Best 2% Cash-Back Credit Cards: Which Is Best for You?

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Credit cards have plenty of unique incentives to make cardholders choose them over their competition. Different cards can offer rewards points, travel miles and other innovative perks. However, a cash-back credit card is the preferred option for many consumers. With a 2% cash-back card, anyone can earn while they spend, ultimately making their budget go further.

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Here are some of the top 2% cash-back credit cards available today — and the details you need to make the choice that’s right for you.

1. Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature credit card is an attractive option that provides cash back with no upper limit and doesn’t charge an annual fee. This card doesn’t give precisely 2% cash back but instead provides 2.5% on the first $10,000 in eligible spending. Any spending after that earns 1.5% cash back.

The card offers an attractive APR ranging from . Cardholders will have no problem accessing their other payment methods and digital wallets with support for Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.

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One of the best features of this card is that it doesn’t restrict cash back to certain categories of spending. While many others only give cash back at certain stores or for certain purchases like groceries or gas, the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature credit card carries no such restrictions.

However, getting the card does require joining Alliant credit union. Cardholders will need to set up an Alliant Checking account to get this card, and then qualify for Alliant High-Rate Checking to earn maximum rewards. For that, you must maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,000 in this account for each month of the preceding calendar quarter to qualify for maximum rewards of 2.5% in the next quarter. This might seem restrictive, but it is optimal for anyone looking to link their services together.

Pros

  • Great 2.5% cash back rate on the first $10,000 in spending
  • No annual fees
  • Attractive APR

Cons

  • Requires a checking account with Alliant
  • Requires at least $1,000 average daily balance each month
  • No special welcome offer

2.

The Citi® Double Cash card provides 2% cash back but does so in a unique way. Citi® describes the bonus not as simply getting 2% cash back but as receiving 1% cash back twice. Cardholders receive 1% cash back when they make a purchase and 1% cash back when they pay it off.

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The card is very unrestrictive — it doesn’t have any mandatory purchase categories in order to get cash back. There’s no cap on cash back earnings, either, so you can make the most of the card for essentially any kind of spending.

The Citi® Double Cash card is also very versatile. In addition to receiving cash-back points as a statement credit, direct deposit or mailed check, you can redeem them for gift cards, travel or shopping at Amazon.com and other online retailers.

The card doesn’t have an annual fee but does have a foreign transaction fee of 3%. New cardholders can take advantage of an introductory APR offer. The Citi® Double Cash card offers 0% APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers completed within four months of account opening, followed by the regular APR of .

Pros

  • 2% cash back as long as you don’t carry a balance
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory APR for balance transfers

Cons

  • APR offer is only for balance transfers, not purchases
  • Charges foreign transaction fee
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3. Bread Cashback American Express® Credit Card

You might not have heard of Bread Financial before if you’ve been exploring more conventional credit card issuers. The unique financial tech company focuses on co-branding, developing credit cards that offer specific benefits for consumers.

The Bread Cashback American Express® credit card is a bit of a change from the company’s usual category- and brand-specific cards. It provides unlimited 2% cash back on any purchases, with no restrictions on which outlets, brands or categories you shop.

The APR ranges from , which is marginally worse than some of the other choices on this list.

However, it’s also the only American Express, Member FDIC, option. The company generally shies away from these types of offers, making the Bread Cashback American Express® credit card a rare opportunity to enjoy the security and other benefits that American Express has to offer in a cash-back card with no annual fee.

Another benefit is the control you have over cash back earnings. You can choose between having the rewards credited to your statement or direct deposited to a bank account.

Pros

  • Unlimited 2% cash back with no category restrictions
  • American Express security and benefits
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • No welcome offer
  • Less competitive APR

4. Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Unlike many of the other options on this list, Capital One Spark Cash Plus specifically pegs itself as a business card. The versatile card includes a number of features geared towards business use, including having no spending limits and no limit on its 2% cash back.

Spark One Cash Plus is a charge card, so you can’t carry a balance or pay for purchases over time. That means there isn’t any APR because the full balance must be paid every month. While this might be a deal-breaker for some, it’s a perfectly reasonable agreement for this type of business card.

A welcome offer provides a bit of additional incentive to choose this card and makes up for the $150 annual fee. There is a cash bonus of up to $1,000 for meeting spending thresholds in the first six months: you receive $500 if you spend $5,000 within three months and another $500 for spending $50,000 within six months.

Cardholders can also earn a $200 annual cash bonus each year they spend $200,000 or more.

Because this is a business card, it also provides free cards for employees so that all company spending earns 2% cash back. These employee cards aren’t just for facilitating transactions; they also give managers ways to track and monitor expenses.

While the Capital One Spark Cash Plus is strictly for businesses, it’s perfect for that use.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Employee cards
  • Welcome bonus

Cons

  • Only for businesses
  • $150 annual fee

Good To Know

One of the most important things to keep in mind about 2% cash-back credit cards is that you must pay off your balance each month to get the most benefit. With higher-rate cards in particular, a single month’s interest can cancel out your cash back reward.

5. Synchrony Premier World Mastercard

Synchrony Bank provides a wide range of partnered credit cards for brands like Lowe’s, Ashley Furniture, Living Spaces and Pep Boys. Among its offerings is the Synchrony Premier World Mastercard, another 2% cash-back credit card that might have the benefits you’re looking for.

The card has no annual fees and offers an APR of . As a World Mastercard, the card carries a variety of protections, from fraud to identity theft. This includes Mastercard’s regular identity monitoring, making this a great pick for travelers.

There are very few restrictions on this card, with no limit on the total cash back and no restrictions based on spending categories, so you never have to opt in to receive rewards or additional benefits.

The card also features a variety of additional discounts for services like DoorDash, Lyft and Hello Fresh.

Pros

  • Straightforward 2% cash back
  • No annual fee
  • A variety of unique offers and bonuses

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • No welcome offer

6. SoFi Credit Card

SoFi is a relative newcomer to the credit card space. The online personal finance company offers a wide range of credit products, from credit cards to student loan refinancing, and it now even provides banking services.

The SoFi credit card rewards you 2% cash back plus many of the perks that consumers have come to expect from online finance, such as added benefits from brands like Lyft and DoorDash. The card doesn’t have any restrictions based on spending categories, and there are no annual fees.

In order to take advantage of the 2% cash back offer, you must enroll in other SoFi financial products. Every dollar spent accrues two reward points, which only provide their full value if you deposit them into a checking, savings, cryptocurrency, investment or loan account with SoFi.

For a limited time, you can earn an additional 1% cash back, for a maximum of 36,000 points, when you set up and maintain a qualifying direct deposit each month. Plus, there’s currently up to a $300 welcome cash bonus, depending on your total direct deposit qualifying amounts over a 30-day period.

The SoFi credit card carries an APR range of , potentially not too shabby for those with the credit to enjoy the lower end. Cardholders who make 12 monthly payments in a row on time and meet minimum requirements can have their APR lowered by 1%.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn 3% cash back with direct deposit for a limited time
  • Up to a $300 welcome bonus with qualifying direct deposits
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Additional SoFi accounts needed to receive full 2%

7. PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

Online shoppers might just have found their best cash back offer with the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®. This unique offering provides a bonus that ups cash back to 3% on purchases made through PayPal. Anyone who already uses PayPal could stand to gain a lot from this offer.

In addition to the unique benefits offered for PayPal payments, the card provides 2% cash back on all purchases not made through PayPal checkout. There are no further category restrictions, and the cash back is unlimited.

If you make a significant amount of purchases via PayPal, this card might be worth keeping an eye on. It’s worth noting that the APR for this card is a bit higher than some of the competition; it ranges from 17.24% to 29.24% variable.

Pros

  • 2% cash back everywhere
  • 3% cash back on PayPal purchases
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Less competitive APR

8. Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

The is a cash-back card that works with Fidelity’s various savings and investment products. To take advantage of the 2% offer, you must deposit your cash back into a qualifying Fidelity account — yours or a loved one’s. You can deposit all your cash back into a single account or divide it among up to five different accounts.

You can also redeem points for a variety of other rewards, including travel and merchandise, but at a reduced rate. With eligibility to deposit the full 2% into IRAs, 529 college savings plans and other investment accounts, the best way to use this card is to supplement long-term savings and investments.

The card carries a APR. There’s no annual fee and a low foreign transaction fee of 1%. This is a Visa Signature card, so cardholders receive a number of additional benefits. These include auto rental collision damage waivers, lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance and roadside dispatch.

Pros

  • 2% cash back anywhere
  • Visa Signature benefits
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • 2% only when deposited in Fidelity accounts

How To Choose the Right Cash Back Card

These cards are all great options for specific individuals. To figure out which is the perfect fit, consider your own unique needs. Consider your spending habits, whether you can meet the requirements to qualify for any bonus offers and whether you’ll make payments in time to avoid paying interest.

Almost all of these cards provide additional benefits in some areas, so it makes sense to take a closer look at what these bonuses mean to you.

Final Take

Take the time to study these great 2% cash-back credit cards carefully to make sure you’re getting the most out of your everyday spending. Different cards work best for different types of spenders, so it’s important to research the options before making a selection.

Daria Uhlig and Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates and fees are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Oct. 19, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

All information about the Bread Cashback American Express card has been collected independently by GOBankingRates.com. The Bread Cashback American Express card is not available through GOBankingRates.com.

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About the Author

Teddy Garcia is an experienced freelance writer who develops a wide range of content across many industries. He has a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and has created blog posts, website copy, use cases, and more for a variety of chemical industry and manufacturing organizations. 
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