Best Cash Back Credit Cards Overview
Cash back credit cards are perfect for saving you money on everyday spending and fueling memorable experiences with a vast array of redemption opportunities. There are often many considerations to be made when looking for the right cash back credit card, including which categories earn you the most cash back, redemption options, and annual fees. Using a rigorous approach to calculate how much your everyday spending can earn you, we identified which credit cards would get you the best bang for the buck. In picking our winners, we estimated how much a typical cash back credit card user can expect to get in rewards each year. To make the comparison experience more transparent, we show the total cash back you can expect to get from each of the cards per year.
|Best for||Category Winner||Annual Fee||First Year Rewards|
|Flat-rate cash back||$0||$365.04|
|Less than perfect credit||$39||$234.78|
Best All-Around Credit Card for Cash Back
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
Your credit card should pay you. If you want to earn cash back from every dollar you spend, the best option is the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. This card does not have complicated rotating categories. Instead, it offers compelling cash back on everyday purchases all year. Get 4% cash back on gas purchases worldwide up to $7,000 in purchases per year. Get 3% cash back on restaurant and travel purchases. Get 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com. And earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. As a bonus, get 0% APR for the first seven months after opening a new account. This card is loaded with cash back opportunities. It has no annual fee with a paid Costco membership.
Things to Consider
This card offers compelling cash back, but is designed for Costco members. If you don’t live anywhere near a Costco, it may not be the best option. Also be aware that not all gas and restaurant purchases count for bonus points. For example, gas stations at a supermarket or super store like Safeway or Walmart are treated as retail purchases, not gas purchases. After the introductory period, this card has a 15.49% APR.
If you don’t want to worry about complicated rotating categories or travel rewards programs and just want to earn solid cash back where you spend the most money, this is the best card on the market. With cash back up to 4%, this card is a real winner. Whether you are a loyal Costco shopper or are considering it, this is the best card for cash back today.
- High cash back bonus on popular categories like gas stations, restaurants, and travel
- No annual fee with Costco membership
- No rotating categories or complicated redemption process
- Gas station bonus cash back limited $7,000 in annual purchases
- Some merchants are not eligible for bonus cash back
- Not a great offer if you are not a Costco member
- Exclusively for Costco Members: Go Big with Cash Back Rewards
- 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
- 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
- 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
Purchase Intro APR0% APR for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Intro APRN/A
Regular APR15.49% - 15.49%
Best Cash Back Credit Card with Bonus Categories
Unlike cards that limit cash back at 1% or 2%, Chase Freedom offers 5% on rotating categories that change each quarter. Earn 5% back on purchases at places like gas stations, department stores, wholesale clubs, drug stores or supermarkets. Earn 1% on all other purchases. As a bonus, if you also have a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can use Chase Freedom cash back through that program for travel rewards. This card has no annual fee.
Things to Consider
The 5% cash back bonus categories change every three months. Expect that you will earn 5% back on purchases in places where you shop the most for part of the year, but not the entire year. This card is best used in tandem with another card to maximize rewards across all spending.
If you are willing to keep track of rotating categories and click the sign-up link in your email every three months, this card is an excellent choice. It is the best card on the market today that offers a cash back bonus on rotating categories. Imagine getting 5% off at the gas station or grocery store for three months? With Chase Freedom, you don’t have to imagine. This card is a great option for cash back with no annual fee.
- Up to 5% cash back on rotating categories
- Partner with an Ultimate Rewards card for additional redemption options
- No annual fee
- Rotating categories change every quarter
- Cardholders have to enroll quarterly for rotating rewards
- Quarterly bonus categories limited to $1,500 in purchases
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it's automatic
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.49-24.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- No annual fee
Purchase Intro APR0% APR for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Intro APR0% APR for 15 Months
Regular APR15.49% - 24.24%
Best Credit Card for Flat-Rate Cash Back
Citi® Double Cash Card
Keeping track of rotating categories and travel rewards programs can be a lot of work. If you just want to keep it simple and earn a flat 2% cash back everywhere you shop, Citi® Double Cash is your answer. Get 1% cash back on every purchase you make and an additional 1% when you pay your bill. That is essentially 2% cash back on every purchase you make! This card has no annual fee.
Things to Consider
After a 0% APR introductory period, this card has interest rates up to 23.24%. If you carry a balance month-to-month, interest charges will likely outweigh the cash back benefit. The card charges 3% for balance transfers or $5, whichever is greater. There is also a 3% foreign transaction fee, so the card is not free to use when traveling abroad.
If you just want simple, flat-rate cash back, this is the best card available today. Few cards offer such compelling cash back rewards, particularly with no annual fee. The card also waives your first late fee, which is a benefit if you struggle with staying on top of your bills. This is a card that just works. If you want 2% cash back on every purchase, this card is a winner.
- Earn 1% cash back on every purchase and 1% when paying your bill
- Flat rate cash back without worrying about rotating categories
- No annual fee
- High APR after 0% interest rate period
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- $5 or 3% balance transfer fee, whichever is greater
- Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
- Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
- 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49% based on your creditworthiness
- Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
- No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Purchase Intro APRN/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR0% APR for 18 Months
Regular APR13.24% - 23.24%
Best Cash Back Card for Less Than Perfect Credit
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you have less than perfect credit, it’s difficult to find a good rewards credit card. Most will have mediocre earnings potential. However, that’s not the case with the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® card.
With this card, you will earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase that you make. There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn. Plus, you will not need to keep track of rotating bonus categories like other cards require.
Depending on your credit score, you might have a fairly low credit line when you first get this card. Once you make your first five month payments on time, Capital One will increase your credit line. This can quickly have positive effects on your credit score.
Things to Consider
The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® card does come with a $39 annual fee, but this is very low for a rewards credit card. The big thing to be aware of is that the card has a variable purchase APR of 24.99%. This is incredibly high, which means it’s extremely important to pay your balance in full each month. This will help you avoid any interest charges.
If you don’t have perfect credit, the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® card is a great rewards credit card to choose. You will earn a generous cash back rate and you will be given the tools to build your credit score. This will help you move into an even better product in the future.
- 1.5% cash back on every purchase
- No cash back limits
- Available to average credit
- $39 annual fee
- No sign-up bonus
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
- No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn't expire and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
- Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
- Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
- Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Purchase Intro APR0% APR for 9 Months
Balance Transfer Intro APR0% APR for 9 Months
Regular APR23.24% - 23.24%
SmartAsset has developed a quantitative and independent system for evaluating the relative value of a credit card offer versus other offers in the marketplace. Our system evaluates cards based exclusively on their features, such as their rewards earning rate (if applicable), fees, perks, and rewards program redemption options. The annual rewards values on this page are calculated using annual spending assumptions in various categories such as, but not limited to, gas, restaurants, airfare, and US supermarkets. These spending assumptions are built on research that SmartAsset has conducted on existing cash back credit cardholders. Our promise with our credit card recommendations is that we will always strive to have the most comprehensive, accurate, and objective method of evaluating credit card offers. Any recommendations are solely determined by the result of this research and model, and is never influenced by any fees, commissions, or other forms of compensation that SmartAsset may receive from credit card issuers for leads generated on our website.
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