Point of Interest: Cash Back Credit Cards
Cash back credit cards are a great way to get a little back every time you purchase with your card. There’s always the card for you (or multiple) depending on your spending habits — maybe you like to dine out often or take long drives to work everyday.
If you have good to excellent credit, you may be able to take advantage of one of the best credit card deals around — cash back offers. The best cash back credit cards are the ones that offer the biggest reward for things you purchase every day, so check out our top picks for 2020 below.
Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2020
- Discover it® Cash Back: Best for rotating bonus categories
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards: Best for flat-rate cash back
- Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express: Best for gas and groceries
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for everyday spending
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for double cash back
Discover it® Cash Back — Best for rotating bonus categories
- APR: Introductory 0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers; 13.49%-24.49% variable APR after that.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Primary feature: 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate; 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Introductory Bonus offer: Discover matches the cash back reward you earn at the end of your first year.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards — Best for flat-rate cash back
- APR: Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Primary feature: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases.
- Introductory Bonus offer: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months.
Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express — Best for gas and groceries
- APR: Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months; 13.99%-24.99% variable APR afterward.
- Annual Fee: $95
- Primary feature: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year) and on select U.S. streaming services; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit; 1% back on all other purchases.
- Introductory Bonus offer: $250 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® — Best for everyday spending
- APR: Introductory 0% APR for 15 months; 16.49%-25.24% variable APR afterward.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Primary feature: 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases.
- Introductory Bonus offer: $150 cash back bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months.
Citi® Double Cash Card — Best for double cash back
- APR: Introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers; 14.99%-24.99% variable APR on purchases and transfers afterward.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Primary feature: 1% unlimited cash back on purchases, plus an additional 1% back when you pay at least the card minimum each month.
- Introductory Bonus offer: N/A
Compare Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2020
|Cards||0% Purchase APR period||Regular APR||Annual Fee|
|Discover it® Cash Back||14 months||13.49-24.49% variable||$0|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards||15 months||15.49-25.49% variable||$0|
|Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express||12 months||13.99-24.99% variable||$95|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||15 months||16.49-25.24% variable||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||18 months on balance transfers only||14.99-24.99% variable||$0|
More about cash back credit cards
Cash back cards are great for putting a little extra money in your wallet or helping you reduce your credit card balance. Choose a flat-rate card to get cash back on every single purchase — or choose a card that offers more cash back in certain categories. Most cash back cards also come with an introductory 0% APR rate on purchases and balance transfers, so you can use them to pay down debt from a high-interest card.
How to choose the right cash back credit card for you
To choose the best cash back card, you need to think about how you use credit cards in the first place. If you primarily use them to buy groceries, a card that offers more cash back in that category makes sense. Even though category cards typically have a cap on the amount you can earn each year or quarter, the cash back earned on things you buy a lot might be more than getting a flat-rate back on everything.
Take advantage of the calculators some credit card companies provide to learn how much cash back you can earn, or do the math yourself. That way, you’ll know which card is going to earn you the most.
Common types of cash back credit cards
The two most common types of cash back cards are flat-rate cards and category cards. Flat-rate cards offer the same rewards on everything, and category cards offer a higher cash back rate in certain categories, like grocery stores, gas stations, streaming services and warehouse stores.
Category cards cap the amount you can earn per year or quarter at the higher rate, then default to unlimited 1% cash back on purchases. Flat-rate cards offer an unlimited reward rate — 1.5% is common — on all the purchases you make with the card.
What is a good APR for a cash back credit card?
Anything less than the average rate posted by the Federal Reserve — between 15% and 17% variable APR for the last couple of years — is a good standard APR rate for a cash back credit card.
New cash back credit cards offer you something more, though. Most come with a generous introductory 0% APR rate on purchases and balance transfers, which lets you pay down the balance of a high-interest rate card.
How to maximize cash back rewards
The best way to maximize cash back rewards is to use multiple cards, take advantage of the higher cash back rewards in quarterly categories and apply for new cards to reap signup bonuses.
A multi-card strategy will get you bigger rewards, but it requires a level of effort some people don’t want to make. For those people, the reliability of a flat-rate card is better.
The final word
Cash back credit cards offer you tangible rewards for using credit wisely. If you’re financially savvy, you can take advantage of the best cash back credit cards on the market by using several at once to earn maximum rewards. Or you can opt for the convenience of using one card to pay for everything.