Cash back credit cards are my favorite type of rewards cards. The reason why I like cash back cards so much is because of the fact that simply by using your card, you can earn a percentage of the amount you spend in the form of cash rebates, instead of just points or miles.
In essence, this means you are saving on your expenses when shopping with your credit card. Many cash back cards give you as much as 5% cash back when you purchase from supermarkets, gas stations, drug stores, and 1% on all other purchases. You get the cash back either as statement credit or a check after a certain period of time or after a certain amount is reached.
The demand for good to excellent credit customers is so high right now that banks are offering some of the most lucrative credit card offers in years. Here I list our 8 best rated cash back cards, along with the latest offers they have. Many of these cards give you a response within 60 seconds when you apply online.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card
Citi® Double Cash Card
Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa® Card
Chase Freedom® is a very popular cash back card issued by JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and it now comes with a high signing bonus. The $100 Bonus is earned after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. You'll also earn a $25 Bonus after you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months. This Visa (V) card gives you the opportunity to earn cash back when shopping through Chase’s online mall. You will also earn 5% total cash back for every dollar spent on categories that change every three months (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter), and unlimited 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Earn unlimited rebates that never expire. Benefit from an introductory 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period there is a 13.99% - 22.99% variable APR on both purchases and balance transfers. This card has no annual fee. Read our review of Chase Freedom® here.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card will benefit you most if you spend around $1,500 in combined gas and grocery store purchases each quarter. That's because you earn 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores on the first $1,500 you spend on combined grocery store and gas purchases every quarter. You will earn 1% cash back for all other purchases. This card has no annual fee and comes with an offer that lets you earn a $100 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. You don't need to enroll in a rewards program in order to earn cash back, and there are no changing categories so it's easy to estimate potential savings. Cash back does not expire. Redeem cash back as a statement credit or get a 10% customer bonus by redeeming cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. If you're a Preferred Rewards client then you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%. There is a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 12.99% - 22.99% variable APR for purchases and balance transfers. To be eligible for the intro APR period, balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days of account opening. See terms and conditions for more information. Balance transfer fees are 3% of each transaction with a minimum of $10. See Terms.
Read our BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card review to find out more.
The most innovative feature of Citi® Double Cash Card is that it lets you earn cash back twice: earn 1% cash back on all your eligible purchases and an additional 1% cash back when paying off your balance (as long as you pay at least the minimum required payment when paying off your balance). You can earn unlimited cash back and you don't need to enroll in any cash back categories. You can redeem your cash back for statement credit, gift cards or checks. There is a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and a 12.99% - 22.99% variable APR thereafter, based on your creditworthiness. No annual fee.
Read our review of the Citi® Double Cash Card here.
If you want a long period of 0% APR on purchases, go for Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year which offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, with a 10.99% - 22.99% variable purchase APR afterwards. A fee of 3% of the transferred balance applies to each balance transfer. With this card you will earn 5% cash back up to a quarterly maximum in rotating categories that change each quarter. You must sign up each quarter to receive the 5% cash back. Earn 1% cash back after exceeding the quarterly maximum and on all other purchases. Offer for new cardmembers: Double all the cash back you earned the first year automatically. (Read our review of Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year here).
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser. This card offers $150 back as statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend on purchases at U.S. supermarkets every year. Earn 3% cash back on purchases you make at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. Your other purchases earn 1% cash back. The ongoing cash back you earn is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. With this card you get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that the variable APR is 12.99% - 21.99% based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Terms and limitations apply. This card has a $75 annual fee. Click here to read our Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser, is a rewarding cash back card with which you can earn 3% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year), 2% cash back at select US department stores and US gas stations, and 1% cash back on your other purchases (terms and limitations apply). This ongoing cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars. With this card you will also get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months, which you will receive in the form of a statement credit. There is no enrollment required to earn cash back and categories don't change throughout the year. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, and then a 12.99% - 21.99% variable APR, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. No annual fee. Terms and restrictions apply.
Read our review of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa® Card comes in two editions, the Standard and the Plus. In my opinion, the Plus is the better deal as it lets you earn 5% cash back on gas purchases paid at the pump, while the Standard card only gives you 3%. Both of these Visa credit cards offer a low 4.99% balance transfer APR for 12 months if you transfer a balance to them between January 01, 2015 through January 31, 2015. After that you still enjoy a low variable 9.99% APR on balance transfers. The Standard card has a $0 annual fee for 1 year, after which you pay $25 annually. The Plus card has no annual fee. Both cards have no foreign transaction fee.
Cash Back Card Tips
You may have noticed that each cash back card offers slightly different benefits. Some cash back credit cards may give you up to 5% rebates when you spend on certain categories of purchases each quarter of the year (for example, groceries, gas, home improvement, travel, etc), whereas others may give you a flat cash rebate throughout the year. You might want to consider getting more than one cash back card so that you can get discounts on different types of purchases, and benefit from each card's unique privileges.
Instead of using cash or debit cards to make purchases, I only use my cash back credit cards so that I can make full use of its many benefits. I recommend you get additional cards for your family members so that they can also get cash rebates when they buy household items. All these cash rebates will mean huge savings and discounts for you over time.
Do note that for some cards, the cash back you earn may expire after a certain period of time, or if you don’t spend on your card for a period of time. Some cards may also have a cap on the amount of cash back you can earn each year. If you are a big spender, you should go for cards that don't have any maximum limit on how much you can accumulate.
To see more Cash Back Credit Cards click here.
Cash Back Rewards Programs
Cash back rewards programs are similar to other rewards programs. You usually earn points of some kind, which can then be redeemed for statement credit or even as cold hard cash in the form of a check or a deposit into your checking or savings account.
Here you can find the main differences and benefits offered by some of the most popular cash back programs in the US.
Chase Ultimate Rewards®
This program is used by Chase cash back cards like Chase Freedom®. The cash back you earn is actually earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which you can then redeem for cash back at a rate of 1 point per 1 cent (100 points per $1).
You can choose to redeem your cash back for statement credit or for a direct deposit (minimum of 2,000 points needed to redeem). A nice perk is that you can combine the rewards you’ve earned on several Chase credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.
Discover Cashback Bonus
If you have a Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year then this is the cash back program you use. Any Cashback Bonus you earn will be credited to your Cashback Bonus account within two billing periods, so you don’t get the cash back instantly.
But this flexible program does offer a lot. It lets you redeem Cashback Bonus (a type of Discover points system) for cash starting at just 1 penny. Use your Cashback Bonus points to pay right at the counter at certain retailers.
You can also use Pay with Cashback Bonus to use your cash back to pay at online stores, when you link your rewards to a Pay with Cashback Bonus partner merchant’s website.
You can also use Cashback Bonus to pay at checkout on Amazon.com or redeem it for gift cards (gift cards start at $20). You can redeem your Cashback Bonus for higher value gift cards from Discover partners. So redeeming for gift cards is one of the best ways to get more value from this program.
Alternatively you can redeem cash back as donations to charitable organizations. All things said, this is a very flexible cash back program.
American Express Reward Dollars
You earn Reward Dollars, which are points Amex uses to track your cash back. You can redeem cash back as statement credit, but not as a bank deposit. Reward Dollars must be redeemed for cash back in $25 increments.
You can also redeem Reward Dollars for gift cards, and you can get good value redeeming this way, especially when discounted gift cards are available on the Reward Dollars website. You can also redeem cash back for merchandise.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™
If you like cold hard cash, this is a very rewarding cash back program to use. You earn cash rewards using cash back credit cards from Bank of America. You can redeem your cash rewards for statement credit, or as a deposit into a Bank of America® checking or savings account (or a Merrill Lynch Cash Management Account).
Redeeming your cash rewards into a Bank of America® checking or savings account lets you earn a 10% customer bonus. So $200 worth of cash rewards redeemed as a deposit into your eligible Bank of America® checking or savings account will give you $220.
If you have enough savings, you may be eligible to enroll in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. This additional program lets you get a higher customer bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
The Gold tier applies if you have an average combined balance of $20K to $50K in your eligible Bank of America® checking or savings account over a 3-month period. If you qualify for the Gold tier, you will earn a 25% rewards bonus instead of the usual 10% on eligible Bank of America credit cards. That means if you redeem $200 worth of cash rewards as a deposit into your Bank of America® checking or savings account, you can get $250.
The Platinum tier applies if you have an average combined balance of $50K to $100K in your Bank of America® checking or savings account (in a 3 month period). You earn a 50% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards when you redeem cash rewards into your Bank of America® checking or savings account. So $200 of cash rewards could give you $300.
The Platinum Honors tier is not for everybody. You need a 3-month average combined balance of over $100K in your Bank of America® checking or savings account to be eligible. But if you have that kind of money, this tier is very rewarding. You can get a 75% rewards bonus when you redeem your cash rewards from eligible Bank of America credit cards as a deposit into your Bank of America® checking or savings account. That means $200 worth of cash rewards becomes $350 when you redeem this way.
How We Rate Cash Back Cards
Cash back cards are rated by GET.com based on bonus offers, cash back categories, maximum cash back you can earn and card fees. Our goal is to provide you with a clear picture of how a card performs compared to other similar cards.
We look at how cash back is earned and redeemed, how much cash back is worth in actual cash value, and whether cash back can be redeemed in different ways.
We place a high emphasis on cards that let you earn cash back in popular categories like gas, groceries, and restaurants.
Other important factors that feature in our card ratings are the presence or absence of caps on cash back earnings, whether or not cash back expires, and whether cash back is earned in fixed or changing categories.
The annual fee, APR, introductory APR periods, card benefits and other card fees are also accounted for.