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Which cash back credit card is best for you will often depend on your personal preferences like what your primary expenses consist of, how you feel about keeping up with rotating bonus categories, whether you want a 0% intro APR offer, and what banks you desire to build or maintain a relationship with. Thus, it’s a little tricky to say which cash back credit card is best for you. However, there are a few cards that usually come up in the conversation when discussing the best cash back cards and so here’a a list of some of the best cash back credit cards that are available right now.
Chase Freedom® Card
- No Annual Fee
- Current sign-up bonus: Get $150 after you spend $500 in 3 months
- Earn a $25 bonus when you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within this same 3 month period.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
The Chase Freedom® Card will earn you 1X on non-bonus purchases and 5X Ultimate Rewards on up to $1,500 worth of purchases for different rotating categories each quarter. These categories usually follow a similar pattern each year, albeit with some small differences from time to time.
In the past, bonus categories have included: gas stations, grocery stores, Amazon.com, Kohls, Lowes, Starbucks, movie theaters, and more. This year the current bonus categories are as follows:
- Q1: Gas stations and local commuter transportation
- Q2: Grocery stores (and more to be announced)
- Q3: Restaurants (and more to be announced)
- Q4: Holiday Shopping (more to be announced)
Last year, Amazon.com fell into the 5X category and the deal got even sweeter. Chase bumped the earning potential from 5X to 10X and allowed an additional $1,500 so that you could earn 5X on up to $1,500 and 10X up to $1,500 as well. This was an opportune time to earns tons of awards for holiday shopping!
The Freedom is also a great card because you can pair it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and earn Ultimate Rewards at a quick pace and then transfer those points to some quality transfer partners like Southwest Airlines, United, Mariott, and more. If you don’t have any relationship with Chase, then the Freedom card can be a great way to start building some trust with the bank so you can go after more valuable cards in the future like the Sapphire Preferred.
Amex Blue Cash Everyday® Card
- No Annual Fee
- Current sign-up bonus: Get $100 after you spend $1,000 in 3 months
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.24% to 22.24%,
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday® Card earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations; 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores; and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit
This is a great earner for those who spend a lot at grocery and gas stations. The bonus earning potential with the $100 sign-up bonus and 0% into APR really make this no annual fee card one of the best out there for consumers who don’t like annual fees.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is also a good option but it comes with an annual fee of $75. That card earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations; 3% cash back at select U.S. department stores; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
The annual fee can be offset with the sign-up bonus of $150 and if you’re a high spender, it can be easily offset in the future with bonus category spending (6% of $6,000 equals $360). Thus, if you think you’re likely to max out the bonus category spending, or even come close to doing so, the Preferred might be the better bet over the Everyday.
Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card earns you 1X on all purchases and another 1X when you pay your bill on time. If you’re highly interested in cash back rewards you should be paying off your bill in full each month so the 2X earning should be something everyone should be able to take advantage of (unless you’re planning on taking advantage of the intro 0% APR).
One of the major benefits of card like this is that you don’t have to worry about bonus categories and you earn basically a straight 2% on all purchases. If you’re not interested in keeping up with a bunch of categories and just want a simple approach to cash back then this may be a great option for you.
Discover it® Card
Like the Chase Freedom, the Discover it® Card offers rotating bonus categories which can earn you 5X cash back. These categories contain many of the same type of merchants as the Freedom like gas and ground transportation, restaurants, movies, home improvement stores, Amazon.com, etc.
The big perk of this card is that for new cardmembers, Discover will double the points earned after the first 12 consecutive billing periods. This means that you effectively earn 10X on the bonus categories and 2X on all other purchases.
While this redemption plan requires you to be a little more patient than other cards, it certainly offers a substantial earning potential that’s a steal for no annual fee. When you combine this with the cash back you can earn through the Discover Deals web portal, this easily amounts to the one of the best cash back earning potential out on the market.
Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card
The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card earns unlimited 2% cashback putting it on par with the Citi® Double Cash Card . However, like the Citi® Double Cash Card, getting 2% takes a little bit of extra work because you have to have a Fidelity bank account to collect these points. Opening up a Fidelity account may or may not be a hassle for you but it’s something to be aware of.
The only drawback to this card is that it doesn’t offer the 0% into APR and so you can’t benefit by making large purchases like you could with some of the other cards.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card
- No Annual Fee
- Online exclusive $100 cash rewards bonus after making at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.
- 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% cash back at grocery stores, 3% cash back on gas (Grocery store/gas bonus rewards on up to $1,500 grocery/gas quarterly spend)
- 10% to 75% reward bonuses
The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card is a solid choice for those who spend a lot on grocery and gas, especially if you have a Bank of America account. As a Bank of America customer, you can get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. Also, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%. While the Preferred Rewards requires you to keep substantial monthly averages in your accounts, the 10% bonus for having a checking or savings account is pretty easy to meet. Overall, I think this is a great intro card for those people looking to break into the credit card game for cash back.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.