The Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash back credit cards are a great choice to earn a little extra spending money, making them very popular. This type of credit card works by offering cash rewards for spending. For instance, if you made a purchase of $1,000 and you have a 2% cash back credit card on that type of purchase, you would earn $20. You are able to spend that $20 on whatever you please. 

These cards are so popular because people get to earn cash back on purchases they are going to make regardless, like groceries, gas, and utilities, except now, they get to put some of that money back into their pockets. It’s like you get a free little bonus every time you swipe your card. 

While cash back credit cards are a great tool to use, they are not all created equal. We’ve done the research for you by taking a look at annual fees, reward programs, sign up bonuses and more. Below is a narrowed down list of some of the best cash back credit cards offered today. 

Important aspects of cash back credit cards

Before digging into the best cash back credit cards, we must understand the features of these credit cards. The features are what separate these credit cards from each other, making some more valuable than others. Here are the most important features to look at when deciding on a cash back credit card: 

APR

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the amount of interest you have on your card. This is an important factor when comparing credit cards with each other. Very high interest rates could eliminate any cash back benefits you’ve earned throughout the month and it could even put you into debt from unmanageable accrued interest charges. 

Many credit cards offer great introductory APRs and fairly good rates when the introductory rate no longer applies. This can lead to big savings if you carry a balance on your credit card, but we recommend you pay your balance off in full every month to avoid interest charges. 

Annual Fees

Some credit cards require annual fees to continue staying a member. They sometimes offer better cash back rewards, but you need to make sure the cash back you earn every year outweighs the cost of the annual fee. 

Required Credit Score

If you have good credit, the required credit score a card has, won’t really matter to you. However, if you don’t have a good credit score, this feature will greatly factor into your decision. 

Some credit cards require credit scores over 700, fortunately, there are cards that only require a credit score of 350 such as the Credit One Bank Visa Card. This makes it possible for just about anyone to qualify for a credit card 

Redemption

Redemption is how you are able to use your cash back rewards. Different companies make this easier than others and if it is difficult to access your own rewards, that isn’t a credit card you should have. 

The redemption of credit card rewards also includes: how long points remain valid before they expire, how points can be redeemed, whether or not there is a minimum point value before redemption can happen, and how many rewards points you are able to accrue. 

Cash back features

The cash back structure is really what this entire article is about. This is how you earn points and it is a very important factor when deciding on which credit card you choose. 

Do you earn cash back when you buy or when you pay it off? Do you earn more for certain categories such as gas, groceries stores, online, etc – or is there a flat rate cash reward? The best cash back structure for you will depend on your spending habits.  If your spending is all across the board, a flat rate cash back card might be the best option.

Review your spending habits to determine which cash back structure works best for you. 

Sign up bonus

A sign up bonus is a one time cash bonus you receive just for signing up for the credit card. Many credit card companies offer this welcoming cash bonus as a way to attract new customers. These cash bonuses range can be as high as $300.

However, one thing to be aware of is, you will need to spend a certain amount on your card within a certain timeframe, to receive the cash bonus. Different companies have high spending requirements and timeframes to reach that cash bonus limit. 

Foreign transaction fees

If you travel a lot out of your own country, foreign transaction fees will play a big part in your decision making, when deciding on what credit card you want. Many people are unaware of foreign transaction fees and they can add up quickly if you don’t know about it. 

For example, let’s say your credit card has a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you book a trip to Brazil and you spend $1,500 dollars there on meals, attractions, and souvenirs (charged to your credit card) you paid around $45 in transaction fees. If your cash back bonus is only 1.5%, you effectively eliminated all of your cash back rewards and you still owe 1.5% 

Foreign transaction fees can catch people off guard when shopping as well. If you are purchasing products in different jurisdictions with foreign currency rates, you will be charged a foreign transaction fee. 

The best cash back credit cards are the ones with low, to no foregin transaction fee, which is what we recommend. 

Rundown of the Best Cash Back Credit Cards

 Credit Card Best For
 Citi® Double Cash Card Best All Around Card
 Discover it® Cash Back Cash Back Match
 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express U.S. Supermarkets & Gas
 Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card Poor Credit
 Discover it® Student Cash Back Best for Student
 Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Best for traveling
 Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard Business
 Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit cards Bank of America Customers

Best all around cash back credit card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is an excellent all around cash back credit card. You earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay for those purchases. 

Balance transfer offer: 0% APR on balance transfer for 18 months; after that the APR is variable from 13.00%-23.99% based on your creditworthiness. 

Other benefits include:

  • No caps or category restrictions
  • Choose to receive cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, a check, or convert to points
  • No annual fees

Other benefits of the Citi® Double Cash Card include: special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including presale tickets and exclusive events in sporting, dining, and entertainment.  

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a great cash back credit card for all around purchases. They also offer a $0 liability for unauthorized purchases, 24/7 customer service, contactless pay, and an excellent digital wallet. 

Summary:

  • Regular APR:13.00% – 23.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 2% unlimited cash back on all purchases

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best cash back match credit card

The Discover it® Cash Back card offers a huge bonus after one year of ownership. Discover will match all of your cash back for the entire first year. For example, if you received $1,000 in cash back your first year, Discover will match that and give you another $1,000. 

Another great perk of the Discover it® Cash Back card is they offer 5% cash back, up to $1,500, on certain categories that change every quarter. All other purchases outside those categories will receive unlimited 1% cash back. 

Discover 5% Calendar

Discover it® Cash Back card has a 0% APR for the first 14 months; thereafter it ranges from 11.99% – 22.99%. 

Other benefits of the Discover it® Cash Back card include:

  • Freeze it® on/off switch to automatically freeze your account to prevent against theft
  • Free FICO®  Credit Score
  • 100% U.S. based customer service
  • Easy tap to pay

Discover also makes it super easy to redeem cash rewards and they never expire. 

Summary:

  • Regular APR:11.99% – 22.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 5% cash back up to $1,500 on certain categories per quarter and unlimited 1% thereafter

Discover it® Cash Back card

Best card for U.S. supermarkets and gas stations

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has some of the highest cash rewards on this list, especially with supermarkets and gas stations. It offers 6% cash back on U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 a year (then 1%). It also offers 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit (taxi/rideshare, tolls, trains, etc), 3% cash back on U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else. 

One thing to consider with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the $95 annual fee. If you decide to go with this card, be sure your cash back rewards outweigh the annual fee. 

There is a 0% introductory APR for 12 months and thereafter it ranges from 12.99% to 23.99% based on credit worthiness. 

Additional benefits include:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Global Assist® Hotline – 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial, and other select emergency  coordination and assistance services
  • Return protection – American Express may refund the full purchase price of a product, up to $300 per item and no more than $1,000 per calendar year, if the seller won’t accept a return 
  • Shoprunner – Free 2-day shipping on eligible items on over 100+ online stores
  • Entertainment Access® – Exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and Car Member-only events

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great option if you plan on using it frequently on supermarkets, gas stations, streaming services, and transit services. It offers some of the highest cash back rewards out there. 

Summary:

  • Regular APR:12.99% – 23.99%
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Rewards: 6% cash back on U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000) and select streaming services, 3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas stations, 1% cash back on everything else

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Best cash back card for poor credit 

The Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card is specifically designed for people with bad credit. You will receive 1% cash bank on eligible everyday purchases. For qualified candidates, there is no annual fee. However, if you don’t qualify for their annual fee ranges from $0-$99.  

Since this card is designed for people with bad credit, interest rates are high, ranging from 19.49% – 25.49%. If your credit is bad enough, you also might not qualify for a grace period. This means as soon as you make a purchase, you will be charged interest from the day you make a purchase. 

Other benefits of the Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card:

  • Credit monitoring tools to increase your credit score
  • Account monitoring for credit increases
  • 1% cash back (Most poor credit score cards offer no cash back)
  • Choose a credit card that fits your needs without affecting your credit
  • Mobile banking
  • Travel and auto rental insurance
  • NFC payments

While this credit card doesn’t have the most competitive offers like others on this list, it is specifically made for people with poor credit and it is a great option for that situation. 

Summary:

  • Regular APR:19.49% – 25.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0-$99
  • Rewards: 1% cash back on eligible everyday purchases 

Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card

Best cash back credit card for students 

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is one of the best options for college students. It offers the same 5% cash back rewards program as the Discover it® Cash Back card and then 1% on all other purchases. 

It also has the same cash back match as the Discover it® Cash Back card, where Discover will match the cash back you earned over your entire first year. 

Specific to the  Discover it® Student Cash Back card, you will get a $20 statement credit each school year if your GPA is over 3.0, up to five years in a row. There is also a 0% intro APR for  months and then 12.99% – 21.99% thereafter.

Other benefits include: 

  • Freeze it® on/off switch to automatically freeze your account to prevent against theft
  • Free FICO®  Credit Score
  • No annual fee
  • 100% U.S. based customer service
  • Easy tap to pay
  • 24/7 account monitoring to look for suspicious activity

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is an awesome card for college students and I personally had one all throughout college. 

Summary:

  • Regular APR:12.99% – 21.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 5% cash back up to $1,500 on certain categories per quarter and unlimited 1% thereafter

Discover it® Student Cash Back card

Best cash back card for traveling 

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is an excellent cash back credit card if you travel frequently. By signing up and spending $1,000 in your first three months, you receive 20,000 bonus points (A $200 value) 

This card offers a 0% APR for your first 12 months and then ranges from 13.99% – 25.99%. Moreover, Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has a $0 annual fee. 

Other benefits include:

  • No foreign currency conversion fee
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points on popular streaming services
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases

With no foreign transaction fees, no annual fee, and 3x the points on travel, including flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card makes for a great travel card. 

Summary:

  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 25.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 3X points on eating out, travel, gas stations, rideshares, transit, and popular streaming services. 1X points on all other purchases

Wells Fargo Propel American Expres Card

Best cash back credit card for businesses

If you are a business owner, the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard is a great option to earn cash back. 

With this cash rewards card, you will earn 3% cash back on a rewards category of your choice and 2% cash back on dining, up to a $50,000 per year and then 1% after. You also receive 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. 

There is no annual fee with the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard, making it stand out among other business credit cards that usually have high annual fees. 

Furthermore, if you spend $3,000 in your first 90 days, you will receive a $300 statement credit bonus. Bank of America also provides a 0% APR for the first nine billing cycles upon opening your account and then 12.24% – 22.24% thereafter. 

Other benefits include:

  • Liability protection for unauthorized purchases and misuse by terminated employees
  • Overdraft protection
  • Fraud monitoring
  • Travel and emergency services including $100,000 in travel accident insurance and auto rental insurance, emergency ticket replacement, and lost luggage assistance

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard is a great cash back rewards card for business owners as it offers great cash back rewards and no annuals fees. 

Summary:

  • Regular APR: 12.24% – 22.24%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 3% cash back on a category of your choice and 2% cash back on dining up to $50,000. 1% cash back on everything else.

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard

Best cash back credit card for Bank of America Members 

If you are a Bank of America member, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card provides a unique cash back program for card holders. 

Customers earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter and 1% thereafter and on everything else.

By signing up for the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card you also receive $200 in cash rewards after spending $1,000 in your first 90 days of opening the account. 

3% Choice Categories include:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Travel
  • Dining
  • Drug Stores
  • Home Improvement/Furnishing stores

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card also has no annual fee and a 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles. Thereafter interest rates range from 13.99% – 23.99%. 

Other benefits include:

  • Fraud protection
  • Digital wallet
  • Free FICO® score
  • Overdraft protection

Overall, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a great option if you are a member of Bank of America. They offer great cash back rewards and many other perks.

Summary:

  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 23.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter and 1% thereafter and on everything else.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Conclusion:

By owning a cash back credit card, you have the freedom to use your rewards in a way that best fits your needs.

With cash rewards, members can use that money to cover important expenses, buy their family members Christmas presents, or to grow their savings. The options are endless on what you choose to do with your cash rewards. 

Cash rewards cards are the most lucrative cards available today. However, be careful not to carry a balance on them because they usually have the highest interest rates out of most credit cards. If you do plan on carrying a balance (we don’t recommend this) you should probably forgo the cash back credit card and choose one with lower interest rates. 

Use this list containing some of the best cash rewards cards offered today, as a comparison tool to compare different options. And in the end, choose one that fits your needs the best.

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