Cash back credit cards are an easy way to generate income every month. The key is to find cards with the highest rewards that match your spending habits. To help, here is our updated list of the best cash back credit cards.
In 2018 I began saving and investing the cash back rewards we earned from credit cards. In 2019 alone we earned $4,177.83 in credit card rewards.
As of February 2020, our balance has grown to $9,306.53. As of February 2021, our balance has grown to $16,086.62.
Without sacrificing our lifestyle in any way, we’ve been able to save more than $16,000 by strategically using credit card rewards. To help you maximize your rewards, in this article we’ll look at the best cash back credit card offers available today.
As you map out your own cash back strategy, keep in mind that there are three broad types of cash back cards.
- One Reward Rate: The most simple approach is a card that pays the same reward percentage on all purchases. The industry standard is 1%, but for those with good credit, you can nab 1.5% or even 2% on every purchase.
- 5% Rotating Categories: These cards offer 5% cash back on specific categories of purchases that change every three months. There are spending caps eligible for the 5% cash back, typically $1,500 each quarter. All other purchases typically earn 1% cash back.
- Bonus Categories: Finally, some cards offer bonus rewards for certain categories of purchases, such as restaurants, groceries, or gas. The bonus rates can vary based on the categories, with some cards offering multiple bonus categories. Purchases outside of the bonus categories typically pay 1%.
As we look at the top cash back cards, we’ll point out if a card charges an annual fee, offers a signup bonus, or limits its cash back rewards in any way.
- Best Cash Back Credit Cards
- Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
- U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Petal 2 Visa Card
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
- Citi Custom Cash Card
- Citi Double Cash Credit Card
- How to Maximize Cash Back Rewards
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card stands out as one of the best cash back credit cards for dining out and entertainment. It pays 4% cash back on both, with no spending caps. It offers 2% back on groceries and a $300 bonus when you meet the spending requirements. It’s also ideal for foreign travel as it charges no foreign transaction fees. It does come with a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
- Early Spend Bonus: Earn $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
- 4% Cash Back: Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
- 2% Cash Back: Earn 2% on groceries
- 1% Cash Back: Earn 1% on all other purchases
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 9 months
- No foreign transaction fees
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a 1.5% cash back card similar to other offers. It has no annual fee. One stand out feature is its introductory 0% APR offer.
- Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 bonus after spending $500 within your first 3 months.
- Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- Earn 3% cash back at drugstores
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Intro APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening on purchases
- Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey
- No annual fee
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is the no annual fee version of the Savor card. You save on the annual fee, but the rewards aren’t as rich. Still, for a no fee card, earning up to 3% cash back is a solid offer.
- Earn $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®)
- Earn 1% on all other purchases
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
- No foreign transaction fee
- No annual fee
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card combines a generous signup bonus with up to 4x in rewards. There is no annual fee and an annual streaming credit.
- Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases with the card in the first 90 days.
- Earn 4X points on restaurant purchases–takeout, food delivery and dining
- Earn 2X points at grocery stores (including delivery), gas stations and streaming services
- Earn 1X points on all other purchases
- You’ll get a $15 credit for annual streaming services with Netflix and Spotify
- 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles
- No annual fee
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex offers a long list of benefits. It offers a signup bonus, up to 5% cash back, and a 0% APR introductory rate. And it manages all of this without charging an annual fee.
- $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases with the card in the first 3 months.
- 5% on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout or eligible delivery services.
- 3% on drugstore purchases
- 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories every quarter (activation required)
- 1% on all other purchases
- 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022
- Free access to your credit score
- 0% APR introductory rate for 15 months on purchases.
- No annual fee
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good option for those who want to use just a single credit card. It pays 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Add a signup bonus and no annual fee, and the card easily makes our list of the top cashback credit cards.
- Signup Bonus: $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
- No annual fee
- No foreign transaction fees
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good option for those who have less than stellar credit. You get the same 1.5% cash back on all purchases, but you do pay an annual fee. The good news is that payments are reported to the credit bureaus, enabling you to improve your credit score with on-time payments.
- Cash Back: Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase
- Get automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
- Free credit monitoring with the CreditWise® app
- $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
- Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
- $39 annual fee
Petal 2 Visa Card
The Petal 2 Visa Card is a good option for those who have no credit history. You can earn up to 1.5% cash back on all purchases and up to 10% cash back at select merchants. The card charges no fees and provides tools to help you improve your credit score.
- Designed for those with fair-to-good credit or cash flow.
- Credit score not required.
- No fees whatsoever.
- Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments
- 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away
- 2% – 10% cash back from select merchants
- $500 – $10,000 credit limits
- Build credit alongside tens of thousands of Petal Card members
- Cash flow technology may help applicants without credit history get approved
- Petal’s mobile app makes it easy to manage your money, track your spending, and automate payments
- See if you’re pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score
- Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
- No deposits required
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card is a great all-purpose card. It offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a signup bonus. In addition, it comes with a 0% APR introductory rate on both purchases and balance transfers.
- Welcome Offer: Earn $150 bonus cash after spending $500 within your first 3 months.
- Cash Back: Earn 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
- Cash Back Bonus: Earn 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases during the first 12 months from account opening
- Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
- Intro APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
- $0 Annual Fee
Citi Custom Cash Card
The Citi Custom Cash Card is a new offer from Citi. It aims to compete against other 5% cash back cards with quarterly rotating categories. Those cards are popular due to the cash back rate, but many don’t like that you have to sign up each quarter to get the 5%. On top of that, the higher rewards rate is limited to one or two categories per quarter.
Citi solved both of those limitations. First, there is no quarterly signup requirement. Second, you can earn 5% on up to $500 per month from one of several purchase categories that don’t change. Citi simply applies the 5% rate to the eligible category in which you’ve spent the most. It seems like such an obvious solution that I’m surprised another credit card issuer didn’t think of it sooner.
All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Citi doesn’t charge an annual fee for the card, and it comes with a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers. Finally, it also comes with a signup bonus worth $200 once you meet the spend requirement (see below).
- Cash Back Rewards: Up to 5% cash back with no rotating categories
- Signup Bonus: 20,000 bonus points (worth $200) once you spend $750 within the first 3 months of account activation
- Intro APR: 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months
- Annual Fee: $0
Pros & Cons
- Sign-up bonus
- 5% cash back
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
- $0 annual fee
- 0% Intro APR for first 15 months
- Earning cap every billing cycle on 5% cash back ($500)
- Foreign transaction fee
Citi Double Cash Credit Card
Regularly readers know this is one of my favorite credit cards. My wife and I have used it for years and earned thousands of dollars in cash back. The Citi Double Cash Credit Card is about as simply and rewards as a credit card can be.
You earn 2% cash back. Citi pays 1% on every purchase and another 1% as you pay for those purchases. Hopefully you are paying your card off in full each month, thus earning the full 2% right away. But even if you pay over time, you’ll get that second 1% as you make payments.
If that weren’t enough, the card comes with one of the longest 0% APR offers on balance transfers. And there is no annual fee.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent cash back rewards
- Long 0% APR on balance transfers
- No annual fee
- Rewards can be redeemed in several ways, including a statement credit or check
- Excellent services from Citibank
- Requires good credit
- No signup bonus
- Foreign transaction fee of 3% makes card not ideal for travel outside the U.S.
Compare all of the cards on this page and other cash back cards–and apply online–here.
How to Maximize Cash Back Rewards
As I noted above, we save and invest all of our credit card rewards. Over time, we’ve built a 5-figure portfolio just from credit cards. I’m confident it will soon be 6-figures. Here’s the strategy we follow:
Frequently Asked Questions
The answer depends on how you use the card. The highest paying cash back card on ALL purchase is the Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature card. It pays 2.5% on all purchases, subject to a spending cap of $10,000 per month. Many cards, however, pay more than 2.5% cash back for specific categories of purchases. Arguably the highest is the Blue Cash Preferred Card by American Express, listed above.
Cash back cards fall into one of three categories. The first type provides a set cash back percentage on all purchases. The second provides increased rewards for certain categories of purchases, such as travel or dining out. And finally, some cards offer an increased rewards level in rotating purchase categories that change every three months.
There are a few credit cards that pay 2% or more on every purchase. These include the Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature card (2.5% cash back) and the Fidelity Visa card (2% paid into your Fidelity account).
With each purchase you make to the card, the issuer pays you a certain percentage of the amount charged. The percentage varies from one credit card to the next, the type of purchase being made, and in some cases how much you’ve already charged to the card. Cash back rewards generally range from 1% to 6%.