NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- August is the high season for back-to-school shopping, when parents are looking for ways to save some cash but not lose out on supplies a family needs once the school bell rings.
That’s where the right credit card -- one with good introductory offers, cash back on purchases and low fees -- comes in handy. Lucky for parents, MyRatePlan.com offers a strong list of credit cards meeting those qualifications and helping keep spending down for the coming school year.
Since the average U.S. family is expected to spend $669 on school supplies this year, according to the National Retail Federation, any way to save a few bucks should appeal to back-to-school shoppers. Here’s a glimpse of the cards the website rates the highest:
Discover It For Students: This card might especially be good for college students, as it offers a six month introductory deal with 0% APR on all purchases. That will buy consumers some time before paying interest on all the items on their back-to-school shopping list.
Card users can double their rewards at gas stations and restaurants with 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. They also always earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. Online shoppers can earn 5% to 20% cash back at 200 Web retail sites including the Apple Store, Macy's and BestBuy. The card also offers a free FICO score on all of their monthly statements.
A similar card from Discover -- the Discover It Chrome For Students -- offers the same benefits plus text alerts that give cardholders "payment due" notifications a few days in advance.
Barclaycard Ring MasterCard: The Barclaycard offers consumers no balance transfer fee or annual fee, and it also offers an 8% annual percentage rate for all balance transfers -- one of the lowest APRs in the marketplace. It also offers a free FICO score for cardholders. The card also has some democratic appeal; Barclay lets online community members vote up or down on various card features.
Regular card use and a prompt payment history can earn cash back through the card’s Giveback Program. But it’s the 8% APR that should really get parents’ attention for back to school shoppers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: The Chase card offers 40,000 bonus points redeemable for $400 in cash, as long as you spend $3,000 during the first three months you own the card. You can also earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months you own the card. And there's no annual fee in the first year you own the card.