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12 Best Cash-Back Credit Cards – August 2022


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Cash-back credit cards are popular because they provide tangible, easy-to-understand benefits. Who doesn’t like getting a credit on their monthly credit card statement – or, better yet, actual cash deposited into the account of their choice? Cash-back credit cards can be even more popular than our top-rated gas credit cards and travel rewards cards.

But not all cash-back credit cards are created equally.

Some offer the same cash-back rate on all purchases. Others offer higher cash-back rates on certain spending categories, such as groceries or gas, and lower rates on everything else. Still others offer bonus cash back on spending categories that rotate every quarter. A few accrue cash back on purchases and monthly payments.

And some cash back cards even hew to hybrid models, with cash back on certain spending categories and different types of rewards (such as airline miles) on others.


Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

You’ll find each type of card on this list of the best cash-back cards available to U.S. consumers today.

Each of the cards on this list does at least one thing really well, whether it’s offering a particularly high blended cash-back rate or providing an exceptional interest-free balance transfer promotion. Our best overall pick offers the most value to the greatest number of potential users, in our opinion.


Best Overall: Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited is the best overall cash-back credit card on our list thanks to an unusual constellation of strengths. First and foremost is its cash-back program — which delivers unlimited 1.5% on most purchases, with some exceptions:

  • Travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel earn 5% cash back
  • Drugstore and dining purchases (including takeout and eligible delivery) earn 3% cash back
  • All other eligible purchases earn 1.5% cash back

Then there’s the sign-up bonus. During the first year your account is open, earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to the first $20,000 spent). That’s:

  • 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, travel, gift cards and more
  • 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 3% on all other purchases, on up to $20,000 spent in the first year

You can redeem for virtually anything, in any amount, at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal — including cash equivalents, merchandise, and travel.

Additional features:

  • If you have an eligible Chase credit card, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) or Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee) premium travel rewards cards, you can transfer points earned through Freedom Unlimited to those accounts and earn a higher effective redemption rate or eligibility to transfer points on to more than a dozen travel loyalty partners
  • Enjoy 0% introductory purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months after account opening — thereafter, variable regular APR applies, currently 16.49% to 25.24% APR
  • No annual fee
  • Get a free DoorDash DashPass subscription for three months from account opening, then 50% off for the next nine months — activation is required

Apply Now for the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card


Best Rotating Cash-Back Card: U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Signature Card

U.s. Bank Cash Card Art 4 4 22

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Signature Card is a cash-back credit card that rewards eligible travel spending and everyday spending alike.

Of all the cards on this list, it has the best rotating cash-back program — earning 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose.

Additional features:

  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within 120 days of account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases in one everyday category of your choosing, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores, or Restaurants
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles — after that, variable APR applies (currently 16.74% to 26.74%)
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms and conditions apply: See rates and fees for more information.

Learn More About the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Signature Card


Best Flat-Rate Cash-Back Card: Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card Art 3 28 22

Citi Double Cash’s two-tiered, flat-rate cash-back program rewards cardholders who pay their balances in full each month. It’s the best flat-rate cash-back program on the market, in fact.

As long as you’re a cardholder in good standing, you’re guaranteed to earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases that post to your Double Cash account. But you’ll only achieve the card’s effective 2% cash-back rate when you pay off your balance in full – as you should, under normal circumstances.

Additional features:

  • Redeem after accumulating $25 cash back
  • Enjoy 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months — then variable regular APR applies (currently 16.24% to 26.24%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates)
  • No annual fee
  • Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount

Learn More About the Citi Double Cash Card


Best for Drugstore Purchases: Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card

Chase Freedom Flex Card Art 1 28 21

All purchases made with Chase Freedom Flex earn 1% cash back, with no caps or restrictions. But there’s much more to the story. Freedom Flex has several opportunities to earn bonus cash on a routine basis:

  • 5% cash back on eligible purchases up to $1,500 in quarterly rotating categories
  • 5% cash back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3% cash back on drugstore and dining purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery

It’s that drugstore category that’s the headline here. Other than Freedom Flex’s stablemate, Freedom Unlimited, few cards offer 3% back at drugstores. And that matters if you frequently find yourself browsing the aisles at Walgreens, CVS, or your local independent drugstore.

Additional features:

  • No minimum to redeem
  • Redeem for cash back (with each point being worth $0.01), deliverable as a statement credit, bank account deposit, gift card, and direct purchases at select retailers (such as Amazon)
  • Make $500 in qualifying purchases within 3 months of opening your account to get a $200 sign-up bonus
  • Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months — then variable regular APR applies, currently 16.49% to 25.24% APR
  • No annual fee
  • Get a complimentary subscription to DoorDash’s DashPass service for 3 months from account opening, then 50% off for the next 9 months

Apply Now for the Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card


Best for Supermarket Purchases: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

If you love the supermarket, you’ll love the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. You get 6% cash back on all U.S. supermarket transactions, up to a $6,000 annual spending limit.

Once you hit $6,000, you get 1% back on U.S. supermarket purchases. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits. Terms apply.

One small drawback of the Blue Cash Preferred card is American Express’s restrictive definition of “supermarket.” Superstores like Walmart, wholesale clubs like Costco, and alcohol retailers aren’t considered as supermarkets for this card’s purposes.

Additional features:

  • Earn 6% cash back on eligible purchases with digital media and streaming providers such as Netflix and HBO (terms apply)
  • Earn 3% cash back on every $1 spent at U.S. gas stations and transit operators, including rideshare operators such as Lyft and Uber
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, with no limits
  • Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits; terms apply
  • $95 annual fee — see rates and fees
  • Earn $350 back as a welcome offer after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months — terms apply
  • Redeem Reward Dollars for statement credits
  • Enjoy 0% APR on purchases for 12 months
  • Following the end of the introductory period, the regular APR is variable (currently 16.24% to 26.24%), depending on prevailing rates and your personal creditworthiness
  • Terms apply — see rates and fees

Learn More About the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card


Best Intro 0% APR Offer: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

capital one quicksilver cash rewards credit card

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card couldn’t be simpler. All eligible purchases made with this card earn 1.5% cash back, with no restrictions on how much you can earn, and you can redeem in any amount for a statement credit or paper check.

Even better? An unusually long 0% APR introductory promotion for purchases and a solid early spend bonus provide a great one-two value punch for prospective cardholders.

Additional features:

  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months
  • Eligible hotel and car rental bookings earn unlimited 5% cash back when made through Capital One Travel
  • Redeem accumulated cash-back rewards in any amount for a statement credit against prior purchases or a paper check mailed to your address on file
  • After the introductory APR period ends, variable regular APR applies (currently 16.49% to 26.49% variable)
  • 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee

Learn More About the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card


Best for Customizable Cash Back: Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash Card Art 6 10 21

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a no-annual-fee card that automatically pays 5% cash back on the first $500 in purchases in your top eligible spending category each month with no activation required.

Simply spend as you normally would and you’ll earn your bonus cash back as ThankYou points redeemable for statement credits, bank account deposits, gift cards, and more.

Eligible bonus spending categories include:

  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Select transit
  • Select travel
  • Select streaming services
  • Drugstores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Live entertainment

Additional features:

  • Earn $200 cash back (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points) after you spend $750 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • All other eligible purchases, including top eligible spending category purchases above the $500 cap, earn 1% cash back as ThankYou points
  • Redeem your ThankYou points for cash back as statement credits, bank account deposits, gift cards, Amazon purchases, and other items
  • Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months — thereafter, variable regular APR applies (currently 16.24% to 26.24%), depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates
  • No annual fee

Learn More About the Citi Custom Cash Card


Best for Valued-Added Benefits: American Express® Gold Card

Amex Gold Card Art 2 4 21

The American Express® Gold card is a premium rewards card that earns a 4% return on eligible restaurant and supermarket purchases (up to $25,000 in annual U.S. supermarket spending) and a 3% return on eligible airfare spending.

But its real value lies in its noncash benefits, such as:

  • A $100 annual airline fee credit
  • $10 in dining credits each month (up to $120 per year) with participating chains and apps, including Grubhub
  • No foreign transaction fee (see terms and conditions)

Additional features:

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points as a welcome offer after spending $4,000 in purchases on your card within the first 6 months of card membership
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible airfare purchased directly with the airline and at amextravel.com
  • All other eligible purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
  • Redeem for travel bookings, Uber rides, gift cards, statement credits, and general merchandise at the American Express membership rewards portal
  • Redemption minimums begin at 1,000 points and the best options value points at $0.01 apiece.
  • $250 annual fee

Learn More About the American Express Gold Card


Best for Restaurant & Entertainment: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savorone Card Art 8 17 21

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the most potent cash-back credit cards on the market for folks who love going out and cooking in.

Most notably, it earns 3% cash back on all eligible dining and entertainment purchases. There’s no limit to how much you can earn in these categories, making SavorOne the best credit card for people who like the finer things in life.

Additional features:

  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on eligible hotel and car rental purchases through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on qualifying grocery store purchases (except purchases at superstores like Walmart and Target)
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on eligible streaming purchases
  • Rewards never expire
  • Redeem in any amount
  • Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening — thereafter, variable regular APR applies (currently 16.49% to 26.49% variable
  • 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee

Learn More About the Capital One SavorOne Card


Best for Students: Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savorone Student Card Art 1 25 22

The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is almost a carbon copy of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. Other than the fact that it’s designed for students in two- or four-year degree programs and certain other qualifying higher education situations, it’s pretty much identical.

Which makes it the best cash-back card for students, bar none.

Additional features:

  • For a limited time, earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on qualifying grocery store purchases (excluding purchases at superstores like Walmart and Target), dining purchases, entertainment purchases, and purchases of popular streaming services
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee
  • With responsible card use and timely payments, Capital One could consider you for a credit line increase in as little as 6 months after account opening.

Learn More About the Capital One SavorOne Student Card


Best for Buying in Bulk: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Consumer Card Art With No Expiry (004)

The Costco Anywhere Card is a premium cash-back product exclusive to Costco members. If you’re already spending $60 per year (or $120, if you’re springing for the Executive membership) on a Costco membership, and you’re able to meet Citi’s stringent underwriting requirements, this card is a no-brainer because all eligible Costco purchases earn 2% bonus cash back.

Yes, the redemption framework is a little wonky — you have to redeem in person at Costco, and you only get your rewards once per year, after your February billing statement closes. But you probably shop Costco often enough that you won’t have to wait long to redeem.

Additional features:

  • Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases at Costco and qualifying gas stations, up to the first $7,000 in eligible purchases per year
  • Earn unlimited 3% back on eligible restaurant and travel purchases
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other eligible non-Costco purchases, including gas purchases above the $7,000 annual spending cap
  • No foreign transaction fee or additional annual fee

Learn More About the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Best for Grocery Delivery: Instacart Mastercard®

Instacart Mastercard Card Art 7 22

The Instacart Mastercard® is the best card for folks who prefer to have their groceries delivered to them — which is most of us, now and then.

This card earns 5% cash back on Instacart app and Instacart.com purchases. Plus, sign up and get approved to instantly earn a $100 Instacart credit plus 1 free year of Instacart+.

Membership auto-renews. Terms apply.

Additional features:

  • Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Center, including flights, hotels and more
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and on select streaming services
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual card fee

Learn More About the Instacart Mastercard®

Methodology: How We Choose the Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

We use several important factors to assess cash-back card quality and build this list. 

Most relate directly to the cards’ cash-back programs: earning rate, rewards categories, spending caps, and the like. We also pay close attention to welcome offers (sign-up bonuses) since those magnify early spending and significantly increase (or decrease) cards’ appeal.

Cash-Back Rate

On a flat-rate cash-back card, the cash-back rate is easy to determine. It’s the rate at which cash back accrues on any eligible purchase.

Cards with tiered or rotating rewards categories still have easy-to-understand cash-back rates: 3% back on groceries, 2% back on gas, 1% back on everything else, or whatever the case may be. The actual blended cash-back rate depends on how much you spend in each category, but only you can calculate that because only you know exactly how your spending breaks down.

Regardless, the higher the flat or potential blended rate, the better the cash-back card. We’ve ordered this list accordingly.

Cash-Back Categories

Flat-rate credit cards win out on this point for sheer simplicity. There’s never any suspense around how much you’ll earn on a particular purchase.

For all other cards, we look for broad purchase categories that appeal to a wide range of potential users: think groceries, gas, dining, travel, and so on. The more categories, the better.

Spending Caps and Other Restrictions on Rewards

The best cash-back credit cards earn unlimited rewards, at least in some of their purchase categories. We don’t totally rule out cards with spending caps or other restrictions on earning potential, but those cards need to have other things going for them to make the cut.

Redemption Options and Minimums

“Cash back” implies, well, cash back, but the details do matter. The best cash-back cards let you redeem for statement credits or bank account deposits in any amount, whenever you feel like it. We’re not fans of cards with high redemption minimums.

Welcome Offers

Most cash-back credit cards offer some sort of welcome incentive for new cardholders. We prefer incentives that are both generous and easy to attain, requiring a minimum of spending spread over several months. 

0% APR Promotions

0% APR purchase and balance transfer promotions are equally enticing for new cardholders planning major purchases or debt payoffs. 

Surprisingly, some of the best balance transfer credit cards and 0% APR purchase credit cards are also among the best cash-back credit cards. You’ll find them on this list.

Card Fees

Cash-back credit cards tend to go easier on fees than premium travel rewards cards, but that doesn’t mean the category is totally free of annual fee options. We give preference to low-fee cards and need cash-back cards with annual fees to demonstrate serious value if they want to be included on this list.

Cash-Back Credit Card FAQs

Not quite sure you have a handle on the wooly world of cash-back credit cards? Here are some of the most common questions asked by your fellow cash-back novices.

Do You Need a Good Credit Score to Get a Cash-Back Credit Card?

Often but not always. 

The best cash-back credit cards generally do require applicants to have good to excellent credit — usually indicated by a FICO credit score above 700, and sometimes even higher. If you don’t meet that threshold, work on building your credit before applying for these premium products.

But several cards on this list accept applications from people with fair or even impaired credit. Students, in particular, have more rewards credit card options than ever — and they’re a group that’s not known for having great credit.

How Much Can You Earn With a Cash-Back Credit Card?

Even the most generous cash-back credit cards rarely offer more than 5% cash back on eligible purchases. Cards that offer more than 2% or 3% cash back typically require holders to keep track of specific spending categories or respect purchase limits.

That said, some cards have partnerships with specific retailers that allow them to offer eye-popping returns on eligible purchases — sometimes 10% or more. Be on the lookout for those deals and activate them quickly when they’re available, since they usually don’t last long.

Should You Pay Off Your Cash-Back Card Balance in Full?

Yes. Some offer 0% APR promotions for new cardholders, but regular cash-back credit card APRs usually range from somewhere north of 10% to more than 20% in some cases. 

At those rates, carrying a balance for even a single month can seriously eat into your cash-back earnings. And habitually carrying a balance from month to month more than negates your cash back earnings, adding to the actual cost of your purchases.

In other words, don’t let the promise of cash back lull you into letting your card balances grow over time. It’s almost never worth it. If you need to carry a credit card balance from month to month, opt for a low-APR credit card instead.

And if you worry about your ability to keep your credit card spending to a level that allows for in-full payments each month, choose a credit card with a low spending limit, or a secured credit card that requires you to make an upfront cash deposit.

How Much Do Cash-Back Credit Cards Cost?

Ideally, nothing. Most of the cards on this list don’t charge annual fees, and more than a few waive foreign transaction fees too. If you pay your bills in full and on time, you might never pay more than your actual charges.

Do take the time to review candidate cards’ fine print though. Otherwise, you might be blindsided by fees you didn’t realize the card issuers could charge.

How to Select the Best Cash-Back Credit Card

Stuck between a few really solid cash-back credit cards, unable to choose the one that’s best for your needs?

Time for some perspective. Yes, it’s true that you’d do fine with many if not all of the cash-back cards on this list, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for a product you don’t absolutely love.

To find the best fit, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Where do I spend the most money?
  • How do I want to be able to redeem my cash-back rewards?
  • Am I willing to pay an annual fee if it means earning at a higher rate or earning more cash back overall?
  • Am I planning to make a major purchase or balance transfer that I need 0% APR financing for?
  • How important is a generous welcome offer to me?

Use your answers to chart the course forward. Chances are, they’ll help you narrow down your list further and perhaps point you to the ideal card. 

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.

For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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