best for no annual fee

Pros Cons
  • Long intro APR offers
  • $0 annual fee
  • No rewards
  • 3% foreign transaction fees

The Wells Fargo Reflect makes sense if you want a card with a $0 annual fee that has some of the longest intro APR offers available.

Intro APR offer on purchases: 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases (then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable).

Annual fee: Pay $0 each year in annual fees.

Other benefits include:

  • Intro APR offer on qualifying balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable).
  • Cell phone protection: Receive up to $600 (minus a $25 deductible) of cell phone protection against damage or theft of eligible cell phones.

Why we like this card

The Wells Fargo Reflect has a long intro APR offer on purchases, which is a great way to cover upcoming large expenses. Saving money on interest charges on a high balance for a certain amount of time can help you spread out the cost of car repairs rather than paying for them all at once.

What we don’t like about this card

The Wells Fargo Reflect isn’t part of a rewards program, which means there’s no opportunity to earn a welcome bonus or any rewards on purchases you make.

This card doesn’t make sense if you want to earn cash rewards, points, or miles. You also have to pay 3% in foreign transaction fees, so the Wells Fargo Reflect isn’t a good travel credit card.

Apply now or read our full Wells Fargo Reflect Card review for more details.

BankAmericard® credit card: Best for flexibility

Pros Cons
  • Long intro APR offers
  • $0 annual fee
  • No rewards
  • 3% foreign transaction fees

The BankAmericard can be a good choice if you want a card with a $0 annual fee with excellent intro APR offers.

Intro APR offer on purchases: 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases (then 16.24% - 26.24% Variable).

Annual fee: Pay $0 in annual fees each year.

Other benefits include:

  • Intro APR offer on qualifying balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles (then 16.24% - 26.24% Variable).
  • No penalty APR: Making a late payment won’t automatically raise your APR.

Why we like this card

The BankAmericard is simple and straightforward. If you want an intro APR offer, you may not find anything much better than what this card provides.

An intro APR offer can come in handy if you want to reduce the upfront cost of expensive car repairs. You can cover the repairs with your BankAmericard and then make payments toward your balance over time, all while saving money on interest charges until the introductory APR period ends.

What we don’t like about this card

The BankAmericard doesn’t earn any rewards or provide a welcome bonus, so it doesn’t make sense if you want to earn cash back, points, or miles.

It also doesn’t work as well as a travel card because you must pay 3% in foreign transaction fees.

Read our full BankAmericard credit card review for more details. 

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card: Best for earning cash back

Pros Cons
  • Welcome bonus
  • Customizable reward rates
  • Reward rate limits
  • No intro APR offers
  • $95 (waived first year) annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fees

The U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards makes sense if you want flexibility with how you earn rewards each quarter.

Welcome bonus: Earn $250 after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases in the first 120 days.

Rewards rate: Earn 6% cash back on first $1,500 in combined eligible purchases each quarter with your choice of two retailers; 5.5% cash back on prepaid hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center; 3% cash back on the first $1,500 in eligible purchases in one everyday category; and 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

The full list of retailers for the 6% cashback category include:

  • Ace Hardware
  • Apple
  • Amazon.com
  • Anthropologie
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • Chewy.com
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Disney
  • Home Depot
  • Ikea
  • Kohl's
  • Lowe's
  • Lululemon
  • Macy's
  • Menards
  • Nordstrom
  • Pottery Barn
  • QVC
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Wayfair.com
  • Williams Sonoma

Why we like this card

Although none of the available rewards categories necessarily line up with automotive repair shops or something similar, you can still earn elevated rewards on purchases made for car repairs.

For example, Ace Hardware, Amazon, Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot all count for the 6% category of your choice of two retailers (on the first $1,500 in combined eligible purchases each quarter). So you can buy parts for your car to make the repairs yourself or bring those parts to certain shops that allow it.

What we don’t like about this card

You’re limited to how much cash back you can earn in certain categories each quarter. This is common on rewards cards with high earning rates, but it’s still frustrating.

This card also has no intro APR offers, and you have to pay an annual fee of $95 (waived first year).

Read our full U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards review for more details.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for redemption options

Pros Cons
  • Welcome bonus
  • Intro APR offers
  • $0 annual fee
  • Foreign transaction fee (3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars)

The Chase Freedom Unlimited can be a good choice for people who want an all-around rewards card with a $0 annual fee, intro APR offers, and various redemption options.

Intro APR offer on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable).

Redeem rewards for: Flights, hotel stays, rental cars, statement credits, direct deposits into eligible bank accounts, gift cards, and certain online purchases.

Other benefits include:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • Rewards rate: Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual fee: Pay $0 for your annual fee.

Why we like this card

The Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t necessarily stand out in any one place, but it has above-average rewards and benefits that make it an excellent choice for your wallet.

This includes earning elevated rewards for your car repairs and other everyday expenses. You can also take advantage of its intro APR offer to space out paying back the cost of your repairs.

What we don’t like about this card

You can find better base rewards rates and intro APR offers on other credit cards. And the foreign transaction fee (3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars) means the Chase Freedom Unlimited is not the right card for your travels abroad.

Apply now or read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited review for more details.

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®: Best for earning rewards on car repairs

Pros Cons
  • Welcome bonus
  • Unique bonus categories
  • $0 annual fee
  • No intro APR offers
  • Welcome bonus requires you to open a checking account

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards makes sense if you want to earn elevated rewards on specific purchases, including car repairs.

Rewards rate: Earn 3% cash back on payments for home, auto, and health purchases; 1% cash back on payments for all other purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 statement credit by opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions in the first 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening.

Other benefits include:

  • Annual fee: Pay $0 for your annual fee.

Why we like this card

You can’t find many credit cards that earn bonus rewards on car repair purchases. The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards provides 3% cash back on payments for home, auto, and health purchases.

These are some of the types of auto purchases that count toward that category:

  • Automotive paint shops
  • Automotive service shops (non-dealer)
  • Automotive tire stores
  • Automotive top and body shops
  • Camper, recreational, and utility trailer dealers
  • Car and truck dealers (new and used) — sales, service, repairs, parts, and leasing
  • Car washes
  • Mobile home dealers
  • Motor home and recreational vehicle rentals
  • Motorcycle dealers
  • Snowmobile dealers
  • Tire retreading and repair
  • Towing services
  • Truck and utility trailer rentals

Merchants within this category could include:

  • Tractor Supply Co.
  • Discount Tire
  • Firestone
  • Tires.com

What we don’t like about this card

The welcome bonus requires you to open a checking account. And this card doesn’t have any intro APR offers.

Read our full Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa review for more details.

How to choose the best credit card for car repairs

There are several factors to consider that can help you choose the best credit card for car repairs.

Intro APR offer

Having a 0% introductory APR offer means you don’t have to pay any interest for a certain amount of time on either purchases or balance transfers, depending on the offer. This can be useful for any upcoming large expenses, including car repairs.

If you’re on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars for your repairs, you might not have the cash to pay for them immediately. But you also might not want to get a loan or put the expense on any random credit card because of high interest rates.

A 0% intro APR offer on purchases can help you avoid those interest rates and let you pay off the expense over time. Not all credit cards have these types of offers.

Welcome bonus

Sometimes called a sign-up bonus or welcome offer, a welcome bonus often provides a large amount of rewards if you meet a spending requirement within a certain time frame as a new cardmember.

If multiple cards have the same or similar benefits, the card with the better welcome offer is likely the more valuable deal.

Rewards rate

Do you prefer earning the same rate of rewards on all your purchases, or would you rather earn more rewards on the purchases you make the most?

For example, you may prefer earning 2% on everything because it’s a simpler structure. Alternatively, you may favor earning 5% on groceries because that’s one of your largest expenses and could net you more rewards.

There’s no right or wrong answer. It depends on your preferences. But you might discover one strategy that makes more sense to you.

Type of rewards

The best rewards credit cards typically earn rewards in the form of cash back, points, or miles. Earning cash back means you would likely use your rewards for statement credits, bank deposits, or something similar. This can be an excellent way to help reduce the overall cost of everyday expenses.

But if you’re interested in travel rewards, points and miles are typically the way to go. You can often redeem them for flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and more — effectively reducing the cost of expensive travel purchases.

Annual fee

Credit cards that have an annual fee put a fee each year on you to continue using the card. It’s basically an upfront cost for being a cardholder.

Many cards with annual fees are worth hanging onto because they provide value with rewards or other benefits. But credit cards without annual fees are typically low-stress and easier to handle for most people.

Credit score requirements

Depending on your credit score, you might not qualify for every credit card out there. But having a good credit score, at least a 670 on the FICO scoring model, may help you qualify for various credit cards.

Keep in mind that lenders use multiple factors in addition to your credit score when determining your eligibility for credit card offers.

FAQs about credit cards for car repairs

Can you use a credit card for car repairs?

Yes, you can typically pay for car repairs with a credit card. This is one of the ways to cover urgent repairs if you’re short on cash. Because car repairs can be expensive, consider using a 0% intro APR credit card to save money on interest charges for a certain period of time.

Are there credit cards with specialized benefits for car repairs?

There typically aren’t any specialized benefits for using a credit card to pay for car repairs other than being able to use credit rather than cash. But you can still earn rewards on the repair expense, and a low-interest credit card could help you pay for large purchases over time without incurring heavy interest charges.

Do dealerships offer financing for car repairs?

The availability of car repair financing at dealerships will vary by location and situation. Financing can be an attractive option because car repairs can be expensive. But similar to buying a car with a credit card, you can also pay for car repairs with a credit card. This might be better than financing if your card has a 0% intro APR offer and earns rewards.

Best credit cards for car repairs: bottom line

Choosing the best credit card for car repairs generally comes down to:

  • Whether you want an intro APR offer
  • Whether you want to earn rewards
  • What rewards you want to earn (points, miles, or cash back)
  • How you want to earn rewards (flat-rate versus bonus categories)
  • Whether you want to avoid an annual fee

There isn’t one credit card that’s right for everyone, as it depends on your preferences and spending habits. But if we had to choose, we would go for the Wells Fargo Active Cash as an everyday cash rewards card and the Capital One Venture Rewards for travelers. For intro APR offers, it’s hard to beat the BankAmericard.

For more card recommendations, use our dedicated page to compare credit cards.

Methodology

We considered various types of credit cards but primarily decided certain rewards cards and cards with intro APR offers would make the most sense.

We then compiled a list of credit cards based on the value they might provide to someone who has to pay for car repairs while considering everyday spending and other scenarios. This value could come in the form of an introductory APR offer, rewards on purchases, a low annual fee, or a combination of these and other benefits.

We included credit cards from different credit card issuers with varying rates of earning and benefits to appeal to different types of people and personal finance situations.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards

5.0

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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