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Please note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.
One of the things that might stand out to the average reader when checking out all the various credit card products we cover here from time to time are the often byzantine-sounding rules and features associated with the cards. It’s not usually stressed amid the coverage here and elsewhere of these kinds of rewards credit cards, but the terms and features can certainly seem downright daunting to a lot of people who don’t have the time or patience to sit down and study all the different ways they can use and get value out of the most feature-rich rewards cards. Keeping track of points and miles, remembering all the specific perks you can enjoy on flights, understanding the travel protections and so much more that come with a card — who has time for it?
Luckily, plenty of card issuers offer at least one benefit that’s much simpler and easier to understand. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the top cash-back credit cards on the market today. They include:
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Perfect for travel
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for flat-rate cash back
- Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Especially tailored for dining and entertainment rewards
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for gas and groceries
While many of the best travel credit cards allow you to redeem those rewards for cash back, you’re usually forgoing better options to do so. In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into some of the best cash-back credit cards where getting cash back is the redemption that provides the best return.
Right off the bat, some key things to know:
With a cash back card, you’re generally going to get rewarded with somewhere between 1% and 5% cash back from each purchase you make with the card. One reason people are especially fans of these kinds of cards is that the earnings are much more straightforward than points and miles. Instead of having to keep up with things like point valuations and transfer partners, you always know what you’re getting with cash back in terms of value and redemption options. (The flip side, of course, is that this can also mean that cash back is more limited. One cent that you earned is only one cent that can be spent, whereas points and miles can often be redeemed at a far greater value.)
Of course, not all cash-back credit cards are created equally. Some of them, for example, are flat-rate cards — these earn the same rewards rate across all the spending categories. Others are tiered, meaning they pay you back at a higher rate for specific categories. Rotating category cards will offer a cash back percentage on certain spending categories that, as the name implies, regularly change, while choose-your-own category cards allow you to customize your rewards structure.
With all that said, let’s now get into the details of each of our top recommendations. Click the name of each card below to jump straight to the application page for it:
Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 point after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of card ownership
Annual fee: $0
Rewards rate: Earn 3x on eating out and ordering in, gas stations, transit, travel and select streaming services; 1x on everything else
Details: Though the Wells Fargo Propel technically earns points instead of cash back, the points are redeemed at a fixed-value, making the card similar to others you’ll find this list. The lack of an annual fee, plus the 3x earnings rate on common spending categories make this card great for beginners who won’t have to do lots of research to maximize the value they gain from this card.
Welcome bonus: N/A
Annual fee: $0
Rewards rate: With this card, you’ll earn 2% cash back thus — 1% when you make purchases with it, and another 1% when you pay your bill each month
Details: The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the simplest and most rewarding cash-back cards out there. You only need to make the minimum payment each month to earn the second half of the rewards structure we note above, and while the card doesn’t come with a welcome bonus, the possibility for long-term value still makes the card a worthy addition to this list.
Welcome bonus: With this card, you’ll earn $300 back after spending $3,000 with the card in your first three months
Annual fee: $95 (though it’s waived during the first year)
Rewards rate: Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment; 2% at grocery stores; 1% on everything else.
Details: One of the great things about the Capital One Savor is that the earnings categories are pretty broad. Dining, for example, encompasses restaurants, cafes, bars, fast food joints, bakeries and more, while the entertainment category will earn you 4% on purchases that include concert tickets, movie tickets, sporting events, theme parks, and certain tourist attractions, to name just a few.
Welcome bonus: $250 back after using the card to spend $1,000 in your first three months.
Annual fee: $95
Rewards rate: Earn 6% cash back on purchases on certain US streaming subscriptions as well as at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending at supermarkets each reward year, then 1%), plus 3% cash back at US gas stations and on transit, and 1% cash back everywhere else (Terms apply).
Details: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is a great all-around cash-back card because of the way it earns solid rewards on categories that aren’t always favored by cards. Many consumers may see this card as especially the way to go, considering how many streaming services we’re all subscribed to these days.