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Best cash-back credit cards of October 2020

Finding the best cash-back credit card 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.
Brooklyn Lowery, CardRatings Senior Manager Last Updated, October 21, 2020

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers (terms apply) from our partners. How we make money.

Best cash-back credit cards of 2019 Every serious credit card rewards strategy should involve a cash-back credit card. In fact, a CardRatings survey showed that credit card holders across the country overwhelmingly prefer a card that puts cash back in their pocket versus a card that earns points or miles. That's because these cards essentially offer you a way to earn cash-back rewards on every purchase you make and, in some cases, that cash-back percentage is substantial (think as high as 6% on your grocery purchases, for instance). Furthermore, a number of the best cash-back cards from our partners also happen to be no-annual-fee cards.

LIST OF WINNERS

Cash-back credit cards are a convenient way to put money back in your pocket, with little to no effort on your end, and can be particularly useful in certain seasons. Take the current COVID-19 pandemic, for example. Before the pandemic there was a huge boom in travel rewards credit cards, but as many people put travel plans on hold, credit card issuers really stepped up their game with cash-back credit card offers, making these cards more competitive than ever. From extending welcome offer spending periods to adding new bonus categories, banks have made the cash-back credit card market the strongest we've seen it in a while. If you're looking for an easy way to offset some of your expenses, the right cash-back credit card 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 a cash-back credit card is (and isn't) as well as how to use that card.

The average American credit card holder has four credit cards in his/her wallet, and there are literally hundreds of options out there. So is it worth getting a cash-back credit card? We think so, and if you’re looking to add a cash-back credit card to your portfolio, we can help. We can even offer some guidance on how to use more than one cash-back credit card to maximize your rewards.

So what are the best cash-back credit cards of 2020? We reviewed several of our favorite cash-back credit cards for small businesses and consumers, taking a look at their reward structures, credit score needed, best features, potential drawbacks and more to help you understand which credit 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 right now.

BEST FLAT-RATE CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS

5
About Our Ratings

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.

Bonus: It doesn't offer a traditional bonus, but this card does have an introductory offer of 18 months of no interest on balance transfers (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)), which could be "bonus" enough if you're currently paying hefty interest charges on a balance you're carrying on another card.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: You'll earn 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.

Credit Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • This is a good card to use if you want to be sure you’ll pay off your purchases because you’ll earn 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, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).
  • 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.
  • There’s no traditional welcome bonus with this card.

Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Flat-rate cash-back rewards cards are great if you don't want to keep track of spending categories. This card also happens to be good for anyone who wants to earn rewards while traveling abroad as it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees – a relatively rare feature among cash-back credit cards, especially one with no annual fee.

Bonus: Jump start your cash back earning with a $200 bonus after spending just $500 on purchases during the first three months of card membership. There is also an introductory 15 months of no interest on purchases. After the intro period ends, your APR becomes 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable).

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases without worrying about categories or spending caps.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee.
  • This card also offers intro 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases, which can save you money if you need to make a large purchase. Once the intro period expires, a rate of 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) will apply.
  • There's no fee charged on foreign transactions. This is somewhat rare for cash-back cards, especially ones that don't charge an annual fee.

CONS

  • If a big chunk of your spending is in a particular category, you stand to 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 and more perks might be worth it.

Read our full review of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This is a flat-rate cash-back option that offers the added perk of cell phone protection that covers you against eligible damage and theft to your phone when you pay your cellular bill with your card. Additionally, you can redeem your cash rewards directly from a Wells Fargo ATM.

Bonus:Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months. Plus, earn 1.8% cash back on qualifying digital wallet purchases, like those with Google Pay™ or Apple Pay®, during the first 12 months.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card offers a simple and straightforward 1.5% cash back on all your purchases.
  • You can also earn $150 after spending $500 in the first three months, as well as 1.8% cash back on your qualifying digital wallet purchases for the first 12 months.
  • This card comes with a perk you won’t find on most other cards cellular phone insurance when you pay your mobile bill on the card.

CONS:

  • You could be leaving rewards on the table, especially if you’re willing to use a card that offers tiered or rotating categories cash back.
  • Don’t use this card on your next trip abroad as it charges a 3% fee on foreign transactions.

Read our full review of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card.

TIERED REWARDS CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS

5
About Our Ratings

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.

Bonus: New cardholders can earn $200 cash back once spending $500 within the first three months of opening an account. Plus, take advantage of an intro offer of 15 months no interest on purchases. After the intro period, the rate jumps to 14.99% - 23.74% Variable.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining at restaurants and on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) in your first year of card membership.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • Earning 1.5% cash back on every non-bonus purchase is a simple way to earn rewards, plus, that 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores for the first year, is hard to beat. You can also earn a $200 bonus after spending just $500 on purchases within the first three months.
  • You can combine the points you earn with this card with the points you earn using one of Chase’s other cards, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card which can end up helping you rack up even more points.
  • There is an introductory 0% APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases (then, 14.99% - 23.74% Variable).

CONS:

  • The 5% cash back earned on Chase Ultimate Rewards® 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.

Read our full review of Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

4
About Our Ratings

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.)

The Welcome Offer: For a limited time earn a $300 statement credit bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first six months of card membership (offer expires 12/10/20).

Annual Fee: Limited time offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 (offer expires 12/10/20).

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 all other purchases.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

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.
  • For a limited time you can earn a $300 statement credit bonus after spending $3,000 in the first six months of card membership (offer expires 12/10/20).
  • 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.

Read our full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This no-annual-fee credit card offers you excellent cash back earning across a number of everyday categories. Why wouldn't you want to earn cash-back rewards on purchases that just get you through the day?

The Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 3% back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets annually (then, 1%); earn 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores; earn 1% on your other purchases.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

PROS:

  • This card has no annual fee and awards 3% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% back on other purchases.
  • It also offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months (then, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable) which could save you some money.
  • Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months.

CONS:

  • The rewards categories are specific. If you aren't a supermarket shopper or don’t spend much on gas, there's likely a better card for you out there.
  • Earning 3% back at U.S. supermarkets is a nice rewards rate, but if you spend much over the $6,000 annual threshold, you could be missing out on higher rewards with another card.
  • This is not a card you'll want to take with you when traveling abroad as it does charge foreign transaction fees.

Read our full Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: We all have to eat, many of us need to fill up cars with gas, and let's face it, we all probably stream in some form or another too these days, making this card a great fit for rewarding everyday habits.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. That's a $250 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more. Plus, save on interest with an intro 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days (then 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable).

Annual Fee: $0*

Rewards Rate: Earn 4X points on takeout, food delivery and dining out; 2X points at grocery stores, on grocery delivery, at gas stations, and on streaming services; and 1X point per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent

PROS:

  • This is a good card if you need a little extra time to pay off a new purchase or exisiting balance as it offers intro 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days (then 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable).
  • The categories where you can earn rewards are practical. Everyone has to eat, many of us need to fill up cars with gas, and most of us use streaming services. With no annual fee, this card likely makes sense for a lot of credit card users.
  • This card does not charge fees on foreign transactions, which is rare for no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards.

CONS:

  • If you want to reedem your rewards for cash back, your options are limited to a statement credit or a deposit to a U.S. Bank checking or savings account, which could be a downfall for some cardholders.
  • This card still offers decent rewards at grocery stores, but the best rewards are earned when dining out. If you don't dine out or order takeout very often, you won't be able to maximize the full benefits of the card.

Read our full U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card review.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This tiered cash-back card awards you for both dining out and cooking at home. Plus, earn a $300 bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about and the annual fee is comparably reasonable and waived the first year.

Bonus: Earn a $300 cash-back bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within your first three months of account opening.

Annual Fee: $95

Rewards Rate: Earn an unlimited 4% back on all your dining and entertainment purchases, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% back on all your other purchases. Plus, enjoy 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card is one of the only cards offering high rewards focused on dining out and entertainment.
  • There's a welcome offer of $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
  • This card could be perfect for families or singles who enjoy dining out – earn cash back at restaurants or grocery stores.

CONS:

  • There is an annual fee to consider, so make sure you'll earn enough rewards to more than offset the fee.
  • 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.

Read our full Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

If you don't want to pay an annual fee, you might consider the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. You'll earn 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on everything else. There are no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and you can earn a one-time $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.


CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS WITH ROTATING CATEGORIES

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Get the most out of 5% cash back in multiple categories. The categories rotate quarterly, but being strategic with your spending can mean big bucks. Plus, enjoy 3% cash back at restaurants and drugstore purchases all year long!

Bonus: Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months. Plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) for the first $12,000 spent during your first year as a cardholder.

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases in quarterly bonus categories when you sign up (then 1%). Additionally, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, 3% at restaurants and on drugstore purchases, and 1% on all other eligible purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This is a unique rotating-category/tiered-rewards card hybrid, meaning it offers a ton of point-earning potential. Not only can you earn up to 5% cash back each month in rotating categories, but there are a number of static bonus categories as well that you can earn bonus rewards in all year long.
  • Take advantage of an intro 0% APR on new purchases for 15 billing cycles (then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable).
  • Pay your cell phone bill with this card and enjoy up to $1,000 a year in cell phone insurance.

CONS:

  • This card charges foreign transaction fees, so you’ll probably want to carry a different card abroad.
  • This card requires some planning and a hands-on approach to maximize rewards. If you want a simple credit card, you might be better off with a flat-rate option.

Read our full Chase Freedom Flex℠ review.

 

PRO TIP

Don't be afraid to carry both this card AND Discover it® Cash Back. The 5% categories will likely be different each quarter, so having both can be your ticket to getting 5% cash back on more of your purchases!


Discover it® Cash Back

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

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 (more below), so your 5% back is effectively worth 10% back in that first year.

Bonus: Here's what that "first-year match" means: Cardholders earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories each quarter you activate (up to $1,500 spent quarterly). At the end of your first year, Discover MATCHES that 5% – effectively meaning you earn 10% cash back in those categories. You also earn 1% back on all your other purchases so, with the first-year match, you effectively earn 2% back. Most flat-rate cash-back cards offer 1.5% back, so the first year rewards here really can't be beat. 

Annual Fee: See Terms.

Rewards Rate: Each quarter you activate you'll earn 5% back on the first $1,500 spent in that quarter's categories. Earn 1% back on all your other purchases and on any purchases over the cap in the bonus categories. If you max out your spending in the bonus categories each quarter, you'll earn $75 cash back on those purchases alone. Thanks to the first-year match, that means you would earn $150 cash back each quarter that you activate and max out your spending during your first year.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

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 5% spending categories each quarter.

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.

Read our full Discover it® Cash Back review.

CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS WITH CARDHOLDER'S CHOICE REWARDS

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Cardholders have the power to decide where they'll earn the highest percentage of cash back, so you can tailor this card to fit your spending habits – and you can change your mind quarterly. All with no annual fee.

The Welcome Offer: Receive a $150 cash-back bonus after you use your card to make $500 in purchases within the first 90 days.

Annual Fee: $0*

Rewards Rate: Earn 5% back on $2,000-worth of combined purchases in two categories that you select quarterly; earn 2% back in one "everyday" category you select quarterly, such as gas or groceries; earn 1% back on everything else.

Credit Needed: Good,Excellent

PROS:

  • This card could be a lucrative no-annual-fee choice for many different people.
  • The "everyday category" options awarding 2% cash back are common to many household’s regular spending.
  • You could save money on an existing balance on another card with an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles (then, 13.99% - 23.99%* Variable).

CONS:

  • Keep the quarterly spending threshold in mind. You’ll earn 5% cash back on your choice category up to $2,000 spent in a quarter. After that, those purchases only earn 1% cash back.
  • If you fail to enroll in a category in a quarter, you’ll earn 1% back on all your purchases, so you’ll need to be sure to stay on top of your purchase categories and spending.

Read our full U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card review.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This card has 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 each purchase.

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

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 3% cash back in your choice category (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishing) 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 Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is among the bank's credit cards 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'll earn even more: 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase.
  • Earn a welcome bonus of $200 online cash back after you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of card membership.

CONS:

  • The cash-back opportunities are good, but they're best for Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients. If that's not you, you might want to look elsewhere for cash back rewards.
  • 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.

Read our full Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card review.

BEST CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This no-annual-fee card is a leader 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.

Bonus: New cardholders earn a bonus of $500 after spend you $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $0

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: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • making just $3,000 in purchases with the card in three months, you could pocket $500 cash. What a great way to get card membership started.
  • 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 13.24% - 19.24% Variable).

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.

Read our full review of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Simplicity is nice when it comes to cash-back credit cards and this one has it in abundance. It's also a solid no-annual-fee option.

The Welcome Offer: Earn up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new card within the first three months of card membership. Plus there is a special introductory offer of 0% interest on purchases for the first 12 months you're a cardholder (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable).

Annual Fee: No annual fee.

Rewards Rate: Earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 you spend each year, then 1% after you reach that spending cap. Adding to the simplicity, your cash-back rewards are automatically credited to your statement.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

PROS:

  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. A $50,000 annual spend cap on bonus rewards is quite good for a card with no annual fee.
  • Your business needs are always changing, and therefore, your spending habits might often change too. This card offers Expanded Buying Power, which allows you to spend beyond your credit limit. Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history and credit record.
  • Take advantage of 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable.

CONS:

  • The $50,000 annual spend cap on bonus rewards is quite high, but if you see yourself spending beyond this each year, a card with no spending cap might be a better fit.
  • If you're looking for a good card to pack on your trip abroad, this might not be the best option for you as it charges a 2.7% fee on all foreign transactions.

Read our full review of the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This card offers an easy-to-understand rewards program for business owners who just want to earn rewards with a cash-back credit card but don't want to jump through a bunch of hoops to do it.

Bonus: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within three months from account opening.

Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards Rate: Earn an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, every day.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card awards a simple and unlimited 2% cash back earned on all purchases made.
  • Spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of card membership and you'll earn a one-time $500 cash bonus.
  • Thanks to no foreign transaction fees, travel and emergency assistance services, and auto rental collision damage coverage, this is a great card to travel with, especially as you'll earn 2% on every single travel purchase you make.

CONS:

  • Though it's waived for the first year, there is an annual fee to consider.
  • While this is a great option for those looking for a simple and flexible rewards credit card, it might not be best for those who truly spend a lot in specific categories. If you only plan to use your business credit card for internet, phone, and cable services, or for travel purchases, for example, you might choose a card that awards more in those types of categories.

Read our full review of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

Like what you read about the card above, but don't want to budget for an annual fee? Consider Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. (This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

With this card, you'll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day, but you won't have to pay an annual fee to do it. And there's still a nice bonus offer opportunity: Earn a $200 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.


BEST CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS WITH NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES

5
About Our Ratings

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.

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

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% cash back on all 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 (then, 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)).

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

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. This is a great perk for anyone looking to make a large purchase. Once the intro period expires, a rate of 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) 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.

Read our full review of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Discover it® Cash Back

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: It's not often that you'll find a cash-back credit card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. This is also a great fit for anyone looking for a bit of a bonus at the end of their first year as a cardholder - this card automatically matches all the cash back you earn during your first year. The 5% you can earn with this card is effectively worth 10% during the first year. That plus no annual or foreign transaction fees makes this card hard to beat.

Bonus: Earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories each quarter you activate (up to $1,500 spent quarterly). At the end of your first year, Discover matches that 5%, effectively meaning you earn 10% cash back in those categories. You also earn 1% back on all your other purchases so, with the first-year match, you effectively earn 2% back. Most flat-rate cash-back cards offer 1.5% back, so the first year rewards here are really difficult to beat.

Annual Fee: See Terms

Rewards Rate: Each quarter you activate you'll earn 5% back on the first $1,500 spent in that quarter's categories. Earn 1% back on all your other purchases and on any purchases over the cap in the bonus categories. If you max out your spending in the bonus categories each quarter, you'll earn $75 cash back on those purchases alone. Thanks to the first-year match, that means you would earn $150 cash back each quarter that you activate and max out your spending during your first year.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • Discover will MATCH all the cash back new cardholders earn during their first year as a member. If you earn $200 in cash back, it will automatically become $400 at the end of your first year.
  • Who doesn't want to earn 5% cash back on purchases? This is an excellent no-annual-fee card for people who want to put a little thought into their purchases and maximize the 5% spending categories each quarter.

CONS:

  • This card requires a fair amount of planning in order to maximize the rewards.
  • You’ll only 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.

Read our full Discover it® Cash Back review.

BEST CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT

5
About Our Ratings

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.

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: $39

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5% back on all 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: Average, Fair, Limited

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.

Read our full Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

BEST CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS FOR BAD OR LIMITED CREDIT

Discover it® Secured

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

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.

Bonus: At the end of your first year, Discover will MATCH dollar-for-dollar all the cash back you've earned in that first year. That effectively means that earning $200 in cash back in your first year is actually worth $400.

Annual Fee: See Terms. You will be required to make a security deposit of at least $200 in order to establish your line of credit. This deposit is fully refundable assuming your account remains in good standing and fully paid.

Rewards Rate: Earn 2% cash back on $1,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter, then 1%. You'll also earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all your other purchases.

Credit Needed: New, Rebuilding

PROS:

  • This is one of the few secured 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 all 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 $200 cash back in your first year, you’ll actually pocket $400 that year.
  • After eight months of responsible use, Discover will automatically review your account monthly to determine whether you’re eligible to be transitioned 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 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.

Read our full Discover it® Secured review.

4
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It:  You don't need a hefty security deposit for this card AND it offers you the opportunity to earn cash-back rewards in the form of statement credit, an excellent way to help you on your jorney to building credit.

Bonus: There isn't a traditional bonus on this card, which is typical for a card available to people working to build or rebuild their credit. Remember, though, that your card, if used responsibly, can help you build or rebuild your credit so you can qualify for cards in the fair, good or excellent credit range down the road.

Annual Fee: $0 - $99

Rewards Rate: Earn 1% back, in the form of statement credits, on your grocery store and gas station purchases. Note that purchases at Walmart, Target or wholesale clubs will not qualify for rewards.

Credit Needed: Poor

PROS:

  • You can see if you prequalify for this card will have no effect on your credit score.
  • Earn 1% cash back at gas stations and grocery stores when you use this card.
  • Credit One Bank will periodically check and assess whether they can raise the limit. So if you start off with a low credit limit, that may not last for too long.

CONS:

  • There's an authorized user fee of $19 a year, and so if you have several family members on this card, that will reduce your available credit.
  • There’s no traditional welcome bonus offered with this card.

Read our full Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Cash Back Rewards review.

WHAT IS A CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD?

When we say "cash-back credit card," what comes to mind? If you thought, "I can get cash back when I make a purchase at the grocery store" or, "It's a credit card that waives fees if I make a withdrawal from an ATM," then you should keep reading. If you thought, "hard-to-keep up with categories that earn minimal rewards and won't actually benefit me in the long run," keep reading. And if you thought, "Cash-back credit card? I have no idea what that means," definitely keep reading.

A cash-back credit card isn't the same as getting cash back at a grocery store, nor is it simply a card that waives the fees if you make a withdrawal from an ATM. It's a credit card that incentivizes cardholders to use their plastic frequently in exchange for rewards like statement credits, cash deposits and gift cards. Cash-back rewards typically range from 1%-6% depending on your particular credit card and, in some cases, where you're doing your shopping (more on that below). In general, there's very little you have to do beyond just using your credit card and then deciding when and how to redeem your rewards. Credit card transactions automatically accumulate rewards on your behalf in an account usually held with the issuer.

Cash-back credit cards typically fall into one of three types: flat-rate, tiered and rotating categories. 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 with your credit card usage.

Flat-rate credit cards

These are the simplest cards to understand and are a great place to start for the person who is new to cash-back credit cards. With a flat-rate cash-back credit card, you earn a flat percentage back – often 1%-2% – on all your purchases. You won't earn bonus cash back for shopping at particular stores or spending in particular categories, but you also don't have to keep up with tiers or categories so "maximizing your rewards" just means using your card regularly.

flat rate description

Tiered-rate credit cards

The next step in cash-back credit cards are tiered-reward cards that offer differing percentages of cash back depending on where you make your purchase. These levels of cash-back do not rotate, but do often come with spending caps. For instance, you may earn 3% back at grocery stores on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter as well as 2% back at gas stations and 1% back on all other purchases. Unlike flat-rate cash-back cards, tiered-rate cards do require a bit of planning in order to maximize your rewards. If the tiers don't match up with your typical spending categories, you'll be leaving rewards on the table.

tiered rewards description

Rotating category credit cards

These are the most complex of the cash-back credit cards, but also the ones with the highest rewards-earning potential (assuming, of course, that the categories mesh with your spending habits and you max out the spending caps). In a nutshell, a rotating-categories card offers bonus cash back, usually in the 5% range, for particular credit card transactions during a given period of time. Often, cardholders must sign up for the bonus categories each period (often quarterly) and there's usually a spending cap, meaning cardholders will earn the bonus cash back up to a particular spending threshold ($1,500 is a pretty typical spending cap) and then rewards will revert to the non-bonus level (usually 1%).

rotating description

Credit cards with cardholder's choice rewards

These cards are rare, but you might see more of them in the future. Think of them as a sort of combination tiered rewards meets rotating categories with a dash of customer choice thrown in. The rewards structure generally involves tiers of some kind, along with the spending caps you see with traditional tiered cards. In addition, the cardholder gets to decide a category or two in which to earn rewards.

 An example of this card is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, which allows cardholders to choose from among six categories where they'll earn 3% cash back along with 2% back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases (3% and 2% rewards apply to the first $2,500 spent in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter) and 1% on all other purchases. Cardholders can change their choice category once each calendar month.

Practically, the type of card that is right for you will depend on your spending habits and your tolerance for organizing your credit card spending. Just to give you an idea of how each of these types of cards COULD stack up for you, take a look at the hypothetical scenario below for Frank, Rebecca and Thomas.

Rewards on $500
at Grocery Stores
Rewards on $100
at Restaurants
Rewards on $200
at Gas Stations
Rewards on $200
in Other Purchases
Total
Frank - flat-rate card; 1.5% on all purchases $7.50 $1.50 $3 $3 $15
Rebecca - rotating-categories card; 5% at restaurants this period, 1% on everything else $5 $5 $2 $2 $14
Thomas - tiered rewards card; 3% back on groceries, 2% on gas and 1% on other purchases $15 $1 $4 $2 $22

As you can see in the example above, Thomas with his tiered-rewards credit card came out on top for this particular time period; however, let's say Rebecca wanted to maximize her 5% restaurant rewards for the period and spent $500 at restaurants and just $100 at grocery stores. In that case, Rebecca would have come out ahead, earning a total of $30 in rewards for the month ($1 on groceries, $25 on restaurant spending, $2 at gas stations and $2 on other purchases).

What this should show you is the importance of honestly assessing your spending habits before making a decision about a cash-back credit card. At the end of the day, credit card rewards are only as good as your willingness and ability to maximize them.

HOW DO CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS WORK?

In short, the best cash-back cards automatically earn you 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., as we've explained above.

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, the best cash-back card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. This card has a unique tiered/flat-rate structure, offering cardholders 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining at restaurants and on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. Plus, you can earn 5% cash back up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) in the first year of card membership and that flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all non-bonus category purchases puts this card ahead of the pack. You can also take advantage of 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases (then, 14.99% - 23.74% Variable). 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, one of the best cash-back credit cards is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This 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 all other purchases. You also get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable). For a limited time, new cardholders can earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 within the first six months (offer expires 12/10/20). This card (and any cash-back credit card) is, of course, only the best cash-back credit card 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.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CASH-BACK CARD AND A REWARDS CARD?

Cash-back credit cards allow cardholders to put money toward their credit card statement, redeem cash back for gift cards or cash equivalent prizes, or receive a physical check. Rewards programs, on the other hand, are compiled of special offers and bonus points which can be redeemed for things other than cash: airline miles, gas cards, gift cards, hotel stays and more. When deciding if a cash-back or rewards card is best for you, it's important to take a deep dive into your lifestyle and spending patterns to see which type of card will benefit you the most.

Cash-back cards can be viewed as a more practical reward – you see a physical return for the money you spend on your credit card. Cash back can usually be put right back toward your statement, or in some cases into other funds like your 401K, savings account or an IRA, so you don't have the opportunity to take your reward and splurge on an item or experience. Rewards cards are geared toward really treating yourself – your reward isn't cash, it's more like a "present" that you must use.

Don't get us wrong, rewards cards can also be very practical depending on your lifestyle. If you travel for business frequently, looking into rewards cards that offer flight and/or hotel benefits may be more lucrative for you. Furthermore, some cards offer the option for either cash back or some kind of reward. Doing your research about the card that best fits you will always be the best method for choosing which plastic to put in your pocket.

HOW TO CHOOSE A CREDIT CARD

Choosing the best type of cash-back credit card will be a decision based on how much you put on your credit cards each month and where you typically spend your money. Really look through the above breakdowns of the pros and cons of each type of cash-back card as well as the type of credit card user who should possibly consider each type. Once you've decided what type of cash-back credit card is best for you, you'll want to take a look at a few other things that should, in fact, be part of the decision to apply for any credit card – cash-back or otherwise.

Read the fine print - Apart from judging your spending categories and which card will earn you the most points or cash back, it's also important to pay attention to the fine print. If you earn a higher rewards rate with one card but the APR is sky high, will you end up earning more in the long run, or paying more in the long run? The fine print will also lay out things like whether you'll pay foreign transaction fees when using the card abroad and if you'll enjoy certain privileges like rental car insurance, concierge service, price protection and so much more. It's tedious to read, but the fine print contains critical information that will both help you get the most out of your credit card and keep you from paying fees you don't need to pay.

Compare the annual fee to your earning potential - Some credit cards require a cardholder to pay an annual fee, but don't let that be an instant turn-off if you otherwise like what the card has to offer. Some cards waive the annual fee during the first year and, within that first year you should be able to assess whether you'll earn enough cash back or points to offset the fee once it kicks in. As an example, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges a $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 annual fee (offer expires 12/10/20), but the cash-back earning opportunities are incredibly high. As a reminder, cardholders can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit like bus fare, parking, tolls and more; all other purchases are worth 1% cash back.  So if you spend $1,000 a month at the supermarket and pay your balance off each month you'll earn $60 back for six months out of each year, or $360. That more than covers the annual and we haven't even discussed what you can earn in the other cash-back categories.  If you are going to spend that money anyway, why not earn some money back when you do it?

Know your credit tier- It can seriously damage your credit to apply for multiple credit cards at once and receive rejections. Credit scoring companies such as FICO may assume you are in an emergency situation and are about to binge on credit. Apply only for cards for which you are reasonably certain you will be approved. For each card reviewed on CardRatings, we strive to provide details about the credit tier most likely to be approved for the card. If you know your credit score is only in the average range, you're unlikely to be approved for a card designed for people with good to excellent credit. That said, situations do vary from person to person. Unsure of your credit score? You are entitled by federal law to a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus once every 12 months. You can request the reports online.

How to choose a cash-back card

APPLYING FOR A CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD

After assessing which card fits within your spending wheelhouse and financial profile, applying is an easy process. Most credit cards these days offer online applications that take only a few minutes to complete. You will need to enter some personal information, so make sure that when you do apply you're online with a secure connection in a private area. Be prepared to enter information including the following:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social security number
  • Housing costs
  • Employment status
  • Annual income

Usually after you've entered in all of the requested info, the inquiry will automatically be submitted to the lender. Sometimes you'll see approval immediately and other times you'll receive mail and/or a phone call to verify your approval or denial of credit card issuing. The process usually happens within a week at the most (unless you're applying for a secured credit card or credit cards for bad credit in which cases the process can take up to four weeks).

ARE CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD REWARDS TAXABLE?

In a word, no. 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 credit 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 credit card rewards. Obviously, taxes are complicated and every person's situation differs, so if you have any doubt about how to treat your credit card rewards, whether business or personal, consult a tax professional.

WHEN NOT TO USE A CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD

To get actual cash back- Except in extreme emergencies, do not use credit cards, cash-back or otherwise, for actually getting cash back from an ATM. Credit cards generally charge fees for cash advances – often in the 3% to 5% range – plus there are sometimes fees for using the ATM. Additionally, the APR on cash advances is often higher than on regular purchases, and that interest usually starts accruing immediately rather than after a grace period. Once the fees and interest start piling up, you'll regret the decision to use your card for a cash advance.

Be aware of other fees- All credit card issuers will let you know whether they assess usage fees like:

  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Balance transfer fees
  • Late fees

If you can avoid using your card in situations in which you know you'll be assessed an additional fee, you're on the right track!

BEST PRACTICES FOR USING YOUR CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD

Avoid adding new debt- Pay your credit card balance in full each month. If you let interest accumulate you'll be negatively offsetting the cash rewards you're earning with your cash-back card. Even with a card that has low or even zero interest intro offers, get in the habit of paying your bill in a timely manner each month. The beauty of credit cards is that, when used correctly, they can be a major tool for consumers. Incorrect use of credit cards can result in a long road of rebuilding your financial well-being.

Don't overspend- Don't buy just for cash-back rewards. Let's say your cash back is valid at restaurants but you don't have a huge entertainment budget, eating out to earn rewards won't get you into a better financial situation than staying home and cooking meals. Perhaps you should look into changing your cash-back program to one that racks up points at the grocery store or gas station where you'll (hopefully) be less likely to overspend.

Monitor your points- Points and cash-back offerings are sometimes capped, particularly for tiered or rotating categories cards, and sometimes your points or rewards do expire. It's important to pay close attention to the fine print of your credit card. If each year your points max out after $6,000 in spending, continuing to use your credit card won't be as beneficial to you as it was when you were earning two, three or even six times the amount of points – perhaps you have another option in your wallet that will mean more benefits.

Also, what's the point in using a cash-back card for the cash back then letting those accumulated rewards expire? Make sure that you are actually claiming the points that you are earning – double check when and if points expire as well as any other restrictions that may prevent you from taking full advantage of your credit card cash back.

Along those same lines, if you decide to carry a tiered or rotating categories cash-back card, make sure that you are using that card for the purchases that will earn you the bonus rewards. Often you'll need to sign up quarterly in order to take advantage of rotating categories; set reminders on your calendar or take advantage of the reminder services offered by the credit card issuer so that you don't miss out on those bonus rewards.

Share your card wisely- We certainly don't advocate just handing your credit card to anyone, but you should consider whether adding a trusted authorized user could help you maximize your reward opportunities since that person's charges on the card will also accumulate toward your cash-back rewards.

Most credit cards don't charge an additional fee for adding an authorized user. That means that you could have two people racking up rewards, but you'll only be paying one annual fee (if there's an annual fee to pay at all). With you and your authorized user spending toward rewards, you could find yourself on the way to a dream vacation or free gift card sooner than you think.

ARE CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS WORTH IT?

You are the best person to accurately assess whether a cash-back credit card will fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. Don’t be wooed by introductory offers from cards you know won’t ultimately be the best fit. Don’t fall into the "I’ll change my spending habits to make this card work because that intro offer is just too good to pass up" trap. Chances are, you’ll just end up carrying around the wrong credit card and not reaping maximum rewards. Instead, do your research and take the time to know what you need.

With that said, however, if you're someone who wants an easy way to earn rewards, without having to think about redemption options too much, a cash-back credit card may be the way to go. Because they earn money back on each purchase made, cash-back credit cards are a simple way to put more money in your pocket. Plus, they're a safe way to make purchases, and usually come with a plethora of other benefits, like warranty protection and certain travel perks. So in short, our editors give a collaborative yes— cash-back credit cards are generally worth it.


To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured in this post, please visit the follow links: American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card (See Rates and Fees); Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees); Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees)

Disclaimer: 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.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

Comments
1 Comments

  1. Ron Crum
    November 23, 2015 - 3:06 pm
    My wife and I got the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express. Having carried an American Express Card since 1975, getting one that paid 2% was a no brainer. Or so I thought. We have outstanding credit and our credit reports show we have never missed a payment. I spend about $5-8k/month on the card and lay promptly. That said, the FIA Card Services that runs the program would decline to accept charges ALL THE TIME as part of their Fraud Alert program. This has happened several times in the last 18 months. Just six weeks ago, they declined the card at 4 merchants we use frequently, all within 5 miles of my house. I called them and complained, again. Then, they did it again this week at my local grocery, Winn-Dixie; at my nearest Walgreens; and at Amazon, all merchants I use 30-40 times a year. I called and canceled the card yesterday.
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