Best credit cards of current year

Best credit cards for cash back of June 2024

Finding the best cash-back credit cards for your wallet doesn’t have to be difficult. CardRatings editors break down the top cash-back cards in multiple categories and reveal how actual cardholders rate their cards, too. View More

Cash-back credit cards have enjoyed favored status among credit card rewards seekers for many years. In fact, a CardRatings survey showed that cardholders across the country overwhelmingly prefer a card that puts cash back in their pocket versus a card that earns points or miles.

During times of economic uncertainty, putting cash back into your pocket becomes especially enticing. A solid signup bonus on a new cash-back card could even make a decent impact on your cash flow in a given month. If you’re looking for an easy way to offset some of your expenses, the right cash-back credit cards can help you achieve your goals.

The key with these cards, as with any credit card, is to ensure that you’re using them smartly AND that you’ve selected a card that aligns with your spending habits, financial goals and credit history. Let us help you understand what cash-back credit cards are (and aren’t) as well as how to use them.

So, what are the best cash-back credit cards of 2024? We reviewed several of our favorite cash-back credit cards for small businesses and consumers, taking a look at their reward structures, credit scores needed, best features, potential drawbacks and more to help you understand which cards offer the highest cash-back potential, and which ones could be the right fit for your lifestyle. We’ve narrowed down the options for you to some of the top picks on the market. Let’s check them out! View Less

author Jennifer Doss
Terms apply; see the online credit card application for full terms and conditions of offers and rewards.

List of Winners

  • CardName – Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back Rewards
  • CardName –  Best for Rotating/Tiered Reward Categories
  • CardName – Best for Travel Purchases
  • CardName – Best for No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • CardName – Best for Intro 0% APR
  • CardName – Best for Gas Purchases
  • CardName – Best for Dining and Takeout
  • CardName – Best for Grocery Purchases
  • CardName – Best for Small Business Purchases
  • CardName – Best for Fair Credit
  • CardName – Best for Bad or Limited Credit

At CardRatings.com we discuss the most up-to-date news and trends within the credit card space. Since we first pioneered the concept of online credit card reviews in 1998, our team of financial experts has provided comprehensive and unbiased credit card reviews for more than 175 cards, plus hundreds of additional resource articles to help educate everyday cardholders so they can feel more confident about their card choices. All our content is written and reviewed by industry experts. Though our content may occasionally contain references to products from our partners, we maintain strict editorial integrity and advertiser relationships and compensation never influences ratings, reviews or featured products. The difference between editorial content and advertising must always be clearly stated. Learn more.

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editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: This card has no annual fee and allows you to earn more than the typical flat-rate cash-back rewards credit card. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

Read our full CardName review.

Intro APR Length
18 months 18 months of no interest on balance transfers (then RegAPR)
Regular APR
RegAPR
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: You'll earn unlimited 1% back when you make your purchases and another 1% back when you pay your bill on time (at least the minimum balance due), for a possible total of 2% cash back on all your purchases, a nice lift over the typical 1.5% cash back offered by many flat-rate cash-back rewards credit cards. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • This is a good card to use if you want to be sure you’ll pay off your purchases because you’ll earn unlimited 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay for your purchases.
  • If you have a balance on a card with a higher APR, you could save on interest with the intro 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months (then, RegAPR).
  • Earning 2% cash back (assuming you’re paying off the purchases you make) on a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee is higher than you’ll find on other no-annual-fee cards.

CONS:

  • Earning up to 2% cash back on every purchase is a great rate for a flat-rate cash-back card, but there are cards with rotating categories or tiered cash-back rewards that could award more.
  • Keep in mind this card charges foreign transaction fees, so don't use it for purchases in foreign currency.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 77.2 84.7
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.9 8.5
Customer Service 7.5 8.4
Website/App Usability 6.9 8.3
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.2 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.7 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: No annual fee, the option to choose your top rewards category from a list of six, solid rewards for everyday spending and the opportunity to earn up to 25%-75% more on purchases makes this an excellent cash-back credit card.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
$200 in online cash rewards $200 in online cash rewards after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Bonus: Earn $200 in online cash rewards after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Earn 3% cash back in your choice category among the following: gas and EV charging station, online shopping/cable/internet/phone plan/streaming, dining, travel, drug store/pharmacy or home improvement/furnishings purchases and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and earn an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases. Update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the mobile banking app or online banking, or do nothing and it stays the same.

Additional Details: As a Preferred Rewards client (membership and tiers are based on a three-month average balance across your eligible Bank of America accounts) you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on each purchase depending on your tier. Bank of America also offers BankAmerideals® through which you select deals from an ever-changing list of retailers, restaurants and websites, pay for your product or service with an eligible Bank of America credit or debit card, and earn the listed cash back directly into your linked account. The card described here is among the bank's card that are eligible for the program.

PROS:

  • This card lets you choose the category in which you'll earn the highest rewards which could be an excellent option for many people's spending habits.
  • If you're already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you can earn even more: 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase.
  • Earn a welcome bonus of $200 online cash back after you spend at least $1,000 within the first 90 days of card membership.

CONS:

  • Be aware that this card charges foreign transaction fees, so you'll want to carry another option along when you travel abroad.
  • You can only adjust your 3% cash-back earning category once per calendar month. If an unexpected expense comes up in a different category after you've already made your choice, you’ll only earn 1% cash back on that category until the following month rolls around.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 81.1 80.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.1 8.1
Customer Service 7.9 8.1
Website/App Usability 8.6 8.1
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.0 7.9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.7 7.8

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: The convenience of a tiered-rate rewards card along with the flexibility and value of Ultimate Rewards® points makes this a strong contender for a best cash-back credit card.

Read our full CardName review.

Special Offer
Additional 1.5% cash back Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Intro offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back! Plus, take advantage of an intro offer of 15 months no interest on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, the rate jumps to RegAPR.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining; and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back! 
  • You can combine the points you earn with this card with the points you earn using one of Chase’s other cards, such as CardNamediscontinued or CardNamediscontinued which can end up helping you rack up even more points. Plus, rewards could be worth extra when redeemed for travel under one of these accounts.
  • There is an introductory 0% APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (then, RegAPR).

CONS:

  • The 6.5% cash back earned on Chase Travel purchases is nice, but remember, this isn't a true travel card so all other travel purchases will only earn 1.5%.
  • This card charges foreign transaction fees, which can add up if you need to make purchases outside of the U.S.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 78.9 85.0
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.8 8.4
Customer Service 7.7 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.0 8.9
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.6 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 8.1

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: This card is the rare cash-back rewards card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees (usually in the 3% range) each time you use it while traveling abroad. That, combined with its solid flat-rate cash-back rewards rate, makes it a winner.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Offer
$200 Earn a one-time $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within your first three months as a cardholders
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Bonus: Earn a one-time $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within your first three months as a cardholder.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% cash back on your purchases. There are no categories or spending caps to think about. Additionally, you can take advantage of an introductory 15 months no interest on purchases and balance transfers (then, RegAPR; balance transfer fee applies.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee.
  • This card offers intro 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies). This is a great perk for anyone looking to make a large purchase. Once the intro period expires, a rate of RegAPR will apply.
  • This is a great card to take along on international trips as there's no fee charged on foreign transactions.

CONS

  • If a big chunk of your spending is in a particular category, you might earn more rewards with a card that offers bonus rewards in those categories.
  • Paying no annual fee is great, but if you plan to use your card often, choosing an annual fee card that offers higher rewards might be worth it.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 77.7 82.4
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.7 8.1
Customer Service 7.5 8.3
Website/App Usability 8.2 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.5 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.6 8.0

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: This is a no-annual-fee card which effectively awards up to 10% back during your first year as a cardholder. Discover matches all cash back earned during the first year for all new cardmembers (more below), so the 5% back you earn is effectively worth 10% back in that first year. Plus, it offers a generous intro 0% APR period, giving you 15 months to pay off any new purchases made with the card, or to pay off an existing balance transferred from another card (regular RegAPR applies after the intro period).

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
Unlimited cashback match Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Needed
CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • Discover will MATCH all the cash back new cardholders earn during their first year as a member. That means $200 in cash back will automatically become $400 at the end of your first year.
  • This is an excellent no-annual-fee card for people who are willing to maximize the spending categories each quarter.
  • You can also take advantage of an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then, RegAPR).

CONS:

  • This card requires a fair amount of planning to maximize the rewards.
  • You’ll earn 1% cash back on non-bonus category spending, which isn't a high earn rate. If you aren't going to maximize the bonus categories, you'd be better off with another card that earns a higher ongoing rate.
  • If you're going to put the balance transfer offer to use, remember that you'll pay a BalanceTransferFees.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 80.3 84.9
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.0 8.5
Customer Service 7.8 8.5
Website/App Usability 7.7 8.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 8.9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 8.2

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: From gas to restaurant purchases, this card earns bonus rewards in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent, then 1%) so using it is an easy way to earn rewards on purchases you regularly make.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
20,000 points Spend $1,500 on purchases within the first six months of opening an account and you’ll receive 20,000 ThankYou® Points - worth $200
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Bonus: Spend $1,500 on purchases within the first six months of opening an account and you’ll receive 20,000 ThankYou® Points, worth $200.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (1% cash back thereafter) - there are no category enrollments to worry about or no need to juggle reward tiers. On everything else you purchase, you’ll get 1% cash back. Eligible 5% categories include: restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, fitness clubs, live entertainment, drugstores, and home improvement stores. As a special travel offer, earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi Travel℠ portal through 6/30/2025.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • This is a good card if you have a large purchase on the horizon, or if you need some time to pay off an existing balance interest free, thanks to intro 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months (then RegAPR applies).
  • This is a good card if you don't want to worry about rotating categories or category enrollments as it automatically earns you bonus rewards in the eligible category where you spend the most.
  • The welcome bonus is a nice perk considering the fact that this card doesn't charge an annual fee.

CONS:

  • If you're willing to keep up with rotating categories or a tiered-rewards structure, you may stand to earn more rewards with another card.
  • This isn't a good card to travel internationally with as it charges a fee on foreign transactions.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 80.3 87.8
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.8
Customer Service 7.7 8.8
Website/App Usability 7.8 8.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.7 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 8.5

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: This tiered cash-back card awards you for both dining out and cooking at home. Plus, earn a one-time $200 cash-back bonus after spending just $500 on purchases in the first three months, and there are no foreign transaction or annual fees to worry about.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Offer
$200 Earn a one-time $200 cash-back bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months of account opening
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash-back bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months of account opening.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target); 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply); 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases; and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • This card is one of the only cards offering high rewards focused on dining out and entertainment.
  • There's a welcome offer of $200 bonus cash back after you spend $500 in the first three months.
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024.
  • This card could be perfect for families or singles who enjoy dining out – earn cash back at restaurants or grocery stores.
  • Enjoy intro 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then, RegAPR; balance transfer fee applies).
  • It's rare to see no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. This is a great card to take with you abroad as it doesn't charge extra on foreign transactions.

CONS:

  • This is an ideal card for people who love to eat. If you don't regularly use your cards for food purchases, this might not be the best option for you.
  • While cash-back rewards are always welcome, there isn't a lot of redemption flexibility or opportunity to, so-called, maximize rewards as you can with cards that offer points.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 79.2 84.5
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.0 8.4
Customer Service 7.5 8.4
Website/App Usability 8.8 9.0
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.7 8.5
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.5 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: This card rewards you for everyday life purchases – U.S. supermarket, select U.S. streaming subscriptions, U.S. gas station and eligible transit purchases all earn bonus cash back. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Offer:
$250 statement credit Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new card within the first six months
APR
RegAPR
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

The Welcome Offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Earn 6% back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets annually (then, 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; earn 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit including rideshares, train fares, tolls, parking and more; earn 1% back on other purchases.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • This is among the highest reward rates out there for U.S. supermarket purchases, so it could be lucrative if you have a big grocery bill.
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening, then RegAPR.
  • This is a great card for families because it awards purchases with U.S. supermarkets (6% cash back up to $6,000 spent in a year, then 1%), on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (6% cash back), at U.S. gas stations (3% cash back), and on transit (3% cash back).

CONS:

  • American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted as cards issued by Visa or Mastercard, but the American Express network is ever-expanding both in the U.S. and abroad.
  • This card charges foreign transaction fees, something you should avoid if you’ll be using your card for purchases abroad.
  • There's also the annual fee to consider; make sure you'll earn enough rewards to more than offset the annual fee.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 78.5 78.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.6 7.8
Customer Service 7.7 8.0
Website/App Usability 8.1 7.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.3 8.2
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.2 7.5

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

Like the sound of the Blue Cash Preferred® card but you're not interested in a card with an annual fee? Consider the no-annual-fee CardName instead. This card offers a still valuable rate of 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 spent in each category per year, then 1%), and 1% back on other eligible purchases. There's also a welcome bonus for new cardholders: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.See Rates and Fees.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: This no-annual-fee card is a leader among cash back cards when it comes to excellent earning for small businesses as well as flexible rewards that can be combined with other Chase Ultimate Rewards earned through other cards.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Offer
$350, then an additional $400 Earn $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening.
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Bonus: New cardholders earn a bonus of $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% cash back on purchases at office supply stores and purchases of internet, cable and phone services (up to $25,000 in combined spending each account anniversary year). Additionally, earn 2% back on the combined $25,000 spending each account year on gas station and restaurant purchases. Earn 1% back on your other purchases as well as in the bonus categories once you reach the spending cap.

Additional Info: This card's cash back rewards accumulate as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which means you can decide to use the rewards as cash back or redeem them for travel. Furthermore, you can combine points you earn with this card with points you've earned through other Ultimate Rewards cards, such as the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, in order to make your points add up more quickly and possible be worth more. Ink Business Preferred® cardholders receive 25% more value when they redeem points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • Making $3,000 in purchases with the card in three months, you could pocket $350 cash back, and making $6,000 on purchases in the first six months, you could pocket an additional $400. What a great way to jump start your rewards.
  • Whether you're buying office supplies or paying for internet, cable and phone services, you'll benefit big with 5% cash back earned, up to $25,000 annually. Outside of these categories you'll earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year, and unlimited 1% on everything else.
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then RegAPR).

CONS:

  • The $25,000 annual cap on bonus category spend could be limiting depending on your spending. If you know you'll be spending far above $25,000 annually on your business needs, you might want to consider a card with a higher spending cap.
  • Earning 5% cash back on select business categories is great, but only if you regularly spend within those categories. With this card, you'll only earn 1% on all "other" purchases.
  • If business frequently takes you abroad, this might not be the card for you as it charges foreign transaction fees.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 78.0 78.7
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.7 7.7
Customer Service 7.8 8.0
Website/App Usability 7.9 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.1 7.6
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.7 8.0

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: The best cash-back rewards credit cards are often reserved for people with excellent credit. This card, however, is available to people with average, fair, limited credit and it offers a solid percentage of cash back for a modest annual fee.

Read our full CardName review.

Rewards Rate
1.5% Earn 1.5% back on your purchases
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Bonus: There isn't a traditional bonus with this card, but a cash-back rewards card for people with average, fair, limited credit is fairly unique, so let's think of the bonus as your opportunity to earn cash-back rewards while you work on moving your credit score into the good/excellent range.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% back on your purchases without having to worry about rotating categories or spending caps. In addition, you could get access to a higher credit line in as little as six months.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • This card is available for people with fair or limited credit histories. Plus, with responsible use, you could qualify for a credit limit increase in as little as six months.
  • This is a great card to take along on international trips as there's no fee charged on foreign transactions.

CONS

  • You’ll have to consider the annual fee and whether you are earning enough with this card for it to be worth it.
  • The interest rate is fairly high because it is for people with fair or limited credit. This isn’t a card you will want to carry a balance on.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 82.9 82.8
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.2
Customer Service 8.1 8.5
Website/App Usability 8.5 8.5
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.7 8.6
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.4 8.1

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

card_name discontinued_disclaimer 

editor_rating
 
foreign_transaction_fee annual_fees
Why We Like It: It's not easy to find a card that will help you rebuild your credit while still allowing you to earn cash-back rewards. Not only does this card do that, it also offers a nice introductory bonus as well.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Offer
Cashback Match Discover will match all the cash back a cardholder earns during their first year
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • This is one of the few secured credit cards that offers cash-back rewards. Earn 2% back on the first $1,000 spent each quarter at gas stations and restaurants (then 1%) and 1% on other purchases.
  • Not only is this a secured credit card that offers ongoing rewards, but it also offers a welcome bonus— which isn’t always offered with secured credit cards. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year as a cardholder. This means, if you earn $150 cash back in your first year, you’ll actually pocket $300 that year.
  • At seven months, Discover will automatically start reviewing your account monthly to determine whether you’re eligible for transition to an unsecured credit card.

CONS:

  • There’s no annual fee but the minimum security deposit amount could be a stretch for some people at $200. If you can’t see yourself coming up with that deposit, there are additional secured credit cards with lower security deposit requirements.
  • Although the rare cash-back rewards associated with this card is attractive, not everyone will be approved. Approval depends on credit history and other financial variables. If you’re uncertain that you will be approved and don’t want a hard credit inquiry on your report, a different secured credit card might be a better fit for you.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 83.7 77.9
Features Satisfaction 8.6 7.7
Customer Service 8.1 8.1
Website/App Usability 8.4 7.8
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.1 8.2
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.8 7.6

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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What is a cash-back credit card?

Cash-back credit cards are credit cards that offer cash rewards on purchases made with the card. They are cards that incentivize cardholders to use their plastic frequently in exchange for rewards like statement credits, cash deposits and gift cards.

Cash-back credit cards typically fall into one of four types: flat-rate, tiered, rotating categories, and cardholder’s choice rewards. They each have their pros and cons, but your ultimate choice should depend upon your spending habits and the level of planning you want to do when it comes to which card to use for each transaction.

How do cash-back credit cards work?

In short, how cash back credit cards work is that you automatically earn cash back each time you swipe your card – it’s as simple as that. Most often you’ll earn consistent 1% cash back on all purchases made, but there are a number of cards that will earn you more than that up to a certain spending threshold, in certain categories, etc.

The basic idea with cash-back credit cards is that when you swipe your card, you’ll earn yourself cash back each time you make your purchase. Unfortunately, spending money is just a part of everyday life— from filling up the tank with gas, to buying groceries for dinner, paying bills, purchasing school supplies, etc. You might as well earn yourself some cash back on money you’ll be spending regardless. With that said, here’s some expert advice to keep in mind as you use your cash-back card to rack up rewards:

Change is constant. When your circumstances change – and they likely will – your card needs will likely change, too. Periodically review your spending situation and make sure your card (or cards) is still working for you. Don’t be afraid to break up with your card if things aren’t working out. Maybe you’ve changed jobs and your commute got much shorter – that card that offered high cash-back rewards on gas station purchases might not be right any longer. Or maybe you’ve gone back to school and find yourself eating a lot of meals at coffee shops and diners – a card that offers bonus rewards at restaurants could benefit you now.

Actually use it. It sounds simple, but different cards maximize different things. Be aware before you swipe and always use the best card for the situation; don’t just grab Old Trusty because it’s handy. 

Pay off your balance each billing cycle. Nothing will offset rewards earned quite as quickly as mounting interest charges. If you’re going to the effort to earn cash-back rewards, be responsible with your card and pay off your balance each month. Along the same lines, spending more than you can afford simply for the rewards is a terrible idea; you won’t come out on top. 

What is the best cash-back credit card?

If you prefer earning cash back on every purchase you make, one the best cash back cards is the CardName. This card has a unique tiered/flat-rate structure, offering cardholders 5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% on dining at restaurants and on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. You can also take advantage of 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then, RegAPR). Lastly, new cardholders can earn $200 cash back after spending just $500 in the first three months of card membership. And best of all? There’s no annual fee for this card.

If you don’t mind an annual fee, another one of the best cash back credit cards is the CardName discontinued. This cash-back card awards a staggering reward rate of 6% back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit which includes rideshares, train fares and more and 1% on other purchases. You also get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then, RegAPR). Plus, new cardholders can earn a $250 statement credit once spending $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within the first six months. This card is, of course, only the best option for you if you frequently spend on these purchases. You should consider whether you can take advantage of the bonus cash-back opportunities and the new cardholder offer before committing to an annual fee.

While the above cards are certainly some great options, remember, the best cash credit card for you won’t necessarily be the best cash back credit card for everyone.

How to choose a cash-back credit card

Choosing a cash back credit card will be determined by your spending habits and how you want to earn rewards. Really look through the above breakdowns of the pros and cons of each type of cash back card as well as the type of cardholder who should consider these cards. Once you’ve decided the style of card that best suits your needs, it’s important to examine key factors such as the fine print, annual fee, and credit required for application.

Types of cash-back credit cards

Cash-back credit cards come in a number of typical formats. The one that is right for you will depend upon your spending habits, lifestyle and amount of work you want to put into maximizing your rewards. Let’s look at the types from simplest, most hands-off to the most involved.

Flat-rate cards – These cash-back rewards cards offer a single cash-back amount no matter where you make your purchase. The cash-back percentage usually ranges from 1%-2%, with 1.5% being common among flat-rate cards. These cards require the least amount of planning and thought, though they also lack the ability to strategize and maximize your rewards.

Tiered-rate cards – Tiered-rate cardholders earn varying amounts of cash back depending on where they use their card. The categories don’t change, but the amounts for each purchase can vary. These cards often offer cash-back in two or three different tiers and require a bit more planning from cardholders to maximize cash back, but are still fairly simple.

Rotating category – Rotating-category cash-back cards require cardholders to take a hands-on approach to using their cards and maximing rewards. These cards feature rewards categories that change on a schedule, often quarterly, and usually require the cardholder to “opt in” to the bonus categories each new rewards period. There’s excellent opportunity to rack up rewards here, but you have to pay attention to where you’ll earn top rewards each quarter and remember to activate the categories as they come around.

Cardholder’s choice – The most involved of the cash-back rewards cards, these cards offer the high rewards potential of a rotating-category card and more by offering cardholders the opportunity to choose the bonus rewards category or categories. Each reward period, usually monthly or quarterly, the cardholder can choose where they’d like to earn the bonus rewards for that period. That means cardholders who are willing to plan their spending well can stand to earn the most with this type of card.

There are a few other slight variations on the cards above, such as those that automatically offer bonus rewards in your highest spending category of a given billing cycle. In general, though, the types of cash-back credit cards include flat-rate, tiered-rate, rotating-category and cardholder-choice.

Frequently asked questions

In a word, no, cash-back rewards are generally not taxable. The Internal Revenue Service tends to view credit card rewards, whether cash back or frequent flyer miles or some other form of points, as a discount rather than income so you generally won't need to report your cash-back rewards on your tax return. Consider this: The cash-back you earn with your card is really just a refund based on purchases you're making. In other words, you aren't getting something for nothing.

There are slightly different things to consider if you redeem points for a tax-deductible purchase for your business. You can only deduct the amount that you actually pay, so you'll need to subtract whatever amount was covered by the rewards. Obviously, taxes are complicated and every person's situation differs, so if you have any doubt about how to treat your rewards, whether business or personal, consult a tax professional.

Learn more about credit cards and taxes.

It depends on the card. In our experience, cash back on most popular cards doesn't expire so long as your account remains open.

There are exceptions though. For instance, cash back expires on the Citi® Double Cash Card if you don't earn any cash back within a 12 month period. Meanwhile, you have 36 months to redeem your cash back on U.S. Bank cards before it expires.

Before applying for a new card, check its expiration policy. Plus, be aware that closing an account could mean forfeiting any unredeemed cash back or rewards.

Do credit card points expire? Similar to cash, points or miles won't expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. Again, there are sometimes exceptions, so it's best to always check your card's fine print.

author
Jennifer Doss
CardRatings Executive Editor

Jennifer Doss is a credit card analyst and the executive editor of CardRatings.com. She has worked as both a print and online journalist and has over a decade of experience in the media industry. Her published work has covered a broad range of topics, from finance and technology to travel and dining. Through extensive travel experiences and her personal interest...Read more


Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September 2023 to conduct surveys among 1,869 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2023-Aug. 31, 2023 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents’ scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to “How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?” was double weighted. “Current Scores” reflect scores from the most recent survey (2023); “Past Scores” reflect scores from the 2022 survey.

Ranking Methodology: CardRatings experts review the fine print, details, perks, rewards and features of hundreds of cards and compare them side-by-side with similar cards. A card that makes an excellent balance transfer card may not make a great cash-back rewards card even though it offers those rewards. While the Best of the Year list is announced annually, that list – and all other “best of” lists on CardRatings – are regularly reviewed and updated as issuers change the terms and features of each card often.

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured in this post, please visit the follow links:  CardName (See Rates and Fees); CardName (See Rates and Fees)

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

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The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

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