Every day, teachers are tasked with the difficult yet important job of educating our children and youth while providing an environment that makes them feel safe and helps them grow. It requires a lot of patience, a great understanding of students’ individual needs, and some out-of-the-box thinking. And for most teachers, it also means forking over some of their own hard-earned cash towards needed supplies for their classroom.
Teachers spend an average of $459 each year on school supplies, according to the Economic Policy Institute. If you’re a teacher, you might already have a strategy for finding the best deals on items for your classroom. But what if you could pay for those supplies with credit card rewards?
The best credit cards for teachers
- Citi® Double Cash Card
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Target RedCard
- Prime Visa
- NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
What’s the best credit card for a teacher?
Opening a credit card is a great choice for teachers who want to earn rewards for their everyday spending. You’ll want to choose a credit card that aligns with your financial goals. So if you’re aiming to get more supplies and snacks for your classroom, you’ll want a card with robust cash rewards. See our list of the best cashback credit cards for our top picks.
You’ll also want to consider the cost of ownership. Do you want a credit card with no annual fee, or will you spend enough to offset an annual fee on a card that earns more rewards? Consider the following options.
|Card||Reward details||Annual fee||Recommended credit score|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases||$0||Excellent, Good, Fair|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter (Terms apply)||Excellent, Good|
|Target RedCard||N/A||$0||Excellent, Good|
|Prime Visa||5% cash back at Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases; 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, and on local transit and commuting; 1% cash back on all other purchases||$0||Excellent, Good|
|NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card||3% cash back on the category of your choice; 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 spent each quarter in the 2% and 3% categories combined); and 1% cash back on all other purchases||$0||Excellent, Good|
Citi® Double Cash Card
This credit card rewards you for making on-time payments each billing cycle, making it easy to rack up flat-rate cash back from your everyday purchases. With this card, you’ll 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. The Citi Double Cash rewards rate is one of the best out there for daily purchases. Plus, there’s no limit to how much you can earn and it has a $0 annual fee.
Earning cash back with this card is simple, making it perfect for teachers who don’t like tracking rotating categories. It’s also a great option to use in conjunction with another card that has higher earnings in select bonus categories.
Read our complete Citi Double Cash Card review.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
While this card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter, it also comes with one of the best cashback rewards rates for grocery store purchases, which is a big spending category for many families. You’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases. You would only need to spend $1,584 at grocery stores each year to offset the annual fee.
In addition, cardholders can also take advantage of the welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months. This can be useful to pay for some of those needed supplies.
This cashback card is a great option for anyone who regularly buys groceries and gas, and is an especially good choice for teachers who have big families or long commutes. To determine if this card is right for you, calculate your typical spending on groceries and gas to make sure you can offset the annual fee.
Read our complete Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card review.
The Target RedCard is one of our favorite store cards because the rewards are robust and simple to track. Here's how it works: Receive 5% off your eligible purchases at Target (in store and online) automatically when you use this card. That means you won’t have to wait to redeem your rewards.
For the last two years, Target has also provided weeklong , so you can achieve some great savings if you use your RedCard to purchase school supplies during that time.
Furthermore, store cards are generally easier to qualify for than regular rewards cards, which makes this card a great choice for teachers who are still building their credit. It’s also a great card to have in addition to another rewards card, since most cards can’t compete with the savings you’ll get on your Target purchases.
Read our complete Target RedCard review.
If you already have an Amazon Prime account and reap the benefits, this card is a no-brainer. You’re probably already buying from Amazon frequently, and this credit card offers 5% back at Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and Chase Travel, which is a pretty impressive rewards rate for a no annual fee card.
Plus, you’ll get 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, local transit and commuting. In addition, you’ll get a $150 Amazon gift card upon approval (plus earn 5% cash back on up to $2,500 in your first 3 months), which makes this card a great option if you need some cash for school supplies now.
This card is an excellent choice for teachers who frequently shop at Amazon.com or get their groceries at Whole Foods. If you don’t have a Prime account, consider joining. Not only is it a great place to find discounts on supplies and snacks, but you’ll also get other benefits like free two-day shipping, free grocery delivery, and access to tons of free videos and books, including educational content.
Read our complete Prime Visa review.
NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
This card from the National Education Association, in collaboration with Bank of America, was specifically designed with teacher’s needs in mind. You’ll get a $200 Amazon.com gift card after spending $500 in the first 90 days, and the rewards are impressive beyond that. You’ll get 3% back in the category of your choice (dining, drugstores, gas, home improvement/furnishings, online shopping, or travel), so you can maximize your rewards by choosing the category in which you’ll do the most spending.
In addition to that, you’ll get 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, which is perfect for picking up snacks for your students (or for your own family). And you’ll get 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, this card has a $0 annual fee.
Because the NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card is so flexible, it’s a great option for any kind of spender. Teachers who like to do their school supply shopping online can take advantage of the 3% back on online shopping. But this card would also be a good choice for teachers with a long commute, since one of the category options for 3% back is gas stations.
How to earn the most rewards
To maximize your rewards, use your credit cards strategically. It’s a good idea to have multiple credit cards and use them for spending in the categories that earn the most rewards. It’s generally a good idea to have one card that earns rewards on everyday spending and another one or two for earning in specific categories where you spend the most.
For example, you might use the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express for your grocery store purchases, the Target RedCard for your Target purchases, and the Citi Double Cash Card for everything else.
We know that teacher salaries, especially starting salaries for new teachers, can be difficult to get by on. So we chose only cards with no annual fees or those that could be easily offset with rewards earned from regular shopping.
We also know that teachers are busy, which is why we chose simple cards with easy-to-understand rewards structures and flexible redemptions. We paid attention to the categories in which teachers are likely to spend the most and chose the best rewards credit cards with great rewards rates in those categories. Several of the cards we selected even have welcome bonuses that could be put directly towards school supplies.
The final word on the best credit cards for teachers
Dedicated teachers need all the help they can get in ensuring their students have everything they need to be successful. Any one of these cards could help you earn enough rewards to cover the cost of school supplies for your classroom, though your eligibility will depend upon your creditworthiness and other factors. To get the most bang for your buck, remember that perks vary by credit card issuer and card, and choose a card that aligns with your unique spending habits, financial situation, and goals. Happy classroom shopping!
Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards
$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases