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By Jason Steele
April 1, 2021
Credit card With A Hand Holding Cash Coming Out Of It
Money; Getty Images

This spring, take a look at these cash back credit cards offer some of the most lucrative rewards rates and signup bonuses without charging exorbitant fees. If you can’t seem to settle on a cash back card for your wallet, any of the cards on this list would still leave you ahead.

  • Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for Flat-Rate Rewards
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for Bonus Rewards
  • Discover it® Miles: Best for First-Year Rewards
  • Chase Freedom Flex: Best Cash Back Card with Rotating Categories
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Fair Credit
  • Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Dining and Entertainment
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Best Cash Back Card for Flat-Rate Rewards: Citi® Double Cash

The Citi Double Cash helps you to maximize the cash back you earn by offering a better flat-rate cash back on all purchases, all of the time.

Pros:

  • Earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases.
  • Citi Premier and Prestige cardholders can redeem rewards as ThankYou Points
  • 18 months of 0% intro APR financing on balance transfers.
  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • No new account bonus.
  • You only receive half your cash back at the time of purchase.

The Citi Double Cash offers 1% cash back every time you make a purchase, and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases, for a total of up to 2% cash back on all purchases. These cash back rewards apply to all purchases and there’s no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn.

Although this card doesn’t offer a new account bonus, you do get 18 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers (after that the standard APR applies) with a 3% balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever is greater). There’s also no annual fee for this card.

Best Cash Back Credit Card for Bonus Rewards: American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card

When it comes to earning lots of cash back on purchases you make the most, this card can’t be beat.

Pros:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming services.
  • Unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit.
  • $300 welcome bonus.
  • 12 months of 0% APR introductory financing on new purchases.

Cons:

  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
  • 6% cash back is limited to your first $6,000 spent each calendar year.

There’s a lot of bonus cash back to get excited about with this card. First, there’s the whopping 6% cash back that you receive on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year. You also receive 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% back on transit and at U.S. gas stations. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. This gives you the chance to earn up to $360 in cash back each year on groceries alone.

This card currently offers new accounts $300 cash back after spending $3,000 in purchases within first six months of account opening, and features 12 months of 0% intro APR financing on new purchases (after that the standard APR applies). All of these opportunities to earn cash back make it well worth the card’s $95 annual fee, which is currently waived the first year.

Best for First Year Rewards: Discover it® Miles

The Discover it Miles Card offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent, and Discover miles are worth one cent each towards cash back. Plus, Discover will match your miles after your first year to give you a total of three miles per dollar, worth 3% of your spending as cash back.

Pros:

  • Earn 1.5 Miles for every dollar spent, with no limits.
  • Earn a rewards match during your account’s first year.
  • 0% Intro APR for 14 months on purchases.
  • Redeem reward miles for travel statement credits or for cash back.
  • Strong customer service.
  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Cons:

  • The Discover card offers few cardholder benefits.
  • No sign-up bonus.

The Discover it Miles can either be used as a cash back card or a travel rewards card as you can redeem your Miles for cash back or travel. You’ll receive unlimited 1.5 Miles per dollar spent on all purchases and Discover will match the miles you’ve earned at the end of your account’s first year. This gives you an amazing 3% cash back on all purchases made during your first year.

New cardholders will receive 14 months of 0% intro APR on purchases (after that the ongoing rate applies). Discover is also well known for its excellent customer service and has very friendly policies such as no penalty interest rate, automatically waiving your first late payment fee and no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

Best Cash Back Card with Rotating Bonus Categories: Chase FreedomSM Flex

This new version of the popular Chase Freedom Card (no longer offered) now offers valuable permanent bonus categories on top of it’s 5% quarterly bonuses.

Pros:

  • Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back in merchant categories that change each quarter, and 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases.
  • New accounts receive 15 months of 0% intro APR financing on new purchases.

Cons:

  • 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • This card is part of the Mastercard payment network, so it isn’t accepted at Costco.

The Chase Freedom has long been famous for offering 5% cash back on purchases from featured merchants and categories of merchants. This is still offered, however, the new Freedom Flex also features 5% cash back on travel when purchased through Chase Ultimate Reward, plus 3% cash back on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), and 3% cash back on drugstore purchases. You also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases and there’s no annual fee.

Best for Fair Credit: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Just because you don’t have perfect credit, it doesn’t mean you can’t earn valuable cash back. The Capital One QuicksilverOne is the perfect card for those with good – fair credit that want to earn rewards on their purchases.

Pros:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Available to applicants with average credit.
  • Automatic account review for higher credit line after making your first six on-time payments.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons:

  • $39 annual fee.
  • Relatively high standard APR.

The QuicksilverOne from Capital One allows you to earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits. This is a competitive rate for a cash back card, but it’s available to people with a less than perfect credit score. As long as you have at least fair credit, then you have a good chance of qualifying for this card.

Cardholders will enjoy earning cash back on all purchases, just like your friends with excellent credit. This card has a $39 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fees.

Best for Dining and Entertainment: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Even you’re only ordering takeout and delivery, you can still earn great cash back on your dining purchases, as well as on entertainment purchases.

Pros:

  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
  • One-time $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening.
  • Redeem rewards with Amazon.com or PayPal.
  • Cardholders receive access to premium experiences like VIP tickets and 5-star meals.

Cons:

  • $95 annual fee
  • Only 1% cash back on most purchases

With the Capital One Savor Rewards Card, you can earn bonus rewards when you make purchases on dining and entertainment, and 2% at grocery stores. The 4% cash back on dining purchases includes restaurants, takeout and delivery. Then you’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

New applicants can earn a $300 cash back bonus after using your card to spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

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Frequently asked questions about cash back credit cards

Q. Do cash back credit cards charge an annual fee? Most do not. However, you may want to consider getting a card with an annual fee as the additional rewards make up for it. Cards designed for those without excellent credit, like the Capital One Savor, will often have an annual fee.

Q. Do cash back credit cards have low interest rates? Cash back rewards cards will typically have higher standard interest rates than similar cards that don’t offer rewards. So if you’re expecting to carry a balance, then you should look for a low interest rate card that doesn’t offer rewards. However, if you have excellent credit, you should expect to receive an interest rate that’s at or below the national average of about 15% APR.

Q. Do cash back credit cards come with 0% APR introductory financing offers? Yes, several cash back credit cards offer 0% APR introductory financing. These offers can be valid for new purchases, balance transfers or both.

Q. How can you redeem your cash back rewards? Each cash back credit card varies. Some cash back credit cards only let you redeem points for statement credits, while others will directly deposit cash into your bank account. Many also give you the option to redeem your rewards for gift cards, cash back, travel or merchandise.

Q. Do most cash back credit cards require very good or excellent credit? To qualify for the best cards, you typically need a credit score of 740 or higher. However, there are some cards that you can be approved for with fair or good credit. Consider the Discover it card as well as the QuicksilverOne Card from Capital One if your credit isn’t excellent.

How we chose the best cash back cards

To find the best cash back cards, we first divided the market into the six most popular types of cards. Then we looked at the cash back credit cards offered by all of the major card issuers. Each of their cash back credit card offers were examined and compared to other cash back cards. We looked at not just the rates of cash back offered, but other factors such as limits to the amount of cash back you could receive, fees charged and cardholder benefits provided.

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