I love online shopping.
Ok, who am I kidding? I love shopping in general.
But there’s something extra wonderful about shopping from the comfort of my
home couch bed.
I can shop in my pajamas (without judgment) and with a glass of wine. And I no longer need to spend a day going from store to store trying to find the perfect gift, the perfect outfit, or the perfect whatever. Instead, with a few clicks of my mouse, I can have it all delivered to my door.
The catch? It does come with some challenges – like credit card fraud, false advertising, and foreign exchange fees. Ugh.
Let’s talk about:
- the best part about online shopping,
- the best credit cards for shopping online, and
- 6 tips for a seamless online shopping experience.
If you want to cut to the chase, here are some quick links to get you the perfect credit card for your shopping needs:
|The Best Card for Shopping at…||Card Name||Card Details||Details|
|Amazon.com||Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card||* 5% back on Amazon.com and at Whole Foods for eligible Prime Members.
* 2% back on restaurant, gas station, and drugstore purchases.
* 1% on all other purchases.
|Target||Target REDcard Credit Card||* Save 5% at Target or Target.com every day
* Extended returns.
* Free 2-day shipping.
|Costco||Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi||* 4% cash back on gas purchases.
* 3% back on restaurant and travel purchases.
* 2% back on all other Costco or Costco.com purchases.
* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
|All online stores||Barclays Uber Visa||* 4% on restaurants, takeout, bars, and uberEATS
* 3% on spent airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
* 2% on Uber, online shopping, video and music streaming services
* 1% on all purchases
The best part about online shopping
With the closure of Toys R Us’ 800 U.S. locations a few months ago, and the recent announcement that Payless ShoeSource will be closing their 2,100 U.S. stores – online shopping has become the way of life.
So what’s the best part about it? Where do we begin…
- You don’t have to leave your house – at all. No need to wait in a line up. And everything gets delivered directly to your door.
- You get better selection online. If you’re looking for a specific part for your broken down dishwasher, you can simply google the make, model, part name, click a few buttons, and voila.
- You find what you’re looking for faster. Meanwhile, you could spend hours in department store searching for a specific style, size, or brand.
- You get to read the product specs. And you’ll learn so much more about the item you’re thinking of buying.
Anything we missed?
The best credit cards for shopping online
If you’re a loyal shopper, many popular online stores will give you access to store credit cards, helping you save money when you shop there.
Let’s dive into what some of these stores have to offer.
Online shopping with Amazon
Amazon has become the ultimate one-stop shopping location. They’ve come along way from their humble beginnings selling books exclusively.
To give you an idea, in the past year, I’ve bought everything from a portable washer, a microwave caddy, board games, jewelry, a 2-man tent, sleeping bags and inflatable pillows (can you tell I’m planning a camping trip?) on Amazon – I even bought a few books on there, too.
And with Amazon Prime, I was able to get most of these items shipped for free within 2 business days.
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
Amazon has its own branded credit card which is great if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper.
Each purchase on Amazon.com (and Whole Foods Market) will earn you 5% back (3% if you don’t have Amazon Prime), 2% back at restaurants, drugstores and gas stations, and 1% on everything else.
With this card you’ll also be covered by:
- travel accident insurance,
- lost or delayed baggage coverage,
- car rental insurance,
- extended warranty, and
- purchase protection.
All with no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee.
Related: What Is The Best Credit Card For Me? Rate Your Wallet To Find Out
Online shopping at Target
With Target, offline deals are extended to their online presence as well, allowing you to get:
- same day delivery with Shipt and
- free 2-day delivery on orders over $35 or when you use the REDcard.
Target REDcard Credit Card
For Target lovers, the REDcard could be an ideal addition to your wallet.
This card will give you:
- 5% off on all your Target and Target.com purchases,
- 30 extra days for returns,
- 5% discount at Starbucks,
- 10% discount coupon on your REDcard anniversary, and
- free shipping on most items on Target.com.
…And all for no annual fee.
But as with most store credit cards, watch out for sky-high interest rates. A 5% discount will only serve you well if you’re not paying a 25.15% APR on those purchases.
Online shopping at Costco
Although the membership fee is higher and accepted payment methods are fewer, Costco’s list of perks is arguably longer than its closest competition. Online is no different.
For example, after buying our first home, my partner and I furnished our new house at Costco. Buying furniture is expensive, but we were pleased to realize that the 2% back we earned from being Executive Members paid for our annual renewal twice over.
Plus, it feels good to buy from a company that gives its employees better living-wages (not to mention free samples for their customers!)
Related: Shopping At Costco: Rack-up Your Rewards With Your Visa Card
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
If you’re a die-hard Costco shopper, there are even more ways to save with the Costco branded credit card from Citi – the
This no annual fee card gives you:
- 4% back on gas,
- 3% back on restaurants and travel,
- 2% back on Costco.com, plus an additional 2% if you’re an Executive Member, and
- 1% on everything else.
Plus, you’ll be covered by 9 different types of purchase and travel insurance.
Get more details here:
Related: American Express Rewards: Non-Travel Redemption Options
Save on all online purchases
If you don’t like being tied down to one particular retailer, the
Not only will this card give you 2% cash back every online purchases, but you’ll also get:
- 4% on restaurants, takeout, bars, and uberEATS,
- 3% on spent airfare, hotels, and vacation home rentals,
- 2% on Uber purchases,
- 2% on video and music streaming services, and
- 1% on all other purchases.
On top of that, you’ll get a $100 bonus when you spend $500 in your first 3 months, as well as a $50 credit you can use towards online subscriptions when you spend $5,000 a year – not bad for a no fee card.
Get all the details here:
Related: 5 Genius Ways To Use Your Credit Card Like A Pro
6 tips for online shopping
Shopping online, especially with well-known companies, might seem trouble free, but there are still things you should remember.
1. Always use a secure website
Practicing safe spending habits online has never been more important. Getting your credit card compromised or information stolen from hackers is easier than ever, as data breaches become more and more common in recent news.
Here are some important things to look out for to make sure your online transaction is safe:
- SSL Certificate: without getting too technical, if the web address you’re on contains http vs https at the beginning, this website is not as safe as it could be.
- Domain name: often, phishing scams will mimic the look, feel, and domain name of other popular online stores (for example, targets.com posing as target.com). It’s important to pay attention to the small details so you don’t get taken advantage of.
- Legitimate business details: make sure the website you’re on has an actual mailing address, phone number, etc., in case you need to contact them.
2. Read product descriptions and user reviews
It’s very easy for online products to be made to look nicer than they are. So, it’s important to check all the product details – materials used to make the product, product sizing and dimensions, and the user reviews.
Since you can’t physically inspect the item you’re buying, it’s important to do the research when buying online.
3. When online shopping for clothes, use the sites sizing chart
Even if you’re normally a consistent size, some sites (especially foreign websites) could have sizes that vary quite a bit.
So, when shopping online, be sure to use the sizing chart provided by the website. This could save you time and any money you might need to spend on return shipping fees.
4. Remember your budget so you don’t overspend
Online shopping can be addictive – all it takes is the click of a button.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to focus on “what I really came here for ” versus “what would be nice to have.”
For example, I recently went online to buy some new clothes at Old Navy. They were offering free shipping on orders over $50, so I filled up my cart with things that I didn’t need just to get the free shipping.
In hindsight, it probably would have cost me less if I had just stuck with the 2 or 3 items that I needed and paid the shipping.
5. Be aware of shipping charges and site currency
That being said, sometimes shipping charges can be ridiculous.
A good rule of thumb that I like to keep in mind is if the shipping cost is more expensive than what it would cost to a) drive to the store, b) pay for a comparable item and c) take the time to do all that, then it’s not worth it.
Site currency is also important to keep in mind because of a little thing called foreign exchange fees.
If you’re using a credit card, foreign exchange fees are usually 2.7%-3% of your entire purchase and get charged to your card by the card issuer for converting your funds into the required currency.
There are cards that waive this fee, so if you’re shopping on foreign sites (or traveling to foreign places) often, you should consider getting one.
6. Always check your credit card statements
After making purchases online you should always be sure to check your credit card statement.
Overcharged? Extra fees? Unknown charges? These things can add up fast, and if you do most of your shopping online, you might be left wondering where all your money’s gone.
Shopping online is fast, easy, and convenient. It can help you save time and money if done carefully.
Having the right credit card to pay for your purchases also helps.
So, what’s your favorite go-to online shopping credit card? Are store credit cards worth it for you?
Let us know in the comments below.