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Credit Cards

Every day is Black Friday this year: Save more money while you shop with these 9 credit cards

Select reviewed the best credit cards to shop with this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you can enjoy the most rewards and perks.

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Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.

The 2021 holiday season is shaping up to be filled with friend and families reconnecting after a long and tumultuous year. But while our hearts are filled with joy as we get to reunite with loved ones, our wallets are feeling the squeeze as inflation and supply chain issues threaten to make the holiday cheer very expensive.

And while more consumers are planning to shop on Black Friday this year than in 2020, most (78%) are still doing the majority of the shopping online, according to Morning Consult's 2021 holiday shopping survey. And 62% of consumers said they will wait for these big seasonal sales to get their holiday shopping done.

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Retailers started rolling out sales earlier than ever this year, but it's not too late to take advantage of the best deals.

To make your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping experience less stressful and more affordable, we rounded up nine credit cards that can help you save at popular online marketplaces like Amazon, Target and Walmart, plus department stores and other retailers.

Best credit cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping in 2021

Best for department stores

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Information about the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    5% cash back on two categories you choose quarterly (on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter, then 1%); 2% cash back on one everyday category; 1% cash back on everything else

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back bonus after you apply online and spend $1000 within the first 120 days of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0*

  • Intro APR

    0% APR for the first 18 billing cycles on balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    13.99% to 23.99% (variable)*

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2% to 3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

*See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • High 5% cash back on select entertainment purchases, when you activate bonus categories
  • Low spending required to earn a good welcome bonus

Cons

  • 5% cash back is limited to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter
  • Activation is required to earn 5% cash back
  • 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $478
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,790

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? Holiday shoppers who like do most of their buying at department stores will want to check out the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card. The card offers 5% cash back on two categories you choose quarterly (on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter, then 1%); 2% cash back on one everyday category; 1% cash back on everything else.

You can choose to make department stores a 5% bonus category, which includes Bloomingdale's and Macy's. And for your second 5% bonus category, you can opt for select clothing stores, which includes GAP and Old Navy.

You also get 2% cash back on one everyday category, such as grocery stores or gas stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Cardholders can update their preferences every quarter, so you can change categories based on your needs.

This card also comes with no annual fee and a generous welcome bonus of $200 cash back bonus after you apply online and spend $1,000 within the first 120 days of account opening.

You can also enjoy no interest on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles (after 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR), so if you need to pay off high interest debt, this may be the card for you.

Best for Amazon.com

Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 14 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    11.99% - 22.99% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good / Excellent

Pros

  • Cash-back program
  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Cash-back categories must be activated each quarter
  • Cash-back program limits earnings: Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back in various categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $707
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,120

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? If you do most of your shopping online at Amazon.com, you'll want to consider the Discover it® Cash Back. Cardholders earn 5% cash back in various categories each quarter after they activate bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%). Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.

The 5% cash-back category for October to December 2021 is Amazon.com and digital wallets, which includes Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Garmin Pay. (Read the full Discover cash-back calendar.)

This card has no annual fee and a unique welcome bonus where new card members in the first year only have all the cash back they've earned at the end of their first year automatically matched by Discover.

It also offers a competitive introductory 0% APR for the first 14 months on purchases (after, 11.99% to 22.99% variable APR).

Best for Walmart

Capital One Walmart Rewards® Card

Information about the Capital One Walmart Rewards® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    5% cash back at Walmart.com; 2% cash back on Walmart in-store purchases, at restaurants and on travel; 1% cash back everywhere else Mastercard is accepted

  • Welcome bonus

    5% back on in-store purchases when using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months after approval (after, earn 2%)

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    17.99% to 26.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    N/A

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

Who's this for? If you're looking for a card that will earn you a high rewards rate on your in-store and online Walmart.com purchases, you should consider the Capital One Walmart Rewards® Card. The card offers 5% cash back at Walmart.com; 2% cash back on Walmart in-store purchases, at restaurants and on travel, and 1% cash back everywhere else Mastercard is accepted. 

While you might want a higher rewards rate for your in-store purchases, Walmart also gives cardholders a welcome bonus: 5% back on in-store purchases when using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months of card membership (after, earn 2%).

In other words, if you're signing up for the card for the first time, you can get 5% cash back on both in-store and online purchases during the holiday shopping season. Walmart Pay is also easy to use. Cardholders just need to download an app, add their preferred payment method — a credit card, debit card or gift card — and then scan the QR code that you get at checkout.

Best for Target

Target RedCard™

Information about the Target RedCard™ has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    5% discount at checkout on most purchases in-store and at Target.com

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    22.90% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    N/A

  • Credit needed

    N/A

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Instant 5% discount at checkout
  • Free two-day shipping on most items
  • Extra 30 days for returns

Cons

  • Card can only be used in-store at Target or at Target.com
  • High 22.90% variable APR

CNBC Select didn't calculate estimated rewards for store cards.

Who's this for? You won't receive cash back or rewards points, but the Target RedCard does offer a 5% discount on every purchase made (excluding some items like prescriptions and Target Optical™ eye exams; read our full review of the Target RedCard for the full list of exclusions). So every time you purchase a gift, you'll automatically receive the discount when you pay with the RedCard.

And if you're doing your holiday shopping online at Target.com, you'll receive free two-day shipping without the $35 minimum purchase amount required for non-cardholders. Just keep in mind that if you upgrade your shipping method, shipping fees will apply. 

Best for wholesale clubs

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (then 1%); 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $0, Costco membership required

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    15.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Generous gas rewards
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • Costco membership is required
  • Rewards are distributed once a year and can only be redeemed at U.S. Costco Warehouses
  • No welcome bonus, so you can’t maximize rewards during the first few months of card opening
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $406
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,031

Who's this for? Loyal fans of Costco may want to open a Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi to use when holiday shopping this year. Cardholders enjoy many perks, such as a robust rewards program and no fees charged on purchases made abroad.

You can earn 4% cash back on eligible purchases at Costco gas stations for the first $7,000 per year, then 1% (ideal for those road-tripping it this holiday season); 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on all eligible purchases from Costco and Costco.com; 1% cash back on all other purchases.

There is no annual fee, but a Costco membership is required, which starts at $60 for Gold Star and Business levels, then doubles in price to $120 for Gold Star Executive and Business Executive members.

Best for general shopping

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

On Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 24.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% ($5 minimum) for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited cash back
  • $200 welcome bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory APR period for first 15 months
  • Access to Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 cell phone protection

Cons

  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions

Who's this for? If simple cash rewards card is what you're looking for, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card has you covered with unlimited 2% cash rewards on all eligible purchases. This is the highest flat cash-rewards rate available among Wells Fargo credit cards, and it can certainly add up to great earnings on your spending.

The cash-back program is straightforward and simple, so you don't have to worry about tracking bonus categories or activating each quarter.

Plus, new cardholders of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card can currently earn a $200 cash rewards welcome bonus when they spend $1,000 in purchases in their first three months from account opening.

This card provides a 15-month interest-free period on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (after, 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR) so that you can finance a large buy or have more time to pay off your credit card debt without accruing additional interest.

Best for entertainment

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 4% on eligible streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months on purchases; N/A on balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 24.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited 4% cash back on entertainment purchases
  • 8% cash back on all Vivid Seats ticket purchases through January 2022
  • Ability to redeem rewards at any amount, unlike some other cards with $25 minimums
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Cable, digital streaming and membership services are excluded from the 4% cash-back rate
  • No introductory 0% financing offers for purchases or balance transfers
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $588
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,741

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? If you prefer to give the gift of experiences, an entertainment rewards card can provide valuable rewards in this category. Sports fans, movie buffs and adventure seekers will all find a common reason to like the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: unlimited 4% cash back on entertainment purchases. Compared to other rewards cards, this is the highest unlimited rewards rate on entertainment spending, whether you're buying movie tickets, taking a family trip to the zoo or spending the evening bowling with friends.

Through January 2022, cardholders who buy tickets through Vivid Seats, a ticket resale site, can take advantage of 8% cash back.

Cardholders can also benefit from exclusive access to entertainment events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the Capital One JamFest.

Beyond entertainment perks, there's also 4% cash back on dining, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, you can enjoy foodie-centric perks, such as exclusive access to premium reservations with OpenTable.

This card does come with a $95 annual fee, but it can be offset by the cash back you earn.

Best welcome bonus

Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on drugstore purchases and on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

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

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back in select categories upon activation
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card

Cons

  • Bonus categories must be activated each quarter
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $852
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,844

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Chase Freedom Flex℠ has one of the best welcome bonuses around: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. That's like earning 40% back.

This card can help you maximize cash back in a variety of rotating categories. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The cash-back calendar changes every quarter. Learn more about how Chase classifies bonus category purchases.

In addition to rotating rewards, you can earn 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, 3% cash back on dining at restaurants and at drug stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Beyond rewards, you can take advantage of no annual fee and a competitive no-interest period for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases (after, 14.99% to 24.74% variable APR).

The Freedom card also provides cell phone protection and select partner benefits, such as 5% cash back on Lyft purchases through March 2022 and complimentary three months of DashPass, plus 50% off for the next nine months when you activate by December 31, 2021. This perk provides you with free delivery on DoorDash orders over $12 and lower service fees.

Best for intro 0% APR period

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    2X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X), 1X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases, N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    12.99% to 23.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Competitive intro period on purchases
  • 20% extra point bonus when you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period

Cons

  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Who's this for? If you want to maximize savings with an interest-free financing period, consider a card that has no interest for over a year, such as the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. You can benefit from no interest for the first 15 months on purchases (then 12.99% to 23.99% variable APR; see rate and fees). This is a longer-than-average intro period, providing extra time for you to pay off gifts and other new purchases when you make sizeable, monthly payments toward your balance.

This card also has no annual fee (see rates and fees) and a strong rewards program: Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X) and 1X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other purchases. And when you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period you receive 20% extra points.

Cardholders can also take advantage of premium Amex perks, including discounts at select merchants via Amex Offers, car rental loss and damage insurance, free two-day shipping at select online retailers with ShopRunner and cell phone protection.

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Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value for shoppers during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

We also estimated how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee. Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming points/miles for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

For rates and fees of the Discover it® Cash Back, click here.

For rates and fees for the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, click here

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.