6 Best Cash Back Credit Cards

6 Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
#1
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • If you have more than one Chase credit card, you can earn more by transferring points and splitting your spending between the two cards
  • Freedom and flexibility: the flat 1.5% cash back rate isn't limited to a specific category
  • The bonus offers are easily attainable and include a $150 bonus after spending $500 within 3 months after opening. Plus, you'll earn a $25 bonus after you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same period.
Best Total Cash Back Card
#2
Citi® Double Cash Card
  • So nice, they pay you twice: 1% back on purchases, and 1% when you pay your credit card bill.
  • Keep earning cash back with no limits!
  • Breaking up with a bad credit card or consolidating debt? The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 0% APR for 18 months! Plus, no annual fee.
Best Cash Back Card for Average Credit
#3
CapitalOne QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Uncomplicated 1.5% cash back, no messing around with categories, and no spending limits on earning cash back.
  • Build credit quickly with access to a higher credit limit just for paying your bills on time.
  • Available to people with an average credit score - you can earn cash back while building credit!
Best Cash Back Card for Household Spending
#4
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
  • Lackluster credit? This card can help you out with high credit limits, increasing available credit, and improving your score!
  • Try to find another cash back credit card that offers 6% back on groceries while also offering 3% on gas stations and department stores)
  • Most credit cards charge a fee for balance transfers, but not the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card (at least for your first 12 months).

After 18 hours of research evaluating 75 products, we picked Chase Freedom Unlimited® as our top choice.

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card

Best for Card
Best Cash Back Redemption Options
Discover It Cashback Match
Best Category Cash Back Card
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best Cash Back Card for Household Spending
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
Best Cash Back Card for Average Credit
CapitalOne QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best Total Cash Back Card
Citi® Double Cash Card
Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Cash back credit cards typically offer a set percentage rate (usually 1%) to be rebated back to you when you pay your bill.

These credit cards are more popular than gas credit cards or travel rewards cards, because some banks allow you to earn actual cash and not just rewards points.

The best cash back credit cards will allow you to earn, in some cases, even more than 1%, under certain situations.

Here's the deal:

Not all cash back cards are created equally. Some offer higher cash back rewards on certain spending categories. Others offer different kinds of rewards, and different ways to redeem cash back.

The good news? The power of choice is in your hands when picking from the best cash back credit cards for your own particular needs.

Cash back credit cards might be a perfect fit if you spend a lot of money on everyday purchases like:

  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Home improvement

As such, it's hard not to imagine an individual who couldn't benefit from a cash back credit card. Unless you live under a rock (or live a severely minimalistic life), each of these options will help you to end the month with a lower credit card bill.

Even if you don't spend a lot in a specific category, most of these options offer at least 1% in cash back on all purchases. The idea behind using any of the best cash back credit cards is that you're making money on the money you spend, automatically. Who wouldn't get behind that?

The variable APR rates on these cards will definitely cost you more than what you'll earn if you can't pay off your bill each month, so these are most beneficial when used responsibly.

Most cash back cards require a good credit score, but we've reviewed one that would be perfect if you're just getting started with building credit, or if you have an average credit score.

What's the bottom line?

Before considering a new credit card, read our article about how many credit cards you should have (hint: it all depends on you). But if you're ready to diversify the cards in your wallet, there's really something on this list for everyone.

Ready to go? Let's find the best cash back credit card for you.

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 6 Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Discover It Cashback Match
  • Rotating 5% cash back for different categories every quarter in addition to 1% cash back on everything
  • Ability to "freeze" your account if you misplace your card
  • Travel happy with no foreign transaction fees.
Check on Discover
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Getting 1% cash back on everything is awesome! 3% cash back on gas, and 2% cash back on grocery stores (and wholesale clubs!) is even better.
  • Merrill Lynch or Bank of America customer? You're eligible for additional cash back bonuses!
  • Earn a nice signup bonus ($150) when you spend $500 in 90 days.
Check on Bankofamerica
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
  • Lackluster credit? This card can help you out with high credit limits, increasing available credit, and improving your score!
  • Try to find another cash back credit card that offers 6% back on groceries while also offering 3% on gas stations and department stores)
  • Most credit cards charge a fee for balance transfers, but not the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card (at least for your first 12 months).
Check on Americanexpress
CapitalOne QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Uncomplicated 1.5% cash back, no messing around with categories, and no spending limits on earning cash back.
  • Build credit quickly with access to a higher credit limit just for paying your bills on time.
  • Available to people with an average credit score - you can earn cash back while building credit!
Check on Capitalone
Citi® Double Cash Card
  • So nice, they pay you twice: 1% back on purchases, and 1% when you pay your credit card bill.
  • Keep earning cash back with no limits!
  • Breaking up with a bad credit card or consolidating debt? The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 0% APR for 18 months! Plus, no annual fee.
Check on Citi
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • If you have more than one Chase credit card, you can earn more by transferring points and splitting your spending between the two cards
  • Freedom and flexibility: the flat 1.5% cash back rate isn't limited to a specific category
  • The bonus offers are easily attainable and include a $150 bonus after spending $500 within 3 months after opening. Plus, you'll earn a $25 bonus after you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same period.
Check on Creditcards.chase
6 Best Cash Back Credit Cards

6 Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Read Video Infographic Tips

After 18 hours of research evaluating 75 products, we picked Chase Freedom Unlimited® as our top choice.

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card

Best for Card
Best Cash Back Redemption Options
Discover It Cashback Match
Best Category Cash Back Card
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best Cash Back Card for Household Spending
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
Best Cash Back Card for Average Credit
CapitalOne QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best Total Cash Back Card
Citi® Double Cash Card
Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Cash back credit cards typically offer a set percentage rate (usually 1%) to be rebated back to you when you pay your bill.

These credit cards are more popular than gas credit cards or travel rewards cards, because some banks allow you to earn actual cash and not just rewards points.

The best cash back credit cards will allow you to earn, in some cases, even more than 1%, under certain situations.

Here's the deal:

Not all cash back cards are created equally. Some offer higher cash back rewards on certain spending categories. Others offer different kinds of rewards, and different ways to redeem cash back.

The good news? The power of choice is in your hands when picking from the best cash back credit cards for your own particular needs.

Cash back credit cards might be a perfect fit if you spend a lot of money on everyday purchases like:

  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Home improvement

As such, it's hard not to imagine an individual who couldn't benefit from a cash back credit card. Unless you live under a rock (or live a severely minimalistic life), each of these options will help you to end the month with a lower credit card bill.

Even if you don't spend a lot in a specific category, most of these options offer at least 1% in cash back on all purchases. The idea behind using any of the best cash back credit cards is that you're making money on the money you spend, automatically. Who wouldn't get behind that?

The variable APR rates on these cards will definitely cost you more than what you'll earn if you can't pay off your bill each month, so these are most beneficial when used responsibly.

Most cash back cards require a good credit score, but we've reviewed one that would be perfect if you're just getting started with building credit, or if you have an average credit score.

What's the bottom line?

Before considering a new credit card, read our article about how many credit cards you should have (hint: it all depends on you). But if you're ready to diversify the cards in your wallet, there's really something on this list for everyone.

Ready to go? Let's find the best cash back credit card for you.

Save

Save

Save

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 6 Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Discover It Cashback Match
  • Rotating 5% cash back for different categories every quarter in addition to 1% cash back on everything
  • Ability to "freeze" your account if you misplace your card
  • Travel happy with no foreign transaction fees.
Check on Discover
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Getting 1% cash back on everything is awesome! 3% cash back on gas, and 2% cash back on grocery stores (and wholesale clubs!) is even better.
  • Merrill Lynch or Bank of America customer? You're eligible for additional cash back bonuses!
  • Earn a nice signup bonus ($150) when you spend $500 in 90 days.
Check on Bankofamerica
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
  • Lackluster credit? This card can help you out with high credit limits, increasing available credit, and improving your score!
  • Try to find another cash back credit card that offers 6% back on groceries while also offering 3% on gas stations and department stores)
  • Most credit cards charge a fee for balance transfers, but not the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card (at least for your first 12 months).
Check on Americanexpress
CapitalOne QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Uncomplicated 1.5% cash back, no messing around with categories, and no spending limits on earning cash back.
  • Build credit quickly with access to a higher credit limit just for paying your bills on time.
  • Available to people with an average credit score - you can earn cash back while building credit!
Check on Capitalone
Citi® Double Cash Card
  • So nice, they pay you twice: 1% back on purchases, and 1% when you pay your credit card bill.
  • Keep earning cash back with no limits!
  • Breaking up with a bad credit card or consolidating debt? The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 0% APR for 18 months! Plus, no annual fee.
Check on Citi
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • If you have more than one Chase credit card, you can earn more by transferring points and splitting your spending between the two cards
  • Freedom and flexibility: the flat 1.5% cash back rate isn't limited to a specific category
  • The bonus offers are easily attainable and include a $150 bonus after spending $500 within 3 months after opening. Plus, you'll earn a $25 bonus after you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same period.
Check on Creditcards.chase

Best Cash Back Redemption Options

Best Cash Back Redemption Options: Discover It Cashback Match
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    13.24% - 24.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.24%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.0%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months
  • Bonus Offers
    Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Pros

  • Rotating 5% cash back for different categories every quarter in addition to 1% cash back on everything
  • Ability to "freeze" your account if you misplace your card
  • Travel happy with no foreign transaction fees.

Cons

If you're using credit cards primarily for groceries, you're better off with another of the best cash back credit cards on this list. Discover It Cashback Match has not offered grocery stores as a bonus category as of yet, and it's not looking good for the future. As is the case with cash back credit cards of this type, it can be a hassle to activate categories quarterly (and remember them when looking through your wallet for credit card to use for each purchase you make!), so avoid this card if that's not something you can commit to. 

Details

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.

Application Process: Apply online in minutes, with an answer in 60 seconds.

Annual Fee: Absolutely none! More money for you to maximize.

APR: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months (that's a long time compared to the standard intro offer). Then, a 11.74% to 23.74% variable APR depending on your credit score, with a 3% fee for balance transfers.

Rewards: Rewards options are numerous and flexible to fit your lifestyle, with a few options you won't see on any other card on our list of the best cash back credit cards:

  • Deposit to your bank account
  • Apply to your Discover bill
  • Redeem as a charitable donation
  • Pay with rewards at Amazon.com
  • Gift cards

Bonus Offers: No specific sign up bonuses are available to the general public. However, if you refer friends, you get an additional $50 cash back when their account is approved.

Best Category Cash Back Card

Best Category Cash Back Card: BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    14.24% - 24.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    17.24% to 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness when you open your account, for direct deposit and check cash advances, and 26.24% for bank cash advances
  • Rewards Rate
    1.0%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Bonus Offers
    $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Pros

  • Getting 1% cash back on everything is awesome! 3% cash back on gas, and 2% cash back on grocery stores (and wholesale clubs!) is even better.
  • Merrill Lynch or Bank of America customer? You're eligible for additional cash back bonuses!
  • Earn a nice signup bonus ($150) when you spend $500 in 90 days.

Cons

The main drawback of the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card has to do with how you access the cash back you've earned. In this case, the minimum redemption amount is $25.

 

Details

  • No annual fee
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases AND for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%

Application Process: Online, with a response in as little as 60 seconds after application submission.

Annual Fee: Absolutely none! There is, however, a balance transfer fee of $10, or 3% of balance transfer amount (whichever is higher). If you use your credit card for international purchases, a foreign transaction fee of 3% of the amount will added on top of your purchase.

APR: 0% for the first 12 months, then a variable APR of 13.74% to 23.74% depending on credit score. 

Rewards: Your cash back options take many forms when using the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card:

  • Statement credit
  • Check
  • Bank of America checking or savings account deposit. This can earn you a 10-75% bonus, depending on what kind of Bank of America client you are.
  • Deposits into Merrill Lynch Cash Management accounts

Bonus OffersGet $150 cash rewards bonus after making a $500 purchase within 3 months of signing up. As with regular everyday rewards, gain an additional 10% if you deposit your signup bonus into a Bank of America checking or savings account, which can be between 25-75% if you're a Preferred Rewards client.

Best Cash Back Card for Household Spending

Best Cash Back Card for Household Spending: American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    14.24% - 25.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.49%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.0%
  • Annual Fee
    $95
  • Intro APR
    0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months
  • Bonus Offers
    $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Pros

  • Lackluster credit? This card can help you out with high credit limits, increasing available credit, and improving your score!
  • Try to find another cash back credit card that offers 6% back on groceries while also offering 3% on gas stations and department stores)
  • Most credit cards charge a fee for balance transfers, but not the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card (at least for your first 12 months).

Cons

While this cash back credit card appears to have it all, the main drawback lies in the limited definition of “supermarket” and "gas stations." Specifically, their rewards rates do not include Walmart and Costco, as well as alcohol retailers. Talk about a buzzkill! "Gas stations" refer to standalone gas stations, and not superclubs that sell gas, so you'll have to be careful when sliding this card if you're intending to make the most of its cash back promises.

Additionally, there's a high annual fee and a minimum $25 redemption for cash back.

Details

  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%.
  • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Terms Apply.

Application Process: All online, all the time. You'll get a decision in less than 60 seconds. Plus, you'll have the ability to easily compare this card with the features of other American Express credit card offerings.

Annual Fee: $95. If you don't want to pay annual fees, you might also consider the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express, but it offers lower rates than the Preferred card.

Besides the annual fee, additional fees include a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, and a balance transfer fee of $5, or 3% of the amount to be transferred (whichever is higher).

APR: 0% for the first 12 months (including balance transfers); after which, APR is a variable 13.99% to 24.99%.

RewardsRewards are redeemable as statement credits, with a minimum redemption value of $25 (and only comes in $25 increments). Other rewards, such as gift cards and merchandise, come in more variable amounts.

Bonus Offers: Spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of account opening for a $250 statement credit. This represents the best new account bonus on this list of the best cash back credit cards, though you'll also have to spend more to hit it!

Best Cash Back Card for Average Credit

Best Cash Back Card for Average Credit: CapitalOne QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    24.99%
  • Cash Advance APR
    24.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.50%
  • Annual Fee
    $39
  • Intro APR
    n/a
  • Bonus Offers
    n/a

Pros

  • Uncomplicated 1.5% cash back, no messing around with categories, and no spending limits on earning cash back.
  • Build credit quickly with access to a higher credit limit just for paying your bills on time.
  • Available to people with an average credit score - you can earn cash back while building credit!

Cons

The largest drawback of the CapitalOne QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is the relatively high APR, a 24.99% variable rate. If you get this card, make sure to pay your bills on time! There's also an annual fee of $39, though that's relatively low as far as annual fees go.

Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your QuicksilverOne card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account 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

Application Process: Online. In most cases, you'll get a decision within 60 seconds or less.

Annual Fee: $39. Additionally, the cash advance fee is $10, or 3% of the cash advance amount (whichever is higher).

APR: 0% for the first 9 months (not very long compared to some of the other options on this list), and then 24.99% variable APR.

Rewards: You have options, as rewards are redeemable as a statement credit, bank account deposit, or gift card. You can set up redemptions automatically at predetermined thresholds ($25, $50, $100 or $200), and can claim your cash back according to the above-mentioned method of your choosing.

Bonus Offers: Not quite as lucrative as some of the others on this list, but get 50% back on Spotify Premium when you apply, through April 2018. 

Best Total Cash Back Card

Best Total Cash Back Card: Citi® Double Cash Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    14.74% - 24.74%
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.49%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.0%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months
  • Bonus Offers
    n/a

Pros

  • So nice, they pay you twice: 1% back on purchases, and 1% when you pay your credit card bill.
  • Keep earning cash back with no limits!
  • Breaking up with a bad credit card or consolidating debt? The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 0% APR for 18 months! Plus, no annual fee.

Cons

Where the Citi® Double Cash Card lacks is in the initial rush that accompanies the signup process for a new credit card. There are some "bonuses" that come with your initial use of the card, but nothing to get excited about. Additionally, using your cash back requires a minimum cash back redemption of $25. 

Details

  • 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.
  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% to 24.74% based on your creditworthiness.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee.
 

Application Process: Apply online, and get a decision within 60 seconds or less.

Annual Fee: No annual fee! So more cash in your pocket. Additionally, there's a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount, whichever is greater.

APR: 0% APR for balance transfers in the first 18 months (that's a long time for a new credit card account and the best deal on this list for this feature), then a variable APR between 14.74% to 24.74% based on creditworthiness. Balance transfers do not earn cash back and must be completed 4 months from account opening. CreditDonkey recommends this card if you're trying to consolidate your debt, thanks to the low introductory APR/balance transfer fees.

RewardsYou can claim your rewards as a statement credit, gift card, or a check in the mail, with a minimum cash back redemption amount of $25 required.

Bonus Offers: The Citi® Double Cash Card offers a number of benefits, though none of an overt monetary nature. Instead, credit card benefits are more lifestyle-focused, and include:

  • A free pass on your first late fee
  • Special access to pre-sale tickets and VIP packages and complimentary movie screenings (℅ citiprivatepass.com)
  • Travel insurance and purchase protection

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    16.24% - 24.99%
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.24%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.50%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Bonus Offers
    Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Pros

  • If you have more than one Chase credit card, you can earn more by transferring points and splitting your spending between the two cards
  • Freedom and flexibility: the flat 1.5% cash back rate isn't limited to a specific category
  • The bonus offers are easily attainable and include a $150 bonus after spending $500 within 3 months after opening. Plus, you'll earn a $25 bonus after you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same period.

Cons

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card doesn't offer any specific bonus categories, due to its nature as a flat-rate cash back credit card. So those who know their high-spending categories (like groceries, for example) may want to opt instead for a cash back credit card that caters to their spending habits.

While going through this list, you'll also notice that it's not the highest flat-rate cash back card around. There's also a foreign transaction fee, so if you want a credit card specifically for international travel you should look into opening a credit card that caters specifically to travelers. 

Details

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, plus a $25 authorized user bonus.
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.24 to 24.99%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • No annual fee

Application Process: Online, over the phone, or at a branch. Online is the easiest method, but it's nice to know that you have options!

Annual Fee: No annual fee! How's that for maximizing the money in your pocket? Balance transfer fees are $5 or 5% of the transferred amount (whichever is greater).

APR: 0% for the first 15 months, then a variable APR of 16.24% to 24.99%. 

RewardsYou can redeem your rewards as cash back in the form of:

  • Bank account deposits
  • Statement credits

Or, you can also redeem rewards using the Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each and may be claimed through the Ultimate Rewards portal for:

  • General merchandise purchases made through the portal, or third-party retailers (such as Amazon)
  • Travel purchases 

HuslerMoneyBlog sees this as a perk similar to using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Bonus Offers: Earn a $150 bonus after spending $500, within 3 months after opening a new account. Additionally, you can also earn $25 if you opt to add an authorized user of the card, and that person makes their first purchase within the 3 month period.

Cash-back credit cards are fairly popular with consumers, and it’s easy to see why. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid to shop?



However, it’s easy to get in over your head if you don’t understand how cash-back credit cards work. We’ve got the scoop on everything from the application process to redemption methods, so keep scrolling for important information from our trusted team of experts!

General Questions About Cash-Back Credit Cards

What is a cash-back credit card?

A cash-back credit card is a credit card that offers cardholders cash incentives. Some cards offer these rewards for every purchase, while others require that cardholders purchase goods or services from specific categories or locations. The details are outlined in your cardholder agreement so there are no surprises.

Does a cash-back card actually give me cash back?

A cash-back credit card lets you earn cash-back rewards, but we don’t know of any cards that actually mail out wads of cash. Expect to receive a paper check or digital disbursement of your cash-back rewards. You might also have the option to buy gift cards or merchandise from the credit card company, or an approved third party, using your cash-back rewards.

Do I need good credit to get a cash-back credit card?

Yes, you typically need good credit - sometimes even excellent credit - to get a cash-back credit card. Credit card companies often save their best perks for cards geared toward people with excellent credit.  

However, there are some cash-back credit cards you can get without perfect credit. We discuss those in detail below.

What are some cash-back credit cards I can get with bad credit?

Your options are limited, but people with bad credit often have good luck scoring an approval for the Credit One Cash Back Rewards Visa. This card offers 1% cash back on qualifying purchases. Yes, that figure is low compared to other credit cards, but keep in mind that your options are limited with bad credit.

You can also apply for the Capital One Quicksilver One Rewards Card if you have less-than-stellar credit. The company’s website classifies the Quicksilver One as a card for “average credit” but doesn’t specify what average means. We’ve heard reports of folks getting approved immediately after a discharged bankruptcy, and there are numerous cardholders with scores in the mid-to-high 500s.

What is the best cash-back credit card?

We consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card to be the Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card. You can get the detailed scoop on this awesome card in the review above, but here’s some basic info:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on qualifying purchases
  • No annual fee
  • No redemption minimums for rewards
  • Bonus offers for new cardholders

We’ve also got some other cash-back credit cards we recommend. Here our are favorites:

  • Citi Double Cash Card
  • Capital One Quicksilver One (we mentioned this card in the question above)
  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Discover it Cashback Match Credit Card

With the exception of the Capital One Quicksilver One, these cards generally require good or excellent credit.

The Application Process for Cash-Back Credit Cards

How do I get a cash-back credit card?

It’s sooooo easy to get a cash-back credit card (assuming you qualify)! Here are some ways you can get one:

  • Apply online
  • Apply over the phone
  • Apply in person at a retail store or bank
  • Mail in a paper application
  • Have a current cash-back cardholder add you as a qualifying user or joint account holder

During your application process, you’ll provide basic information about your income and rental history. The application might also ask about military involvement, lawsuits, and bankruptcies, as well as request information about a coapplicant if applicable.

Some applicants receive an instant decision regarding their application. If you don’t, you should receive a response within a couple weeks.

What should I know before I apply for a cash-back credit card?

Let’s start with the basics. A cash-back credit card is not a gift card; you can’t just buy what you want and continue on with your life. When you pay for things with your credit card, you’re responsible for the full balance plus interest.

You can pay your balance in full each month or make payments. If you make payments, interest accrues. Cardholders typically don’t determine their monthly payments; the credit card company decides how much you should pay and when you should pay it.

It’s important to remember that most cash-back credit cards have annual fees. If you max out your credit card, you’ll end up going over your limit when you get hit with an annual fee. This can damage your credit.

Who can get a cash-back credit card?

Anyone who qualifies! To qualify, you typically must meet the following requirements:

  • Good or excellent credit (there are some exceptions)
  • A steady source of income from a job, self-employment, disability, or alimony
  • 18 years or older
  • A history of paying previous credit cards and loans on time
  • No undischarged bankruptcies or active lawsuits against you

You should also have a Social Security number and reside in the United States (unless you’re temporarily overseas for work, school, or the military).

Why didn’t I get an instant approval when I applied online?

Many people receive an instant approval when they apply online. If you didn’t, it’s because something in your application triggered a manual review. That means a real human has to look at your application because the computer couldn’t decide whether to approve or deny you.

Here are some common factors that trigger a manual review:

  • Typos in your address, name, or Social Security Number
  • A recent move (credit card companies often like to see 2+ years at the same address)
  • Bankruptcy, even if it has been discharged
  • Unusual information, such as an excessively high annual income
  • Average credit (the company has to review your debts and payment history in detail to decide if you’re worth the risk)

You probably received a generic message that said you’ll get an answer in 7 to 10 days, right? You can get an answer sooner by calling the credit card company a few days after you apply.

Why was my credit card application denied?

Unfortunately, we have no idea since we don’t personally know you or have any idea which card you tried to get. However, we can offer some guesses based on factors that often lead to rejections:

  • Low income
  • High debt
  • Recent collections
  • Bankruptcy or court judgments
  • Prior history with the credit card company (maybe you defaulted on another card with them or listed a card in your bankruptcy)
  • No Social Security Number

The good news is that most of these issues won’t permanently keep you from getting a card. Pay off some debts, dispute inaccurate information on your credit report, and work hard to boost your FICO score.

Information About Cash Rewards

Are cash-back credit card rewards better than other credit card rewards?

That’s subjective. If you like cash more than gift cards, airline miles, or free stays at hotels, then yes, cash-back credit card rewards are better than other credit card rewards.

If you want the best of both worlds, look for a cash-back card that lets you trade points for gift cards or vacation-related expenses.

How do I earn cash back from a credit card?

By doing the things you’re probably already doing! Most cash-back credit cards tally your total automatically, so all you have to worry about is paying for the goods and services you want.

Some cards have restrictions (no gambling or lottery tickets are common ones), but there are many cards that let you earn rewards for everyday purchases. We’ve seen some cards with rotating reward categories (we’re looking at you, Discover it Credit Card), so make sure you opt in each quarter to avoid missing out on cash rewards.

How do I redeem the cash I earn?

Depends on the card, but many offer digital disbursements. You can also request a paper check in the mail or ask for a gift card.

Once you’ve got your reward, you’re free to spend it however you like. Keep in mind that some credit cards make you wait until you’ve reached a minimum balance (usually $20 or $25) before you can redeem your rewards. You also have to keep your account in good standing.

Do my cash rewards expire?

They might, but you should have plenty of time to use them. Most credit cards give you 1 to 2 years to redeem cash-back rewards, and some of them offer rewards that never expire.

Sometimes you can transfer rewards, but it depends on the policies of the credit card company.

Can I earn cash rewards and other rewards from the same card?

Possibly. Many cards offer multiple reward options, so you can choose cash one time and airline miles or hotel rooms next time.

Rates and Fees

How much interest will I pay for my purchases?

Most credit cards charge a variable interest rate that’s determined by your credit history. People with excellent credit typically have low APRs, while people with low FICO scores end up paying hefty interest fees. That’s because you’re more of a risk when you’ve got bad credit, so credit card companies charge extra to protect themselves if you bail on payments.

The credit cards on our list of the best cash-back credit cards have APRs ranging from 11.74% to 24.99%. If you don’t want to pay interest, look for a card with an interest-free promotional period for new cardholders. We’ve seen these grace periods run anywhere from a few months to more than one year.

Is there an annual fee for cash-back credit cards?

Yeah, some cash-back credit cards have annual fees. If you choose a card with a fee, you’ll probably pay between $39 and $99 per year. This fee is added directly to your billing statement, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of it yourself.

The Credit One Cash Back Rewards Visa, Citi Double Cash Card, and Discover it Credit Card don’t have annual fees.

Can I use my credit card as a debit card at the ATM?

Sometimes, but it won’t be cheap! If you’ve got a credit card that works at ATMS, expect to pay a cash advance fee and additional interest. Cash advances usually carry an APR that falls between 25% and 30%, and that doesn’t even include the cash advance fee (typically around 5% of the advance total).

How do I reduce my credit card fees?

Pay your bill on time, every time! If you’re late, you run the risk of getting hit with a penalty APR.

If you have an issue with the regular APR rather than the penalty APR, contact your credit card company. Sometimes companies lower the APR for cardholders who demonstrate a lengthy history of paying their monthly bills (for everything, not just the credit card) on time.

How come my APR is higher than my friend’s APR?

APR is generally determined by creditworthiness, which basically refers to the state of your credit. Credit card companies love that term, so you can find it in the terms and conditions for pretty much every cash-back card.

Simply put, people with good credit get good APRs. People with bad credit have high APRs.

Your friend’s FICO score might be lower than yours, but you might have a recent history of collections or lawsuits. You might also have a high credit utilization rate or a lot of recent inquiries. These are all red flags to a credit card company, so they jack up your APR.

Common Concerns Regarding Cash-Back Credit Cards

Why didn’t I earn cash back for my purchase?

Yikes! You probably have a cash-back card because you want cash back, so it’s frustrating when you don’t get the rewards you deserve. Here are a few possible scenarios:

  • You did earn cash back, but there’s a lengthy delay (30 to 60 days or so) before your credit hits your account
  • You purchased goods or services from a forbidden category (the casino, X-rated adult entertainment, etc.)
  • Your purchases are not in a qualifying category (sometimes categories rotate, so you might get paid for groceries this month and gasoline a few months later)
  • Your account is not in good standing (you paid your bill late, you filed for bankruptcy, etc.)
  • A merchant was miscategorized, so you didn’t get the rewards you expected

If you’re missing cash-back rewards, notify the credit card company immediately. They can explain what happened and then fix the error if it’s on their end.

Do I have to track my own purchases to earn rewards?

Nope, you shouldn’t have to do that! We recommend doing it anyway if you’re worried you might miss out on rewards, but most - if not all - credit card companies track rewards for you.

You can usually view the status of your cash-back rewards online or on a paper statement.

Is it safe to use my card for online purchases?

Online shopping always carries a slight risk, so take a few steps to protect yourself:

  • Don’t use your card in public places or on shared connections
  • Avoid sites that aren’t secure (you’ll usually get a popup or notice a warning in the corner of your browser)
  • Make sure your credit card offers fraud protection in case someone gets their hands on your card info

Monitor your account regularly so you can make sure nobody is going on a shopping spree with your credit card number. If you notice something suspicious, report it immediately by contacting your credit card company. You may also want to contact the local police department.

What should I do if I lose my card?

Look for it quickly. If you don’t find it right away, contact your credit card company. You don’t want to waste any time when it comes to a lost or stolen card.

If someone else finds your card before you do, request a new one - even if you don’t see any suspicious charges on your account. The other party might just be saving your credit card information for future transactions, and you don’t want to take that chance.

Know your rights when your card disappears. Many cards offer fraud protection, which means you aren’t liable for purchases made by someone else.

What happens if I have a joint account and the other party files for bankruptcy?

We hate to tell you this, but you’re probably going to get stuck with the balance. It’s a bummer, but that’s what happens when you share an account.

The outcome depends on a lot of factors, though. Not all debts are dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so the other account holder might still be liable for the debt. It doesn’t mean they’ll pay, but it means they are responsible for the debt.

If the joint account holder racks up a lot of credit card debt shortly before filing for bankruptcy, those debts won’t be excused. The other cardholder may also have to continue making payments if they file Chapter 13 bankruptcy or fail to complete the required paperwork for any type of bankruptcy in a timely manner.

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

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