Best Cashback Credit Cards for May 2021
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Cashback credit cards are incredibly popular, and for good reason. They offer straightforward rewards and can help you earn anywhere from 1% to 6% back when you make a purchase with the card. Based on our research of cards available through LendingTree, as well as top cards offered by major issuers, we selected six of the best cashback credit cards that offer high cashback rates, helpful benefits and either charge a low or no annual fee.
Best cashback card overall: Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Best for: This is one of the top flat-rate cashback cards we recommend. If you have excellent/good credit and are looking for a simple cashback program that doesn’t have any spending limits or requires you to switch categories every quarter, there’s a lot to like about the Citi® Double Cash Card .
Why we like it: The Citi® Double Cash Card has a $0 annual fee, and you’ll earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. This is a great flat rate on all purchases and provides an incentive to pay your bill quickly.
Note that you can earn the 1% as you pay even by making the minimum payment due. If you miss a payment, however, you’ll miss the cash back you would have earned.
You can redeem cash back for checks, statement credits, or deposits to a bank account, or you can convert your cash back to Citi ThankYou® points (which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel purchases at select retailers and more).
If you want a card that gives you all your cash back up front (that is, upon making a purchase), competing 2% cashback cards include the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card and the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®.
Other card details: There’s a lengthy intro 0% for 18 months on balance transfers, after which an APR of 13.99% – 23.99% (variable) applies. The balance transfer fee is 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.. Plus, Citi Entertainment provides exclusive access to a variety of events like entertainment and sports.
Best cashback cards for rotating 5% categories: Discover it® Cash Back
Best for: If you’re looking for one of the highest cashback rates available, as well as a generous cashback match the first year, the Discover it® Cash Back ranks high on the list — so long as you’re willing to make the effort to activate rotating categories each quarter.
Why we like it: 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, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
And for new cardmembers, 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.
The annual fee is $0.
Other benefits: This card comes with benefits that include free access to your FICO® Score and the ability to freeze and unfreeze your card in case you misplace it. You’ll also be able to receive alerts if your Social Security number is found on the dark web, though you’ll have to sign up for that service.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Best for: The Chase Freedom Flex℠ also offers a similar rotating category cashback program as the Discover it® Cash Back card — as well as rewards in certain ongoing categories. However, unlike with the Discover it® Cash Back card, Chase’s rotating cashback categories are announced quarterly instead of all at once at the beginning of the year.
This is a good card to pair with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, since you can transfer rewards earned with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ to your Sapphire card, then redeem points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Why we like it: Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Check out the 5% cashback categories announced for 2021 so far.
Plus, the sign-up bonus is generous for having such a low spending requirement: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
The card has a $0 annual fee.
Other benefits: You can get complimentary membership to DashPass for three months — a subscription service from DoorDash that offers unlimited delivery for a $0 delivery fee on orders of more than $12. (Note that after the three months are up, you’re automatically enrolled in DashPass at 50% off for the next nine months.) Activate by Dec. 31, 2021 to receive this benefit.
Plus, enjoy purchase protection, extended warranty protection, auto rental damage collision waiver, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and World Elite Mastercard benefits, such as cellphone protection.
Best cashback card for dining and entertainment: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best for: Avid foodies will love the SavorOne’s rewards for dining, while those who enjoy events such as going to a movie or a sports event can appreciate earning cash back on entertainment expenses.
Why we like it: This card earns 3% Cash Back on dining; 3% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases; as well as 3% Cash Back on select streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, through April 30, 2021. That’s one of the highest cashback rates on dining and entertainment that you’ll find on a card with a $0 annual fee.
Plus, the sign-up bonus offers great value for a low spending requirement: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Other benefits: The SavorOne’s benefits include travel accident insurance, virtual card numbers for shopping online and special access to events such as concerts, sports events and more.
Best cashback card for U.S. supermarket spending: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Best for: If you have excellent/good credit and grocery shopping makes up a big part of your budget, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a very generous cashback rate on U.S. supermarket purchases.
Why we like it: Earn 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 can be redeemed as a statement credit.
There’s a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee, but if you spend at least $1,584 on purchases eligible for the 6% cashback rate, you’ll recoup the amount of the fee in cash back after the first year of card membership.
Other benefits: Benefits include return protection, two-day shipping on eligible items with ShopRunner and ticket presales and exclusive seats with Entertainment Access® for concerts, sporting events and more.
To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
Best cashback card for gas: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Best for: If you’re a road warrior who’s looking to offset some fuel costs, or if you want a flexible card that lets you choose your 3% category, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a great card to have in your wallet. It’s even better if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member — you’ll earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase.
Why we like it: Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases. Categories you can choose from to earn 3% cash back on include the following:
- Online shopping
- Drug stores
- Home improvement/furnishings
You have the option to change your 3% cash back category each month.
This card charges a $0 annual fee.
Sign-up bonus: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
FAQs on cashback credit cards
Can you get cash back with a credit card?
In the credit card world, cash back is one type of rewards program that some issuers offer. You earn a percentage of your purchase back in rewards — some cards offer a flat rate of 1.5% or 2% cash back per $1 spent, while others offer higher rewards in certain categories. For example, two of the cards in this article offer 5% back per $1 spent in rotating categories.
Can I get unlimited cash back?
There are cards that offer cash back with no spending limits. Other cards set a limit on how much cash back you can earn at higher rates, then drop you down to a 1% cashback rate once you hit quarterly or annual spending maximums.
What is the best cashback credit card?
The best cashback card for you depends on whether you prefer a flat-rate card that offers 1.5% to 2% cash back on every purchase, a card that earns 5% cash back in rotating categories (up to a quarterly maximum) or a card that offers a higher cashback rate in popular spending categories, such as gas, dining or supermarkets.
Other factors you’ll want to consider include: How much is the card’s annual fee? Does the card offer a 0% intro APR on purchases and/or balance transfers? Does the card come with valuable benefits, like purchase protection and extended warranty protection?
How do you redeem cashback rewards?
Typically, you can redeem cash back for checks, statement credits, deposits into an eligible bank account or gift cards. Some cards allow you to redeem cash back in any amount, while others have a minimum redemption amount of $25.
Which type of rewards is best — points, miles or cash back?
That depends on what you want to get out of the card. For example, if you want to earn rewards to help offset the cost of travel, a card that offers points or miles may be the better choice. But if you prefer simplicity, you’ll most likely have an easier time tracking the value of your rewards with a cashback credit card.