When it comes to moving, one significant consideration is how you’ll pay for it — or at least garner some discounts on the bill. With the right credit card, it’s very possible to meet both of these goals.
If you’re thinking about how to use a credit card for an upcoming move, you’ll want to look for cards with a welcome bonus, rewards on common moving expenses, an introductory APR on purchases (or even balance transfers) and other benefits. To help you make the right choice, here’s our top credit card picks for anyone planning a move.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for a generous sign-up bonus
Why we picked it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a solid rewards credit card that offers a great rewards rate and generous welcome bonus. You’ll earn 3X points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 5X points on Ultimate Rewards travel and Lyft rides (Lyft offer valid through March 2025), 2X points on general travel and 1X points on everything else.
We like this card for moving because you can use it to easily earn essentially a $600 welcome bonus (60,000 bonus points) if you anticipate having at least $4,000 in moving expenses within three months of account opening. Then, you can apply that bonus to your expenses.
It’s also worth pointing out that its rewards categories cover common expenses people might encounter on a move: dining out, rideshares, hotels, car rentals, etc. Further, there are plenty of other Chase Sapphire Preferred card benefits, like annual credits and subscriptions that provide great deals and discounts whether you’re moving or not, adding to the card’s long-term value.
- Rewards structure covers common expenses many movers have
- Annual credits, an anniversary points bonus and subscription service discounts
- Redeem points for Chase Ultimate Rewards travel for for 25 percent more value
- Additional perks like travel coverage and protections
- $95 annual fee
- Welcome bonus requires $4,000 in spending in three months, which could be out of reach for some
- No 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases or balance transfers
Who should apply: Because there’s an annual fee, this card is best suited for people who can either spend enough each year to outweigh the fee or take advantage of its various benefits (which, truthfully, shouldn’t be too hard to do). You’ll meet the spending requirement for the welcome bonus if you have $4,000 or more in moving expenses, plus you’ll be rewarded for spending on common moving expenses.
Who should skip: Anyone who won’t spend enough to get the welcome bonus or take advantage of the bonus categories or credits should look elsewhere.
Citi Diamond Preferred: Best for balance transfers
Why we picked it: The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card has one of the longest balance transfer offers around. With this card, you’ll get 21 months to carry a balance without paying any interest. When the introductory APR term ends, you’ll have a 15.24 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR (depending on your credit profile).
We like this card for moving due to the fact that a balance transfer can help you shift your moving expenses from one card to another to avoid excessive interest charges. It’s also good to know that the Diamond Preferred has a 12-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases as well, followed by that same 15.24 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR.
Our only gripe about this card is its balance transfer fee of 5 percent (or $5, whichever is greater), which is on the higher end of the 3 percent to 5 percent range that’s typical for balance transfer fees. Another crucial thing to note is that you must transfer your balance to the Diamond Preferred within the first four months of account opening to be eligible for the introductory APR offer. If you miss that window, you’re stuck with the variable APR.
- 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months (15.24 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR after)
- No annual fee
- Standard cardholder perks, like access to Citi Flex Loans, Citi Easy Deals and Citi Entertainment
- No welcome bonus
- No ongoing rewards structure to earn money back on purchases
- Higher balance transfer fee of 5 percent (or $5, whichever is greater)
- Balances must be transferred within the first four months to qualify for intro offer
Who should apply: This balance transfer credit card is good for anyone who needs to transfer a high-interest balance from one credit card to another — or, more specifically, anyone looking to free up room on an existing card for their move or who anticipates running up a balance due to their move. Either way, make sure you use this option wisely so as to avoid racking up more debt.
Who should skip: If you don’t have an immediate need to take advantage of the introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers, this card will not be as valuable to you. You should also skip this one if you don’t have immediate plans to pay down your credit card debt or are concerned about the long-term value of your card after your debt is paid off.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for flat-rate cash back
Why we picked it: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers the best of both worlds — the ability to earn ongoing cash back rewards along with a respectable introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers. You can enjoy a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months from account opening, followed by a variable APR of 16.49 percent, 21.49 percent or 26.49 percent. If you’ve got some major purchases coming up due to a pending move, these features can definitely come in handy.
In terms of cash back, the Active Cash allows you to earn an unlimited 2 percent back on all purchases, and there’s no need to track or activate spending categories. You just swipe your Active Cash card for purchases, and your rewards accrue to your account. We should also note its $200 cash rewards sign-up bonus (earned after spending $1,000 within the first three months), which is relatively easy to earn for anyone swiping their card for moving expenses.
- 2 percent cash back on all purchases
- $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months
- 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (16.49 percent, 21.49 percent or 26.49 percent variable APR after)
- No annual fee
- Cellphone protection and Visa Signature perks
- 3 percent foreign transaction fee on purchases made abroad
- No ability to redeem rewards with travel partners for boosted value
- Balance transfer fee of 3 percent ($5 minimum) jumps to 5 percent after the first 120 days
Who should apply: If you don’t mind earning a flat rate of cash back (rather than the higher cash back rates offered by cards with multiple bonus categories) in exchange for simplicity and other card perks, the Active Cash is for you. It could help you earn money back on your moving expenses, potentially offset them with the welcome bonus and buy you some interest-free borrowing time to boot.
Who should skip: If you’re vying for a higher rate of rewards, this card may feel insufficient. You should also skip this card if you like earning rewards to redeem them for discounted travel. So far, the Wells Fargo Rewards program is light on features and more valuable travel options.
Discover it Cash Back: Best for rotating bonus categories
Why we picked it: The Discover it® Cash Back has a few features that make the card ideal for someone anticipating a move. There’s a high rewards rate, unique welcome bonus and an introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers.
With the Discover it Cash Back card, you’ll get 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in activated category purchases each quarter based on Discover’s cash back calendar. Once you max out the $1,500, you’ll earn 1 percent back.
A notable feature of this card is its Cashback Match welcome bonus for the first year. For example, if you max out your category spending each quarter during the first year, you’ll earn at least $300 in cash back. But when Discover matches it, that doubles to $600 in cash back earnings.
Finally, we should bring up the card’s 15-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. After 15 months, there’s a 13.49 percent to 24.49 percent variable APR based on your credit worthiness.
- 5 percent cash back on select activated categories (up to $1,500 each quarter, then 1 percent)
- First-year Cashback Match welcome bonus
- No annual fee
- 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (13.49 percent to 24.49 percent variable APR after)
- A few standard purchase and travel protections, among other card benefits
- Cash back earnings are capped at $1,500 in spending per quarter
- Your spending may not align with the card’s rotating bonus categories
- You must activate the bonus categories in order to earn heightened cash back
- Balance transfer fee jumps up from 3 percent to 5 percent on future transfers (see terms)
Who should apply: This cash back card is for the mover on a mission. With the Discover it Cash Back, you can time your move with the active bonus categories that make sense, then max out the other quarter’s categories for the most cash back throughout the year. If you can get a hefty first-year Cashback Match, it could offset moving costs even more. Then, you might use the introductory APR offer for a big moving-related purchase (or a balance transfer for more time to pay off your moving expenses).
Who should skip: If tracking and activating your bonus categories will be too much responsibility on top of organizing and scheduling your move, this card might be a bit too high maintenance. In this case, you might be better off with a more simplistic flat-rate cash back card.
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for fueling up
Why we picked it: The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is ideal for people who might be making their move via car. In particular, the Chase Freedom Flex 2022 bonus categories for July through September 2022 includes gas stations and car rentals (as well as select entertainment and music theaters).
With the Freedom Flex, you earn 5 percent cash back on activated bonus category purchases each quarter (up to $1,500, then 1 percent), 5 percent back on Ultimate Rewards travel purchases, 5 percent on Lyft rides (through March 2025), 3 percent on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent on everything else.
In terms of a welcome bonus, you can earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within your first three months. You also get access to a 15-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (followed by a variable APR between 15.74 percent and 24.49 percent).
- Earn heightened cash back on gas station and car rental purchases July through September 2022
- You technically earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed in a variety of ways
- $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within your first three months
- No annual fee
- 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (15.74 percent to 24.49 percent variable APR after)
- Various benefits, including cellphone protection and discounted DashPass membership
- Higher earning rate on bonus categories requires activation, and if you forget, you’ll only earn 1 percent on that quarter’s categories
- Rotating bonus categories may not match your spending for a particular quarter
- You can’t transfer rewards to travel partners (unless you pair it with a more premium Chase card)
Who should apply: This no-annual-fee card would be great for anyone who wants to earn boosted rewards on their moving costs, considering its July through September 2022 bonus categories of gas stations and car rentals. Plus, the Freedom Flex offers an auto rental collision damage waiver (should you rent a car during your move) as well as travel and emergency assistance.
As with other cards mentioned, the ability to spread out a large purchase or a lot of smaller purchases from your move over a longer period could also prove valuable.
Who should skip: Similar to the Discover it Cash Back, if you’re not too keen on tracking rotating bonus categories or are worried you’ll easily go over the card’s quarterly bonus cap, you’re likely better off with a different option.
Comparing the best credit cards for moving
Here’s a quick table comparison to help you choose the best card for your upcoming move:
How to choose a credit card for moving
When choosing the best credit card for moving, you’ll want the best combination of features that work for your move — whether it’s saving money on your moving expenses with rewards or being able to finance your moving costs over time. Here’s what you should pay close attention to when choosing:
- Welcome bonus: Of course, getting the highest welcome bonus possible is ideal, but make sure that you can time your expenses to ensure you’ll meet the spending requirements for the bonus. Also, you should know which transactions count toward earning that bonus.
- Rewards rate: Look for categories that match your moving expenses. The more you can earn back on your moving costs, the better.
- Travel redemptions: If you’re in the rewards game for great travel deals, your move could help you get there. Some of the best travel credit cards offer boosted redemptions for travel accommodations and a long list of transfer partners, which can help you maximize the rewards you’ll earn on your moving expenses.
- Benefits: Although you’re getting a credit card to help cover your move, you should think of long-term value like ongoing rewards, annual credits, cellphone insurance, travel protections and extended purchase warranties. These benefits ensure your card will provide value even when your move is over.
The bottom line
From dining out to hotels, car rentals, gas and moving supplies, there are plenty of ways your moving budget can expand well beyond your initial projections. Having a credit card with the right features can provide some relief in the form of rewards, bonuses, perks and extra money as needed.
If you’re ready to apply for a credit card that will help you in this process, find out which cards match your credit profile with Bankrate’s CardMatch tool. Then, check out the MyMove Change-of-Address tool and start packing for the next exciting phase of your life. Hopefully, you’ll have everything you need to make your move smooth, successful and cost effective.