Americas Best Cashback Credit Cards

Americas Best Cashback Credit Cards

Contrary to popular belief, cashback credit cards actually allow you to earn "something for nothing." You can get anywhere from 1-5 percent back for every dollar you earn if you use your card for routine monthly spending and pay it off before interest is levied — all with absolutely no effort on your part.

Doesn't it sound like a great deal?

And it is. The best cashback credit cards currently provide higher rewards and sweeter advantages than ever before, thanks to some healthy competition in the cashback credit card sector. If you sign up for the appropriate card, you can get anything from travel privileges to a free FICO score on your monthly bill and a large signup bonus. Even better, many of the best cash-back credit cards have no annual fees. You've come to the perfect place if you want to earn cash back as a percentage of your ordinary spending. This guide was developed to introduce you to the most excellent cashback card offers currently available to assist you in determining which card is best for your needs.

Best cashback credit cards

Before we get into all of the details, here’s our list of the top cashback cards:
  1. Chase Freedom®
  2. Chase Freedom Unlimited? Card
  3. Citi Double Cash®
  4. Discover it® – Double cashback in your first year
  5. Bank of America Cash Rewards™ credit card
  6. Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express
  7. Amex EveryDay® credit card from American Express

1. Chase Freedom®: best cashback rewards program

The Chase Freedom® card is known as the best cashback credit card for a good reason. It gives you 1% back on every dollar you spend, but it also gives you 5X points up to $1,500 in quarterly categories. The Chase Freedom® card also comes with a generous signup bonus, which is uncommon for a no-fee rewards card. Because the points you earn are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can exchange them for gift cards, rebates, or shopping. These benefits, combined with the fact that the card has no annual fee, keep it at the top of its class. The Chase Freedom® card should be on your shortlist if you don't currently have one. Here are some more specifics:
  • No yearly charge.
  • Spend $500 on purchases within the first three months and get $150 in cash back.
  • Earn 5X points in quarterly rotating categories, plus 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Purchases and balance transfers get a 0% APR for the first 15 months, which is ideal if you have high-interest debt (balance transfer fee applies).
  • Balance transfer fees are 3% with a $5 minimum.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited? card: a different way to earn points with Chase

If you like the perks of the Chase Freedom® card but not the method it awards points, you should consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. You'll get 1.5 points for every dollar you spend with this card, and there's no annual fee to boot! Because the points you earn are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can exchange them for gift cards, rebates, or shopping. When there is no yearly charge, getting 1.5 points per dollar spent on every transaction is good. This card is also a strong choice if you dislike keeping track of rotating categories.
  • After spending $500 on your card within 90 days, you'll get a $150 signup bonus.
  • Earn an additional $25 if you add an authorized user who makes a transaction within the first 90 days.
  • No yearly charge.
  • For the first 15 months, there is no interest on balance transfers or purchases (balance transfer fee applies).
  • Balance transfer fees are 5%.

3. Citi® Double Cash: Earn a flat 2% on everything

If you don't like keeping track of your spending by category or during special promotional periods, the Citi® Double Cash card could be the right fit for you. This simplified rewards program makes it simple to track or calculate how many points you might receive in any given month. With this card, you'll get 2% cashback on all transactions — 1% when you charge it and another 1% when you pay it off. And there are no ceilings, limits, or category restrictions to get the entire 2% back. Since its launch in 2015, the Citi® Double Cash card has grown in popularity, and the fantastic benefits are one of the reasons for this. Read the following vital details if you wish to learn more:
  • Earn 2% cashback on everything you buy — 1% when you buy anything and another 1% when you pay it off.
  • There are no caps, limits, or restrictions on categories.
  • Spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening to earn $100 in bonus cash.
  • For the first 18 months, the APR is 0%.
  • Access to Citi® Private Pass®.

4. Discover it® – double cashback in your first year

The Discover it® card, like the Chase Freedom® card, delivers 1 point per dollar spent on all transactions, plus 5X points in rotating categories every quarter. The Discover it® card, on the other hand, offers double cash back for a limited period in your first year. Discover will double your bonus to $400 after 12 months if you earn 20,000 points worth $200 in your first year. Given how easy it is to earn rewards and the fact that this card has no annual fee, that's a reasonably good bargain! Another feature that distinguishes this card is its liberal balance transfer terms. The current offer allows you to transfer debt and get a 0% APR for 14 months, albeit there is a 3% balance transfer charge. The Discover it® card might assist you in earning a lot of cashback, transferring a balance, or doing both.
  • No yearly charge.
  • Earn 1X points on all purchases and 5X points in quarterly rotating categories.
  • Matching cashback for the first year.
  • For 14 months, there is no interest on balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies).

5. Bank of America Cash Rewards™ credit card: low minimum spending requirement

The Bank of America® cash rewards credit card comes with a generous signup bonus and an easy-to-understand rewards scheme. After spending $500 in the first 90 days on this card, you'll receive a $200 cash bonus! This card is ideal for someone who doesn't use credit very often but yet wants to earn a signup bonus. The Bank of America®'s Cash Rewards credit card does not disappoint regarding ongoing rewards. With this card, you'll get 3% back on gas and 2% back on groceries up to $2,500 in combined grocery/gas expenditures each year, plus 1% back on everything else. There are no rolling categories to keep track of, and your awards will never expire. You can redeem your points in the form of a statement credit or a direct deposit into your Bank of America savings account when you're ready. That's all there is to it.
  • No yearly charge.
  • Earn 3% back on gas and 2% back on groceries up to $2,500 in combined grocery/gas expenditures each year, plus 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Purchases and balance transfers completed in the first 60 days are eligible for a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles (balance transfer fee applies).

6. Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express: 6% cashback at Grocery Stores

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card is suited for families who want to earn great rewards on their everyday purchases. This card gives you 6% cash back at US supermarkets for up to $6,000 per year, 3% cash back at US gas stations and selected US department shops, and 1% cashback on everything else. Even better, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card comes with a $250 signup bonus once you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months. If you only used the food benefit and spent $6,000 on groceries each year, you'd earn 36,000 points worth $360! That more than compensates for the card's $95 annual cost, and it's merely icing on the cake when you consider the long-term rewards. Here's where you can learn more about the prizes and bonuses:
  • Spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months and get a $250 statement credit.
  • Earn 6% cashback on your first $6,000 worth of supermarket purchases each year, plus 3% at gas stations and select department stores, and 1% on everything else.
  • This is fantastic for transferring balance! Purchases and balance transfers have a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months. (There is a balance transfer cost)
  • A one-time fee of $95 is required.

7. Amex EveryDay® credit card from American Express: no fee, sweet signup bonus

The American Express Amex EveryDay® credit card comes with no annual fee and the opportunity for great rewards. With this card, you'll get 2x points on your first $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets, plus 1x points on everything else. Plus, if you use your card for 20 or more purchases in a billing cycle, you'll gain 20% more points. Although there is no annual fee with this card, it does come with a 10,000-point signup bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. Once you've accumulated enough points, you can use them to pay for all or part of your trip, hotel stay, or vacations and cruises.
  • No yearly charge.
  • For the first 60 days, there is no balance transfer fee, and the first 15 months have a 0% APR.
  • Spend $1,000 on your card during the first three months to earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points.
  • Earn 2x points on your first $6,000 in purchases at US supermarkets, plus 1x points on everything afterward.
  • When you use your card for 20 or more purchases in a billing cycle, you'll get a 20% bonus.

Rules for maximizing cashback credit cards without going into debt

Many people are concerned about how obtaining incentives would affect their spending, and they are correct. With the average family credit card debt in 2019 above $15,000, it's simple to see how many people used credit with good intentions but ended up in debt. To get the benefits of a cashback card without falling into debt, you must be as deliberate as possible. This means using their rewards card only when they have a specific purpose in mind for most people. This list of cashback card rules will help you earn more cashback than you typically would while minimizing risk:

Rule #1: Use your cashback card for all of your everyday expenses but as part of a comprehensive spending plan.

The best approach to get the most cash back is to use your cashback card for as many purchases as possible. While this implies using your card for large purchases, it also implies utilizing your card for all of your daily costs. Grocery shopping, utility bills, gas, and work supplies may quickly pile up, and if you use your card frequently, you can increase the amount of cashback you get. Your cashback credit card might be a helpful budgeting tool if you use a monthly budget or if you use it as a business credit card. You can see and track all purchases in the categories you spend the most by logging into your online account management. You can keep on track by tracking your credit card spending online if you put restrictions on particular budget categories. Keeping track of your spending will enable you to create a better budget and maximize your rewards. This tracking can also be used to see which categories you spend the most time in. For example, if you frequently travel, you may discover that upgrading to a travel rewards credit card offers the best value for your money. It would be the same if you spent the most money on gasoline or food.

Rule #2: Only charge what you can afford to pay back.

When you're looking for cashback, the last thing you want is a debt you can't pay off. You shouldn't buy something if you haven't budgeted for it, let alone charge it with your cashback credit card! This is where the "budget" portion of your strategy kicks in. Only use your card for regular planned expenses and the payments you must pay regardless to maximize rewards without getting into trouble. You'll be in the best position to earn cashback without going into debt if you just charge what you can afford to pay back right away. If you're using one of these cards to conduct a 0% balance transfer, make sure to pay it off as soon as possible. You don't want to be paying a lot of interest because it would defeat the purpose of having a rewards card. In fact, you should avoid chasing any type of cashback compensation until you have resolved your past debt. You will only receive 1% to 3% of your expenditure back, but credit card interest might reach over 30%.

Rule #3: Always pay your bill in full and on time.

When you look at how your FICO credit score is calculated, you'll notice that your payment history accounts for 35% of your total score. If you have a history of missing payments, your credit score will most certainly reflect this. Paying all of your invoices on time is also one of the most effective strategies to improve your FICO score over time. Nothing else is more crucial than the condition of your credit. Having a good credit score is essential if you want to take advantage of the finest cashback deals. Keeping this in mind, you should pay all of your bills in full and on time, every time.

Rule #4: Don’t go crazy pursuing too many signup bonuses.

While pursuing several signup bonuses is a convenient method to make a lot of cashback, don't go overboard. Keeping track of too many cards can be challenging, and it's all too easy to overlook a signup incentive. Furthermore, if you're signing up for cards with annual fees, it's easy to lose track of them and end up paying for your rewards. Too many credit cards might also hurt your credit. The greatest technique is to add additional cards over a long period of time gradually. Adding a handful of additional cards at once can lower your FICO score because the amount of "new credit" you have determines your score.

Rule #5: Keep a simple credit card spreadsheet.

If you plan on pursuing multiple signup bonuses or juggling many credit cards, do yourself a favor and create an essential rewards spreadsheet ahead of time. Using a simple spreadsheet, you can keep track of which cards you have, when you signed up, when you won the signup bonus, and when the yearly fee is due. It's easy to lose track of which cards you have over time, but a simple spreadsheet will keep you organized. You also don't need any specialized software. You can use Microsoft Excel to create a simple spreadsheet or simply write it down on paper.

Rewards credit card mistakes to avoid:

  1. Not receiving a signup bonus.
  2. Spending more in order to receive greater benefits.
  3. Forgetting how many signup bonuses you can obtain.
  4. Maintaining equilibrium.
  5. Getting yourself into a long-term debt situation.
  6. Hidden advantages that your cashback card could provide.
  7. Determine your spending habits.
If you make a terrible decision, you may receive less "bang for your buck" in terms of rewards - and even paying money for the opportunity to collect cashback. There are several credit card mistakes to avoid, just as there are credit card "rules" to obey. Here are some of the most significant blunders to avoid:

Mistake #1: Missing out on a signup bonus

Failure to earn a signup bonus is one of the people's most common blunders with rewards credit cards. Something happens when you don't meet the minimum spending criterion during the first three months. Even if you plan ahead, it's all too simple to overspend and end up $100 or even $20 short. To avoid this, make a point of meeting your minimum expenditure requirement as soon as possible. If you're unsure when the bonus period on your card begins and expires, contact your card issuer for a specific date.

Mistake #2: Spending more to earn more rewards

Earning cashback can be both a blessing and a curse for certain people. They enjoy the "free money," but the fact that they get prizes always tempts them to spend more. This is clearly a mistake. If you're going for a cashback strategy, make sure you're only using your card for purchases you'd make otherwise. It's great to get an extra 1-5 percent back on every dollar you spend, but you won't be ahead if you spend more to get those rewards. You may end up worse off than when you started if you use rewards as an excuse to buy more.

Mistake #3: Forgetting how often you can earn a signup bonus

Some credit card companies allow you to earn a signup bonus many times. For instance, Chase offers a signup bonus on each credit card once every 24 months. For each of its unique services, American Express, on the other hand, has implemented a "once in a lifetime rule." If you're in it for the long haul, some card issuers may allow you to take advantage of significant signup incentives multiple times. Unfortunately, if you don't keep track, it's easy to forget when you last received a signup bonus. The situation is exacerbated because different card issuers have varying standards. Before you go for a second signup incentive, be sure you understand the regulations of each card issuer. If you fail to read the fine print, they can deny your bonus altogether.

Mistake #4: Carrying a balance

Credit card incentives are only helpful if you never have a balance on your card. As a result, you should make an effort to pay your bill regularly. Some people have had luck setting up automatic payments for a specific day of the month. Many others prefer to pay their bills once a week to keep their expenditures under control. In either case, make sure your monthly bill concludes at zero. This, more than any of the other principles and mistakes we've discussed, should be your primary concern.

Mistake #5: Getting into a long-term debt

If having a balance is bad news, then you should avoid long-term debt at all costs. Unfortunately, credit cards make it very easy to buy now and pay later. The temptation to spend is too strong for some people. If you get into problems when pursuing rewards, the best thing you can do is immediately cut up your cards and cease using them. Long-term debt is not worth any amount of cashback. If you're prone to overpaying, giving up rewards and sticking to cash or debit is a much better option.

Hidden benefits your cashback card might offer

You may earn points on everything you spend with your new cashback credit card, but that's not all. In addition to the clear incentives you'll earn every day, most cashback cards come with additional perks that can save you money or help you maintain good credit. While these "hidden" advantages aren't widely publicized, they can be incredibly beneficial. Do you want to learn more? Here are some of the perks that your rewards or cashback card is likely to provide:

Hidden perk #1: extended returns

Did you know that some credit cards allow you to return things that merchants refuse to accept? For example, suppose the original store won't accept your return with a receipt within 90 days. In that case, the Discover it® card includes a "return guarantee" that can get you a reimbursement of up to $500 on eligible items. This benefit can be helpful if you frequently shop at retailers with dreadful return policies (think Best Buy's 15-day return policy) and can provide peace of mind when purchasing an expensive item almost anywhere else. To take advantage of this benefit, preserve your receipt and file your claim according to the terms of your individual card. Just inquire if you don't know what they are.

Hidden perk #2: purchase protection

Purchase protection is available on eligible purchases with some reward cards, such as the Discover it® card. If the occurrence takes place within 90 days of your purchase, Discover will repair or replace any damaged or stolen merchandise (up to $500). If you buy a new phone and it breaks straight away, or if your brand new laptop has a problem and the store won't take it back, purchasing protection can be really beneficial. To take advantage of this offer, you must preserve your receipt.

Hidden perk #3: zero liability protection

Almost all reward cards offer zero fraud liability, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. This implies that you will not be held liable if a burglar steals your card or card number and uses it to make a fraudulent purchase. To take advantage of this protection, notify any fraudulent charges as soon as possible. Start by filing a claim by calling the number on the back of your card. Your card issuer will most likely deactivate your existing credit card account and send you a new card with a new number.

Hidden perk #4: auto rental collision damage waiver

Although only the most excellent travel credit cards provide primary auto rental coverage, select cashback cards such as the Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM card, provide the next best thing: Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver coverage. According to Chase, you can "reject the rental company's collision insurance and charge the entire rental fee to your card" with this coverage. This coverage is secondary to your auto insurance in the United States.

Hidden perk #5: fraud alerts

The Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM card also includes fraud alerts, which will notify you if any unusual activity is detected on your account. This benefit allows you to keep track of purchases made on your card by you and any authorized users. You'll also get an email or text if your card is used for any bizarre or unexpected purchases. To take advantage of this feature, you must first register and provide the correct phone number and email address. Chase can contact you quickly if something comes up and if you have the correct information on file.

Hidden perk #6: extended warranties

Some rewards cards go even further by including free extended warranties with qualified purchases. For example, if you have the Discover it® card, you can get a one-year extension on existing qualified warranties that are 36 months or fewer. When purchasing a significant item such as an appliance or a new computer, this type of coverage is essential. If your item dies just outside of the usual manufacturer's warranty, you can get it replaced with an extended warranty.

Hidden perk #7: free FICO scores

You can check your FICO score at any moment using a card like the Discover it® card. Simply log into your account to get an estimate of your credit score, any recent credit report inquiries, and a general credit health study. Keeping track of your FICO score is a sensible decision if you monitor your credit to improve it. To maintain track of your improvement, simply check in with your score a few times a year. You can do this for free as a cardholder.

How to choose the right cashback card?

With so many different cards to choose from, it can be challenging to narrow down your list. Consider the following suggestions to pick the best card for your needs:

1. Figure out your spending style.

You must first determine your spending style to optimize your points. Some people spend so much in specific areas that they would be better off with a card that offers "bonus points" in that category, while others spend everywhere and would be better off with a card that offers a fixed rate of rewards. If you spend a lot of money on groceries, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card's cashback percent received at grocery stores is hard to beat. If your spending is all over the place, choose a card that gives a higher rate on everything you buy.

2. Decide if you want fixed-value rewards or a card with “bonus categories.”

While some people prefer to receive a fixed amount of cashback, others thrive in bonus categories where they can earn up to 5%. Whereas some cards, such as the Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM card, offer a flat rewards rate on all transactions (in this case, 1.5%), others, such as the Discover it® card, offer 1% back on all purchases, with an additional 5% back on your first $1,500 spent in quarterly rotating categories. There is no right or wrong solution here, but it is beneficial to have a card that allows you to optimize rewards based on how you spend money each month.

3. Make sure your card has the right perks.

Cashback cards have hidden benefits. Some cards have all of them, while others only have a handful. Before signing up for any card, make sure you know what benefits it offers. Spend some time reading this guide and each individual credit card review to learn about the perks you may obtain with each of the top cashback cards. If you need more information, go to this page's "apply now" section, find the card you're interested in, and read all of the small print. The benefits of each card are listed, but you must search for them.

4. Understand and compare rewards programs.

The best cashback card for each person is determined by more than their typical expenditure; it is also determined by the incentives they choose. Before you sign up for your new card, be sure you understand the rewards program and how to use your points. Some cards allow you to redeem your points for cashback, while others give extra alternatives like gift cards and purchases. Check if the card you're interested in delivers the benefits that you'll use. Otherwise, you're wasting your time.

5. Consider pairing more than one card if you can’t decide.

If you can't decide between two excellent cash-back cards, join up for them. You can use the benefits of more than one card without penalty as long as neither card has an annual fee. Many consumers may combine a card with a card like the Discover it® card, which offers quarterly "bonus categories." They can use the higher-earning card for everyday expenses and the card with the 5% bonus categories for special occasions.

The bottom line

Cashback credit cards are a no-brainer if you want to earn rewards on regular purchases like groceries, gas, and utility bills. And it would be a shame not to get 1-5 percent of your money back if you already spent a lot of money on credit. Before making a final pick, look over all of the top cards on this page. Meanwhile, have a look at our other credit card recommendations for more information and advice on the best credit cards for travel, business, and balance transfers.

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