Adding a pet to your family can add an enriching sense of companionship to your life — as well as brand-new expenses. Pet ownership can cost several hundred dollars per year, including pet supplies and other recurring purchases. That’s not to mention upfront costs like adoption fees, spaying or neutering and microchipping, all of which can cost between $300 to $800 on average.
Having a rewards credit card as trusty as your sidekick can be an effective way to help offset these costs. But finding the right card for a pet owner can be tricky since credit card bonus categories typically don’t include key expenses like vet visits, pet store purchases and pet medications.
Whether you’re in the market for your first rewards card or looking to adopt another card to fit your new budget, these credit cards could help you save money on your pet’s needs or cover unexpected pet ownership costs that pop up.
Compare the best credit cards for pet owners
|Credit One Bank® Best Friends® Credit Card||5% cash back on the first $5,000 of pet shop, pet food store and pet supply store purchases each year (then 1% back)||$0||Pet shops and supply stores|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||
||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95||Supermarket supplies|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card||
|Discover it® Cash Back||
|Discover it® Student Cash Back||
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card||
|CareCredit® Credit Card||N/A||$0||Emergency expenses|
Credit One Bank® Best Friends® Credit Card: Best for pet shops and supply stores
Why we picked it: The Credit One Bank Best Friends Credit Card is one of the only credit cards to specifically reward spending at pet-related retailers. The card earns an impressive 5 percent cash back on your first $5,000 of pet shop, pet food store and pet supply store purchases each year (then 1 percent back).
That means you even earn 5 percent back on grooming, pet sitting or boarding and adoptions if they’re offered by an eligible store. Although some cards reward stores and online retailers that carry pet supplies, it’s hard to beat this unique card’s rewards rate on specialized pet purchases.
- There is no annual fee, which makes it easier to justify this specialized card
- Accessible with average to excellent credit, meaning you may qualify with at least a 580 FICO score
- The Best Friends Animal Society receives a donation equal to 1 percent cash back on each purchase
- It’s not a good standalone card since it only earns cash back at eligible pet retailers — other purchases don’t even earn 1 percent back
- Doesn’t provide a sign-up bonus or intro 0 percent APR offers
- Charges a high APR of 26.99 percent variable
Who should apply: Pet owners who get most of their pet products from dedicated pet stores, especially those who will adopt from these stores or use their grooming or boarding services.
Who should skip: Pet owners who want a standalone card that also earns rewards on non-pet expenses.
Bankrate insight: The Credit One Best Friends card is a Visa credit card, meaning that purchases from any pet store that appears on your monthly billing statement with the 5995 merchant category code (MCC) will earn 5 percent cash back (MCC 5995: Pet Shops, Pet Foods and Supplies Stores).
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for supermarket supplies
Why we picked it: The Blue Cash Preferred Card is known as one of the best cash back cards on the market for everyday expenses, including pet food and other supplies you can buy at supermarkets. You’ll earn 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent), and this card’s stellar cash back on a variety of other popular categories can free up a bit more money toward pet expenses.
- Its 6 percent cash back rate is perhaps the highest rewards rate available on pet food and other necessities, as long as you buy them at eligible U.S. supermarkets.
- You’ll also rake in unlimited 6 percent cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3 percent on transit and U.S. gas station purchases.
- Its $250 statement credit welcome offer can make a big dent in pet adoption costs (available after $3,000 in purchases during the first six months).
- It offers a 0 percent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (then a 16.99 percent to 27.99 percent variable APR), which can give you time to pay off big expenses like adoption costs or veterinary bills.
- Though it carries a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, you’ll face a $95 annual fee after that.
- You’ll only earn 1 percent cash back on purchases at wholesale clubs and superstores like Walmart and Target.
Who should apply: People who buy most of their pet food and other basics at U.S. supermarkets and can earn enough cash back from the card’s categories to justify its annual fee.
Who should skip: Pet owners who buy their food and supplies in bulk from wholesale clubs like Costco or superstores like Walmart. You may also want a different card if your pet has dietary restrictions or requires specialty products you can’t find at supermarkets.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for online purchases
Why we picked it: The Blue Cash Everyday card is more than a no-annual-fee alternative to the Blue Cash Preferred. Along with 3 percent back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, you’ll also earn 3 percent cash back on U.S. online retail purchases.
That allows you to earn cash back with a remarkable range of pet-related merchants. American Express specifically mentions Chewy.com is eligible, but you should be able to earn cash back with plenty of other popular retailers and online pet pharmacies as well.
- Its comprehensive online shopping category and other everyday spending categories make this card one of the best no-annual-fee rewards cards for pet owners.
- In addition to its $100 statement credit welcome offer (after spending $2,000 during your first six months), you can earn 20 percent cash back on PayPal purchases made within your first six months (for a total of up to $150 back). That could be helpful if you shop online for specialized supplies that aren’t sold at typical pet stores.
- It carries a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (after which a 17.74 percent to 28.74 percent variable APR applies) and a Pay It Plan It alternative payment program, which could help you pay off unexpected expenses over time.
- The bonus categories only earn 3 percent cash back on your first $6,000 each year (then 1 percent back), which may hold back big spenders.
- Shopping for most of your pet needs online can be inconvenient and potentially impractical if you can’t wait on shipping.
- Its U.S. supermarket category doesn’t include wholesale clubs superstores.
Who should apply: People who don’t mind shopping online for their pet products or visiting U.S. supermarkets. Chewy.com fans, online pet pharmacy users and owners of pets with special needs will find the Blue Cash Everyday especially valuable.
Who should skip: Pet owners who don’t frequently shop at supermarkets or buy pet supplies online.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for everyday use
Why we picked it: Pet owners who want a simple rewards experience can use the Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn at least 1.5 percent cash back on all their purchases. But, unlike other flat-rate cash back cards, it also provides unlimited 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases. This shakes out to more cash back on purchases that other cards may only earn 1 percent back on, including veterinary bills, pet medications, boarding and more.
Plus, the drugstore category comes in handy for basic pet supplies and some pet medications available at popular drugstores.
- If you pair this card with a higher-tier Chase Ultimate Rewards card, your rewards can be worth 25 to 50 percent more when you redeem for travel through Chase
- Its excellent cash back rates and intro APR welcome offers are great for taking on the expenses that come with getting a pet
- You can save money on deliveries from pet stores with three months of complimentary DoorDash DashPass and 50 percent off the monthly rate for the next nine months (activate before Dec. 31, 2024).
- Depending on your pet’s prescriptions, you may not get much mileage from the drugstore bonus category since drugstores may only fill prescriptions for pet medications if they can also be prescribed to humans.
- Doesn’t offer more than 1.5 percent cash back at grocery stores, pet stores and other major merchants that carry pet supplies.
Who should apply: People who prefer a standalone rewards card that earns more than 1 percent back on both pet and human expenses. The Freedom Unlimited is especially helpful for for owners with expenses that outweigh their pet food and supply spending, including medications and pet sitting services.
Who should skip: People who can get most of their pet needs at supermarkets would get more cash back from a grocery credit card. Likewise, pet owners who prefer travel rewards can get more value with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, and people who don’t make dining or drugstore purchases often may want the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card instead for its 2 percent flat-rate cash rewards.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for wholesale clubs
Why we picked it: The no-annual-fee Bank of America Customized Cash card provides a diverse list of 3 percent cash back categories to choose from, including online shopping and home furnishings. These two categories in particular can be helpful for online pet retailers and getting pet-friendly furniture (or replacing damaged furniture).
What’s more, bulk buyers will love this card’s permanent 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Wholesale club purchases rarely earn more than 1 percent back on credit cards, so this category could be especially helpful for bargain-hunters or people with several pets.
- The online shopping category includes Walmart.com and Target.com — two major stores that typically don’t fall within credit card bonus categories.
- The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program could boost your rewards rates by up to 75 percent.
- Provides a much longer break from interest than other no-annual-fee rewards cards with a 0 percent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles (then a 16.99 percent to 26.99 percent variable APR).
- You’ll only earn a top rate in the card’s 2 percent and 3 percent cash back categories on your first $2,500 in combined spending each quarter. After you reach that threshold, you’ll only earn 1 percent back in these categories.
- The online shopping category focuses on retailers, so you may not be able to earn 3 percent cash back on online pet pharmacy purchases.
- The card’s $200 online cash rewards welcome offer requires $1,000 in spending in your first 90 days — double the spending required to earn several other no-annual-fee card bonuses.
Who should apply: Pet owners who stock up at wholesale clubs or want the flexibility to choose from a variety of bonus categories each month.
Who should skip: Big spenders who may easily exceed the bonus categories’ quarterly combined purchase limit.
Discover it® Cash Back: Best for category variety
Why we picked it: You can use the Discover it Cash Back card to earn an excellent 5 percent cash back in a variety of bonus categories that rotate throughout the year (upon activation, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1 percent back). These rotating categories may allow you to earn remarkable cash back on pet needs each quarter since the card’s bonus categories usually include grocery stores, digital wallet purchases and major online retailers.
- Its Cashback Match welcome offer provides incredible value by matching all cash back you earn in your first year.
- Poses some of the lowest rates and fees on the market, including no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, penalty APR or fee on your first late payment (up to $41 after that).
- Discover announces its rotating categories several months ahead of time, which lets you plan out your pet purchases for maximum cash back
- You’ll need to activate your rotating categories every quarter and track your spending due to the $1,500 quarterly spending limit
- You may need to adjust where and how you shop to align with each quarter’s categories, and categories may not always be a good fit for your spending.
Who should apply: Pet owners who don’t mind putting in a little elbow grease to earn stellar cash back in different categories each quarter.
Who should skip: People who don’t want to activate and track changing categories each quarter. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ may be more appealing for some cardholders since it offers a consistent 3 percent cash back on dining and drugstores in addition to Chase’s 5 percent cash back rotating categories (after activation, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1 percent back).
Discover it® Student Cash Back: Best for students
Why we picked it: The Discover it Student Cash Back card gives students picking their first pet a chance to earn outstanding cash back with the full power of the Discover’s 5 percent rotating categories. The sheer rewards potential, award-winning customer service and low rates and fees are a remarkable deal considering no credit history is required to obtain this top-notch student credit card.
- Several of the card’s usual bonus categories can reward popular college student and pet expenses, such as groceries, dining, gas and online purchases.
- It’s one of the few student cards with an 0 percent intro APR on purchases, giving you a six-month period to pay off pet-related costs without accruing interest (after which a 15.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable APR applies).
- Student cards usually carry weak welcome offers — or none at all — but this card provides the full Discover Cashback Match.
- Managing rotating categories may be intimidating if you’re new to credit cards, especially if you’re already busy with pet and student responsibilities.
Who should apply: Students who don’t mind adjusting their spending based on the card’s rotating categories in exchange for a high rewards rate.
Who should skip: Students who already have a lot on their plate and don’t want to micromanage their credit card’s rewards program. A flat-rate card like the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is much easier to handle since it earns unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. Its reliable rewards rate may also earn more cash back on pet expenses since it covers online shopping, pet stores, veterinary visits and more.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card: Best for building credit
Why we picked it: The Bank of America Customized Cash Secured card delivers the same flexible cash back categories as the full-fledged Customized Cash card without requiring a credit history. It allows you to earn impressive cash back for a secured card and to swap out your cash back categories once per month to fit your spending.
- Earns 3 percent cash back in one of six popular categories, 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent back on other purchases.
- You can change your 3 percent category once per month with choices including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores and home improvement and furnishing stores.
- Requires a minimum refundable security deposit of $300, which could be too much to tie up for some cardholders.
- Its 3 percent and 2 percent categories share a combined $2,500 quarterly spending limit. After you reach that threshold, the card only earns 1 percent cash back for the remainder of the quarter.
- Doesn’t provide a sign-up bonus or intro APR offer like some secured cards.
Who should apply: Pet owners who are building or rebuilding their credit and shop for supplies at a variety of retailers, including wholesale clubs.
Who should skip: People who may exceed the cash back categories’ quarterly spending limits or would prefer a more streamlined rewards experience. The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card and its unlimited, 1.5 percent flat-rate cash back may be more interesting to these potential cardholders.
CareCredit® Credit Card: Best for emergency expenses
Why we picked it: Although the CareCredit card isn’t a typical credit card, it’s a solid option for managing any unexpected medical or veterinary costs. The CareCredit card is typically used for out-of-pocket medical expenses, but it also allows you to finance veterinary bills if you can’t cover the cost upfront.
You’ll be able to pay off purchases of $200 or more with short-term payment plans of six, 12, 18 or 24 months while avoiding interest, as long as you make the minimum monthly payments and pay off your plan in time. As long as you use it carefully, this deferred interest card can give you the flexibility you need to cover routine and emergency veterinary procedures.
- Short-term financing with deferred interest is more convenient and potentially more cost-effective than a typical loan and its guaranteed interest. The 0 percent APR period may also be longer than the offer you can get on a traditional credit card.
- It can cover a range of veterinary procedures — including annual check-ups, teeth cleaning, medications and surgeries — on dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, horses and other animals.
- If you don’t pay off your balance in full by the time your term ends, you’ll owe all the interest that began accruing since the plan began — based on a sky-high 26.99 percent variable APR.
- The card also offers 24-month to 60-month financing plans, but these long-term plans carry variable APRs of 14.90 percent to 17.90 percent. That may be high enough to make a fixed-term pet loan more cost-effective.
- Not all veterinarians accept CareCredit as a payment option.
Who should apply: Pet owners who may need a short-term alternative payment plan to pay off medical expenses.
Who should skip: People who aren’t confident they can pay off their payment plan before the payment period ends. A card like the BankAmericard® credit card may be less risky, since you’ll only owe interest on the balance that remains at the end of your intro APR period.
How to choose a card for pet owners
The best credit card for your needs as a pet owner hinges on a few key questions you should consider:
- What are your biggest pet-related expenses? Each pet comes with its own particular needs, and the list of potential credit cards narrows based whether these expenses are eligible for rewards. For example, you may want a card that earns more cash back, points or miles on drugstore or online pet pharmacy purchases if you have a senior animal with a lot of medications.
- Where do you buy your pet supplies? Some cards will earn more rewards if you buy your pet supplies at certain places. Pet food is a big recurring expense, so a card that earns cash back at grocery stores may be more worthwhile if you can buy your pet’s food at a supermarket instead of a pet store.
- Are you planning to get a pet, or do you already have one? A card that earns rewards at pet shops or a flat-rate rewards card may earn rewards on your pet adoption costs, but you may want a rewards card centered around recurring expenses if you already have pets. The upfront costs that come with getting a pet may also help with earning a card’s sign-up bonus or require you to take advantage of a 0 percent intro APR. Similarly, a card that rewards buying in bulk may be best if you already have several pets (a card with a wholesale club category, for instance).
- What are your biggest non-pet expenses? While a card that targets your pet’s needs is important, don’t forget to choose a card that rewards the other priorities in your budget as well. For example, a gas bonus category won’t reward your pet budget, but it can be a valuable feature if you frequently drive and you’re on the fence between two similar cards.
- Are you worried about financing expenses? If you don’t have the financial flexibility to take on costs like pet adoption or veterinary bills all at once, a card with a good 0 percent intro APR on purchases can give you some time to pay off those expenses without tacking interest onto your balance. If you’re already working on paying off a credit card balance, a strong 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers could help you consolidate your debt, pause the snowballing interest and free up your balance.
The bottom line
Owning a pet can be a rewarding experience — even financially, if you have the right credit card. But since pet stores and veterinarians aren’t bonus categories you normally find on a rewards card, you’ll need to be strategic about which card you use.
The most lucrative options tend to be cards that reward groceries, online shopping and other major retailers that may carry pet supplies. Online shopping categories tend to be the most versatile since they may cover sites like Chewy.com, online pet store purchases and their online pet pharmacies. However, if you have a pet that needs regular vet attention or specialized products that aren’t found in typical pet stores, a flat-rate rewards card may be your best bet.
*The information about Credit One Bank® Best Friends® Credit Card and CareCredit® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.