10 Best Credit Cards for Cash Back

Photo Courtesy: Rockaa/iStock

While experienced borrowers may wonder how many credit cards to have, those who are newer to credit cards or prefer to focus on just one card might have other credit questions on their minds. Often while sifting through pre-approved credit card offers or exploring options on their own, finding the best credit cards for cash back is a priority.

Cashback offers come in all shapes and sizes, and some are more valuable — and helpful, financially speaking — than others. Because getting the best deal possible is one of the best tips for using credit cards, finding the right cashback card should be your focus. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here’s a look at the 10 best credit cards for earning cash back. Keep in mind that the offers and rates below are subject to change at each company’s discretion and are meant to provide a general overview of card features and benefits.

1. Chase Freedom Unlimited

With no annual fee, Chase Freedom Unlimited is commonly considered one of the best credit cards for cash back around. You get 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000) during your first year, as well as up to 6.5% cash back on purchases in select categories. You also don’t have to worry about minimum amounts before redeeming, as you can tap into your cash back at any time.

When it comes to the interest rate, it’s variable and usually runs in the 17.24 to 25.99% range. As a result, this card isn’t ideal if you plan to carry a balance. However, with higher cash back on travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards program, it could be worth considering if you’re often out and about.

2. Wells Fargo Active Cash

Another card with no annual fee, Wells Fargo Active keeps things simple with a flat 2% cash back rate. That means you don’t have to remember any categories, which is beneficial. Plus, it comes with perks like cell phone protection worth up to $600 if you use the card to pay your bill.

There is a variable APR — 17.24, 22.24 or 27.24% — that’s higher than you find with some alternatives, so it isn’t ideal for carrying a balance. But, there is a 0% introductory APR for 15 months, as well as 0% APRs on transfers during your first 15 months of card ownership. 

3. Citi Double Cash

The Citi Double Cash card is unique in that you earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% cash back when you pay that purchase off. It applies to anything you might purchase, making this card versatile and preventing you from having to track categories. Plus, there’s no annual fee.

As for the variable APR, it runs between 16.24 and 26.24%, making this card a bit expensive if you carry a balance. Additionally, you need at least $25 of cash back before you can redeem, which is something other cards don’t require.

4. Amex Blue Cash Preferred

While this card comes with an annual fee of $95, it has a solid cashback rate, which could make it worthwhile. You can earn 3% on groceries, select streaming services, gas and transit (up to $6,000), and 1% on everything else. Plus, you can take advantage of the Pay It Plan It features that allow you to avoid the typical APR by setting up fixed monthly payments.

As for the variable APR, it comes in at 16.24 to 27.24%, which makes carrying a balance ill-advised. Additionally, if you don’t spend much on groceries, covering the annual fee may be tricky. Another option could be a better choice unless you frequently purchase food.

5. Discover it

Discover it doesn’t come with an annual fee. It allows you to earn more cash back in categories you hand select, at rates reaching as high as 5%. While the categories rotate quarterly, the selection usually includes options that people spend a significant amount of money on — like restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations — making this card potentially more valuable than those that rely on categories that don’t see as much spending.

The variable APR sits between 14.24 and 25.24%, so it can be competitive if you have excellent credit — though it could make carrying a balance unwise for most people. In some cases, activating your categories is also an annoyance, particularly because forgetting means not getting the 5% cash back. Finally, you can only get your cash back once a year, which isn’t as flexible as some alternatives.

6. Chase Freedom Flex

With the Cash Freedom Flex, you can get cash back up to 5% in select categories on up to $1,500 in purchases. Plus, there’s no annual fee, as well as more cashback options through the Ultimate Rewards program. You can redeem your cash back at any time with no minimum amount requirements, too.

Overall, the variable APR falls in the 17.24 to 25.99% range, which is high if you’re carrying a balance. Additionally, you don’t get to choose your spending categories, so there may be quarters when none of them are in areas where you spend much.

7. Capital One Savor Rewards

If you’re a foodie, you’re a frequent traveler or you enjoy spending on entertainment, then the Capital One Savor Rewards card might be right up your alley. Capital One Entertainment purchases can snag you 8% cash back. Plus, you can get 3 to 5% cash back on travel and entertainment expenses, including dining. The 3% rate also applies to groceries, which is a nice feature.

Another benefit of this Capital One card is that there’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. However, the APR can run from 16.49 to 26.49% variable, so carrying a balance isn’t ideal.

8. Amex Cash Magnet

With the Amex Cash Magnet card, you get 1.5% unlimited cash back, making this option excellent if you prefer to keep things simple. Plus, you can use the Pay It Plan It feature to take control of how you pay off purchases and secure a fixed monthly fee instead of traditional interest.

While the 16.24 to 27.24% variable APR isn’t uncommon, it’s high if you carry a balance. Additionally, while the Pay It Plan It feature is free to use for up to 15 months after getting the card, it comes with a 1.33% monthly fee after that — which could exceed your APR if you aren’t careful.

9. BoA Customized Cash

With the Bank of America Customized Cash card, you get 3% cash back on a category of your choosing, as well as 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% on everything else. That makes it a solid choice if you want slightly customizable rewards without having to worry about getting cash back on many everyday purchases. Plus, there’s no annual fee, and the rewards don’t expire.

Like many cards on this list, the 16.24 to 26.24% variable APR isn’t ideal for carrying a balance. Additionally, the cashback earnings on the 3% and 2% rewards are capped, which could mean you’d earn more if you stuck with a flat-rate alternative. However, if you’re a lighter credit card user, this could help you maximize your rewards.

10. Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa is a fee-free card that lets you earn 1.5% cash back. However, the earnings are based on payments, not purchases, which is a bit of a different take. But, you can boost the cash back by up to 10% by using the Upgrade Shopping feature, which is worth noting.

Additionally, it uses an approach that’s closer to a personal loan, all wrapped up with the convenience of a credit card. If you don’t pay off a purchase right away, you divide it up over a set period. This lets you handle the debt in installments, which is less ambiguous than a traditional card.

As for the interest rate, it ranges between 8.99 and 29.99%. It’s highly competitive if you have excellent credit but loses its edge if you’re closer to average.