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Comparing Credit Cards: A Guide for Families

For so many people, having a family is the most rewarding part of their life – driving your son to his first day of school, teaching the twins how to ride a bicycle, watching your daughter open her acceptance letter to college.

But, with the added expenses of education, childcare, food, and clothing, amongst other things, raising children can easily become one of life's biggest financial obstacles.

Without planning ahead, these expenses can easily turn into unmanageable debt that can take years to pay off.

Top 3 expense categories

So how much are households spending?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditures Survey in 2016, the average household income before taxes was $74,644.

The average annual expenditure was $57,311, with the top three expense categories being:

  • Housing $18,886 (25% of budget)
  • Transportation $9,049 (12% of budget)
  • Food $7,203 (9.5% of budget)

With so much of our money going into living essentials, it's no wonder the average household and family takes on so much debt to cover basic expenses.

Brittney Mayer, writing for badcredit.org, offers some big-picture details about how all these expenses have lead to a lot of debt throughout the country.

The latest statistics released from the Center for Microeconomic Data for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that total US credit card debt hit $764 billion in the first quarter of 2017… represent[ing] around a 7% increase year over year, and a 13% increase from the post-recession low of $660 billion," she said.

If you divide that up, "it turns out that the average American household carried approximately $6,063 in credit card debt through the first quarter of 2017."

Can the right credit card help you manage family expenses?

Yes! Knowing how to both borrow money and responsibly use your credit card can help you build good credit, get the loans and mortgages with desirable interest rates to help your family grow comfortably, and stay out of debt for years to come.

With this guide, finding the right credit card for your family's needs won't be one of life's obstacles.

By comparing some of the best options of credit cards for families, you'll be able to easily make an informed decision about which credit card is best for your family.

Here's everything you need to know about comparing credit cards for families

  1. Family credit card rewards and perks can pad your pockets or pay for your plane tickets
  2. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is great for the big family that cooks at home and loves to road trip
  3. The Blue Cash Everyday from American Express is for the small family that eats in most of the time
  4. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is for the family eyeing their next vacation
  5. The Citi Simplicity Card is for the family focused on digging itself out of debt
  6. The Target REDcard Credit Card is for the loyal family who lives near and always is shopping at Target

Number of families in the U.S.

Before You Apply

Like searching for house or school for your kids, finding the right credit card requires you know what to be looking for before you dive in and head out into the market

Taking these key steps will help you figure out what credit card best suits your family's needs.

If you're interested in learning more aboutmanaging finances after marriage, then you'll love this guide.

Know Your Habits

For all the spending you do for your family, there's no reason to avoid getting rewards for the purchases you already make.

The best way to find the right credit card for your family is to figure out where the majority of your family's spending and purchases are being made.

Answer these questions to get an idea of what kinds of rewards your family can most benefit from:

  • Are you a large family with a big grocery bill?
  • Do you fuel up at gas stations often?
  • Are you looking to get rewards from purchases made at department stores?
  • Or are you far more excited about getting airline miles and rewards to make the next family vacation significantly cheaper?

Obviously, every family has expenses in all the categories above.

That's ok!

The point is to pick an expense area where you want to boost your savings and rewards.

Some rewards cards have locked in categories, like cash-back on groceries and gas.

Others will have rotating categories so you can earn points by lining up your expenses with the category focus of that particular month.

Another option still is a dedicated store card if you shop at a specific outlet frequently.

So, knowing what your family DOES and DOESN'T spend money on is the first step to picking the right card.

Get a hold on your budget and savings in order

  • 50/20/30 budget rule

    Although there isn't a one-size-fits-all budgeting miracle, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to better manage your income.

    A simple rule for budgeting that may work for your family is the 50/20/30 rule. With this rule, 50% of your income would go to essentials, 20% to savings, and 30% to personal.

Another option is an easy-to-use digital tool like Mint.

A free online tool, Mint makes it easy to budget the big picture numbers, like your net worth, while also keeping track of the day-to-day transactions on your credit card.

Jill Duffy of pcmag.com says, "Mint is the best personal finance software, hands down" while we include it in our list of 8 Ways to Budget Your Money (Even If You Hate Budgeting).

Check Your Credit History

Knowing your FICO score before you apply for a credit card will give you a realistic sense of how likely you are to be approved for various cards.

Banks that offer credit cards with fewer rewards and a lower credit limit will be more lenient about your FICO score, while other cards will not approve your application without a "good" or "excellent" score, which is in the 720-850 range.

If your family has two primary parents that split the financial duties, know both parents' credit scores to see how best to navigate the application process for credit cards.

Average U.S. family income

Don't know your credit score? Head on over here to find out for free!

Calculate your ability to repay. There are many credit cards that offer an interest-free promotion for balance transfers that gives you 0% APR for a fixed amount time after opening the account.

If you plan on carrying a balance or have a sizeable amount of debt already accruing high interest, a balance transfer card could be a great way to lower those interest payments.

Still, balance transfer cards can end up hurting in the long run if you don't plan out a payment plan with a cushion because once the introductory offer ends, the APR will typically jump to a rate potentially even higher than the card you transferred from.

Three things to pay attention to when comparing credit cards for families

Each family has different needs and wants when it comes to their finances. With some financial planning and responsible spending, credit cards are a great way to build credit and reap rewards.

But whether you're looking to get a credit card for your family for the cash back rewards, airline mileage points, or to take advantage of the intro APR offer, here are a few terms and tips to keep in mind while you compare cards head-to-head.

Understand APR

APR stands for annual percentage rate.

The APR tells you how much it will cost you to borrow money, including interest and other fees that are related to loans.

APR on each credit card can vary depending on introductory offers and credit-worthiness, amongst other things.

Although half a percent or even a whole percent may not sound like a lot, over a longer period of time it can make the difference of saving or owing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

For example, say you borrow $10,000 at 10% APR.

Over a year, you'll pay $1,000 in interest because 10% of $10,000 is $1,000.

To calculate, multiply $10,000 by .10. (Make sure to convert the percentage into a decimal before multiplying it to the amount you borrow.)

Now, your neighbor has a slightly lower credit score than you (which the lender sees as a little riskier to lend money to your neighbor than to you) and he gets approved with an APR of 11%

For borrowing the same amount of $10,000, he would pay $1,100 in interest at the end of the year.

Just one percent can mean the difference of an extra $100 out of your wallet!

In reality, both you and your neighbor will most likely end up paying even more than that in interest.

How much it costs to borrow money

The example above uses an APR lower than the average credit card APR of 15%.

And if you have poor credit, your APR might be locked in above 20%.

The only reason to pay less attention to the APR is if you're 100% certain you will pay off your balance each month rather than just the minimum and also never need a cash advance or balance transfer.

Compare Rewards

When you compare the rewards that different credit cards offer, note the terms and restrictions.

Getting the biggest bang for your buck might not always mean choosing the simplest rewards program.

Some credit cards offer up to 5% cash back, but with the catch that these rewards rotate every quarter or every three months.

These rewards can be great if you can adjust your spending habits in tandem with the category rotations.

But, you should also note that you'll have to opt into the reward category every time it changes and it's not always easy to tell if you're going to be maximizing your rewards because the categories aren't always announced well in advance.

For a busy family looking to get reliable and consistent rewards, and who are too busy taking the kids to basketball practice and dance lessons to keep track of rotating rewards, choose a card that offers a locked-in category.

With that in mind, none of the cards that we compare in-depth in this guide will have rotating categories.

Sign-up bonuses can be great but tread carefully. For many credit card companies, one of the biggest incentives offered to new customers is a generous sign-up bonus.

Most of these bonuses come with a condition that if you spend a certain amount of money within a certain amount of months after signing up, then you'll be rewarded handsomely.

The problem is that if you don't spend the required amount of money in the first place, the extra spend will likely cancel out the rewards you get.

It's not worth signing up for a card solely for the bonuses if that means financial and mental stress down the line.

Stress management methods across genders

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is considered one of the top credit cards for travel rewards.

It offers a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 points, plus 25% more points when you redeem the points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

This potential $625 in rewards sounds golden – we know you're already thinking family vacation — but the catch is you need to spend $4,000 or more on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Before you jump onto the cruise, it's crucial you figure out if you would typically and feasibly spend $1,333 on average per month on a credit card.

Now, if you have a large family and your monthly expenses are relatively high, these minimum spending requirements might not be an issue.

However, if you're not planning on making lots of purchases right after opening an account, or if there's a lot of debt you have to take care of first, there are many other credit cards that offer rewards with lower minimum spending requirements.

Average credit card debt throughout the United States

Family credit card rewards and perks can pad your pockets or pay for your plane tickets

There are many perks out there that card companies offer to families that are loyal to a particular bank, store, or airline.

Here are three varieties to consider:

Know How To Cash In

Likely the most practical type of rewards, there are cards out there that combine these big expenses into one category.

Whether it be with points or simple cash-back rewards, whenever you swipe one of these cards — take the American Express Blue Cash Preferred (reviewed below) — you'll earn a percentage back on your purchase.

It might seem small swipe to swipe, but over the year can add up to hundreds of dollars.

Jacquelyn Pica, writing for The Penny Hoarder, offers a helpful list of cards and programs to help you save on these car and fridge essentials.

"When I started driving in 2012, gas cost almost $4 per gallon.

"At the time, public transportation was practically non-existent in Florida, which left me no choice — my family and I had to buy gas.

"But by changing our grocery shopping habits, we haven't paid full price for gas in years — and sometimes we even get it for free. (OK, we still have to pay taxes on it, but where we live, that's only about 2 cents per gallon)."

Go For Something Simple

With a store card — say the Target RED card we've reviewed below — you typically only earn and can redeem points in-store.

The major drawback for such loyalty is less flexibility where and how you can use your rewards.

But, if you already frequently use a company's service or buy their goods, it's a great way to earn points and rewards at a much faster rate!

Erin Lowry, writing for Magnify Money, recommends only opting for such a card if you can't qualify for a more flexible rewards card.

"You don't need to be part of the 700-prime-score-club to get approval for store credit cards.

"In fact, banks approve much lower scores for store card than they would normally allow if you just walked into a local branch or applied directly for a bank credit card online…

"Opening a store card is an ideal way for someone with a lower credit score to begin rebuilding his or her credit."

Find the Right Travel Card

Many travel credit cards are affiliated with specific airlines. This is great if you fly frequently and can double down on the rewards with card plus airline miles and perks.

But if you're a family, such restricted miles can make it difficult when it comes to actually redeeming them since finding enough rewards seats on one specific airline on a specific date for your entire family — let alone seats next to one another — might be impossible.

It's best to focus on non-airline affiliated travel cards — like the Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is great for the big family that cooks at home and loves to road trip

If your family has a long grocery shopping list, and frequently fuels up at gas stations for commuting to work and running errands for the kids, then the American Express Blue Cash Preferred credit card is for you.

With a new one-time sign-up bonus of $200 and a waived first-year annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is a great reward credit card, especially if you find yourself already spending money at supermarkets and gas stations.

Notable fine print

Annual fee. $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

APR. 13.99-24.99% (V)

Perks

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent each year; then 1%
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select department stores
  • 1% cash back offered on all other purchases
  • One-time bonus of a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more within the first 3 months

Drawbacks

  • Applicant needs good to excellent credit to get this card
  • After the first year, annual fee of $95
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

What experts say

Taylor Gordon of MagnifyMoney recommends this card as possibly being the perfect cash-back card for grocery shoppers because of its ease of use without revolving categories for cash-back offers.

"You just need to remember to pull out this card when you shop at major grocery stores, gas stations, and department stores."

What consumers say

Kevin, reviewing the card on creditcardinsider.com, got the card for the great rewards it offers and wasn't disappointed. After a year of using the card, he says, "I use it for everything."

The question everyone is asking

If I eat out more than shop at groceries, is the card worth it?

Given this card's biggest punch is the 6% cash-back at groceries, if you're not much of a cook, it might mean a card catered to restaurant rewards is a better fit for your lifestyle.

Remember, the first factor when considering any credit card is not if it's the most rewards offered by any card, but if it's a reward you already spend money on in the first place.

How it stacks up

If you're looking to get rewards for already making purchases at supermarkets and fueling up at gas stations, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is a great choice.

Also, with the first annual fee waived, that's a saving of $95 right when you sign up!

But remember, with an annual fee of $95 after the first year, using your card more often to get rewards will be one of the ways to justify this cost.

How to apply

Visit the American Express website to learn more and apply.

The Blue Cash Everyday from American Express is for the small family that eats-in most of the time

If the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express intrigues you but you're not sure if the annual fee of $95 is worth it, then the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express might be the better option for you and your family.

With cash back rewards from purchases made at U.S. supermarket, gas stations, and select department stores, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express rewards all the same categories the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express does, but without an annual fee!

Notable fine print

Annual fee. $0

APR. 13.99-24.99% (v)

Perks

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent each year; then 1%
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select department stores
  • 1% cash back offered on all other purchases
  • $100 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months
  • 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months

Drawbacks

  • $6,000 annual purchase limit on 3% cash back on supermarket purchases
  • Balance transfers must be made within 30 days of opening account to take advantage of the interest-free promotion
  • Relatively high APR of 13.99% - 24.99% (v)

U.S. supermarket store average weekly sales

What experts say

Julie Myhre-Nunes of NextAdvisor writes a raving review that, "I've been a cardholder for a number of months now and I have to say that I absolutely love my Blue Cash Everyday Card."

On top of no annual fee and generous cash back rewards for grocery and gas purchases, she says that the excellent customer service is a huge added bonus to being a Blue Cash Everyday cardholder.

What consumers say

James Jones, commenting on creditcards.com, cautions that the auto pay feature isn't as easy to use as he thinks it should be.

If you're planning on transferring a balance onto the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express to take advantage of the interest-free offer, make sure you keep on eye out for your payments to properly clear as you pay down the balance.

The Question Everyone is Asking

What if I'm not sure whether I spend over $6,000 on groceries per year?

If you aren't sure how much you spend, the good news is that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spent $4,000 per year on groceries in 2013, or about $330 each month.

Now obviously every family is different so it's a good idea to map your grocery expenses either with the current month, or by finding the receipts from last month's trips to the supermarket.

Once you have the number, multiply by 12 to get your annual spend.

How it stacks up

Without an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers great cash-back rewards, but not as much as some other cards that do charge an annual fee.

If your purchases at supermarkets, gas stations, and department stores aren't enough to justify an annual fee, then this card might be the perfect fit for your family.

But remember, if you take advantage of the interest-free promotion, make sure you can pay down the transferred balance within the first 12 months because the relatively high APR will kick in after the first year.

The right Amex card depends on your spending. Say you spend $100 a week on groceries, for a total of $5,200 per year.

With a cash-back offer of 6%, you'll be rewarded $312 for those grocery purchases.

Future of online grocery shopping in the U.S.

With that cash back earned, it can easily justify the annual fee of $95 that comes with the Blue Cash Preferred Card. Don't spend that much on groceries?

In that case, maybe consider the rewards of the Blue Cash Everyday Card which don't come with an added annual fee.

Other bank options are out there. If you already have an account with Bank of America, then your family might love the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card.

With cash back rewards of 3% back on gas and 2% back on groceries and wholesale clubs on up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter, this card competes with the Amex cards, and the convenience of already having an account might make it the clear favorite.

For even more information on the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, read Lauren Barret's review on Moneyunder30 to understand why she thinks it's"[a]mong the best gas rewards credit cards."

How to apply

Head on over to the American Express website to apply.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is for the family eyeing their next vacation

If you and your family are busy travelers, then getting rewards that can be redeemed to drastically reduce your vacation bills might have your family vacationing more often than you thought was possible.

If you're looking to rack up flexible travel rewards and enjoy a generous sign-up offer to use for your family's next vacation, then the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is for you.

There are countless credit cards that are provided by airlines, but if you and your family aren't looking to get locked down to any one particular airline, then a credit card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard might be the one to get.

With a wide range of categories that Barclaycard considers to be travel, redeem your points to pay for flights, hotels, car rentals, timeshares, taxis, trains, and buses, amongst other categories.

Notable fine print

Annual fee. $0 annual fee for the first year; $89 after that

APR. 16.99%, 20.99%, or 23.99% (v)

Perks

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500 in travel statement credit) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • 2.1% rewards on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles don't expire
  • Complimentary online FICO score access

Drawbacks

  • Annual fee of $89 after the first year
  • No introductory APR offer
  • Can only redeem points worth $100 or more (which can make it difficult to use points to pay for things like taxi and bus fares)

What experts say

Zach Honig, writing for thepointsguy.com, highlights that with the sign-up bonus and flexibility offered when redeeming your points, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard easily surpasses some of its competitors, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Citi Double Cash card.

"If you've been eyeing the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, now's the time to act — we aren't sure how long this 50,000-mile offer will stick around."

What consumers say

Mike, writing on awardwallet.com, says it was his go-to travel credit card for some time.

Although some others note the annual fee might not be worth it if only getting 2.1% in rewards, he notes that if the reward is a little above 2% on all purchases regardless of the category, that's a good deal for frequent users.

The question everyone's asking

Is 2.1% cash-back on all purchases a competitive rate?

The answer is that it really depends.

There are cards with a lower cash-back rate, and others with higher rates.

The difference is those cards with higher rates tend to be restricted to specific categories (think the AMEX Everyday cards above), while those with lower rates perhaps comes with bigger sign-up bonuses.

This card sits is somewhat a hybrid card, offering a sign-up bonus that's not outrageous and a cash-back rate that's middle of the pack.

If you want the best of both worlds, the Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is a safe bet.

How it stacks up

If you and your family are frequent fliers, use your credit card regularly, and plan to pay off your balance monthly, applying for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is probably a good idea.

With a great sign-up bonus, 2.1% rewards on all purchases across the board, and a waived first-year annual fee, this is a great card to get the travel rewards your family is looking for.

Redeem your miles and points with flexibility. Additionally, being able to redeem miles toward any airline purchase can come in handy.

Guaranteed paid vacation days

With a wide range of categories considered travel expenses, paying for your next Airbnb rental using your credit card points would be a nice way to lower the cost of your family's next vacation.

Easy to use, low annual fee. Although there are other travel cards that offer slightly better bonuses upon signing up, with such an enticing rewards program and relatively low annual fee compared to other travel credit cards, the Barclaycard is certainly worth your consideration.

If you want to learn even more of what the credit card has to offer, take a look at thiscomplete review of the card the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

How to apply

Go to the Barclaycard website to find out more and easily apply.

The Citi Simplicity Card is for the family focused on digging itself out of debt

There's no doubt that rewards are wonderful, but paying off a high-interest balance can potentially save your family far more money than any credit card rewards program.

The Citi Simplicity Card is a great option for the family looking to chip away at a debt balance that's been in the shadows for some years.

With a 0% intro APR for 21 months, no annual fee or late fees, the Citi Simplicity Card might be the perfect card to help your family pay off debt without accruing interest.

Notable fine print

Annual fee. $0

APR. 0% for 21 months, then 14.99 - 24.99%

Perks

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months
  • No penalty APR
  • No annual fee, or late fees

Drawbacks

  • No rewards
  • 3% balance transfer fee

What experts say

Liz Stapleton, writing for magnifymoney.com, believes the Citi Simplicity Card might be one of the best options to pay off debt with a high-interest rate.

"If you have a lot of credit card debt that will take a long time (more than 15 months) to pay off, this card is a great option…

"If you have credit card debt at a high-interest rate, Simplicity can help you save a lot of money and become debt-free faster if you use it wisely."

What consumers say

Although some have found issues with the customer service from Citi, Beth Whittington-Montgomery, reviewing the card on comparecards.com, found the 21 months of 0% APR allowed her to bring one of her bills to zero interest long enough for her to address her debt.

Adoption of payments by households

"I took advantage of the intro transfer deal. Citi Simplicity will pay off the balance of my other two cards…What is not to like. I am VERY happy!"

The question everyone is asking

Is this card great for a balance transfer?

While a 0% balance transfer APR for the first 21 months is a great introductory offer, the catch is that there's a 3% balance transfer fee that you can't avoid.

That means if you transfer a balance of, say of $1,000, you'll have to chalk over $30 upfront.

How it stacks up

There are two real downsides to the Citi Simplicity Card that you should know of before applying:

  1. It doesn't offer any cash-back rewards or perks.
  2. The APR after the first 21 months is relatively high.

But, if you are looking to pay off debt that won't seem to go away with the added fees and interest, this card will lead you in the right direction.

With 21 months of 0% APR, no late fees, or APR penalties that hike the interest rate way up, this is a great way for your family to take care of the debt you've always wanted to address.

How to apply

Visit the Citi website to find out more and easily apply.

The Target REDcard Credit Card is for the loyal family who lives near and always is shopping at Target

You might not necessarily think that having restrictions on where you can use your credit card is a good thing.

But, with restrictions comes much higher rewards than most other average credit cards offer.

If a lot of your shopping for your family is done at Target, then this card is an absolute must.

With 5% off every day, free shipping, and an extended return period of 30 days, making purchases and securing generous savings from Target has never been easier.

In addition to the instant 5% savings on most purchases, paying for your purchases with the REDcard will allow you to combine the 5% with additional coupons found on Target's free Cartwheel application.

Notable fine print

Annual fee. $0

APR. 23.90% (v)

Perks

  • Save 5% on most purchases made in-store and online
  • Extend your return policy with 30 extra days to return items

Drawbacks

  • Can only use on Target purchases in-store and website online
  • Relatively high APR at 23.90%
  • No 0% intro APR
  • No transfer balances allowed

What experts say

Target's revenue in North America

Taylor Tepper, reviewing the card on time.com, says the REDcard is a good choice if you're already regularly shopping at Target and can repay the balance responsibly.

With no annual fee, 5% savings, free shipping, and syncing those rewards with the Cartwheel app for more coupons, he notes there's a lot of saving potential.

But he's also quick to warn that it's a good idea to stay on top of the monthly balance in order to avoid paying the higher-than-average interest rate and late fee.

What consumers say

Although some consumers aren't thrilled about the customer service, Becca, writing on moneyunder30.com, says she's a big believer in the REDcard.

"I've had it for over 3 years and saved over $600."

The question everyone is asking

Should I use a store card as my primary credit card?

Probably not, though not certainly.

What we mean is that if you are deliberately opting for the simple life that comes with doing all your shopping at one store — go for it!

But if you don't mind shopping around, even with the store card rewards, more than likely there will be cases where another store — whether brick-in-mortar or online marketplace — might have the product you're looking for at cheaper price.

How it stacks up

If you and your family are already loyal Target customers, getting this credit card is a no-brainer.

With instant savings of 5% on most purchases on top of coupons found on Cartwheel, savings are almost impossible to miss if you frequently shop at Target, both in-store and online.

However, with a relatively high APR and a steep late fee of $35, only get the REDcard if you plan on paying off the full balance month to month.

Otherwise, getting hit with interest and late fees may very well make this card an expense rather than a great way to save on everyday purchases.

How to apply

Head on over to the Target website to easily apply.

With the right card, you could save hundreds of dollars each year

No matter how much you spend or what you spend it on, there's a credit card out there to reward your purchases.

Depending on your family's spending habits, knowing what card offers the best rewards can take you a long way.

But remember, as great as sign-up bonuses and incentives may be, don't spend money that you can't responsibly pay back.

Even with great rewards, it isn't worth the stress or added cost if you can't pay off your monthly balance.

The cheatsheet to comparing family credit cards

Before we go, here's a cheat sheet with all the biggest takeaways from our guide on comparing family credit cards.

Budget your family's spending habits. There are few feelings worse than swiping your card without knowing if there's enough money in the bank to cover the cost.

The key to never ending up in this situation is making a budget, perhaps with a digital app like

Check and analyze your FICO credit score. You get three free reports per year, and experts recommend you stagger your checks every four months to take full advantage. Make sure you read all the details to better learn what's hurting your score.

Tread carefully with rotating rewards and sign-up bonuses. There's usually a good deal of fine print and requirements — like minimum expenditures and manual category changes.

Though not red flags, they do require more upfront research and vigilance.

There's no reason to hurt your credit score or get hit with accruing interest fees that would eventually completely negate all of the great sign-up offers and rewards that are out there.

Has your family had a dream (or nightmare) experience with a credit card? Let us know in the comments below.


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