Comparing Home Improvement Credit Cards

How many times have you and your spouse discussed remodeling your kitchen and dining room? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to install a large deck in your backyard. Home improvements can help maximize the value of your home while giving you something to enjoy on the weekends and evenings. If you’ve been thinking about home improvements, you might want to get a credit card for specifically that purpose.

Most home improvement credit cards are rewards cards that allow you to earn points or cash back on purchases at home improvement stores. They can be issued either by financial institutions, such as Chase or Bank of America, or they can be issued by individual retailers, such as the Home Depot Rewards MasterCard. Either way, they can save you a bundle of money on home improvement purchases.

The Chase Home Improvement Rewards Card is one such offer, and rewards its customers with 3 points for every dollar spent on home improvement purchases. When you accrue 2,500 points, you can redeem them for a $25 gift certificate to a home improvement store or you can request a $25 check. This credit card also comes with a free subscription to The Family Handyman e-mail newsletter.

Another popular option is the Citi Home Rebate Platinum Select MasterCard. This card carries no annual fee and earns you a 6% rebate on cable or satellite television, home utilities, telecommunications bills and Internet costs. You get 1% back on other types of purchases and the rebates are automatically applied to the principle on your mortgage, which can really help you out on those monthly bills.

If you’ve just gotten married or if you and your spouse have recently purchased a house, you might want to look into American Express’s Nest Card. It has no annual fee and you get 5,000 bonus points when you make your first purchase with the card (equal to a $50 gift certificate). When you spend more than $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, you get 10,000 additional points. This card comes with the Nest Planning Kit, which is designed to help newlyweds manage their finances.

If you like to shop at Home Depot or Expo Design Center, the Home Depot Rewards MasterCard might be a better fit for you. When you use your card at Home Depot stores, you earn two points on the dollar, while you earn one point for every dollar at other retailers. The card comes with no annual fee and other perks, such as free hotel rooms and flights. You can start redeeming points when you reach 1,000 for gift certificates and merchandise.

Lowe’s hardware stores has a similar credit card on the market called the Lowe’s Project Card. Although it isn’t set up like a traditional home improvement rewards card, it does have a six-month “project window” during which you don’t accrue interest on purchases and you don’t have to make payments. If you want to start a home improvement project but are worried about covering the bills, you can use the Project Card without worrying about the balance.

You might also want to check out the Sears Gold MasterCard and the Sears Home Improvement Account. The MasterCard comes with Sears Choice Rewards, which are redeemable for gift cards and merchandise in the store or online. You can also qualify for the Premier Program, which gives you additional money-saving offers if you spend more than $600 on the card in a twelve-month period.

The Sears Home Improvement Account works like a credit card, but is only for installed Sears purchases. The idea is that you can buy expensive items like air conditioning systems, replacement windows, siding and more while keeping your balance on your credit card open. You’ll have low monthly payments on these purchases, but you must have a Sears credit card to qualify.

As you can see, there are plenty of home improvement credit cards available, each of which has its own distinctive benefits. If you want to make radical changes to your home, this can help save money and keep your finances on track.

TIP: Earn double points on purchases at Lowe’s and Home Depot with the Home Advantage MasterCard.