At the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many credit card companies lowered some customers’ credit limits. They even unilaterally closed some customers’ accounts to limit their risk as millions of cardholders suddenly became unemployed.
But at the start of 2021, with two vaccines rolling out and a third on the way, credit card companies want your business again. Some are offering incentives to encourage you to apply. Some of these perks are more attractive than others.
Our friends at CardRatings.com have sifted through the offers and highlighted the ones that should catch consumers’ attention. Here’s a sampling:
Chase Freedom Unlimited. Once you sign up you can earn $200 after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership. It’s normal perk is 1.5 percent cashback on all purchases. That’s still in place, but it has added 5 percent on travel spending and 3 percent cashback on purchases at restaurants and drugstores.
Blue Cash Everyday. Earn up to $300 by hitting a few goals after signing up. Earn $100 by spending $1,000 within six months of opening an account. You earn 20 percent back on Amazon purchases made during the same timeframe, up to $200 back. Instead of having to earn the bonus in three months new cardholders now have six months.
Gold Card from American Express. Open a new account and earn 60,000 rewards points by spending $4,000 within the first six months. That’s a nearly 100 percent increase over what it was a year ago. It also provides a longer time to earn it.
Business credit cards
Small business credit cards have also gotten more generous in 2021. With many businesses struggling, not only is expanded access to credit helpful, the rewards can also come in handy.
Ink Business Cash. After opening an account cardholders can earn $750 after spending $7,500 in the first three months of card membership. While the requirement is an increase over last year the reward is greater, and an average spend of $2,500 a month for a business over three months may not be a stretch.
Amex Business Platinum. New cardholders have the chance to earn 85,000 rewards points after spending $15,000 on qualifying purchases during the first three months of card membership. It doesn’t stop there -- you get 5X points in five select business categories during the same timeframe.
"These types of bonus offers could help cardholders offset some of their expenses, or assist small businesses struggling to make ends meet," says Jennifer Doss, an editor for CardRatings. "Terms and welcome offers often change, so it's important to read the fine print and pay close attention to a card's details when opening a new account."
You can check out these and other major credit cards and read thousands of verified reviews in the ConsumerAffairs credit cards buyers guide.