Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card beats others for its rewards

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A cash back credit card is a card that provides a percentage of cash back when you purchase a qualifying product. Some cash back cards provide a flat rate on every purchase you make while others may pay a higher amount on specific bonus categories. 

When choosing the best cash back credit card, you’ll want to consider a number of variables including the cash-back rate, the annual fee, and if there are any sign-up bonuses. You will also want to determine if you want a cash back credit card that provides a flat rate on all purchases or one that offers a higher rate on particular bonus categories. Read on to see which cash back credit cards made our list.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards for August 2021: Find the Right Card for You

Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Overall : Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.8
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Capital One Quicksilver Credit Card is our best card for cash back because it has the best combination of low fees, low interest, high rewards earning rate, and one-time bonus. While this card doesn't offer quite as high an earning rate as the Citi Double Cash, the absence of a foreign-transaction fee and the one-time bonus make this a better overall cash back card.

The fact that this card rates so well across the board makes a compelling case that, if you're only going to carry one card in your wallet, this should be it.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Simple rewards program with a solid return

  • Decent introductory offers on purchases

  • No annual or foreign transaction fees

  • No penalty APR

Cons
  • No bonus rewards rates

  • One-time bonus is relatively modest

  • APR can be comparatively high

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card review

Best for Dining : Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.7
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Capital One SavorOne Rewards is our best cash back card for dining because it offers unlimited 3% cash back rewards on dining, entertainment, streaming services and grocery store purchases, with no annual fee. Its 1% cash back rewards on all other purchases is lower than the 1.5% you can get from our top pick so this may not make for the best primary card for you to use.

But as an option to use exclusively for dining out, this is your best option in a cash back card. Since there is no annual fee with SavorOne it can be a good card to pair with another cash back or rewards card that offers a better earnings rate for non-dining purchases.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Generous cash rewards on dining and entertainment

  • Doesn’t impose some frequent fees

Cons
  • 0% APR introductory offer is less generous than most

  • Small introductory cash bonus

  • Excellent credit recommended

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards credit card review

Best for Business Cash Back : Capital One Spark Cash for Business


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.4
Capital One Spark Cash for Business
Current Offer

Earn $500 when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 20.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.
Balance Transfer Fee There is no standard balance transfer fee for this card.
Cash Advance APR (%) 26.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business is our pick for the best cashback option available to small business owners as it pays an impressive and unlimited 2% cash back earnings rate on all business purchases. This represents the highest fixed cash back rate available for business or consumer cards and can provide significant savings to business owners while avoiding the need to monitor spending categories or spending caps.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Decent bonus, albeit for commensurate spending

  • Simple rewards program

Cons
  • Your personal credit history could be affected

Read the full Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card review

Best One-Time Bonus : Chase Freedom Unlimited®


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.3
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Current Offer

$200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 23.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards(R), 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has one of the best one-time bonuses, offering $200 after spending only $500 in the first 3 months of the account, making it our top pick for this category. The card's earning structure was recently enhanced allowing cardmembers to earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining including takeout and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

Freedom Unlimited pairs well with other Chase rewards cards like Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve, as it allows you to earn a higher return in spending categories those cards don't favor and then to pool and transfer Ultimate Rewards points.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Flat rewards at a decent rate

  • Decent introductory APR offer

  • Flexible redemption options

Cons
  • No opportunity to earn bonus rewards

  • Other cards offer higher flat rewards rates

Read the full Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card review

Best for 0% APR : Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa®


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.5
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Current Offer

Get $150 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.49% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash rewards on everyday purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% (for 120 days, then 5%) of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card is our choice for the best 0% APR credit card because it offers 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and on balance transfers. This card comes with no annual fee and can be a good choice for those looking to transfer a high-interest balance and save some money.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Introductory 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening

  • 1.5% cash back rewards on all purchases

  • Cell-phone protection

Cons
  • Wells-Fargo customer satisfaction for credit cards is below average

  • Rewards subject to redemption thresholds

Read the full Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® credit card review

Best for Low Regular APR : Navy Federal cashRewards


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.2
Navy Federal cashRewards
Current Offer

Earn $100 bonus cash back when you spend $2,000 within 90 days of account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 9.65% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee None
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

Navy Federal cashRewards is our choice for the best low regular APR because compared to other cash back cards its variable APR between 9.65% and 18.00% is relatively low. If you don’t like fees then you will be happy with no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no cash advance fees. This card offers a simple cash back program with 1.5% on purchases.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Low APR for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances for excellent credit

  • Cash back on all purchases

Cons
  • Must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member or make a donation

Best for Year One Rewards : HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.3
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
Current Offer

Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases. 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn an introductory 3% cash back on $10,000 in purchases made during the first 12 months of account opening. 1.5% cash back thereafter.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 4%, whichever is greater, will apply on each balance transfer and credit card check.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

If you have a big year of spending planned, you’ll want to check out the HSBC Cash Rewards Credit Card. It offers 3% introductory cash back on all purchases in the first 12 months up to the first $10,000 in purchases. You can also take advantage of 0% introductory APR on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After the first year you can still take advantage of 1.5 unlimited cash back and an APR of 13.99 to 23.99%.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Compelling bonus that doubles the already-solid rewards earning rate on eligible purchases during the first year

  • 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Includes cellphone insurance coverage, which is uncommon

Cons
  • No upfront cash bonus

  • Above-average balance transfer fee

Read the full HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card review

Best for Food Takeout and Delivery : U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature®


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.2
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening That's a $200 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining, earn 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card is our pick for the best cash back card for take-out and delivery because cardholders can earn big points for dining out or eating in. Earn 4X points on takeout, food delivery, and dining, as well as 2X the points at the grocery store or for grocery delivery. In addition to these perks, the card comes with no annual fee and a low introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Standout rewards on food takeout and delivery orders plus on restaurant purchases

  • Annual bonus for streaming services

  • No annual fee and 0% introductory APR

Cons
  • Low base rewards rate

  • Less value than some annual-fee cards

Read the full U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® credit card review

Best for High Earning Rate : Citi® Double Cash


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.2
Citi® Double Cash Card
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 18 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Citi Double Cash is our best cash back card for a high earning rate because it offers a compelling and somewhat unique cashback rewards proposition: you earn 1% in cash back on purchases when you use the card, then an additional 1% when you make payment.

There’s no one-time bonus, but this card’s high universal rewards and flexible redemption options make it a potentially lucrative option nonetheless, whether as a standalone card or one to be paired with another rewards card that offers higher rewards on certain spending categories.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Ability to earn an outstanding 2% cash-back rewards on unlimited purchases

  • Generous introductory APR on balance transfers

Cons
  • No one-time bonus

  • $25 minimum for cash back redemption

Read the full Citi® Double Cash credit card review

Best for Fair Credit : Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards


Rating as a Cash Back Card
4.1
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.99% variable
Annual Fee $39
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
Balance Transfer Fee There is no standard balance transfer fee for this card.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card wins for the best cash back credit card for fair credit because it offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and you only need an average credit score to apply. For those looking to build or rebuild their credit, you can be automatically considered for a higher line of credit in as little as six months. One thing to be aware of is that there is a modest annual fee of $39 associated with this credit card.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Higher rewards rate than similar cards

  • Average credit accepted

  • Good credit behavior recognized

Cons
  • Annual fee required

  • High APR

  • No introductory incentive

Read the full Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card review

Best for Students : Chase Freedom® Student


Rating as a Cash Back Card
3.8
Chase Freedom® Student credit card
Current Offer

$50 Bonus earned after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

The Chase Freedom Student credit card is our choice for the best student cash back card because of its straightforward rewards structure and easy-to-earn annual reward. Simply make your first purchase within the first three months and you'll get a $50 bonus. There is no annual fee and students can win annual rewards just for paying their bills on time.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Annual rewards for on-time payments

  • Automatic credit limit increases for eligible accounts

  • Simple rewards program

Cons
  • Must apply in person

  • No introductory APR

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Read the full Chase Freedom® Student credit card review

Best for Bad Credit Cash Back : Discover it® Secured


Rating as a Cash Back Card
3.5
Discover it® Secured
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Pay deposit in installments No
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 10.99% for 6 Months
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
Why We Chose This Card:

Most cards for bad credit have no rewards component, an annual fee and numerous other fees. We chose the Discover it Secured card because it offers real value to those with less than perfect credit in the form of bonus cash back rewards of 2% at gas stations and restaurants and 1% cash back on all other spending—all with no annual fee. A security deposit is required but Discover automatically reviews customer accounts for an upgrade consideration to an unsecured account after eight months of responsible use.

Pros & Cons:
Pros
  • Outstanding rewards for a secured credit card

  • Cash back is matched at the end of the first year

  • Discover reviews your account after a period of responsible usage to determine eligibility for transition to an unsecured card

  • No annual or foreign transaction fees

Cons
  • Discover cards not as widely accepted outside the U.S. as Visa and Mastercard

Read the full Discover it® Secured credit card review

Final Verdict

A good cash back credit card offers a solid cash-back rate, introductory bonus offers such as 0% APR, and low fees. When choosing a cash-back credit card you should consider the type of cash back rewards structure. Do you want a simple flat-rate structure or one that offers a higher rate on particular bonus categories? For those looking for a straightforward cash back credit card, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is our top pick. It wins because it comes with no annual fee, an intro APR of 0% for 15 months, and rewards earning rate of 1.5% cashback on every purchase. 

Compare the Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Credit Card Cash Back Min. Deposit Required Annual Fee
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Best Overall Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase $0 $0
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Best for Dining Unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and groceries $0  $0 
Capital One Spark Cash for Business
Best for Business Cash Back
Unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase  $0  $0 for first year, $95 after that
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Best One-Time Bonus
5% on travel purchases through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases  $0  $0
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa®
Best for 0% APR
Unlimited 1.5% cash rewards, 1.5% cash rewards on eligible digital wallet purchases during first 12 months  $0  $0 
Navy Federal cashRewards
Best for Low Regular APR
1.99% APR for 12 Months on balance transfers 1.5% cash back on purchases  $0  $0 
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
Best for Year One Rewards
3% introductory cash back on all purchases for 12 months up to first $10,000; 1.5% unlimited cash back  $0  $0 
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
Best for Food Takeout and Delivery
4X points on takeout, food delivery, dining; 2X points on groceries, streaming, and gas stations; 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases  $0  $0 
Citi® Double Cash Card
Best for High Earning Rate
2% cash back on every purchase  $0  $0 
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best for Fair Credit
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase  $0  $39 
Chase Freedom® Student
Best for Students
1% cash back on every purchase  $0  $0
Discover it® Secured
Best for Bad Credit Cash Back
2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases  $200  $0 

Editorial Picks for Best Cash Back Credit Cards 

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Overall

With a combination of low fees, low interest, high rewards, and a one-time bonus, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards is our choice for the best overall cash back credit card. This is a great card for those looking for a simple rewards program with solid returns. 

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for Dining

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great choice for the foodie who wants to earn cash back while dining out. You can also earn cash back when eating in, with 3% cash back on grocery store purchases. 

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Review. 

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Best Business Cash Back

Small business owners will love earning an impressive and unlimited 2% cash back rate on all business purchases. While this card comes with no annual fee for the first year, there is a $95 fee for subsequent years.

Read the full Capital One Spark Cash for Business Review. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for One Time Bonus

If you are looking for an impressive one-time bonus, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has you covered. You can earn a $200 bonus after spending only $500 in the first three months. 

Read the full Chase Freedom Unlimited® Review.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

Best 0% APR

Those looking for a simple cash back card with universal flat-rate cash back rewards should check out the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card. With no annual fee and 0% APR for 15 months from the date of opening, this is a solid cash back credit card option. 

Read the full Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card Review. 

Navy Federal cashRewards

Best for Low Regular APR

If you are looking for a cash back credit card with a relatively low APR on purchases and balance transfers, then the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card might be for you. With low fees and a straightforward rewards program this is a solid contender. 

HSBC Cash Rewards

Best for Year One Rewards

Take advantage of the HSBC Cash Rewards Credit Card introductory offer of 3% cash back on all purchases and an introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months. This card also comes with no annual fee and 1.5% unlimited cash back after the introductory period is over.

Read the full HSBC Cash Rewards Review. 

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

Best for Food Takeout and Delivery

For those who enjoy eating out or ordering in and spend a lot of money doing so, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature Card might be a good fit for you. This card comes with no annual fee, a low 0% introductory APR, and a $15 credit for streaming purchases. 

Read the full U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card Review. 

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best High Earning Rate

For those looking for a card with a high earning rate, the Citi Double Cash Card provides 2% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make. You earn 1% upon making your purchase and then an additional 1% when you make your payment. 

Read the full Citi® Double Cash Card Review. 

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best For Fair Credit 

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card provides an opportunity to earn cash back rewards while rebuilding your credit history. Unlike many other cards on this list that require good to excellent credit, you may qualify for the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card with a fair credit score. 

Read the full Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

Chase Freedom Student Credit Card

Best for Students

The Chase Freedom Student Credit Card is for students looking for a simple rewards credit card. With a flat rewards structure, you earn 1% cash back on every purchase and you can earn a $50 bonus by making your first purchase within three months. 

Read the full Chase Freedom Student Credit Card Review. 

Discover it® Secured

Best for Bad Credit 

Those looking to improve a bad credit score can check out the Discover it Secured credit card. It’s available to those with poor to excellent credit and offers an outstanding rewards program for a secured credit card. By paying your bills on time and demonstrating responsible credit usage, you may be able to convert to an unsecured credit card. 

Read the Full Discover it® Secured Review.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do Cash Back Credit Cards Work?

Cash back credit cards work like other types of rewards cards except their owners earn cash back rather than points or miles for each dollar of spending (although a few cash back cards do convert cash back into points). Cash back is calculated as a percentage of each dollar you spend. Your cumulative cash back earnings are then tallied monthly by your card issuer and included on your billing statement for future redemption.

Pros
  • Many have a one-time bonus with a low spending requirement.

  • Dollar rewards are simple.

  • Many cards have no annual fee.

Cons
  • Options to redeem rewards can be somewhat limited.

  • Some require keeping track of tiered rates or registering for rotating bonus categories.

  • Redeeming rewards generally not automatic.

Pros Explained

  • Many have a one-time bonus with a low spending requirement. Compared to other types of rewards credit cards, cash back cards more often have an introductory one-time bonus with a spending requirement that’s fairly easy to meet. For example, a cash back card might offer a $150 bonus after spending only $500 in the first several months of opening the account. A travel card, by contrast, is likely to both offer more and require higher spending—for instance, have a $500 bonus if you spend $3,000.
  • Dollar rewards are simple. Whatever the specific earnings rate of any particular cash back card, the rewards you earn will be refreshingly easy to understand. Generally speaking, a dollar charged to a cash back card will earn you one-, one-and-a-half-, or two cents, with those rewards listed on your statements. By contrast, the value of rewards earned in points or miles is less immediately evident. The payback often varies by the redemption option you choose and your expertise in maximizing your return on each rewards unit you earn.
  • Many cards have no annual fee. With cash back cards, unlike most other card types, annual fees are the exception rather than the rule. That makes these cards a reassuring option for consumers averse to paying annual charges due to the possibility you may not earn enough in rewards to fully justify the fee. Cash back cards that do charge an annual fee tend to provide higher earnings or other valuable benefits.

Cons Explained

  • Limited options to redeem rewards. For all the simplicity of cash back credit cards, they offer little opportunity to optimize rewards, for those prepared to work to do so. There’s less flexibility in how rewards are redeemed than with cards that use points or miles-based rewards. With those cards, for example, you may be able to boost rewards by using them at bonus rates for purchases made directly with the card issuer or transferring points or miles to other travel partners.
  • Some complicate matters by varying rewards rates by spending category. Variations in rewards can make cashback card rewards more lucrative but also more complicated. Most rewarding, and also most challenging, are cards that offer an eye-popping 5% cash back on certain categories. However, with those you must remember—and take time—to register to receive those high rewards every quarter.
  • Redeeming rewards is not automatic. In the early days of cash back cards, issuers tended to automatically award statement credits or dispatch checks for any cash back earned each month or quarter. Now, cardholders must take the initiative to request redemption, and often can do so only once they’ve hit a minimum cash back threshold required to claim rewards.

What Are the Types of Cash Back Cards?

As with the various other types of credit card reward programs, cash back cards come in many stripes including:

  • Fixed-earnings-rate cash back cards. The most straightforward variety, these cards offer either 1%, 1.5%, or 2% in cash back on every dollar of spending.
  • Tiered cash back cards. These eschew a single cash back rate in favor of earnings that vary by tiers, according to what’s being bought. They tend to offer a high earnings tier on a narrow category of spending, such as 3% rewards on gasoline purchases. Then there are slightly lower returns on a broader range of transactions, such as 2% rewards on groceries and dining. Finally, there’s a default tier for all purchases outside those categories, typically of 1% on all other spending. 
  • Rotating category cash back cards. This type of cash back card offers a much higher rate—often 5%—on select categories of spending that rotate every three months with all other spending typically earning 1% cash back. There are catches, though. The first is that you must often register each quarter on the issuer’s website to take advantage of these rotating categories. The second is that the quarterly spending eligible for this high rate is usually capped at a certain dollar amount, like $1,500.

Is a Cash Back Card a Good Fit for You?

Here are questions and steps to help you decide how well a cash back credit card might suit you and your finances: 

  • How much might you charge to the card? The first step to determining your cash back earning potential is to look at your total average monthly spending. Review a number of months of spending for the purchases you might charge to a new card.
  • Does your spending suit a cashback card? Next, consider the implications of your spending on the card type that works best for you. If your spending is low, you may be hard-pressed to earn the more demanding one-time bonuses of other card types. Similarly, your spending may not be sufficient to earn the rewards you need to offset the annual fee of such a card. Those realities make a cash back card without a fee a wise choice if you don’t spend a lot each month on credit cards, or if you don’t yet know what you might spend on a new card. 
  • Are you ready for a more complex rewards structure? Cash—and cash back—could hardly be simpler. By contrast, as we’ve noted, the value of rewards earned in points or miles is less immediately evident. It often varies by the redemption option you choose and your expertise in maximizing the return on every point or mile. Favor a cash back card if you have little interest in mastering the intricacies of maximizing rewards.

How Can You Choose the Best Cash Back Credit Card?

Knowing a cash back card will meet your needs, you now face the task to select one that best meets them. You can consider the following factors when choosing a cash back credit card:  

Monthly spending. Since rewards among cash back cards vary by category, it’s important to know as precisely as possible the amounts you typically spend in which categories every month.

Annual fee. While many cash back cards have no annual fee, don’t necessarily rule out those that do carry one. For-fee cards generally offer the highest cashback earnings.

Your other credit cards. Your new cash back card needn’t—and likely won’t—be the only card you own. For many people, it makes sense to pair a cash back credit card with at least one other card, likely one that offers points rewards.

Additional considerations. Other things you can consider when selecting a cash back credit card include: 

  • The quality of credit that’s recommended to apply, and whether you meet that level. 
  • Can you realistically meet any spending requirements involved with introductory bonuses?
  • Are there any fees that might affect you (for instance, balance transfer or foreign transaction fees).
  • Does the card offer useful benefits not present on other cards you already own, such as various types of travel insurance? 
  • Is there a 0% APR introductory offer? Does it cover both purchases and balance transfers, or only one or the other of those? If you contemplate transferring a balance to the card, is a transfer fee imposed for doing so?

What Are Cashback Redemption Methods?

Cash back rewards are easier to understand than points or miles but they can entail several types of redemption options: 

  • Check. Many people find this direct payment type to be the most rewarding way to receive their cash back, even if it requires taking a check to a bank or ATM. Checks must be requested online or by phone from the issuer often after minimum redemption thresholds have been met.
  • Direct deposit. Some cards offer the option to regularly transfer cash back you earn to a bank or brokerage account without a redemption threshold.
  • Statement credit. This method allows you to receive rewards as deductions from your balance. Here’s how it works: once a minimum level of cash back earnings is reached, credits are applied (whether manually or automatically, once the arrangement is set up) to the next billing statement. 
  • Gift cards. This option allows you to readily use rewards as gifts. While simply a plastic form of cash, gift cards may not seem the same as a check but remain a relatively popular option among those with cash back credit cards.

Methodology

To create our list of the best cash back credit cards, we gathered scores of data points on more than 300 cards. We organized and assessed the credit cards using a weighted algorithm based on card features including rewards, interest rate, fees, benefits. We also considered card security and the level of customer service offered by the card providers. Part of our methodology also included continuous monitoring of data for credit card issuers to ensure we provide the most up-to-date rankings.

MEET OUR CREDIT CARDS EXPERT

Ben Woolsey is Investopedia's Senior Editor for Credit Cards. He has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including marketing for banking and financial institutions such as Associates First Capital and Bank One. Prior to Investopedia, he managed credit card content for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com.