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Best Cash Back Credit Cards of October 2021

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated September 29, 2021 . Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Our top pick for best cash back credit card is the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card. It earns a flat cash back rate on every purchase, offers a generous sign-up bonus, charges a $0 annual fee, and comes with solid intro APR periods on both purchases and balance transfers.

Cash back 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.

We’ll examine our top pick, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, in greater detail, as well as consider eight other cash back cards that excel in various categories.

Pros and cons of cash back credit cards

  • Simple rewards with straightforward value
  • Many cash back cards have no annual fee
  • Often have easy-to-earn sign-up bonuses
  • Can offset the cost of your purchases by redeeming cash back as a statement credit
  • To offset travel costs, a travel card earning points might be better
  • Cash back cards don’t typically offer premium travel protections
  • APRs on cash back cards can be higher than on no-frills credit cards

 

Best Cash Back Credit Cards of October 2021
Best overall cash back credit card Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
Best for a long intro APR on balance transfers Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Best for rotating 5% cash back categories Chase Freedom Flex℠
Best for dining out, entertainment and groceries Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best for U.S. supermarket spending Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Best for customizing cash back categories Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Best for cash back on Amazon shopping Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Best for no foreign transaction fee SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit Card
Best for military members USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Best For Overall

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Apply Now
on Wells Fargo's secure site
Introductory APR 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 14.99%-24.99% (Variable)

With the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, you’ll earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases, which can be redeemed as a statement credit, as a credit to a qualified Wells Fargo loan, mortgage or other credit account, or in $20 increments at a Wells Fargo ATM or for gift cards.

There’s also a sign-up bonus — earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. And if you pay your monthly cellphone bill with this card, you’ll get up to $600 worth of cell phone protection (subject to a $25 deductible).

The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is an excellent choice if you want to earn flat-rate rewards without worrying about different categories. It also comes with strong intro APR periods on both purchases and balance transfers — so whether you need to finance a big purchase and pay it off over time, or transfer a balance from another card, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card can help you do that.

Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening. After, a 14.99%-24.99% (variable) APR applies.

And when it comes to transferring debt from a non-Wells Fargo card, this card also has a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers. After that, a 14.99%-24.99% (variable) APR applies. There’s a balance transfer fee of 3% intro for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.

Just know that if you opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past 15 months and received an intro APR and/or a bonus, you might not qualify for intro APR and/or a bonus on this card. And if you opened another Wells Fargo credit card in the past six months, your application for this card might be denied.

Also, if traveling abroad, beware the 3% foreign transaction fee.

  • Enjoy 24/7 access to the Visa Signature Concierge, which can help with travel plans, finding the right gift and more
  • Receive a variety of benefits when you use this card to book a stay at properties in the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection — such as a $25 food or beverage credit, an automatic room upgrade upon arrival (when available) and late checkout upon request (when available). You must book through visasignaturehotels.com or through the Visa Concierge for benefits to apply

With the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, you’ll earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases, which can be redeemed as a statement credit, as a credit to a qualified Wells Fargo loan, mortgage or other credit account, or in $20 increments at a Wells Fargo ATM or for gift cards.

There’s also a sign-up bonus — earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. And if you pay your monthly cellphone bill with this card, you’ll get up to $600 worth of cell phone protection (subject to a $25 deductible).

The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is an excellent choice if you want to earn flat-rate rewards without worrying about different categories. It also comes with strong intro APR periods on both purchases and balance transfers — so whether you need to finance a big purchase and pay it off over time, or transfer a balance from another card, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card can help you do that.

Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening. After, a 14.99%-24.99% (variable) APR applies.

And when it comes to transferring debt from a non-Wells Fargo card, this card also has a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers. After that, a 14.99%-24.99% (variable) APR applies. There’s a balance transfer fee of 3% intro for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.

Just know that if you opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past 15 months and received an intro APR and/or a bonus, you might not qualify for intro APR and/or a bonus on this card. And if you opened another Wells Fargo credit card in the past six months, your application for this card might be denied.

Also, if traveling abroad, beware the 3% foreign transaction fee.

  • Enjoy 24/7 access to the Visa Signature Concierge, which can help with travel plans, finding the right gift and more
  • Receive a variety of benefits when you use this card to book a stay at properties in the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection — such as a $25 food or beverage credit, an automatic room upgrade upon arrival (when available) and late checkout upon request (when available). You must book through visasignaturehotels.com or through the Visa Concierge for benefits to apply

Best For Intro APR on balance transfers

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card

Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Introductory APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Cardholders with the Citi® Double Cash Card 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 on time.

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).

However, 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, the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® and the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card.

The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 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 a reasonable 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. If you’re carrying high-interest debt on a non-Citi card, transferring it to the Citi® Double Cash Card could help you get out of debt.

Plus, this card is also a standout choice to keep on hand after paying off your transferred debt. It earns a flat cashback rate on all purchases, so you know what you’re going to earn without worrying about different rates for different categories.

The annual fee is $0. However, there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee, so this isn’t the best card to take when traveling abroad.

This card also lacks a sign-up bonus, so it might not be the best choice if you’re looking to make a big purchase and are hoping to earn a bonus on your new card to offset the purchase cost.

  • Get access to ticket presales and exclusive events such as concerts and sporting events with Citi Entertainment
  • Use your credit card with digital wallets including Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay

Cardholders with the Citi® Double Cash Card 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 on time.

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).

However, 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, the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® and the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card.

The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 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 a reasonable 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. If you’re carrying high-interest debt on a non-Citi card, transferring it to the Citi® Double Cash Card could help you get out of debt.

Plus, this card is also a standout choice to keep on hand after paying off your transferred debt. It earns a flat cashback rate on all purchases, so you know what you’re going to earn without worrying about different rates for different categories.

The annual fee is $0. However, there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee, so this isn’t the best card to take when traveling abroad.

This card also lacks a sign-up bonus, so it might not be the best choice if you’re looking to make a big purchase and are hoping to earn a bonus on your new card to offset the purchase cost.

  • Get access to ticket presales and exclusive events such as concerts and sporting events with Citi Entertainment
  • Use your credit card with digital wallets including Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay

Best For Rotating 5% categories

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Introductory APR 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

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. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Plus, if you need to pay off a big purchase over time, you’ll appreciate the 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, after which a 14.99% - 23.74% variable APR applies.

Finally, get cell phone protection of up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year. Note that there’s a maximum of two claims per 12-year period and each claim is subject to a $50 deductible.

If you want a solid ongoing cashback rate on dining and drugstore purchases, and your spending also lines up well with the rotating categories, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers the chance to earn generous cash back. Just remember to activate the new bonus category every quarter, and be aware that after spending $1,500 in the quarterly category, your earning rate for such purchases will drop to 1% (meaning you can earn up to $75 cash back at the elevated rate each quarter).

Examples of Chase’s bonus categories have included:

  • Wholesale clubs, select streaming services and internet, cable and phone services
  • Gas stations and home improvement stores
  • Grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart, and select streaming services

 

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ does charge a 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee, so leave it at home if traveling outside the country. Also, before applying, make sure you’re aware of the Chase 5/24 rule — an unwritten rule that essentially means Chase will deny your application for a card if you’ve opened five or more cards from any issuer in the past 24 months.

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage)
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Free access to your VantageScore with Credit Journey
  • Complimentary three months of DashPass, after which you’ll be automatically enrolled at 50% off for the next nine months (activate by Dec. 31, 2021)
  • Earn 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Take three rides in one calendar month and earn a $5 Lyft credit
  • Get a $5 Fandango Reward when you spend $20 at Fandango or on Fandango’s streaming service
  • Purchase a HelloFresh meal kit delivery plan and get 5% back toward your next HelloFresh delivery
  • Complimentary one-year ShopRunner membership, which comes with free two-day shipping on eligible items (enrollment required)

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. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Plus, if you need to pay off a big purchase over time, you’ll appreciate the 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, after which a 14.99% - 23.74% variable APR applies.

Finally, get cell phone protection of up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year. Note that there’s a maximum of two claims per 12-year period and each claim is subject to a $50 deductible.

If you want a solid ongoing cashback rate on dining and drugstore purchases, and your spending also lines up well with the rotating categories, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers the chance to earn generous cash back. Just remember to activate the new bonus category every quarter, and be aware that after spending $1,500 in the quarterly category, your earning rate for such purchases will drop to 1% (meaning you can earn up to $75 cash back at the elevated rate each quarter).

Examples of Chase’s bonus categories have included:

  • Wholesale clubs, select streaming services and internet, cable and phone services
  • Gas stations and home improvement stores
  • Grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart, and select streaming services

 

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ does charge a 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee, so leave it at home if traveling outside the country. Also, before applying, make sure you’re aware of the Chase 5/24 rule — an unwritten rule that essentially means Chase will deny your application for a card if you’ve opened five or more cards from any issuer in the past 24 months.

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage)
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Free access to your VantageScore with Credit Journey
  • Complimentary three months of DashPass, after which you’ll be automatically enrolled at 50% off for the next nine months (activate by Dec. 31, 2021)
  • Earn 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Take three rides in one calendar month and earn a $5 Lyft credit
  • Get a $5 Fandango Reward when you spend $20 at Fandango or on Fandango’s streaming service
  • Purchase a HelloFresh meal kit delivery plan and get 5% back toward your next HelloFresh delivery
  • Complimentary one-year ShopRunner membership, which comes with free two-day shipping on eligible items (enrollment required)

Best For Dining out, entertainment and groceries

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

SavorOne

Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Introductory APR 0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

This card earns an unlimited 3% Cash Back on dining and entertainment; 3% Cash Back on popular streaming services; 3% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023 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.

Finally, enjoy an intro APR of 0% intro on purchases for 15 months, after which an APR of 14.99% - 24.99% (variable) will apply.

Avid foodies will love the SavorOne’s rewards for dining and grocery store purchases, while those who enjoy events such as going to a movie or a sports event can appreciate earning cash back on entertainment expenses.

Plus, the foreign transaction fee is none. That means if you’re planning a trip abroad and want to experience all the culinary goodies your vacation destination has to offer, the SavorOne is an excellent card to keep in your wallet.

  • Free access to your VantageScore with CreditWise
  • 24/7 access to a complimentary concierge service
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Virtual card numbers to protect you when shopping online

This card earns an unlimited 3% Cash Back on dining and entertainment; 3% Cash Back on popular streaming services; 3% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023 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.

Finally, enjoy an intro APR of 0% intro on purchases for 15 months, after which an APR of 14.99% - 24.99% (variable) will apply.

Avid foodies will love the SavorOne’s rewards for dining and grocery store purchases, while those who enjoy events such as going to a movie or a sports event can appreciate earning cash back on entertainment expenses.

Plus, the foreign transaction fee is none. That means if you’re planning a trip abroad and want to experience all the culinary goodies your vacation destination has to offer, the SavorOne is an excellent card to keep in your wallet.

  • Free access to your VantageScore with CreditWise
  • 24/7 access to a complimentary concierge service
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Virtual card numbers to protect you when shopping online

Best For U.S. supermarket spending

Blue Cash Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Introductory APR 0% on purchases for 12 months
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Regular Purchase APR 13.99%-23.99% Variable

With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you can 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. Terms apply.

There’s also a welcome offer, though the spending requirement is on the high side: $300 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months.

Cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit. The card comes with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee.

To see rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For consumers whose budgets include a significant amount of grocery shopping, streaming, and gas or transit costs, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is well worth paying a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. It takes $1,584 in spending per year on categories that earn 6% back to recoup the amount of the annual fee (after year one) and then what you earn is net cash back in your wallet, assuming you don’t accrue interest charges or other fees.

Be aware that the elevated rate on U.S. supermarket purchases is capped at $6,000 spent per year, after which your rate will drop to 1%. Still, if you max that out (which would require spending $500 a month), that’s $360 in cash back.

If you’re thinking about taking this card abroad with you, however, know that there’s a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

To see rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Return protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Global Assist® Hotline when traveling more than 100 miles from home
  • Up to $10 in monthly statement credits toward an Equinox+ membership (enrollment required)
  • Free two-day shipping on eligible items with ShopRunner (enrollment required)
  • Amex Offers (enrollment required)
  • American Express Experiences

With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you can 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. Terms apply.

There’s also a welcome offer, though the spending requirement is on the high side: $300 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months.

Cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit. The card comes with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee.

To see rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For consumers whose budgets include a significant amount of grocery shopping, streaming, and gas or transit costs, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is well worth paying a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. It takes $1,584 in spending per year on categories that earn 6% back to recoup the amount of the annual fee (after year one) and then what you earn is net cash back in your wallet, assuming you don’t accrue interest charges or other fees.

Be aware that the elevated rate on U.S. supermarket purchases is capped at $6,000 spent per year, after which your rate will drop to 1%. Still, if you max that out (which would require spending $500 a month), that’s $360 in cash back.

If you’re thinking about taking this card abroad with you, however, know that there’s a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

To see rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Return protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Global Assist® Hotline when traveling more than 100 miles from home
  • Up to $10 in monthly statement credits toward an Equinox+ membership (enrollment required)
  • Free two-day shipping on eligible items with ShopRunner (enrollment required)
  • Amex Offers (enrollment required)
  • American Express Experiences

Best For Customizing categories

Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Apply Now
on Bank of America's secure site
Introductory APR 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card details updated Sept. 9, 2021

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:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug stores
  • Home improvement/furnishings

 

You have the option to change your 3% cash back category each month.

There’s also a solid sign-up bonus — earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

This card also comes with solid intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, after which a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR applies.

And 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, after which a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR applies. The balance transfer fee is either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

This card charges a $0 annual fee.

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.

Just be aware of the quarterly spending cap on the higher rewards rates. If you max out the $2,500 spending cap on purchases earning 3% back, you can earn $75 in cash back per quarter.

Beware there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee, so there are better cards to take with you if you’re planning to travel internationally.

  • Get your FICO® Score for free when you opt in
  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card details updated Sept. 9, 2021

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:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug stores
  • Home improvement/furnishings

 

You have the option to change your 3% cash back category each month.

There’s also a solid sign-up bonus — earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

This card also comes with solid intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers: 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, after which a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR applies.

And 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, after which a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR applies. The balance transfer fee is either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

This card charges a $0 annual fee.

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.

Just be aware of the quarterly spending cap on the higher rewards rates. If you max out the $2,500 spending cap on purchases earning 3% back, you can earn $75 in cash back per quarter.

Beware there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee, so there are better cards to take with you if you’re planning to travel internationally.

  • Get your FICO® Score for free when you opt in
  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay

Best For Amazon shopping

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Highlights
  • Only available to Amazon Prime members
  • Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval.
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval.

The annual fee is $0 and the APR is 14.24%-22.24% variable.

If you do much of your online shopping at Amazon, getting the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card could be a no-brainer — it charges a $0 annual fee and earns cash back at a generous rate. For those who already have an Amazon Prime membership, it’s hard to think of a downside. But if you don’t have a Prime membership, you’d only qualify for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card , which earns cash back at a lower rate.

To decide if this card is worth the cost of a Prime membership ($119 for a regular annual membership, $59 for an annual membership at the college student rate), note that you’d need to spend $2,380 on purchases earning 5% back to recoup the cost of a regular membership and $1,180 to recoup the cost of a student membership.

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection

Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, get a $100 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval.

The annual fee is $0 and the APR is 14.24%-22.24% variable.

If you do much of your online shopping at Amazon, getting the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card could be a no-brainer — it charges a $0 annual fee and earns cash back at a generous rate. For those who already have an Amazon Prime membership, it’s hard to think of a downside. But if you don’t have a Prime membership, you’d only qualify for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card , which earns cash back at a lower rate.

To decide if this card is worth the cost of a Prime membership ($119 for a regular annual membership, $59 for an annual membership at the college student rate), note that you’d need to spend $2,380 on purchases earning 5% back to recoup the cost of a regular membership and $1,180 to recoup the cost of a student membership.

  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
The information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Best For No foreign transaction fee

SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit Card

Highlights
  • 2% cash back on purchases
  • Earn $200 if you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

Earn a flat rate of 2% cash back on eligible purchases. Plus, there’s a sign-up bonus of $200 if you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. The spending requirement is a little steep compared to other cash back card bonuses.

With the $0 annual fee and $0 foreign transaction fee, you can confidently reach for the SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit Card whether spending close to home or while traveling abroad.

The APR is also quite reasonable at 9.24% - 15.24% variable.

With a solid flat-rate cash back rate and a $0 foreign transaction fee, the SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit Card is a great card for frequent travelers and expats. It’s also a Visa card, meaning you’re likely to find wide acceptance wherever your travels take you.

Note that you have to join State Department Federal Credit Union in order to apply for the card. Some ways to qualify for membership include:

  • You’re an employee or on-site contractor with the U.S. Department of State.
  • A family member or household member works for the U.S. Department of State.
  • You’re a member of one of SDFCU’s associations, organizations or company partners.
  • You have an American Consumer Council membership.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch (you are responsible for any charges incurred)
  • ID Navigator Powered by NortonLifeLock

Earn a flat rate of 2% cash back on eligible purchases. Plus, there’s a sign-up bonus of $200 if you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. The spending requirement is a little steep compared to other cash back card bonuses.

With the $0 annual fee and $0 foreign transaction fee, you can confidently reach for the SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit Card whether spending close to home or while traveling abroad.

The APR is also quite reasonable at 9.24% - 15.24% variable.

With a solid flat-rate cash back rate and a $0 foreign transaction fee, the SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit Card is a great card for frequent travelers and expats. It’s also a Visa card, meaning you’re likely to find wide acceptance wherever your travels take you.

Note that you have to join State Department Federal Credit Union in order to apply for the card. Some ways to qualify for membership include:

  • You’re an employee or on-site contractor with the U.S. Department of State.
  • A family member or household member works for the U.S. Department of State.
  • You’re a member of one of SDFCU’s associations, organizations or company partners.
  • You have an American Consumer Council membership.

  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch (you are responsible for any charges incurred)
  • ID Navigator Powered by NortonLifeLock
The information related to the SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Best For Military members

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Highlights
  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined
  • Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. There’s no sign-up bonus, but this card’s cashback rate on gas purchases is excellent. If you max out the $3,000 spending cap each year, that’s $150 in cash back.

The annual fee is $0 and the APR is 11.90% - 25.90% variable.

The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offers among the top cashback rates on gas purchases that we’re aware of. It’s true there’s a spending cap on the 5% rate, but it would take spending around $250 a month on gas to hit that cap. If you’re on the road frequently, this card can reward you well for it.

Note that you must join USAA to be able to apply for the card. Folks who are eligible for USAA membership include:

  • U.S. military members and veterans.
  • Precommissioned officers.
  • Spouses and children of military members and veterans.
  • Concierge services for help with reservations, event tickets and shopping
  • Auto rental coverage
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage
  • Baggage delay and reimbursement
  • Extended warranty protection on U.S. manufacturers’ warranties

Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. There’s no sign-up bonus, but this card’s cashback rate on gas purchases is excellent. If you max out the $3,000 spending cap each year, that’s $150 in cash back.

The annual fee is $0 and the APR is 11.90% - 25.90% variable.

The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offers among the top cashback rates on gas purchases that we’re aware of. It’s true there’s a spending cap on the 5% rate, but it would take spending around $250 a month on gas to hit that cap. If you’re on the road frequently, this card can reward you well for it.

Note that you must join USAA to be able to apply for the card. Folks who are eligible for USAA membership include:

  • U.S. military members and veterans.
  • Precommissioned officers.
  • Spouses and children of military members and veterans.

  • Concierge services for help with reservations, event tickets and shopping
  • Auto rental coverage
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage
  • Baggage delay and reimbursement
  • Extended warranty protection on U.S. manufacturers’ warranties
The information related to the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Side-by-side comparison of the best cash back credit cards

Credit cardBest forAnnual fee
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ CardOverallEarn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases$0
Citi® Double Cash Card Intro APR on balance transfersEarn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.$0
Chase Freedom Flex℠Rotating 5% categoriesEarn 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.$0
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardDining out, entertainment and groceries3% Cash Back on dining and entertainment; 3% Cash Back on popular streaming services; 3% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023$0
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressU.S. supermarket spending6% 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. Terms apply.$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit cardCustomizing categories3% 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$0
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature CardAmazon shopping5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases.$0
SDFCU Premium Cash Back+ Credit CardNo foreign transaction fee2% cash back$0
USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® CardMilitary membersEarn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.$0

Are cash back credit cards worth it?

If you pay your balance off in full every month, then yes — cash back credit cards are worth using. For example, if you spend $1,000 per month on a card that earns a flat 2% cash back, that’s $20 in cash back. However, know that if you carry a balance, interest charges will likely outweigh any cash back you earn, especially because some cash back cards have higher APRs than simple, no-frills credit cards.

It’s also important to consider whether or not the card you’re thinking about applying for charges an annual fee, and how much you’d have to spend on the card to recoup the amount of the annual fee in rewards. For instance, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee. If you spend at least $132 a month on purchases that earn 6% cash back, you’ll recoup the amount of the annual fee after year one.

To see rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Getting the most out of your cash back card

To maximize the cash back you earn, we recommend pairing two or more cash back credit cards. First, choose a card based on your typical spending patterns. For example, those who spend heavily on gas could consider the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. Then, if you add a flat-rate card, you can use that for purchases that don’t earn an elevated rate on the first card, such as the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card or the Citi® Double Cash Card .

Also, make sure you understand any circumstances where your cash back might expire. If there are, you should plan to redeem it before then, otherwise you’re leaving money on the table. For consumers who don’t like to redeem credit card rewards frequently, a card with rewards that don’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing will be the best choice.

FAQs on cash back credit cards

A credit card that earns rewards in the form of cash back — in the form of a percentage of your purchase amount — is a cash back credit card. By contrast, some credit cards earn rewards in the form of points or miles, and some don’t earn rewards at all.

There are different rewards structures for cash back cards, with some earning a flat rate on every purchase, others earning elevated rates for purchases in certain categories, and still others offering rotating bonus categories that change every quarter.

 

One nice thing about cash back cards is the simplicity of the rewards you earn. When you earn points or miles, you have to evaluate what each point or mile is worth for different redemption options. But if you earn a certain percentage of cash back, you know immediately what that cash back will be worth when you redeem it.

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.

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.

The credit card that will allow you to earn the most cash back depends on your spending patterns and 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 cash back rate in popular spending categories, such as gas, dining or supermarkets.

 

For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 6% cash back in certain categories — but if your budget doesn’t include much spending in those categories, you might prefer a card that earns 2% back on all purchases, like the Citi® Double Cash Card .

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 don’t travel much, you’ll most likely have an easier time tracking the value of your rewards with a cash back credit card.

Typically, cash back earned on a credit card is not taxable because the IRS considers it a rebate on what you’ve spent. However, if you receive a bonus without having to do any spending to earn it, that’s considered taxable income.

Methodology

We selected the best cash back credit cards through a review of cards available on LendingTree and from top issuers. Factors included cash back rates, cashback program structure, and sign-up bonuses.

Additional factors included whether or not cards charge a foreign transaction fee and/or an annual fee — most of the cards on this list charge no annual fee or charge a reasonable fee that can be easily recouped by spending in cash back categories.

Introductory APR also factored into our selection, with many of the cards on this list offering interest-free periods that can help finance a big purchase or pay off a transferred balance. Finally, useful benefits such as cell phone protection and extended warranty protection influenced our choices as well.

To see rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Glen Luke Flanagan

Overview

Glen Luke Flanagan covers credit card news for LendingTree.com. He joined the team in June 2019. His work ranges from reviews of new cards to in-depth pieces on protecting your financial information, and his background is in journalism and government communications. 

Experience

As a journalist in North Carolina and South Carolina, Glen covered topics including city government, state government, local businesses, public safety and more. During his time at The State newspaper, Glen’s work appeared on the websites of newspapers across the United States owned by The McClatchy Company. His reporting at The News Herald and The State newspaper won awards from the North Carolina Press Association and the South Carolina Press Association, respectively.

Education

Glen earned his B.A. in media studies with a concentration in journalism from Radford University, graduating summa cum laude in May 2014. After graduation, he participated in a Dow Jones News Fund training and internship. Out of more than 600 applicants, only 86 were accepted into the DJNF program that summer. He was later one of approximately two dozen fellows selected from journalists across the country to participate in the University of South Carolina’s 2016 Media Law School, which was sponsored by the American Board of Trial Advocates. This program gave fellows an intensive crash course in public records, bankruptcy law, podcasts and more.

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