Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

We’ve put together an in-depth guide to the best cash-back credit cards, some of which are from our partners, and how to pick the right cash rewards program for your needs. Whether you are looking for the best cash-back credit card offer for a sign-up bonus, groceries, and/or gas, we’ve got you covered. Learn more about how cash-back credit cards work, and which picks make the most sense for your goals.

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On Discover's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

The highest cash back card on the market is a clear cash-back leader with a laundry list of perks that reads like a novel. You'll be hard pressed to find a competing card with a matching feature set and no annual fee.

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What we Like:
  • Bonus cash back
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • FICO® Score for free
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
5.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 5.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 14 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 14 months
Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
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Rates & Fees
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On Chase's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

One card to rule them all is the name of the game here. This offer includes unlimited 1.5% cash back and an innovative bonus of 3% cash back on first year purchases ($20,000 spending cap), plus a long 0% intro APR offer.

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What we Like:
  • Innovative sign up bonus
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR offer for 15 months
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 17.24% - 25.99%, variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Highlights
  • New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit JourneySM
  • No annual fee
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On Chase's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

The marquee feature is the fact that this offer earns up to 5% cash back, but the card is packed with a deep bench of perks that is rare in the cash-back category, including an easy-to-pocket bonus and long 0% intro APR offer. It's a leading pick no doubt.

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What we Like:
  • Cash sign-up bonus
  • Earn up to 5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR offer for 15 months
  • No annual fee
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 17.24%-25.99%, variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Highlights
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it’s automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit JourneySM
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On American Express' Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

This is the highest spending gas and supermarkets card we've come across. If you have a sizable budget on both, the small annual fee is justifiable, especially given the other perks that include a big welcome bonus and a competitive 0% intro APR offer.

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What we Like:
  • $250 welcome bonus
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • Earn up to 6% cash back
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
1.5 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 1.5/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 15.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 12 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 12 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Highlights
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees
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On American Express' Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

Brings one-card wallet versatility with a big welcome bonus, long 0% intro APR offer, and unlimited cash back

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What we Like:
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • Welcome bonus
Key Scores:
3.5 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 3.5/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Highlights
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • $0 plan fees for plans set up during your first 15 months of Card Membership with Plan It®, a feature that lets you split up big purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees
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On Bank of America's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

The cash-back versatility of 3% on a category of your choice is the marquee perk and a class-leading intro bonus offer and a 0% intro APR round out the feature set of this top pick

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What we Like:
  • Big bonus offer
  • 3% back on gas or a category of your choice
  • No annual fee
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.24% - 26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 12 billing cycles Balance Transfers: 0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Highlights
  • No annual fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back on gas or your choice of one of five other popular categories, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and unlimited 1% on all other purchases (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No expiration on rewards
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase
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On Capital One's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

This may be the most versatile and flexible cash-back card on the market. The long 0% intro APR makes the offer hard to pass up, especially if you're wanting to keep a one-card wallet that packs in a rich rewards program.

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What we Like:
  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 0% intro APR
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.24% - 26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Highlights
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
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Apply Now
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On Capital One's Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

A solid contender with a rich sign-up bonus and among best-in-class cash back for restaurants and entertainment.

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What we Like:
  • 4% cash back for dining
  • Big sign-up bonus
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
3.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 3.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Regular APR: 16.74% - 25.74% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Highlights
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
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Citi® Double Cash Card
Our Bottom Line

One of the top cards on the market with up to 2% cash back on all purchases, no annual fee, and an 18-month 0% APR on balance transfers

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What we Like:
  • Up to 2% cash back
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
3.5 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 3.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.74% - 25.74%, variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months
Highlights
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back
  • No annual fee
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Get our latest tips and uncover more of our top picks to help you conquer your money goals

It’s little surprise that cash-back cards are some of the best credit cards on the market. Cardholders earn rewards for using their cards to make purchases, and can qualify for new cardholder bonuses that pay out as much as $200 in the first few months after opening an account. Whether you want flat cash back on all of your spending, or a card that doles out bonuses for spending on gas, groceries, restaurants, and other categories, there’s a credit card out there that’s perfect for you. Best of all, very few cash-back cards carry an annual fee, making them suitable for people with all levels of spending needs.

How we picked the winners

Our best cash-back credit card picks are mainly chosen by reviewing three broad factors:

  1. Sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards -- A card needs to rank well either for the size of its sign-up bonus or high cash-back rate.
  2. Fees -- Annual fees are justifiable for some high-quality offers (don’t worry, we’ll tell you when!), but the majority of the cash-back cards we covert include $0 annual fees. Balance-transfer fees should also either match or beat the competition.
  3. APRs -- Including a 0% intro APR for purchases and/or balance transfers has become table stakes in this category and it’s a requirement for inclusion.

Why you can trust me

As a personal finance nerd and credit card rewards enthusiast, I don’t just recommend credit cards, I use them, too! I’ve read through hundreds of card offers, picked apart every detail of the fine print, and looked for cards that offer something truly unique to stand out from the pack. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve collected thousands of dollars in cash back, free travel, and other perks without paying a dime in interest by using credit cards to pay for purchases I'd make anyway.

How can you get cash back from a credit card?

Card issuers earn fees from merchants every time you use your card to make a purchase, which helps them afford to pay rewards to cardholders who use a particular type of card.

A cash-back credit card gives cardholders cash back when they make a purchase with the card. Cash back is usually accrued as a percentage of the amount a cardholder spends on purchases, typically ranging from 1% to as high as 10% on select purchases.

A 2% cash-back credit card would reward you with $0.02 per $1 spent. A 3% cash-back credit card would reward you with $0.03 in rewards per $1, and so on.

How do cash back credit cards work?

Cash-back credit cards generally fall under one of three different categories of rewards programs. Which one is best for you depends what you spend, where you spend, and how much effort you want to put into collecting cash back on every swipe of your card.

Flat cash-back credit cards -- These are the simplest cash-back cards, because they offer flat cash-back rewards every time you make a purchase. These cards usually offer unlimited cash back equal to 1% to 2% of your purchases. The key advantage of these cards is that all spending earns rewards at the same rate, making them a great pick for a “one-card” wallet. Rewards are typically unlimited, so you earn the same cash-back rate whether you spend $10 or $10 million.

Bonus category cards -- Some cash-back cards offer enhanced rewards rates on certain types of spending. Bonus category cards are best for people who spend a disproportionate amount in a particular category (groceries or gas, for example).

Rotating bonus category cards -- These cards offer a high cash-back bonus approximating 5% on certain types of spending, in addition to a flat amount of cash back around 1% on all other types of spending.

Is a cash back credit card right for you?

Our handy checklist can help you decide if a cash-back credit card is right for you. If most or all of these statements apply to you, you’re probably a good candidate for a cash-back credit card.

You have good credit -- Cash-back credit cards typically require a better credit score than credit cards that do not have rewards programs, but you don’t need perfect credit to qualify. Fair credit (scores above 650) are generally good enough for most cash back offers.

You don’t travel much -- Cash-back credit cards are an excellent alternative to travel credit cards because they offer rewards that can be redeemed for cash, which can be spent however you’d prefer. That said, travel cards can offer more financial value for travelers, and tend to carry features (such as no foreign transaction fees) that cash-back rewards cards don’t always offer.

You won’t carry a balance -- As a rule of thumb, a single month of interest is roughly equal to the amount of rewards earned by a 1.5% cash back card. For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to spend heavily to accrue rewards if it means carrying a balance at a double-digit interest rate. Carrying balances is a losing strategy.

You can maximize bonus categories -- Bonus categories are the real killer feature of cash-back rewards cards. Many cards offer bonus cash back for spending on gas, groceries, restaurants, Amazon.com purchases, and more. These bonuses can be very lucrative considering some pay out as high as 5% to 10% on purchases.

Picking a good cash back card

There are five basic features that tend to separate the best cash-back cards from the worst. These details are often lost in the fine print, but we’re here to shine light on the things that can guide you toward picking the best card for you.

Here are five features you want your cash back card to have:

  1. A low minimum redemption threshold -- Cash back rewards don’t have any value unless you can cash them in. Some cards require you to earn as much as $50 in rewards before they can be redeemed, whereas other cards have no minimum redemption requirement. People who have lower spending needs may be smart to prioritize a card that offers a no minimum redemption feature, even if it offers a lower cash back rate per $1 of spending.
  2. New cardholder bonus -- Qualifying cardholders can get a new cardholder bonus that offers as much as $150 in bonus cash back for opening an account and meeting a minimum spend requirement. For example, many of our favorite cash-back cards offer $150 in bonus cash back after spending $500 in the first 90 days after account opening.
  3. 0% intro APRs -- Some cash-back credit cards offer up to 12 months of 0% intro APRs on purchases and balance transfers. This is a valuable perk that can save you hundreds of dollars in interest compared to carrying a balance at a typical APR of 18%. (This isn’t a “must-have” feature if you don’t carry a balance.)
  4. FICO® scores for free -- It’s becoming more common for credit cards to offer free access to your real FICO® credit score. This is a useful feature for people who value being able to watch their credit score rise or fall over time.
  5. No annual fees -- Luckily, annual fees are relatively rare in the world of cash-back credit cards.

How to make the most of a cash back card

Following some best practices can help ensure that you earn the highest possible rewards from a cash-back credit card without paying fees or interest to do so. Here’s a quick guide to using a cash-back credit card responsibly:

  1. Don’t carry a balance -- If you plan to carry a balance, a 0% intro APR credit card is a better solution than a cash-back credit card. The cash back you earn on purchases typically amounts to just one month of interest charges, so carrying a balance is almost always a losing strategy.
  2. Enroll in bonus categories -- If your card offers bonus categories, make sure you enroll. Most cards that have rotating bonus categories require you to enroll every three months by logging into your account and clicking a link. Set up reminders so you can be sure to maximize your rewards.
  3. Get a new cardholder bonus -- Sign-up bonuses add a lot of upfront value to cash-back credit cards, as many offer as much as $150 in bonus rewards for spending as little as $500 within 90 days of account opening. To put that in perspective, you’d have to spend $10,000 at a flat 1.5% cash back rate to earn $150 in ordinary rewards.
  4. Use an issuer’s shopping portal -- Many card issuers have an online portal that pays bonus rewards when cardholders use it to navigate to an online retailer. These bonus rewards can add up fast, as many offer 3% to 10% cash back on purchases you’d make anyway. Before you shop online, see if your card issuer has a relevant bonus offer.
  5. Look for rewards bonuses and multipliers --Customers who are Preferred Rewards clients with Bank of America, for example, can score an even larger bonus of 25% to 75% on their rewards. Depending on your status with the card issuer, these bonuses can substantially increase the effective rewards yield of a cash-back credit card. This is just one example of how having a banking relationship across multiple products (not just credit cards) can increase the value of a cash back card.

To recap, here are the best cash back credit cards

Card Rating Great For…
Discover it® Cash Back Graphic of Discover it® Cash Back
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4.5 stars
Great For:

Bonus cash back and no annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Graphic of Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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4.5 stars
Great For:

Unlimited 1.5% cash back and no annual fee

Chase Freedom® Graphic of Chase Freedom®
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4.5 stars
Great For:

Bonus cash rewards program

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Graphic of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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4.0 stars
Great For:

U.S. supermarkets

American Express Cash Magnet® Card Graphic of American Express Cash Magnet® Card
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4.0 stars
Great For:

Unlimited cash rewards and 0% intro APR offer

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Graphic of Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
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4.5 stars
Great For:

Cash-back versatility

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Graphic of Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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4.5 stars
Great For:

Unlimited cash rewards and 0% intro APR offer

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Graphic of Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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4.5 stars
Great For:

Restaurants and groceries

Citi® Double Cash Card Graphic of Citi® Double Cash Card
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4.5 stars
Great For:

Unlimited cash rewards and balance transfers