Cash back credit cards are some of the best rewards cards on the market. Why? Because you’ll earn simple, easy and flexible rewards for your spending. Some offer sign-up bonuses. Others give extra rewards on groceries, dining, gas, travel and other spending categories. And a lot of them don’t carry an annual fee, making them a good fit for just about anybody.
See our best credit card bonuses here.
But not all cash back cards are created equally. Let’s take a closer look at the best cash back credit cards.
Best cash back card with rotating bonus categories
Best cash back card for dining & entertainment
Best cash back card for gas & groceries
Best cash back card for fair or average credit
Best cash back card for pairing
Best flat-rate cash back card
Best no-annual-fee cash back card
Best cash back card with custom bonus categories
Types of Cash Back Credit Cards
In general, cash back credit cards fall under one of four types of rewards structures:
Flat-rate rewards. These cards earn the same rewards rate on all spending. It’s great for everyday purchases because you won’t have to remember bonus categories. However, flat-rate cards do limit your earning potential.
Tiered rewards. Like most travel credit cards, tiered cash back cards give bonus earnings on specific spending categories. Tiered rewards cards have excellent earning potential, but only if your spending matches the bonus categories.
Rotating categories. These cards earn bonuses on spending categories that change every quarter. While the earning rate is high, cards with rotating categories usually have caps on their bonuses. Plus, you have to remember to activate new categories each quarter.
Customized categories. These cards let you choose your bonus category, usually on a month-to-month basis. Cards with customized categories allow you to tweak their rewards structure to fit your spending. It’s a great option if the types of purchases you tend to make change throughout the year. However, like cards with rotating categories, you have to remember to activate your bonuses.
So what’s the best type of cash back credit card for you? That depends on: what you spend, where you spend and how much work you want to put into your rewards.
What We Considered
To make our best cash back credit cards list, we considered the following:
- Welcome bonus
- Earning potential
- Annual fee
- Unlimited vs. capped rewards
- Redemption threshold
- Rewards simplicity
- Additional benefits
The Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Best Cash Back Credit Cards That Require Memberships
The cash back cards below are great options as well, but they require certain memberships. They didn’t make it on our “best of” list, but they’re definitely worth a mention. While the information presented below is current at the time of publishing, it may have changed without notice. Please check with the card’s issuer before considering the membership associated with these cards.
Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card. 2.5% cash back on all purchases. $99 annual fee, waived your first year. You must be an Alliant Credit Union member.
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi. 4% cash back on gas (up to $7,000 per year, 1% thereafter), 3% on dining and travel, 2% at Costco and 1% on all other purchases. No annual fee with your paid Costco membership.
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card. 2% cash back on all purchases. No annual fee. You must have a specific Fidelity account.
Sam’s Club Mastercard. 5% cash back on gas (up to $6,000 per year, 1% thereafter), 3% on dining and travel, and 1% on all other purchases. No annual fee. You must have a Sam’s Club membership.
USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card. 5% cash back on the first $3,000 on combined gas and U.S. military base purchases per year, 2% on the first $3,000 on grocery purchases per year, and 1% on all other purchases. No annual fee. You must be a USAA member.
While we focused on cash back credit cards in this post, you’ll want to choose a card with additional earning potential that matches your spending behavior. Click here for our guide on the best credit cards in other categories or check out these other posts:
Want an easy way to earn rewards with simple redemption options? A cash back credit card could be the way to go. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s flexible. And most don’t carry high annual fees as well!
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