Best cash back credit cards of May 2022

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.
Best credit cards of 2022
author Jennifer Doss
Terms apply; see the online credit card application for full terms and conditions of offers and rewards
20+ years
finding the best card for you
1,500+ cards
in our database
5,000+ cardholders
polled about their cards
243 reviews
from our experts
Learn about our methodology  

List of Winners

Every serious credit card rewards strategy should involve cash-back credit cards. 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. That's because cash back credit cards 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 credit cards from our partners also happen to be no-annual-fee cards.

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 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 introduced enhanced offers on a number of cash-back credit cards, 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 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.

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 cash-back credit cards to your portfolio, we can help. We can even offer some guidance on how to use several cash-back credit cards strategically in order to maximize your rewards.

So what are the best cash-back credit cards of 2022? 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 right now.

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Chase Freedom Flex℠   Winner

5
 
3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars $0
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!
Welcome Bonus
$200 $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of opening an account
Annual Fee
$0
APR
15.24% - 23.99% Variable
Credit Score
Excellent, Good

Bonus: Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.

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 and on balance transfers for 15 months (then 15.24% - 23.99% 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.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 82.1 84.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.1 8.4
Customer Service 8.4 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.4 8.3
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.7 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.0 8.1

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

Chase Freedom Unlimited®   Winner

5
 
3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars $0
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.
Welcome Bonus
Up to $300 Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - a bonus worth as much as $300
Annual Fee
$0
APR
15.24% - 23.99% Variable
Credit Score
Excellent, Good

Bonus: 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 15.24% - 23.99% 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.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • Earning 1.5% cash back on every non-bonus purchase is a simple way to earn rewards. You can also earn an additional 1.5% cash back on purchases (on up to $20,000 spent) your first year as a cardholder, furthering your profit. 
  • 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 and balance transfers (then, 15.24% - 23.99% 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®.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 83.4 84.5
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.3 8.4
Customer Service 8.4 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.3 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.0 8.1

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

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer   Winner

5
 
3% $0
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.
Intro APR Length
18 months 18 months of no interest on balance transfers (then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable))
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Score
Excellent, Good

Bonus: This cash back card doesn't offer a traditional bonus, but it does have an introductory offer of 18 months of no interest on balance transfers (then, 14.74% - 24.74% (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, Good

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, 14.74% - 24.74% (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.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 82.2 88.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.8
Customer Service 8.0 8.8
Website/App Usability 8.2 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.5 9.2
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.3 8.8

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

Discover it® Cash Back   Winner

None $0
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 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 12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR applies after the intro period).
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
$0
APR
12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
Credit Needed
Excellent, Good, Average
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • NEW Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR* for 15 months on purchases. Then 12.24% to 23.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
See More

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, 12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR).

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 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

Read our full Discover it® Cash Back review.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 86.3 88.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.7 8.8
Customer Service 8.6 8.9
Website/App Usability 8.6 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 9.3
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.5 8.7

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

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card   Winner

5
 
3% $0
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.
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
$0
APR
14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Credit Score
Excellent/Good

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: $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 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:

  • 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 a cash rewards credit card.
  • 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® Customized Cash Rewards credit card review.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 78.2 86.1
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.8 8.7
Customer Service 7.9 8.6
Website/App Usability 7.9 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.9 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.7 8.3

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

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card   Winner

5
 
3% $0
Why We Like It: 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.
Welcome Bonus
20,000 points Spend $750 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account and you’ll receive 20,000 ThankYou® Points - worth $200
Annual Fee
$0
APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Credit Score
Excellent, Good

Bonus: Spend $750 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account and you’ll receive 20,000 ThankYou® Points, worth $200.

Annual Fee: $0

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.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

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 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) 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.

Read our full Citi Custom Cash℠ Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 72.8 Did not survey
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.2 n/a
Customer Service 7.1 n/a
Website/App Usability 7.6 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.7 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.3 n/a

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

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card   Winner

5
 
None $0
Why We Like It: This tiered cash-back card awards you for both dining out and cooking at home. Plus, earn a $200 bonus after spending just $500 on purchases in the first three months, and there are no foreign transaction or annual fees to worry about.
Welcome Offer
$200 Earn a $200 cash-back bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months of account opening
Annual Fee
$0
APR
15.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Credit Score
Excellent, Good

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

Annual Fee: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), and 1% on other purchases.

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 $200 bonus cash back after you spend $500 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.
  • Enjoy intro 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then 15.24% - 25.24% (Variable) 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.

Read our full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 78.3 85.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.8 8.4
Customer Service 7.6 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.1 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.4 8.7
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 8.5

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

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express   Winner

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
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.
Welcome Offer:
$300 statement credit Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months
APR
14.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Credit Score
Good, Excellent

The Welcome Offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

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.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then 14.74% - 24.74% Variable.
  • 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.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 77.9 86.5
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.8 8.4
Customer Service 7.8 8.8
Website/App Usability 7.7 8.8
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.9 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.8 8.7

*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 Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express instead. This card offers a still valuable rate of 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on other 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; terms apply.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card   Winner

5
 
None $0
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.
Welcome Offer
$200 Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within your first three months as a cardholder
Annual Fee
$0
APR
15.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Credit Score
Excellent, Good

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 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, 15.24% - 25.24% (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 and balance transfers. This is a great perk for anyone looking to make a large purchase. Once the intro period expires, a rate of 15.24% - 25.24% (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.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 78.5 87.0
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.8 8.6
Customer Service 7.7 8.7
Website/App Usability 8.1 8.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.1 9.2
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.0 8.6

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

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card   Winner

5
 
3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars $0
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.
Welcome Offer
$750 Earn $750 after spend you $7,500 within the first three months of card membership
Annual Fee
$0
APR
13.49% - 19.49% Variable
Credit Score
Excellent, Good

Bonus: New cardholders earn a bonus of $750 after spend you $7,500 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 $7,500 in purchases with the card in three months, you could pocket $750 cash back. 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 13.49% - 19.49% 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.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 76.0 80.1
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.5 7.9
Customer Service 7.8 8.1
Website/App Usability 7.6 8.1
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.9 8.3
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.4 8.0

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

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card   Winner

5
 
None $39
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.
Rewards Rate
1.5% Earn 1.5% back on your purchases
Annual Fee
$39
APR
26.99% (Variable)
Credit Score
Average, Fair, Limited

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 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.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 84.0 86.6
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.4 8.3
Customer Service 8.4 8.7
Website/App Usability 8.4 8.9
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.4 9.3
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.4 8.9

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

Discover it® Secured Credit Card   Winner

None $0
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.
Welcome Offer
Cashback Match Discover will match all the cash back a cardholder earns during their first year
Annual Fee
$0
APR
23.24% Variable APR
Credit Score
New, Rebuilding
  • No credit score required to apply.*
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Using your secured credit card helps build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, prepaid and debit cards can't do that.
  • Establish your credit line with your tax return by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.*
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
See More

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.

Read our full Discover it® Secured Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 81.6 82.8
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.9 8.2
Customer Service 8.2 8.3
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.3
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.8 8.7
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.3 8.2

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

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FAQ

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.

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. 

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

If you prefer earning cash back on every purchase you make, one the best cash back cards 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. You can also take advantage of 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then, 15.24% - 23.99% 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, another one of the best cash back credit cards is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express . 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, 14.74% - 24.74% Variable). Plus, new cardholders can earn a $300 statement credit once spending $3,000 in 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.

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.


Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2021 to conduct surveys among 1,524 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2021 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; "Past Scores (avg.)" are the scores averaged over each prior year the card has been surveyed. "Past Scores" indicates a card has only been surveyed in one prior year.

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:  Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees; terms apply); Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees; terms apply)

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.

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