Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Selected by CardHub Editors from 1,000+ credit cards — Updated August 27, 2016

Cash back credit cards make for a great addition to anyone’s wallet because they provide a straightforward earning and redemption mechanism in a currency that cannot be devalued by a credit card company. The best cash back credit cards tend to be those that keep things simple by providing attractive earning rates across all purchases. We tend to avoid cards offering higher earning rates in rotating spending categories, as they require quarterly sign-up, are difficult to plan for, and are often not for the types of purchases that people make most often.

In addition, the best cards either do not charge annual fees or provide rewards that are easily lucrative enough to cover the fixed costs. CardHub’s editors identified their favorite offers by comparing more than 1,000 cards, based on how well they fit the aforementioned characteristics. While advertising status played no role in our selection of these cards, certain sponsored offers may be included.

excellent Credit

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $0*
  • Rewards Rate 1% + 1% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best For Cash Back Rewards. The Double Cash Credit Card from Citi (one of our advertising partners) is one of the best everyday rewards cards on the market, offering 1% cash back on what you spend and another 1% cash back on what you pay. Plus, Citi had the good sense not to ruin the cash back party by charging an annual fee. To learn more, check out our full Double Cash review."

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $100

Best For Rewards. A great everyday credit card for people with good credit, Quicksilver brings value and simplicity to the rewards process, providing 1.5% cash back across all purchases, in addition to a $100 initial bonus for spending at least $500 during the first three months. The fact that this card does not charge an annual fee serves as the cherry on top of this attractive deal. Note: Capital One is one of our advertising partners. To learn more, check out our full review of the Quicksilver Card.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 12 months
  • Regular APR 13.24%-23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $95
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 6% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $150

Best For Everyday Rewards: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from Amex is an elite everyday rewards card given its exceptional earning rates in important spending categories. It offers 6% cash back at supermarkets (up to a $6,000 annual spending limit), 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores and 1% cash back everywhere else. Some might be turned off by the $95 annual fee, but that’s a moot point early on if you manage to spend at least $1,000 during the first three months and thereby qualify for its $150 initial bonus. You'll also have the opportunity to earn up to $200 in bonus rewards during the first six months, thanks to a limited-time 5% earning rate for travel purchases. Blue Cash Preferred could therefore easily pay for itself in the hands of the right person. If you don’t spend enough on groceries, gas, and clothing to outweigh the fee, check out the standard Blue Cash Card. Note: American Express is one of our advertising partners.

good Credit

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $100

Best For Rewards. A great everyday credit card for people with good credit, Quicksilver brings value and simplicity to the rewards process, providing 1.5% cash back across all purchases, in addition to a $100 initial bonus for spending at least $500 during the first three months. The fact that this card does not charge an annual fee serves as the cherry on top of this attractive deal. Note: Capital One is one of our advertising partners. To learn more, check out our full review of the Quicksilver Card.

fair Credit

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Regular APR 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best For Rewards. The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card from Capital One (one of our advertising partners) represents the absolute best rewards-earning option available to people with fair or limited credit. It boasts a straightforward rewards program, offering 1.5% cash back across all purchases, which will easily overcome its $39 annual fee for users who make most of their purchases with plastic. 1.5% cash back across the board is equivalent to what people with excellent credit get from the best rewards cards on the market. In addition, a 0% introductory interest rate on new purchases for 9 months makes the QuicksilverOne Card a great way to avoid interest on big-ticket purchases as well.

limited Credit

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 9 months
  • Regular APR 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee $39
  • Rewards Rate 1.5% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best For Rewards. The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card from Capital One (one of our advertising partners) represents the absolute best rewards-earning option available to people with fair or limited credit. It boasts a straightforward rewards program, offering 1.5% cash back across all purchases, which will easily overcome its $39 annual fee for users who make most of their purchases with plastic. 1.5% cash back across the board is equivalent to what people with excellent credit get from the best rewards cards on the market. In addition, a 0% introductory interest rate on new purchases for 9 months makes the QuicksilverOne Card a great way to avoid interest on big-ticket purchases as well.

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

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For College Students

  • Purchase intro APR N/A
  • Regular APR 20.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 1.25% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus None

Best Cash Back Rewards For College Students. Not only does the Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card offer straightforward, lucrative rewards without charging an annual fee, it also promotes good habits. You get a 25% rewards bonus each month you make an on-time payment, and getting in the habit of paying for what you spend early in your credit career will put you on the path to excellent credit as well as save you a lot of money in interest in the years to come (assuming you pay your bill in full as well as on time, which we highly recommend). Note: Capital One is an advertising partner.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ for Students Credit Card

For College Students

  • Purchase intro APR 0% for 12 months
  • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
  • Annual Fee None
  • Rewards Rate 1 - 3% Cash Back
  • Rewards Bonus $100

Best For Student Financing. This card is capable of meeting the needs of various types of college students, from those who wish to earn rewards on everyday expenses like gas and groceries to those who need help paying for big-ticket expenses like textbooks. The fact that it doesn’t charge an annual fee and actually pays you $100 just for spending $500 in the first 90 days you have it just makes things sweeter, The one thing you don’t want to do with this card is use it overseas, as it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. So, if you plan on studying abroad or doing some international travel, you may want to consider a card from Capital One (none of its offer charge foreign fees).

bad Credit

Unfortunately, there are no cash back credit cards for people with bad credit. Below is the best secured credit card for people with bad credit.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

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Secured Card

  • Min Deposit $49, $99 or $200
  • Annual Fee None
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 24.99% (V)

Best Partially-Secured Card. The fact that the Capital One Secured MasterCard does not charge an annual fee and has the potential to be partially-secured makes it quite attractive for many people. With a partially-secured credit card, your credit line may exceed the amount of your security deposit, thereby providing you with an emergency line of credit, if needed, and enabling you to maximize your available credit. The more credit you have available, the faster your credit standing will improve. The Secured MasterCard Credit Card from Capital One (one of our advertisers) is therefore an option that at least merits consideration if you have bad or limited credit. To learn more about this helpful credit-building tool, check out our full review.

Unfortunately, there are no cash back credit cards for people with bad credit. Below is the best unsecured credit card for people with bad credit.

Credit One Bank® Visa® with Credit Line Increase Reviews

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  • Annual Fee $0 - $99
  • Monthly Fee None
  • One-Time Fees None
  • Regular APR 15.65% - 24.15% (V)

Best Unsecured Card For Bad Credit. We tend not to recommend unsecured credit cards for bad credit given the prohibitive costs and low credit lines typical of the genre. If you truly need an emergency loan, however, this Credit One Bank Visa Card is your best bet. It charges a relatively modest annual fee of $0 - $75 the first year, depending on your credit standing, and $0 to $99 each year thereafter. And it even offers 1% cash back on gas and grocery purchases.

Expert Answers

Why get the best cash back credit card and not the best travel rewards credit card?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEO

In a word, flexibility. Though certain travel rewards credit cards might be more lucrative, the best cash back rewards credit cards simplify redemption and broaden rather than limit the possible uses of your earnings. In addition, cash back credit cards represent a lower risk because credit card companies cannot devalue what you have already earned, as they can with rewards miles or points. Whether you don't travel enough to warrant getting a travel rewards credit card or you merely value the simplicity of cash rewards, you can't go wrong with the best cash back card.

How often do the best cash back credit cards change?

By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance Editor

The best cash back credit cards page changes whenever new deals that warrant inclusion are introduced. There is no specific timetable for this as credit card companies alter offers at their own discretion based on various economic trends. As a result, the best cash back credit cards for 2011 will likely differ from those for 2010.

Do the best cash back credit cards make rewards redemption easier?

By: Debra Wei, Personal Finance Reporter

Rewards redemption is very simple with all cash back credit cards. You earn rewards in terms of cash, which you receive in the form of checks or statement credits. There are no blackout dates, no risk of devaluation, no loopholes, no point benchmarks to reach, just a clear cash earning rate. The best cash back cards simply heighten the benefits provided by your typical cash back credit card.

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