Vital Dollar has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Vital Dollar and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

If you’re serious about rewards, the credit card you choose should offer cash back. These types of credit cards offer a way to earn cash back on your purchases, and this can add up to some serious savings. While you need to use any credit card smartly, by choosing a card aligning with your spending habits and credit history, you could enjoy substantial rewards.

The Types of Cash Back Cards

The average American has four credit cards, and with hundreds of options in the marketplace, it is crucial to choose the right cards to suit your unique circumstances. So, before you jump straight to an application, you need to understand the different types of cash back cards to make the right choice for you. Broadly speaking, cash back credit cards can be divided into four categories. These are:

Flat Rate

These cards offer a static percentage of cash back on all your purchases, regardless of amounts or spending categories. For example, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards credit card offers 1.5 percent on every purchase as unlimited cash back.

Tiered

With these cards, the amount of cash back will vary depending on a fixed spending category. This could mean that you get 6 percent on your supermarket purchases, but only 1 percent on all your other purchases.

Rotating

These credit cards offer a flat rate on all purchases, but there are bonus cash back offers on any purchases made in a category designated in that quarter. Generally, the cardholder needs to activate quarterly to receive a bonus cash back. These bonuses are often capped at specific spending levels, but as the categories change each quarter, you can gain some significant rewards. A good example of this is the Chase Freedom card. This card offers 5 percent cash back on the first $1500 spent in the bonus category with 1 percent on all other purchases.

Cardholder’s Choice

These are not common, but there are more and more of these cards being launched. Cardholder’s choice cards are a combination of tiered rewards and rotating categories with some customer choice as an added extra. Generally, the reward structure involves tiers, with spending caps, but you may also be able to choose a couple of categories where you can earn extra rewards. A good example is the Cash Rewards card from Bank of America. This allows the cardholder to choose from six categories that offer 3 percent cash back with 2 percent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. These rewards apply to the first $2500 each quarter. There is also 1 percent cash back on other purchases. The choice of categories can be changed once per calendar month.

The Best Cashback Credit Cards

Capital One® Quicksilver®

This is a flat rate cash back reward card that is great for those who enjoy cash back on auto pilot. You don’t need to plan your purchases to fit in a particular category as you’ll just receive a set percentage. The Quicksilver offers cash back of 1.5 percent on all purchases with no spending cap.

Another feature that makes the Quicksilver one of the best cash back credit cards is that there are no foreign transaction fees. This makes this a great choice of card for those who enjoy traveling abroad.

The Quicksilver has a 0 percent interest introductory offer for 15 months, and there is a $150 bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of membership. After the introductory period, the card attracts a variable interest rate of 16.24 to 26.24 percent.

Highlights:

  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $150 signup bonus

Compare this card to other cashback cards

Chase Freedom

This card offers rotating rewards. The categories rotate each quarter, and you can enjoy 5 percent cash back in several categories. So, if you plan your spending strategically, you can enjoy some serious savings. This card also allows you to accumulate Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be combined with your other Chase cards for maximum benefits. You can earn 5 percent cash back on purchases up to $1,500 in the quarterly bonus categories with 1 percent on all other purchases.

There is an introductory period of 15 months from the account opening with 0 percent APR on all purchases and balance transfers. There is also a $150 bonus if you spend $500 during the first three months. After the introductory period, the interest rate increases to 17.24 to 25.99 APR variable.

Highlights:

  • 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $150 signup bonus

Compare this card to other cashback cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Freedom Unlimited card exemplifies the flexibility and other benefits of flat rate reward cards, hence its inclusion on this list of best cash back credit cards. Like the Chase Freedom, this card offers a $150 signup bonus if you spend at least $500 within the first months after opening the account. Where it differs from the Chase Freedom card is the cashback details. Instead of using revolving categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a flat 1.5% cashback on all purchases, making it a great everyday card for the majority of your purchases.

There is also a 0 percent interest rate for the first 15 months on all purchases and balance transfers, but a balance transfer fee does apply. After the introductory period, the rate changes to 17.24 to 25.99 percent variable.

Highlights:

  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases after the first year
  • $150 signup bonus

Compare this card to other cashback cards

Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature

This high rewards rate card doesn’t actually require a lot of effort or thought. One of the attractive features of this card is that you can redeem your rewards into an eligible Fidelity account directly. So, you can save your rewards into a 529 education savings fund or another Fidelity account, so you can grow your savings without needing to think about it.

If you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days, you will also qualify for an additional $100 bonus.

The Rewards Visa Signature offers 2 percent cash back on all purchases, but there are no categories or spending caps to worry about. The card also has a $0 annual fee, but an excellent credit rating is needed to qualify.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Cash back is redeemed through a Fidelity account
  • $100 signup bonus

Compare this card to other cashback cards

Wells Fargo Cash Wise

This card is a flat rate cash back credit card with the added bonus of cell phone protection covering you against theft to your phone and eligible damage when you pay your cell phone bill with your Cash Wise card.

If you spend $500 in the first three months, you’ll earn a $150 bonus, and you can earn an unlimited 1.5 percent on all your purchases. You can also earn 1.8 percent cash back on your qualifying digital wallet purchases such as Apple Pay or Google Pay throughout the first 12 months.

Highlights:

  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • $150 signup bonus

Compare this card to other cashback cards

Capital One Savor

This tiered cash back card makes the list of the top cash back credit cards because it offers great rewards for both cooking at home and dining out. You can earn an unlimited 4 percent on all dining and entertainment purchases with 2 percent on grocery store purchases and 1 percent on all other purchases. There is also 8 percent cash back available on Vivid Seats tickets until May 2020.

Capital One offers a $300 bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and there are no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is set at $0 for the first year, but it increases to $95 per year.

Highlights:

  • Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • Earn 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $300 signup bonus

Compare this card to other cashback cards

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

This is a great card for students looking to build credit and earn rewards. This card rewards good behavior to help develop lifelong, healthy financial habits. However, you should avoid carrying a balance, as you’ll get stung with a 26.96 percent variable APR on all purchases and balance transfers.

Another attractive feature of the Journey Student Rewards card is you can set up the account to receive email reminders and text alerts to help you to keep track of all your spending. You can earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases with 1.25 percent cash back when the monthly bill is paid on time. You can also access a higher line of credit when your first five monthly payments have been paid on time. This card is also available to those with average or fair credit.

Highlights:

  • Specifically for students
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn 1.25% cash back when the monthly bill is paid on time

Compare this card to other cashback cards

U.S Bank Cash+

This innovative card allows you to decide where you’ll earn the highest percentages of cash back. This means that you can tailor your U.S Bank Cash+ card to fit your spending habits perfectly, with the option to change your settings each quarter. There is no annual fee and you can receive $150 if you spend $500 in purchases in the first 90 days.

The reward structure is 5 percent on $2,000 of combined purchases in two categories, with 2 percent on one “everyday” category, such as groceries or gas. Any additional purchases attract a 1 percent reward.

Highlights:

  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in two categories that you choose (up to $400 in cash back per year)
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases in one “everyday” category
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $150 signup bonus

Compare this card to other cashback cards

Citi Double Cash

If you’re good at paying your credit card balance off each month, then the Citi Double Cash could be a great card for you. If you have excellent or good credit, this is a fantastic flat rate card that could help you to rethink the best ways to earn rewards.

You can earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase with an additional 1 percent cash back as you pay the balance. To earn your cash back, the minimum due must be paid on time. There is no annual fee, and you can enjoy a 0 percent introductory rate for the first 18 months on balance transfers. This is more generous than the standard one year or less introductory rates offered with most cards for balance transfers. The 18 month period could be helpful if you are planning a major purchase and need time to make payments.

This double cash reward is a different structure compared to most reward cards, so you will be able to think about how you accumulate points differently.

This card also provides access to the Citi Price Rewind Program. This involves Citi searching for lower prices, and if the same item is found at a retailer’s site within 60 days, you will be refunded the price difference. This is limited to $300 per item and $1,200 per year, but it is an excellent bonus for accumulating rewards.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you make the 1% and 1% when you pay the balance)
  • You must pay at least the monthly minimum on time to earn cash back
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months

Bank of America Cash Rewards

This is one of the innovative Cardholder’s Choice cards with solid rewards tiers. However, what makes this stand apart as one of the best cash back credit cards is its flexibility where you can earn the highest levels of cash back. There are also bonus cash back rewards for Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients. Preferred Rewards clients will be allowed to earn up to 75 percent bonus on purchases depending on a tier based on your three-month average card balance.

The Cash Rewards card also qualifies you to use the BankAmerideals program. This program allows you to select details from an extensive list of restaurants, websites and retailers and when you pay by your Bank of America card, the listed cash back can be paid directly into your linked account.

You can maximize your cashback by designating a category from online shopping, gas, travel, home improvement, dining, or drug stores. This allows you to earn 3 percent cash back for purchases in your choice category with 2 percent from purchases on grocery stores or wholesale clubs. There is a cap of $2,500 per quarter for combined choice category, wholesale club, and grocery store purchases. However, you can enjoy a 1 percent cash back unlimited on all other purchases. Your choice of category can be updated each month, or if you take no action, it will remain the same.

After the introductory period, there is a rate jump to between 16.24 and 26.24 percent interest on purchases, but there is no annual fee.

Highlights:

  • Earn 3% cash back in a category of your choice
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

Best Practices for Using a Cash Back Credit Card

Now that you’ve had access to the information on the best cash back credit cards, you should be aware of the best practices for your new card. So, here is some expert advice to help you rack up rewards and make the best use of the card.

Consider Change

Your circumstances are likely to change constantly, so you’re likely to need a card that can change too. You should review your spending periodically to ensure that your card is still working for you. If things aren’t working out, look around for a card that is better suited to your circumstances. For example, if you’ve changed jobs and no longer drive miles and miles to work, a card offering high cashback rewards on your gas station purchases may no longer be the best deal for you. You may be better suited to a card that offers higher rewards on other areas of spending.

Use It

This sounds simple, but there are different cards that are better for different things. So, before you pay for your purchase, think about which is the best card for that situation. Don’t just grab the first card in your wallet, and use the card that will offer the most rewards for that purchase.

→ Related reading: 11 Ways to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards and Cash Back

Pay the Balance with Each Billing Cycle

Nothing offsets rewards as quickly as allowing interest charges to mount up. If you want to make the most of the cash back rewards, you’ll need to be responsible with your credit card and ensure that the balance is paid each month. So, don’t spend more than you can afford just to accumulate rewards, as it will end up costing you far more in the long term.

Cash, Points, or Miles?

Whether you choose a card offering cash, points, or miles will depend on your goals and lifestyle. Just remember to compare apples to apples, so look at dollar equivalents of the rewards to determine which is best for you. For example, if you don’t fly frequently or stay in hotels, you’re not likely to enjoy the benefits of an airline-branded credit card as much as a jet setter would. In this scenario, a cash back program will be far quicker and better than trying to accumulate miles for flights or hotel stays. You’ll also be able to spend the money on anything you want.

Cash back credit cards can offer fantastic benefits and fit seamlessly into your habits and lifestyle. If you want to compare cash back credit cards to find the best option for you, please visit this page at CardRatings.com.

READ NEXT: How to Stack Rewards and Cash Back

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

The Best Cashback Credit Cards for 2019. Earn the most rewards and cash back with these cards from Chase, Capital One, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Fidelity, Citi, and U.S. Bank. Find details about signup bonuses, maximizing cash back percentages in different categories, and find the best credit card for you. Check our ratings and reviews and apply for the card that meets your needs. #creditcards #money #personalfinance #cashback #rewards