Cash back credit cards are popular because they provide tangible, easy-to-understand benefits. Who doesn’t like getting a credit on their monthly credit card statement – or, better yet, actual cash deposited into the account of their choice? Cash back credit cards can be even more popular than our top-rated gas credit cards and travel rewards cards.
But not all cash back credit cards are created equally.
Some offer the same cash back rate on all purchases. Others offer higher cash back rates on certain spending categories, such as groceries or gas, and lower rates on everything else. Others offer bonus cash back on spending categories that rotate every quarter. A few accrue cash back on purchases and monthly payments. And some cash back cards even hew to hybrid models, with cash back on certain spending categories and different types of rewards (such as airline miles) on others.
You’ll find each type of card on this list of the best cash back cards available to U.S. consumers today. Keep in mind that most cash back credit cards require applicants to have good to excellent credit – usually indicated by a credit score above 700, and sometimes even higher. If you don’t meet that threshold, work on building your credit before applying.
Best Cash Back Credit Cards
1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
1.5% Cash Back on All Purchases; Sign-up Bonus Worth $150
Chase Freedom Unlimited is similar to the flagship Chase Freedom Card, but with an important distinction: Instead of flat 1% cash back and rotating 5% cash back categories with quarterly spending caps, it simply earns an unlimited 1.5% on all purchases. You can redeem for virtually anything, in any amount, at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal – including cash equivalents, merchandise, and travel.
Chase Freedom Unlimited has a great (and sometimes overlooked) perk for loyal Chase credit card customers. If you also have the Chase Ink Business Preferred ($95 annual fee) business card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) travel rewards card, you can transfer points earned through Freedom Unlimited to those accounts. You can then transfer those points at a 1-to-1 ratio to a number of different frequent traveler programs, or redeem them for travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal and receive a 25% bonus (for instance, boosting the value of a 50,000-point redemption to $625). However, keep in mind that you need to obtain either Ink Preferred or Sapphire Preferred/Reserve – and remember, having Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t necessarily qualify you for those cards.
- Sign-up Bonus: You get a $150 cash bonus when you spend at least $500 within 3 months of account opening.
- Cash Back Rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- Redemption: You can redeem your accumulated cash back rewards in any amount. Redemption methods include statement credits, bank account deposits, gift cards, general merchandise purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal and direct with third-party retailers such as Amazon, and travel purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Introductory APR: 0% introductory purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months after account opening.
- Regular APR: Following the end of the introductory period, Chase Freedom Unlimited’s regular APR ranges from 17.24% to 25.99% variable, depending on prevailing interest rates and your personal creditworthiness. The cash advance APR is 27.24% variable. There is no penalty APR.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%, and foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount.
- Other Perks: Additional benefits include purchase protection (up to $500 per item for 120 days after purchase), price protection (reimbursement for up to $500 of the difference between your higher purchase price and a lower advertised price within 90 days of purchase), and a free credit score (updated weekly) with Chase Credit Journey.
2. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5% Cash Back on All Purchases; $150 Early Spend Bonus
Quicksilver Cash Rewards complements a host of other Capital One financial products, including the Capital One 360 banking platform. Its cash back perk is attractive and easy to understand: 1.5% cash back on all purchases, everywhere, with no spending caps or rotating categories. You can redeem cash back for a statement credit, bank account deposit, or gift card.
If your spending spans a wide range of categories, this is one of the better general-purpose cash back cards. However, it’s not as strong a choice if you’re looking to maximize your spending in specific categories, such as grocery purchases or travel.
- Early Spend Bonus: Earn $150 when you make $500 in qualifying purchases within 3 months of opening your account.
- Cash Back Rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- Redemption: Redeem in any amount for statement credits, bank account deposits, or gift cards. You can also set up automatic redemptions at predetermined thresholds ($25, $50, $100, or $200) and receive your cash back in your preferred mode when you hit the threshold.
- Introductory APR: 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for the first 9 months.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
- Other Perks: Card membership automatically entitles you to Visa Signature benefits, including travel upgrades, exclusive shopping discounts, and preferred seating at sporting events and concerts.
3. American Express Cash Magnet™ Card
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on All Purchases; Welcome Offer Worth Up to $150
The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card is a great general spending card for consumers who tend not to favor specific purchase categories. Like Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver, it earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, with no caps or restrictions. And, as a relatively new addition to Amex’s stable, it comes with a generous limited-time welcome offer: up to $150 in bonus cash.
Other perks include a 15-month 0% APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers and a nice lineup of value-added perks, including discount opportunities through Amex Offers. One big drawback is the $25 minimum redemption threshold, which could be an issue for lighter spenders.
- Welcome Offer: For a limited time, earn $150 cash back when you make at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months.
- Cash Back Rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, with no limits on how much you can earn.
- Redemption: Redeem for statement credits in any amount over $25. American Express may also offer gift card and merchandise redemptions as well, but these are subject to change and may not always be available.
- Introductory APR: 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months. Balance transfers must be made within 60 days of account opening.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of 3% or $5.
- Other Perks: Amex’s Plan It feature lets you set up flexible monthly payment plans for large purchases. Instead of interest charges, you’ll pay a fixed fee on your plan payments. Other benefits include Amex Offers (a discount suite), complimentary rental car coverage for loss and damage, travel accident insurance, extended warranties on certain covered items, cell phone protection, and other benefits for travelers and shoppers.
4. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on all Purchases; 1.8% Cash Back on Apple Pay & Android Pay Purchases for 12 Months; $200 Sign-up Bonus
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa is one of a growing cohort of “1.5% cards” – cash back credit cards that earn a flat, unlimited 1.5% return on spending. However, it comes with a nice twist: in addition to an attractive $200 sign-up bonus that requires $1,000 in spending within the first 3 months, Wells Fargo offers unlimited 1.8% cash back on all Apple Pay and Android Pay purchases made during the first 12 months. If you’re a fan of mobile wallet technology, you’ll love this benefit – and likely profit handsomely from it.
Once you clear the $20 cash back threshold, you can reap your rewards at Wells Fargo ATMs nationwide. When you hit $25, additional doors open – you can then redeem for paper checks, statement credits, or deposits into your Wells Fargo bank account. If you’re already a Wells Fargo deposit account holder, this card comes with low-cost overdraft protection transfer capabilities too. Just remember to opt in after signing up.
- Sign-up Bonus: When you make $1,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months of sign-up, you get a $200 cash bonus. You also get 1.8% cash back on all Apple Pay and Android Pay purchases made within the first 12 months. There’s no limit to how much you can earn through Apple Pay and Android Pay.
- Cash Back Rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, including Apple Pay and Android Pay purchases made after the 12-month introductory period.
- Redemption: The minimum redemption is $20 to $25, depending on how you choose to redeem. ATM redemptions allow the lower threshold.
- Introductory APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. During the first year, balance transfers cost either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. After that, they cost the greater of $5 or 5%.
- Other Perks: The cell phone protection plan covers certain communications devices up to $600 per incident and $1,200 per year. Travel inconvenience coverage reimburses travelers for lost or damaged baggage. Overdraft protection transfers (opt-in) cost $12.50 to $20, depending on transfer size.
5. U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
5% Cash Back on Up to $2,000 in 2 Category Purchases Every Quarter; Unlimited 2% Back on 1 Category of Your Choice; Unlimited 1% Back on Everything Else
The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card has a three-tiered cash back program with unlimited earning potential.
The headline here is the top tier, which pays 5% cash back on purchases in two categories of your choice, up to $2,000 in combined category spending per quarter. The second tier pays unlimited 2% cash back on eligible purchases made in an additional category of your choice. Categories tend to have broad appeal: gas stations, restaurants, drugstores, and so on. However, you must activate your categories in advance of each quarter; otherwise, you’ll earn the card’s baseline 1% cash back (unlimited) on all purchases.
Redeeming earned cash back is easy with Cash+. There’s no minimum to redeem for credit card statement credits (the most seamless option) or deposits to an eligible bank account. You can also redeem for reward cards (gift cards) in $5 increments, starting at $20. A word of warning: you must redeem cash back within 36 months of earning it, or it’s gone forever.
Additional benefits of Cash+ include an easy-to-attain sign-up bonus worth $150 on $500 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months, and a 0% APR promotion on balance transfers for the first 12 months. As long as you can tailor your spending to Cash+’s categories, it’s tough to imagine why you wouldn’t want this card in your wallet.
- Sign-up Bonus: When you make $500 in eligible purchases within 3 months of opening your account, you get a $150 cash bonus.
- Cash Back Rate: Earn 5% cash back on purchases made in 2 categories of your choice, up to $2,000 in combined spending across both categories. Earn unlimited 2% cash back on an additional category of your choice, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other eligible spending. The 5% and 2% categories are subject to change on a quarterly basis, and you must activate your cash back categories in advance to earn at the higher rates.
- Redemption: You can redeem accumulated cash back for statement credits, bank account deposits, or rewards cards (gift cards). There’s no minimum redemption for statement credit or bank account deposit redemptions. Reward card redemptions start at $20 and must be made in $5 increments. Cash back expires 36 months after the billing cycle in which it’s earned.
- Introductory APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months. Qualifying transfers must be made 60 days from your account opening date.
- Regular APR: Once the introductory period ends, the regular balance transfer APR ranges from 16.24% to 25.74% variable. The purchase rate falls within this range from day one, with the exact APR dependent on prevailing interest rates and your personal creditworthiness.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost at least the greater of $5 or 3%, but some types of cash advances cost more. The foreign transaction fee is a flat 2% to 3%, depending on how the transaction is denominated.
- Other Perks: Additional benefits include complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars paid in full with your card, complimentary Visa concierge service, limited retail protection on covered purchases, and overdraft protection for U.S. Bank deposit account holders…..Read More>>>