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Top cash back credit cards 2022

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

See Rates & Fees. On Wells Fargo's Secure Website

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Cash back credit cards let consumers earn a percentage of rewards for every dollar they spend, and they often come with other perks and protections. Since the rewards are valuable and typically easy to redeem, cash back cards are one of the most popular types of credit cards. We highlight the top cash back credit cards of 2022 below.

Best overall cash back card and best flat-rate cash back card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

See Rates & Fees. On Wells Fargo's Secure Website

Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

$0

16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR

660 - 850

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Our thoughts

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is one of the highest earning flat-rate of cashback cards. You’ll Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. The card edges out a similar card in this category (the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer) thanks to its generous sign-up bonus. Plus, you can save money with its balance transfer offer. Once you sign up, you'll get a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, followed by an APR of 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR.

  • One of the highest rewards rates among flat-rate cashback credit cards
  • $0 annual fee
  • Intro 0% balance transfer offer can help you save money
  • This card has few meaningful cardholder benefits
  • You can only redeem rewards for statement credits, direct deposit or a check
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%


Best cash back credit card for groceries

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

$95

15.49%-25.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 15.49% to 25.49%
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Our thoughts

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has one of the best cashback credit card offers for groceries purchases at U.S. supermarkets, since you earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent each year (then 1%) in this category. If you max out your rewards by spending $500 per month on groceries each year, you could earn $360 per year in cash back in this category alone.

The card also offers rewards in other categories: 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply. Rewards are easily redeemable for statement credits toward your purchases.

For rates and fees of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply.
  • Generous welcome offer
  • Intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months followed by an APR of 15.49%-25.49% Variable
  • A $95 annual fee applies
  • 6% category is only for U.S. grocery stores, and a $6,000 annual limit applies, then you earn 1%
  • You can only redeem your rewards for statement credits
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.


Best 1.5% cash back credit card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

$0

15.74% - 24.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

Our thoughts

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is an excellent 1.5% cash back card due to its hefty sign-up bonus and rewards rate, which you'll get for no annual fee. Not only can you earn a generous sign-up bonus, but you Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases. With this Chase cash back card, you won’t have to pay an annual fee and you can save money on interest since you get a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months for new purchases (15.74% - 24.49% Variable thereafter).

Because this card lets you earn points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, you can redeem your points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, travel and more.

  • Save money with a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months on new purchases (15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR thereafter)
  • Earn a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on most purchases, along with bonus rewards for certain purchases, with a $0annual fee
  • Major cardholder benefits include purchase protection against damage or theft and extended warranties
  • No bonus categories to let you earn more rewards
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars when you make purchases overseas
  • Some flat-rate cash back credit cards (see the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer below) offer a higher rewards rate


Best cash back credit card for business

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

On Capital One's Secure Website

Earn up to a $1,000 cash bonus; $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, and $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of account opening

$150

N/A

660 - 850

  • Earn up to a $1,000 cash bonus; $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, and $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, everywhere—with no limits or category restrictions
  • Comes with no preset spending limit, so it can adapt to your needs based on your spending behavior, payment history and credit profile
  • Earn an annual $200 cash bonus every year you spend $200,000 or more
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Add employee cards for free, and earn unlimited 2% cash back from their purchases
  • $150 annual fee
  • Spark Cash Plus has no APR because your balance is due in full every month

Our thoughts

The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a top business cash back card due to its generous sign-up bonus, strong rewards rate, and business perks. This Capital One cash back card lets you rack up an unlimited 2% Cash Back on every purchase; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel for each dollar you spend. Not only is this a generous rewards rate, but you don't have to worry about bonus categories or earning caps.

You also get employee cards at no cost, so you can earn cash back each time one of your employees makes a business-related purchase. In terms of redemption options, you get the flexibility of being able to cash in your points at any time and in any amount.

  • Additional cardholder benefits include roadside assistance, None foreign transaction fees, purchase protection against damage or theft and extended warranties
  • Earn a flat 2% Cash Back on every purchase; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel with no spending limit
  • Redeem your rewards at any time and in any increments you want
  • This card is light on cardholder perks
  • An annual fee of $150
  • The ongoing APR is high, making this card a poor choice if you plan to carry a balance


Best cash back credit card for gas

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

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Not available on ValuePenguin

$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

$0

14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

660 - 850

  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category. 
  • No annual fee and no expiration on rewards. 
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR will apply.  A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap. 
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Our thoughts

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a great choice for earning rewards on gas purchases because you'll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases For your 3% category, choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement and furnishings.

We like that this card doesn’t come with an annual fee. Also note that you can redeem your cash back in any amount in the form of statement credits or deposits into a Bank of America account or a Merrill account.

  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • You can change your 3% category each month online or through the mobile app
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases for purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days for balance transfers followed by an APR of 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR; balance transfers must be initiated within 60 days of account opening to qualify for the introductory rate
  • $0 annual fee
  • Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can earn an additional 25% to 75% in rewards with their card
  • Rewards in 3% and 2% categories are limited to the first $2,500 in combined spending in those categories each quarter
  • This card doesn’t come with many meaningful cardholder benefits


Best cash back credit card for fair credit

Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card

On Petal's Secure Website

N/A

$0

Variable APR between 13.74% - 27.74%

See website for details

  • No fees whatsoever. No late fee, foreign transaction fee, annual fee, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fee.
  • Variable APRs range from 13.74% - 27.74%
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away
  • 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants
  • $300 - $10,000 credit limits
  • No credit score? No problem. If eligible, we'll create your Cash Score instead.
  • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score.
  • Build credit alongside hundreds of thousands of Petal card members.
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • No deposits required
  • Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

Our thoughts

The Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card is geared towards consumers with fair credit, yet it is free of burdensome fees many credit cards in this category charge. You’ll also earn flat-rate rewards with this card that increases as you make on-time payments. You’ll Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away, and 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants. We love the fact you won’t pay an annual fee on this card, and you can also utilize the card’s mobile app to monitor your spending and payments.

  • Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away, and 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants
  • $0 annual fee, no late fees and no hidden fees
  • Qualify for a line of credit between $500 and $10,000
  • Qualify with fair credit, limited credit and no credit history
  • No traditional sign-up bonus


Best cash back credit card for poor, bad or limited credit

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

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Not available on ValuePenguin

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

See terms

See terms

0 - 600

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

Our thoughts

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is the rare card available to consumers with 0 - 600 credit that offers a good cash rewards program. You’ll earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. Discover will even double all the rewards you earn after the first year for new cardmembers.

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a secured credit card, meaning you have to put down a refundable cash deposit to secure your line of credit. Deposits start at $200 and will be equal to your starting line of credit.

  • Easy approvals, even if you have 0 - 600 credit
  • Free FICO® credit score on your monthly statement
  • You’ll have to secure your line of credit with a cash deposit
  • Bonus rewards in the 2% category are limited to $1,000 in spending each quarter
  • No traditional credit card sign-up bonus


Best cash back credit card with rotating categories

Discover it® Cash Back

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Not available on ValuePenguin

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

See terms

See terms

660 - 850

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • NEW Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 12.74% to 23.74% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

Our thoughts

The Discover it® Cash Back is popular among consumers who want to earn bonus rewards in categories that change over time. This card lets you earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

For 2022, Discover bonus categories are as follows:

  • January-March: Grocery Stores and Fitness Club & Gym Memberships
  • April-June: Gas Stations and Target
  • July-September: Restaurants and PayPal
  • October-December: Amazon.com and Digital Wallets

While this card doesn’t come with a traditional bonus, Discover will double all the rewards you earn the first year through their Cashback Match program. This makes the card one of the most rewarding cash back credit cards for its first year.

  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically
  • Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • You only earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in quarterly bonus categories, which limits your rewards potential. Purchases outside its bonus categories only earn 1% cash back
  • You have to remember to enroll in the categories each quarter to earn 5% cash back
  • No traditional sign-up bonus


Best 5% cash back card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

On Citibank's Secure Website

Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

$0

15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.

Our thoughts

For earning the most rewards in a 5% cashback category year round, we like the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. The card lets you Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The card offers a couple advantages over similar category cards:

  • It offers the same categories each month, including groceries, restaurants and gas.
  • It automatically enrolls you in your highest spend category each month, so you automatically earn the most where you spend the most.

Like similar cards, your 5% bonus is limited to $500 in purchases each billing cycle. The card only earns 1% back in other categories and is limited on other benefits. However, if you're looking for a card whose singular purpose is to earn maximum cash back on a single category (particularly groceries), the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a great option.

  • Earn 5% cash back on your highest earning category each month
  • No need to enroll in the category — you're automatically enrolled
  • No annual fee
  • $500 spending cap on 5% cash back bonus category
  • Low rate of cash back outside your 5% category
  • Limited on other benefits


Best cash back credit card for dining out

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

$95

16.24%, 21.24% or 24.24% variable APR

660 - 850

  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, 3% cash back at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more

Our thoughts

If you spend a lot of money on dining each month, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is hard to beat, due to its high earning rate. Cardholders Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. The rewards you can earn with this card are unlimited, too.

You'll have to pay an annual fee of $95, but you don't have to worry about making purchases overseas because there is a 0% foreign transaction fee. You also get the benefit of being able to redeem your rewards for cash back in any amount or for purchases on Amazon.com.

  • Earn unlimited rewards, including 4% back on dining and entertainment
  • Generous bonus offer
  • Qualify for extended warranties, travel accident insurance, complimentary concierge service and more
  • Foreign transaction fee of 0%
  • Only earn 1% back on non-bonus spending
  • You'll have to pay an annual fee of $95


Best cash back credit card with a 0% intro APR

Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!

$0

15.74% - 24.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom FlexSM card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

Our thoughts

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers cardholders a long 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, followed by an APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable . This could save a significant amount of interest if you want to make a large purchase and pay it down over time.

This is another cash back card that lets you earn 5% back in categories that rotate each quarter. You’ll 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • Get a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months (followed by an APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable )
  • Earn rewards with $0 annual fee
  • Qualify for purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties, zero liability protection and more
  • Rotating bonus categories are capped at $1,500 in purchases per quarter
  • You have to remember to enroll in the categories each quarter to earn 5% cash back
  • Intro 0% APR offer doesn’t apply to balance transfers
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars


Best cash back credit card for students

Discover it® Student Cash Back

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Not available on ValuePenguin

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

See terms

See terms

0 - 660

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 13.74% - 22.74% applies.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

Our thoughts

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is geared toward students with 0 - 660 credit histories, and offers the same great cashback rewards program as the regular version of the card. You can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. Plus, just like the non-student version of the card, Discover will match your cash back at the end of the year if you are a new card member, essentially doubling your rewards.

The card is free of annual fees, and you’ll get a free FICO score on your monthly statement.

  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically
  • Discover will double all the rewards you earn the first year for new card members
  • May be easier to qualify for than other unsecured credit cards
  • This card’s 5% back category bonus is limited to $1,500 in spending each quarter (you only earn 1% cash back after that)
  • You have to remember to enroll in the categories each quarter to earn 5% cash back
  • No traditional sign-up bonus. You get a cash back match offer instead

How to choose a cash back card

In order to choose the right cash back card for you, you'll want to choose a card that caters to your personal spending habits and preferences.

Use the following steps:

1. Consider your spending habits

You'll want to choose a cash back card that earns the most in the categories you spend the most in. For example, if you buy groceries and gas every week, you'll want to look for a card that earns more cash back in those categories. If your spending is more varied, you might consider a flat-rate cash back card instead.

2. Check your credit score

Before applying for any credit card, make sure to check your credit score. Because applying for a credit card results in a hard pull on your credit history, you should only apply to a card you can be approved for based on your credit rating.

3. Decide what type of cash back card you want

Flat-rate cash back cards let you earn a specific percentage of rewards regardless of the category of your purchases. If you have a flat-rate rewards credit card that lets you earn 2% back on all purchases you make, for example, you’ll earn $2 in rewards for each $100 you spend.

Features to consider when choosing a cash back card

The right rewards credit card for you depends on your spending style and the type of rewards you want to earn. In the process of choosing a cash back card, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

1. Earning categories

Make sure the card you choose offers generous rewards in the categories you spend the most in. If you spend a lot on groceries or gas, for example, you could look for a card that offers bonus categories on these purchases.

Conversely, it can make sense to sign up for a flat-rate rewards card that offers a higher earning rate on everything you buy. This strategy would help you avoid having to worry about bonus categories or earning caps.

Some of the most common earning categories include the following:

  • Dining: This category typically includes going out to eat at any restaurant as well as ordering delivery. In this category, you’ll earn points on your entire bill including the tip.
  • Gas stations: This category typically refers to filling up with gas at the major gas service stations, including places like Mobil, BP and Shell. Oftentimes, purchases at the accompanying convenience shop also count toward your rewards earnings, but you should double-check with your personal card.
  • Supermarkets: This category refers to grocery stores, and will sometimes simply be called "groceries." You can earn rewards in this category by making any type of purchase at the supermarket. However, be sure to check the details of your specific card because superstores like Costco, Walmart and Target are typically not included.

2. Sign-up bonus

Look for a rewards credit card that offers a generous initial bonus and that preferably comes with a minimum spending requirement you can easily reach. If you can earn a welcome bonus when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months, for example, make sure you can spend $1,000 per month on your card via regular spending and bills.

3. Annual fee

Many cashback cards don’t charge an annual fee, yet those that do typically offer a higher rate of rewards. If you decide to pay an annual fee for a credit card, make sure the rewards or cardholder benefits are worth it to you. If you’re looking for the best cash back credit card with no annual fee, try the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. This lets you Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

4. Redemption options

Make sure the card you select lets you redeem rewards in the way you want, whether that means for statement credits, gift cards, cash in the mail or several different options.

5. 0% introductory APR

Some cash back cards let you save money with a 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for a limited time. If you would like a card with this benefit, make sure to check how long you get 0% APR and whether your offer applies to purchases, balance transfers or both.

6. Other benefits

Also look for cards that offer the perks you want the most, whether that includes extended warranties, purchase protection, travel insurance or other benefits.

Cash back credit card tips

Cash back cards let you earn rewards as a percentage of your spending, so you’ll rack up more cash back the more you use your card.

Most cashback cards then let you earn cash back as a statement credit, redeem your rewards for gift cards and more. These types of cards literally couldn’t be more convenient, as they allow you to get cash from a credit card.

Cash back vs. points and miles credit cards

The good thing about cash back cards is that as a consumer, you always know how much value your rewards are and you know exactly how to redeem them — it’s a straightforward and relatively simple system. That said, credit cards that offer points and miles are a bit more complex, but typically offer more redemption options that can boost the value of your rewards. If you’d rather not get involved with the complexities of points and miles, and would prefer to simply earn cash back on all your spending, cash back cards will be the way to go.

How to maximize a cash back credit card

To make the most of a cash back credit card, you should use it for all your regular spending and bills. Also, you should always pay your balance in full and never, ever carry long-term debt with a rewards credit card. Cash back credit cards tend to charge high APRs that start at around 11.99%. Using a card to earn 1% to 3% cash back will not compensate for the amount you have to pay in interest.

  1. Choose a card that rewards you where you spend the most. This means choosing a card that offers high rates of cash back in categories you consistently spend in. These could include things like gas, groceries, or dining. If you have more varied spending habits, consider a flat-rate cash back card instead.
  2. Utilize your bonus categories. Be aware of which categories you earn bonus points in and be sure to use your card for all those purchases. If you choose a rotating categories card, make sure you remember to enroll each quarter to earn cash back.
  3. Use your cash back card for all your regular spending. The best way to maximize your cash back card is to use it as often as possible. Make your cash back card your primary credit card to earn rewards every time you swipe.
  4. Avoid carrying debt on your card. Cash back cards tend to charge high interest rates which could end up costing you significantly if you don't pay off your card in full.
  5. Take advantage of your card's additional perks. Many cash back credit cards include additional benefits like travel and purchase protections, low intro APR offers and more.

Pros and cons of using a cash back credit card

Pros

  • Cash back credit cards offer you rewards with indisputable value — cold, hard cash. Whether you choose to redeem those rewards as a statement credit, gift card or even as a physical check in the mail, you know what you’re getting and you can spend your rewards whenever you want, on anything you want.
  • The cash back rewards method is simple. You won’t have to play the game of maximizing your points and miles or waiting until the right moment to redeem them. Look for a $200 cash back credit card to further maximize your benefits.
  • Typically cash back cards will charge either no or low annual fees. It’s easy to get great value out of this type of card without having to pay too much to own it.

Cons

  • With cash back credit cards, there is little opportunity to expand the value of your rewards. Conversely, with points and miles cards you can often use your rewards strategically to extend their value beyond what could be possible with a cash back card.
  • Typically cash back credit cards don’t offer significant welcome bonuses, ranging from $0 to around $200. Points and miles cards, however, often offer sign-up offers more than twice that amount.
  • Fewer benefits. Cash back cards don’t typically offer the perks that points and miles cards do, like free checked bags or travel protection.

FAQs about cash back credit cards

What is a cash back card?

A cash back card is a type of credit card that lets you earn cash rewards for each dollar you spend. Many cashback cards also come with benefits like zero fraud liability, purchase protection and extended warranties.

What is the best cash back credit card?

The best cash back credit card is different for everyone. We suggest comparing card options based on their rewards rates and how they align with your normal spending, as well as rewards redemption options, annual fees and the cardholder benefits you can qualify for.

What credit card gives the most cash back?

The credit card that offers the most cash back also varies from person to person since some cards offer more rewards in specific categories. Some cards offer a higher rate of rewards on all purchases than others. The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a popular option, since it lets you Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases Alternatively, one of the highest paying cash back cards is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which gives you 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply. Cash back is redeemable for statement credits.

Is credit card cash back taxable?

Credit card rewards are considered a rebate on your spending, and thus they are not considered taxable income.

Why do credit card companies offer cash back?

Credit card companies offer cash back as an incentive for you to sign up for their cards and use them for regular purchases. They make money off of transaction fees and interest when you carry a balance, so the rewards they pay out is worth it to them.

Are cash back credit cards worth it?

Cash back credit cards can be worth the trouble if you always pay your balance in full and you never pay a dime in interest. If you are wondering whether you should get a cash back credit card, consider whether or not you’ll be able to spend more than the card’s annual fee, and the way in which you’d prefer to earn and collect your rewards. If you’re worried about racking up long-term debt, you may want to stay away from credit cards altogether.

Is cash back on a business credit card taxable?

Cash back earned with a business credit card is considered a rebate on your purchases. For that reason, it is not considered taxable income.

How do you calculate the cash back rate on credit cards?

Cash rewards rates are typically doled out as a percentage of your spending. With that in mind, a card that offers 1% back on all purchases would give you $1 for each $100 you spend. Likewise, a card that offers 2% back would give you $2 for each $100 you spend.

What is a 1.5% cash back card?

Cards in this category let you earn 1.5% back for each dollar you spend, or $1.50 for each $100 in purchases you charge to your credit card.

Are cash back or miles cards better?

Some rewards credit cards offer airline miles instead of cash rewards. Neither card is "better," but it's likely one option might work better for your needs. Airline credit cards typically work best for consumers who travel often and stick with the same airline or airline alliance.

Do cash back cards build credit?

Cashback cards can help you build credit since all your credit movements are reported to the three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. To build credit with a credit card, make sure to pay your balance early or on time each month, keep debt levels at a minimum and avoid opening or closing too many credit accounts.

What is the best cash back business credit card?

Our pick for the best cash back business credit card is the Capital One Spark Cash Plus. With this card you can earn a flat 2% Cash Back on every purchase; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel with no spending limit. Plus, you can Earn up to a $1,000 cash bonus; $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, and $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of account opening.

Do cash back cards actually give you cash?

Cash back cards give you cash as a statement credit on your card, and in some cases can directly deposit your rewards into your checking or savings account. Cash back rewards can also be redeemed as gift cards or in the form of a physical check mailed to you by your credit card issuer upon request.

Methodology

How we chose the best cash back credit cards

To make choosing the right cash back credit card easier, we've looked at credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best rewards credit cards available right now. Our recommendations are based on the following criteria:

APR

How the card's annual percentage rate (APR) compares to other cash back cards and whether or a low interest intro period is offered on purchases and/or balance transfers.

Rewards

What is the cash back earning rate and is it a flat-rate or does it include bonus spending categories. Which categories cash back is offered in, whether categories are rotating or stagnant.

Additional perks and benefits

These include things like travel and purchase protections, travel perks and more.

Annual fee

Whether or not a card charges an annual fee, if the fee is waived for the first year, and if the card benefits offset or outweigh the annual fee.

Sign-up bonus

Whether or not a card comes with a welcome offer or sign-up bonus, how easy it is to earn the bonus, and how much cash back you can earn.

Foreign transaction fees

Does the card charge foreign transaction fees and, if yes, does that limit the card's overall value.

Our choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

For rates and fees of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

The information related to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Discover it® Secured Credit Card, Discover it® Cash Back, Discover it® Student Cash Back and Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).