Best Cash Back Credit Cards Of 2020: Review and Compare
Compare the best cash back credit cards from Money Under 30's editors. Get $300 or more in sign-up bonus cash back and earn up to 5% cash back on purchases.

Nobody would say no to a little extra spending money, which is one of the reasons cash back credit cards are so popular.

Offering consumers cash back points or benefits on specific purchases, cash back cards are frequently the first card out of the wallet when the bill comes. These cards are even more appealing because they offer cardholders cash back rewards on the money they are spending anyway. So, you are getting free bonuses every time you swipe.

Too good to be true? In fact there are so many credit cards that offer cash back rewards you can take advantage of.

We’ve done the research for you; here are the top five cash back credit cards on the market right now, based on metrics like APR, annual fees, credit required, rewards structure, sign up bonus, and more.

Overview: Best cash back credit cards

Best for quarterly bonus categories

Chase Freedom Flex℠

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In A Nutshell

The Chase Freedom FlexSM offers an enticing $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 in the first three months and 5% cash back on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.  Plus cash back rewards on travel, dining, drugstore and every day purchases with rewards that never expire. All for no annual fee!

Read review
Credit score requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a [FICO 8] [Vantage 3.0] score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What we like:

  • Awesome $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 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!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99 - 23.74% Variable
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months , 15 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is our favorite cash back credit card for quarterly bonuses. You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. That’s up to $300 in cash back per year just with bonus category spend. Plus, all other purchases will automatically earn 1% cash back. Plus, it has NO annual fee.

For October through December 2020, the rotating 5% bonus category is qualifying purchases at Walmart using PayPal.

For new cardmembers: you’ll also earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year; there’s also a sweet $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

How much can I earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend while maxing out the rotating bonus categories, here’s what your first year could look like:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Rotating category cash back earned: $300
  • Cash back earned from application bonus: $200
  • All other cash back earned: $180
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $680

See card details/apply or read our full Chase Freedom Flex℠ review.

Best for cash back match

Discover it® Cash Back

One of the biggest perks of the Discover it® Cash Back card is a MASSIVE cash back bonus after one year of membership. Discover matches new cardholders’ total cash back earned at the end of their first year. So if you earn $600 in cash back during your first year, Discover will match it and you’ll get $1,200. That’s free money.

You’ll also get an outstanding earnings rate — 5% cash back in select categories, which is worth up to $75 per quarter ($1,500 max spend) when you activate it. You only have to track which categories are coming up to snag that 5%. You’ll receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. And to make things even better, the Discover it® Cash Back does NOT have an annual fee.

For October through December 2020, the rotating 5% cash back categories for the Discover it® Cash Back are Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com.

How much can you earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend while maxing out the rotating bonus categories, here’s what your first year could look like:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Rotating category cash back earned: $300
  • All other cash back earned: $180
  • Total cash back earned: $480
  • Discover Cashback Match earned: $480
  • Total cash back earned (after match) in the first year: $960

See card details/apply or read our full Discover it® Cash Back review.

Best for no annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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In A Nutshell

The Chase Freedom Unlimited opens up with a terrific bonus opportunity where you’ll earn $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months. Tack on a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (standard 14.99% – 23.74% variable APR) add to that a strong everyday rewards program and it’s a terrific option for anyone looking to save a ton of money on everyday purchases.

Read review
Credit score requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a [FICO 8] [Vantage 3.0] score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What we like:

  • Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.

  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year and an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; then a variable APR of 14.99% – 23.74%

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99 - 23.74% Variable
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months , 15 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is an amazing no annual fee credit card. Besides having NO annual fee, you’ll earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. You’ll also enjoy long-term cash back, including 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 3% on drugstore purchases, and an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. Meaning, you need not bother with rotating categories or spending in certain places at certain times of the year. Your cash back rewards do not expire if your account is open, and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.

You’ll also get a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and a $200 cash back bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. To top it off, you’ll get extra perks like Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty Protection, to name just a couple.

How much can you earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend (including $500 on groceries and $100 on restaurant/dining and drugstore purchases), you’ll meet the spend bonus. Here’s what your first year could look like:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Cash back earned from spend bonus: $200
  • Cash back earned on groceries: $300
  • Cash back on restaurant/dining and drugstore purchases: $36
  • Cash back earned on all other purchases at 1.5%: $252
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $788

See card details/apply or read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited®  review.

Best for small businesses

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is an excellent card for any small business.  From a big up front bonus to an all-around excellent rewards program, cardholders can cash in on rewards without the worry of an annual fee.

Read review
Credit score requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a [FICO 8] [Vantage 3.0] score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What we like:

  • $750 cash back bonus after spending $7,500 in the first three months of card ownership

  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent on office supplies, internet, cable and phone service purchases each account anniversary year

  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 13.24% – 19.24%

  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months , 12 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is a great choice when it comes to cash rewards on business expenses. Cardholders earn an impressive 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases on business expenses including office supplies, phone, cable, and internet. If you spend a lot in these areas, your cash back will add up fast. This card also features 2% cash back (also on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases) for gas and dining, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

In addition to the cash back rewards, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card features a bonus offer of $750 in cash back when you spend $7,500 in the first three months. With no annual fee and competitive rates, this card is a clear winner for businesses with high office supply spending. 

How much can you earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend with $1,000 going to the 5% category, $500 going to the 2% category, and $500 going toward all other purchases, here’s what the first year could look like:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Cash back earned on 5% category: $600
  • Cash back earned on 2% category: $120
  • Cash back earned on all other purchases: $60
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $780

If you frontload your expenses in the first three months in order to earn the welcome bonus, you could be looking at up to $1,530 in rewards for your first year.

See card details/apply

Best for credit building

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

If you don’t have the excellent credit needed to score some of the bonuses other Capital One credit cards offer, consider the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. It’s a terrific card for average credit and you can still earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases with a modest $39 annual fee.

Read review
Credit score requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a [FICO 8] [Vantage 3.0] score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What we like:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases

  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months

  • No foreign transaction fees and a modest $39 annual fee

Learn More >>

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is our top pick for credit-building cash back rewards credit cards. It’s aimed at people with average credit looking for unlimited cash back and decent rates. You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% on all purchases, with no restrictions. This kind of earn-rate is not super-common with credit-building cards. It also features a low annual fee of $39.

If you’re traveling, you can get perks such as auto rental insurance waiver, travel accident insurance up to $100,000 for accidental loss of life, speech, hearing, limb, or sight when riding on common carriers, and 24/7 roadside assistance. Overall, this card offers a TON of value for being one designed to help you rebuild your credit.

How much can you earn?

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Cash back earned on all purchases: $360
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $360

Best for dining out & grocery stores

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Disclaimer – The information about the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by fzcjhy.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has a generous cash rewards program and is our favorite cash back rewards credit card for dining out and grocery stores. You’ll earn 4% unlimited cash back on both dining and entertainment. Plus, you’ll get 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on everything else automatically. Because of this rewards structure, you’re able to earn substantial cash back on food purchases.

But the benefits don’t end there. First off, Capital One loosely categorizes entertainment, so you can get 4% back on things like zoos, concerts, tourist attractions, pool halls, and movies under that category – making it a perfect date night card. You’ll also get a $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account – which is like a 10% return on your “investment.”

You can earn 8% cash back when you go through Vivid Seats (expires January 31st, 2022) to buy tickets to things like sporting events, concerts, Broadway shows, and theater events.

How much can you earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend with $500 going to dining and entertainment, $500 going to groceries, and the rest going to other purchases, PLUS a one-time concert ticket purchase through Vivid Seats for $800, here’s what your first year could look like:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,800
  • Intro cash back earned: $300
  • Cash back earned on dining & entertainment: $240
  • Cash back earned on groceries: $120
  • Cash back earned on everything else: $120
  • Cash back earned on concert tickets: $64
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $844

See card details/apply or read our full Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Best for Bank Of America customers

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

For existing Bank of America customers, there is no better cash back card than the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card due to its layered cash back program. This is unlike many of its competitors. To start, you’ll get 3% cash back in a category of your choice. The options include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or app德扑圈官方网址home improvement/furnishings. After that, you’ll get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

But here’s where the “layering” comes in. You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter. After that, you’ll earn 1% cash back. This can easily get confusing, which is why Bank of America has a calculator to help. You can also earn a quick $200 in online cash rewards after tallying $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening the account.

How much can you earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend, maxing out each of the 3% and 2% cash back categories (remember it’s a total of $2,500 per quarter between the two, so we’ll assume $5,000 spend on each category for the year), here’s what your first year could look like:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Cash back earned on 3% category: $150
  • Cash back earned on 2% category: $100
  • Cash back earned on all other purchases: $140
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $390

See card details/ apply or read our full Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card review.

Best for poor credit

Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Apply Now On the Secure Website Rates & Fees

In A Nutshell

The Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is a credit card designed for people with poor credit who are looking for a way to make everyday purchases. 1% cash back is earned on all eligible purchases and Credit One will routinely monitor your account for credit line increases. For qualified applicants, there is no annual fee. Terms Apply.

Read review
Credit score requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a [FICO 8] [Vantage 3.0] score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What we like:

  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases

  • Choose the credit card that fits your needs without it affecting your credit score

  • Build your credit with responsible credit card use

  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unized charges
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV, terms apply.
  • This unsecured card requires no deposit and can help build your credit
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$0 - $99
Regular APR
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases N/A , 0 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

For those with poor credit, we found the Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit to be the best option for a cash back rewards. For purchases, you’ll earn 1% cash back in categories like groceries, gas, and telecommunication services. For a credit-builder card that has no security deposit, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better rewards package.

It has some nice perks for those who want a cash back rewards card with no security deposit and additional features – and this one includes things like mobile banking, travel and auto rental insurance, and NFC payments, as an example. We also found this card best for people with poor credit that need emergency funds for things like a minor car repair or money to pay utility bills.

How much can you earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend (and remember that your 1% cash back will only go toward things like  gas, groceries, and payments for phone, Internet, cable, and TV services) here’s how the first year could look for cash back:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Total cash back earned on qualifying categories: $120
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $120

See card details/apply or read our full Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit review.

Best for business cash

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card

The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card is another great card for business cash. You’ll earn 3% cash back on a rewards category of your choice, then 2% cash back on dining and 1% cash back on everything else automatically. Although Bank of America caps the higher rewards to $50,000 per year (3% and 2% categories), you’ll still earn 1% cash back on every dollar you spend after you’ve reached that limit.

Besides the rewards, you’ll get a See Terms, and when you spend at least $3,000 (in net purchases) within three months of opening your account, you’ll get a $300 statement credit. But the best news is there is no annual fee for this credit card. While most business credit cards have steep annual fees, this one does not, making it stand out amongst competitors.

How much can you earn?

Assuming a $2,000 monthly spend with $1,000 going to the 3% category, $500 going toward dining, and $500 going toward all other purchases, here’s what the first year could look like:

  • Total spend over 12 months: $24,000
  • Cash back earned on 3% category: $360
  • Cash back earned on dining: $120
  • Cash back earned on all other purchases: $60
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $540

Now, here’s what that earning would look like if you were a Preferred Rewards client:

  • Total cash back earned – Gold Preferred Rewards bonus (25% boost): $675
  • Total cash back earned – Platinum Preferred Rewards bonus (50% boost): $810
  • Total cash back earned – Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards bonus (75% boost): $945

See card details/apply.

Best for cash back booster

Dosh

Dosh isn’t a credit card, but it’s even better. You can use it with any credit or debit card. Simply download the app, link your regularly-used cards, and the app will automatically apply savings whenever you spend at a partner merchant.

You’ll only get cash back when you spend with one of Dosh’s partner brands, but the list is long and impressive. Their retail partners include Walmart, Instacart, GNC, and Cost Plus World Market. You’ll also save with a long list of dining partners, including Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts. Dosh even offers up to 20% cash back on over 60,000 international hotels; just book her room through the DOSH app and get automatic cash back.

Another way you can earn cash back is by referring friends. Once you have the app downloaded, just tap on the icon at the bottom of the screen that reads “Refer.”

How much can you earn?

There isn’t a fixed amount with Dosh. The offers will vary by merchant and are subject to change from one day to the next. You can check in the app to view nearby offers and start shopping to save money.

One of the biggest ways to save is with retailers you use frequently. If you buy all your weekly groceries through Walmart, for instance, and the app is offering 6% cash back, here’s how it would break down:

  • Weekly spend of $100: $6
  • Total spend over 12 months: $52,000
  • Total cash back earned in the first year: $312

See card details/apply.

Summary of the best cash back credit cards

Credit Card
Credit Needed⁺
Cash Rewards
Unique Features
Discover it® Cash Back
700
1-5% cashback*
5% cashback on rotating categories*
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
700
5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year and an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
$200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
700
5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases on office supplies, phone, cable, and internet; 2% cash back (also on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases) for gas and dining, 1% cash back on all other purchases
$750 cash back bonus after you spend $7,500 in the first three months
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
600
1.5%
Great card for building credit with solid cashback program
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
700+
1% standard, 2% grocery stores, 4% dining & entertainment
Best cash rewards program for dining
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
700
1% standard, 2% grocery & wholesale, 3% choice categories
$0 annual fee, strong layered cash back program
Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit
350
1%
Rare rewards program for poor credit, no security deposit
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card
750
1% standard, 2% dining, 3% choice categories
$0 annual fee, $300 statement credit if you spend at least $3,000 in purchases within 90 days of opening your account
Dosh
N/A
Varies
Automatic savings by spending with partners

⁺Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for.

Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.

*5% cash back categories have a $1,500 max spend and require quarterly activation

How we came up with our list of the top cash back credit cards

With so many terrific options, you might be wondering how we narrowed down the list to find the top cash back credit cards. To be fair, plenty of good options didn’t make our list. The cards we presented above are our favorites because they score highly on the most important features people should be looking for in a cash back card.

This includes things like a high sign-up bonus, low annual fees, easy rewards redemption and earning policy, and favorable terms for their other fees. We factored in the most important features of a cash back card and compared the contenders until we found the cream of the crop.

Why you should get a cash back credit card

Cash back credit cards give cardholders the freedom to use their rewards in how best suits their needs. By offering cash instead of points, members can cover important expenses, pay for their favorite activities, or grow their savings easily. While not every card delivers the same benefits or meets the same needs, there are excellent choices available for any consumer.

Regardless of credit score, you can use one of these cash back cards to rebuild credit scores, cover small business expenses, or even take advantage of the great perks of a top-tier club while still receiving cash back for every dollar spent. Finally, the top cash back credit cards have interest rates higher than credit cards that don’t pay rewards.

Remember this if you don’t pay your balance off in full every month. You may be wise to forgo a cash back credit and instead get a credit card that may not offer rewards but has a lower regular APR.

Most important features of cash back credit cards

While every credit card comes with some benefit or another, there are features that make some cards more valuable than their competitors. Here are the most significant features to look for in a cash back credit card:

APR

How much interest you pay on your credit card is a big deal. It is one of the most important factors to consider when comparing credit cards. A high interest rate could offset any cash back rewards you earned during the month and even send you into debt due to unmanageable accrued interest charges. Fortunately, many cards have phenomenal introductory APRs and competitive rates once the initial offer runs out.

That can be a tremendous savings.

At Money Under 30 we always recommend you make sure you’re able to pay off your credit card balance in full and on time to avoid ever paying your APR.

Annual fees

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The Chase Freedom Flex℠ has no annual fee and still has great cash back rewards (which is why it is one of our top picks).

Credit score required

This feature might be significant to you depending on your credit score. If you have a reasonable score, then a high credit score requirement won’t phase you. But plenty of people suffer from poor credit scores and will be excluded from offers that demand a higher bracket. Fortunately, cards like the Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit cater to even very poor credit, with a score requirement of only 350 making it accessible to almost anyone.

Redemption

Rewards points are only as good as the ease with which they can be used. If you have to jump through hoops to redeem your points, this won’t make a good bonus. We graded credit cards on how easily their points system could be used.

This includes how long points remain valid before they expire, where points can be redeemed, whether or not a login was required to redeem the points, how many points could be accrued, and whether or not there was a minimum point grade before redemption kicked in.

Cash back structure

Learn More

How you earn points is also a heavy determining factor as to whether a card is worth the effort. Do you receive cash back points every time you make a purchase or are there select locations that award points? Are there different categories that reward higher or lower point values for purchases, or is this a flat-rate cash back card? What is the points structure?

A good cash back structure will reward you amply for your purchases and not make vague promises cloaked in legal jargon designed to swindle you out of your earned points. The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good example. This card has NO rotating categories (meaning all categories earn you the same 1.5% rewards), and you get the cash back on every purchase, every day, with no limit.

Sign up bonus

The sign up bonus can sometimes be the most lucrative part of a credit card.

Many cash back cards offer juicy sign up bonuses as a way of welcoming their new clients, such as the Chase Freedom® which provides an easy way to snag $200. You have only to spend $500 in the first three months and you’ll earn a $200 cash rewards bonus.

Foreign transaction fees

This is one of the most insidious fees that really trips people up simply because they don’t know about it or aren’t aware of how quickly it adds up.

Take the following example:

Assume you sign up for a credit card on which you are charged a 3% foreign transaction fee for every foreign transaction. If you go on vacation to Prague, every gift, meal, or attraction you pay for with that card will receive that 3% fee.

That quickly adds up, as the average cost for a vacation per person per night could run from $200-$600. At that rate, a two-week vacation could cost you close to $300 or more, and that doesn’t even account for souvenirs and additional expenses.

A foreign transaction fee can also catch people off-guard when shopping online. Remember, if you are surfing a website run in a different jurisdiction or uses a foreign currency, you will be charged this same fee. Online shoppers beware.

With such astronomical fees, any cash back rewards you would earn from these purchases are nullified. A low or no foreign transaction fee card is the only way to go.

Additional benefits

What other perks come with this card? Can you get invitations to VIP events, insurance for travel plans, airfare, or purchases, roadside assistance, free nights at hotels, birthday, and anniversary gifts? These and more benefits can be gleaned by using the right credit cards at the right time.

FAQ on cash back credit cards

How do I earn cash back points?

How you earn rewards depends on the credit card company’s policy. Though, cardholders earn rewards every time they use their cards to make a purchase from one of the specified categories. This can include gas stations, wholesale clubs, grocery stores, restaurants, online partners, hotels, airlines, and more. If no categories are specified, then any purchase will earn you rewards.

How many points can I earn with my cash back rewards card?

How many points can be earned depends on the program you are signed up with. Some cards have no caps, while others will cap you monthly, quarterly, or annually. To see what your points caps are, visit the credit card of choice’s details page here.

How can I redeem my cash back rewards points?

Points are easily redeemed in one of two ways (depending on the rewards program you have):

Log onto your credit card account

From your account center, you can view a list of online redemption options for you to choose from. Redemption options include donations, gift cards, Amazon rewards, apply part of the points to your credit card bill’s balance, or deposit the amount directly into your bank account. You can also set up your account so you can automatically transfer points to your savings or checking account as they accrue.

Calling the credit card hotline and requesting cash back

For example, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card lets you make a cash back request anytime you want.

Do cash back rewards expire after a certain amount of time?

Once again, this depends on the credit card in question. All of our leading cash back credit cards have a no expiration policy, however. This applies for as long as you have an active account with that credit card.

Summary

Cash back rewards cards are the most lucrative and exciting cards available today. Use our helpful comparison tool to compare the different options available to you, and earn more whenever you make a purchase from now on.

Not sure you want a cash back credit card? Finding the right credit card for you is much simpler if you know your credit score, and can narrow your search to only the cards you know you’ll get approved for. We’ve made it easy for you. If you don’t already know your score, use our quick and free Credit Score Estimator tool – then find the perfect card for you!

Read more:

Best Credit Cards 2020

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About the

Total Articles: 354
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited ity on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Article comments

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5 comments
Kim says:

I signed up for the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card a few months ago, and I have to agree with this review. It’s been wonderful, and I really feel like I’m making money every time I pay for something with my credit card now. My friends have started making jokes that I’m always happy to pick up the check as long as I can put it on my card!

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Ellen says:

Are there caps on the cash rewards earnings?

Reply

Most of the cash back credit cards on this list are unlimited, like the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card and the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards credit card.

Some cards have limits on certain categories like the Discover it® Cash Back which limits your quarterly categories earnings and requires activation but not your regular flat rate rewards earnings.

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Joe Krentz says:

I have a question – is it better to have a flat rate cash back card or a credit card with rotating categories?

Reply

That depends on what type of a spender you are and which categories are rotating.

For example, with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you get a great rate of 3% on all gas purchases. If you drive around a lot, then this is a great deal for you.

If you don’t, you’re better off with a card like the Discover it® Cash Back that supplies you with 1% unlimited cash back on all categories plus you’ll get 5% on rotating categories up to $1,500 in purchases.

You will however have to activate the 5% cash back rewards each quarter. So you’ll need to be committed to that.

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