Best Cash Back Credit Cards to Put Extra Money in Your Wallet
There are few things Americans agree on, but almost everyone agrees a little extra cash is a good thing. And cash back credit cards are designed to give cardholders more of what we all want...money in our pockets.
If you use a credit card for your everyday purchases or when you’re traveling, why not earn a little extra jingle for items you were likely buying anyway? Cash back credit cards are designed for this scenario, but not all cards are the same. Take a look at the most popular cash back cards and how they compare when it comes to cash.
- Overview of the best hotel credit cards
- Best cash back credit cards summary
- The bottom line
Overview of the best hotel credit cards
|Discover It Cash Back||Rotating categories|
|American Express Blue Cash Preferred||Grocery spending|
|Capital One Savor Rewards||Foodies|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Everyday purchases|
|Chase Freedom Flex||Choosing your own reward category|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||Small business owners|
|Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card||Most flexible options|
|Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card||Current Fidelity account holders|
|Citi Double Cash Card||Easy cash back earnings|
Best cash back credit cards
Discover it Cash Back
The Discover it Cash Back is a smart choice for those who want high cash back potential throughout the year. Depending on the rotating spending categories, you can earn up to 5% cash back on everyday purchases. All purchases — no matter the category — are eligible purchases that earn 1% cash back. The best part is, your cash back never expires and you can use your cash back online with Amazon and Paypal.
Another benefit of the Discover it Cash Back is the 0% Intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers. This is in addition to the $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, making it ideal for every day or traveling.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred
If you run up a high grocery bill each month, then the American Express Blue Cash Preferred may be a perfect option. If the $300 cash back after you spend $3,000 in purchases in 6 months doesn’t entice you, then the 6% cash back on groceries might. Plus you’ll earn 3% on gas and transit and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The first year you'll enjoy $0 in annual fees with your new card, then it’s $95 following the first year. You should note with this card, there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so this isn’t ideal to use while traveling overseas. But if the grocery store is the only place you travel to these days, then you’ll quickly earn cash back with the Amex Express Blue Cash Preferred card.
Capital One Savor Rewards
For those who prefer to eat out instead of eating in, the Capital One Savor Rewards is like having your cake and eating it too. You earn unlimited 4% cashback bonuses on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases like spending at U.S. gas stations. Plus there’s a one-time $300 cash bonus reward for new cardholders once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months.
The low annual fee and $0 in foreign transaction fees make this an ideal card for those who eat out at home or abroad. You won’t have to worry about your cash back ever expiring, and you can redeem in any increment.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
For those who want to maximize earning potential on everyday purchases, Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great option. You’ll earn an impressive 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with the potential to earn up to 5%. The current bonus offer of $200 cash back on $500 of purchases in the first three months maximizes your earnings even more.
The 0% introductory APR for 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% interest rates at the end of your first year), plus the $0 annual fee, make Chase Freedom Unlimited a strong option. This card is best used in the U.S. since there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. But with unlimited cash back and rewards that never expire, you’ll earn plenty of U.S. dollars along the way.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex is the cousin to the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The credit card offers with the Flex are the exact same as the Unlimited. Where the two cards differ is with the cash back categories.
The Chase Freedom Flex still allows you to earn 5% on travel purchases purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3% on dining and drugstore purchases. But you earn 1% on all other purchases (versus 1.5% with the Unlimited), plus with this rewards structure you can choose a rotating category each quarter and earn another 5% on the selected category.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Small business owners can join in on the cash back earnings too, with the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card. For starters, business owners earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases for internet, cable or phone services, and office supply stores. Then you earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants, plus 1% on all other purchases.
The card comes with perks such as travel and emergency services, plus fraud alerts. Your cash back rewards never expire and you also earn cash back on employees who are authorized users of the account.
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you want to earn 3% cash back in a category of your choosing, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card gives you this option — and you can change your category at any time. Plus 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back for all other purchases at all retailers.
The card doesn’t stop with cash back. You have a 0% APR introductory rate for the first 12 months, after which is 13.99% to 23.99% APR. But with no annual fee and a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening, you can earn serious cash back in a matter of a few months.
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card
If you have one of the many eligible Fidelity accounts, consider the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card for cash back. You can deposit any of your cash back earnings right into your Fidelity account, including 529 Savings Plans and IRA accounts. The cash back earnings are simple — you earn an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases.
In addition to cash back, the card has several rewards including access to the Visa Signature Concierge program, the ability to use with your digital wallets, and rewards that never expire. All this without any annual fee.
Citi Double Cash Card
If you’re looking for a cash back card as simple and uncomplicated as possible, the Citi Double Cash Card may be your answer. The fixed-rate structure is straightforward: earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% as you pay. There are no limits on categories, earning potential, caps, or an annual fee.
For those who need to make a balance transfer, the Citi Double Cash Card boasts an impressive balance transfer offer of 0% intro APR for 18 months; then variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99% based on your creditworthiness.
Best cash back credit cards summary
|Issuer||Bonus||Cash back||APR||Annual fee||Foreign fees|
|Discover it Cash Back||Cash back match 1st/yr||5% cash back rotating, 1% all others||0% 14/mos then 11.99%-22.99%||$0||None|
|American Express Blue Cash Preferred||$300 after $3k in 6/mos||6% grocery/streaming, 3% gas stations/transit, 1% all others||0% 12/mos then 13.99%- 23.99%||$0 1st yr, then $95||2.7%|
|Capital One Savor Rewards||$300 after $3k in 3/mos||4% dining/ entertainment, 2% grocery, 1% all others||15.99%, 21.49% or 24.99%||$95||None|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||$200 after $500 in 3/mo, 5% grocery 1st/yr||5% travel, 3% on dining/drugstores, 1.5% all others||0% 15/mo, then 14.99%-23.74%||$0||3%|
|Chase Freedom Flex||$200 after $500 in 3/mo, 5% grocery 1st/yr||5% travel, 3% dining/ drugstores, 1% all others, 5% bonus categories||0% 15/mo, then 14.99%-23.74%||$0||3%|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||None||5% first $25k specified, 2% gas stations/restaurants, 1% all others||0% 1st 12/mo, then 13.24%-19.24%||$0||3%|
|Bank of America Cash Rewards||$200 after $1k in 90 days||3% your category, 2% grocery, 1% all others||0% 1st 12/mo, then 13.99%-23.99%||$0||3%|
|Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card||None||2% unlimited||13.99%||$0||1%|
|Citi Double Cash Card||None||1% unlimited buy and pay||13.99%-23.99%||$0||3%|
How do I know which is the best cash back credit card?
It’s best to review the following categories for each card:
- Cash back potential
- Ease of redemption
- Annual fee (and other fees)
- Introductory rates and balance transfer rates
- Sign up bonuses
Once you’ve compared these categories, then you can decide which credit card issuer offers you the most for where you’re likely to spend.
Aren’t all cash back credit cards the same?
No, each card can vary quite a bit. You have four main categories when it comes to cash back credit cards:
- Flat-rate. These are flat-rate cash back card meaning no matter the category, you'll earn rewards. These are great for unlimited spending habits.
- Tiered-rate. These are cards where you earn higher percentage cash back in one category, versus other categories.
- Rotating categories. This is where you earn cash back based on the rotating category determined by the credit card during the specified time period (usually quarterly billing cycles).
- Choose-your-own category cards. You can select the category for your cash back earnings.
The bottom line
When it comes to the best cash back credit cards, look for a card that rewards you for purchases you’re planning to make anyway. Whether this is for travel, groceries, or anything else — get rewarded for what you’re already doing. A sign-up bonus or welcome offer is a cherry on top, and can push your cash back potential even further.