You’re not looking for airline miles or special promotions from a retailer. You want the cash and you like your terms simple. “If I spend this much, I get that much back as a cash rebate.”
Good news – there are plenty of cash back credit cards that offer the simplicity you’re looking for. Here are five to consider in no particular order.
Discover rose to become a household name because of its cash back card. The company knows how to do cash back and it shows in this card. The base reward is 1% cash back on any credit card purchase but 5% on certain categories up to a maximum that change each quarter. There’s no annual fee, no penalty APR, and you receive your FICO score free of charge on all monthly statements.
The 0% introductory rate applies for the first 14 months. After that, a variable rate APR of 10.99% to 22.99%, depending on your credit score, kicks in.
The heavily advertised Chase Freedom card also offers 1% cash back on purchases with a 5% reward on certain categories up to a maximum of $1,500.
There’s no annual fee, the interest rate is 13.99% to 22.99% depending on creditworthiness, and the card has an introductory rate of 0% for the first 15 months.
Chase also offers a $200 bonus if you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of using the card and a $25 bonus for your first authorized user within the same three months.
Blue Cash Everyday Card
You might think of American Express as the card company for the high-income, high-spending customer, but the company has plenty of offerings that compete with other card issuers. The Blue Cash Everyday Card offers 3% cash back at US supermarkets, 2% at US gas stations and certain department stores, and 1% on all other purchases up to certain maximums.
Like many others in this space, the APR is 12.99% to 21.99%, depending on creditworthiness, and the card has a 0% introductory rate for 15 months. There is no annual fee and as an enticement to sign up, you receive a free year of Amazon Prime plus $50 back if you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. The company also offers a Blue Cash Preferred card that comes with a maximum 6% cash back reward and $100 back on your first $1,000 of purchases within the first three months but there’s a $75 annual fee.
Citi Double Cash Card
What does “double cash card” mean? According to Citi, you receive cash back rewards twice – once when you purchase and once when you pay your bill. When you make a purchase, you receive the standard 1% cash back and when you pay your bill, Citi throws another 1% your way.
You don’t have to pay the entire balance. Paying at least a minimum payment on time is enough to earn the reward. There is no extra percentage rewards for certain categories, though. It’s the double 1% regardless of what you buy.
The rest of terms are the same as its competitors – 12.99% to 22.99%, 0% for 15 months, and no annual fee.
CapitalOne Quicksilver Rewards Credit Card
Much like the Citi card, there are no special categories that get you extra rewards with this card. You get 1.5% cash back on all purchases and there is no cap on how large a reward you can earn. The card has no annual fee, the standard 12.99% to 22.99%, (0% through the September 2015 billing period, according to the website) and a $100 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months.
The Bottom Line
If you’re not looking for airline miles or some other type of point rewards, stick with the cash back cards. One caution: “Cash rewards” don’t normally come in the form of a check. You'll generally get them in the form of a credit on your credit card statement.