Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash back rewards are popular with shoppers who value simple rewards earning and redemption structures, as well as knowing exactly how much their rewards are worth. Cash back credit cards come in flat-rate, tiered and opt-in varieties. The best card for you is one that gives you the most dollars back on your normal spending, after taking into account any fees and redemption restrictions. Our team has compiled the list below of the best cash back credit cards.

Best cash back credit card for opt-in categories and a unique bonus: Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Cash Back
Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

Why it’s the best

The Discover it® Cash Back credit card offers 5% rewards, on up to $1,500, on bonus categories applicable to each quarter each time you enroll (then 1%). Categories rotate quarterly and include broad options to match the spending patterns of many shoppers. The advantage you’ll get with Discover is that rewards categories for the whole year are announced at the beginning of the calendar year, giving you plenty of time to plan your spending.

Discover will also match the cash back you’ve earned at the end of the first year. When you combine the generous rewards rates, the dollar-for-dollar matching promise and the $0 annual fee, it’s easy to see how this card will give you more money back for your spending.

Bonus points:

  • Save on interest with 0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, there is a variable go to rate of 13.49%- 24.49%.
  • Low fees: No foreign transaction fees and no late fee on your first late payment.

Best cash back credit card for 5% categories and a cash bonus: Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom®
Chase Freedom®
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Why it’s the best

Like the Discover it Cash Back card, Chase Freedom offers 5% rewards on up to $1,500 spent in specific categories for each quarter you activate. It also has broad bonus categories that rotate quarterly and no annual fee.

But where Chase Freedom has the edge is that you’ll receive your cash bonus of $150 sooner, as you’ll only need to spend $500 to qualify. Another key strength is that you can activate bonus categories later in the quarter and still get 5% back on purchases made before opting in. It’s great if you don’t tend to have the time to keep a close watch on the rewards calendar.

Bonus points:

  • Flexible rewards redemption: Receive cash back as statement credits, direct deposits, gift cards or even transfer as Chase Ultimate Rewards points to use for travel.
  • Protect purchases for 120 days against damage and theft; additional 12 months’ warranty.

Best cash back credit card for flat-rate cash back: Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card
Citi® Double Cash Card
Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Why it’s the best

While the Citi Double Cash Card won’t wow you with fancy credit card perks, it’s a compelling option if you’re serious about paying off a high-interest balance. With a 0% APR period of 18 months and no annual fee, it’s a card that can help you get out of debt sooner. After that, there is a variable go to rate of 15.49% – 25.49%.

The Citi Double Cash Card is a solid cash back card in its own right too. Compared to other flat-rate cash back cards, it offers a superior 2% rewards rate on unlimited purchases. You’re awarded 1% on purchases then another 1% as you repay either in full or over time.

Bonus points:

  • Flexible redemption: Receive cash back as a check, statement credit, credit to a linked account or convert them to points for Citi’s ThankYou Rewards program.
  • Special events: Enjoy VIP access to buy tickets for concerts, sporting competitions and dining experiences.

Best cash back credit card for flat-rate rewards and no minimum redemption: Capital One® QuickSilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Why it’s the best

For those who prefer to steer clear of bonus categories, the Capital One QuickSilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers simple flat-rate rewards on all purchases. While the cash-back rate of 1.5% isn’t top-of-the-market, there are no annual fees or maximum limits. Better still, you can redeem any amount, and your rewards won’t expire if your account stays open.

Then there’s the cash bonus offer of $150 if you spend $500 in the first three months. The 15-month 0% APR period will save you interest on purchases and balance transfers, too. After that, there is a variable go to rate of 15.49% – 25.49%. If predictable and hassle-free cash rewards are what you’re after, then the QuickSilver is worth a look.

Bonus points:

  • Great travel benefits: No foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel accident insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver.
  • Shop with confidence: Extended warranty on eligible purchases.

Best cash back credit card for groceries, gas and commuting: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Why it’s the best

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers tiered rewards. It’s a good fit for families or those whose monthly expenses comprise largely of food and commuting bills. With a market-leading rate of 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, you’ll only need to spend $31 per week at the supermarket to make up for its $95 annual fee. But on top of that, you’ll also receive 6% on select U.S. streaming services and 3% at U.S. gas stations and commuting purchases. It’s a fantastic card for maximizing your cash back potential without having to manage rotating categories.

There’s a $250 intro bonus too — sizeable compared to other cash back cards — but you’ll have to spend $1,000 in the first three months to qualify.

Bonus points:

  • Interest savings with 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. After that, there is a variable go to rate of 14.49% – 25.49%.
  • Returns protection: Return an eligible purchase to Amex within 90 days for a refund if the seller won’t take it back. 

Best cash back credit card for dining and entertainment: Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Why it’s the best

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is ideal if a good portion of your paychecks go toward eating and going out. The 3% cash back on dining and entertainment is in line with similar products on the market. Though it’s possible to get a better rate elsewhere, this card has no annual fee or maximum limits.

The 15-month 0% APR period is long enough to save you substantial interest on purchases and balance transfers. After that, there is a variable go to rate of 15.49% – 25.49%. You’ll even get a $150 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months.

Bonus points:

  • Great travel companion with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Redeem to suit you, with no redemption minimum and rewards that won’t expire for the life of the account.

Best cash back credit card for 3% cash back in the first year: HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Credit Card

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Why it’s the best

Compared to the 1.5% rewards rate on many flat-rate credit cards on the market, the 3% intro cash back offered by the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Credit Card is highly attractive. The intro rate applies to all purchases in the first 12 months, up to a maximum of $10,000 in purchases. The cash back rate reverts to 1.5% after the intro period — still competitive — and there are no annual fees, maximum limits or foreign transaction fees.

Now, assuming you utilize the full $10,000 during the 3% intro period, you’ll receive $300 cash back instead of $150 (calculated using the regular cash-back rate of 1.5%), effectively giving you a $150 bonus.

Bonus points:

  • Travel with confidence: Protection for physical damage and theft to most rental vehicles.
  • Shopping convenience: Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free unlimited two-day shipping and free returns at over 140 online stores.

Kristie Kwok

Kristie Kwok is a finance content writer with in-depth knowledge of the banking industry from her previous work experience in banks such as UBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland. She is a qualified accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Accounting and Finance.