GOBankingRates’ Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

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When you use a cash-back credit card responsibly, you essentially get free money for every purchase. But not all cash-back cards are created equal — some offer higher cash-back rates than others, some have different fees associated with the card and the interest rates can vary as well.

GOBankingRates identified the best cash-back credit cards by analyzing the following factors: annual fees, APR for purchases, promotional APR, sign-up bonuses and rewards and features. Find out which cards made the cut.

Our Top Cash-Back Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited card’s rewards structure offers users 5% cash back on unlimited travel purchases through Chase. Other cash-back categories include 3% on drugstore and dining purchases and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. The cash-back rewards and a lower-than-average starting APR, a sign-up bonus and a $0 annual fee all make this card worth considering.

Sign-Up Bonus

  • Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back
  • 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)

Cash-Back Rate

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased via Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on dining, including takeout, and at drugstores
  • 1.5% cash back on everything else

Annual Fee

  • $0

Benefits

  • Rewards don't expire
  • Easy rewards redemption for cash, gift cards or travel, with no minimum to redeem
  • 15-month promotional 0% intro APR period

Drawbacks

  • No short-term sign up bonus offered
READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

Keep reading to see GOBankingRates’ other picks for the best cash-back credit cards available now.

Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

Why we like it: You'll have more flexibility to earn rewards and redeem them. Activate bonus rewards categories each quarter to earn more faster. Cash in your rewards or apply them toward purchases, merchandise and travel.

Sign-Up Bonus

  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months

Cash-Back Rate

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased via Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on dining, including takeout, and at drugstores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Annual Fee

  • $0

Benefits

  • Multiple ways to redeem, such as statement credits; direct deposit; Shop With Points at Amazon.com; and gift cards, dining, entertainment and travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Earn an extra 5% on spending categories you choose from the quarterly cash-back calendar
  • 15-month promotional 0% intro APR period

Drawbacks

  • Bonus rewards categories require activation first
READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

Why we like it: American Express offers an enticing sign-up welcome offer of $350 back to kick-start your rewards. Plus, everyday categories of gas, supermarkets and streaming subscriptions earn high rewards rates of 3% to 6%.

Sign-Up Bonus

  • Earn $350 back after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months

Cash-Back Rate

  • 6% cash back on U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 a year (then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back on transit
  • 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Annual Fee

  • $95

Benefits

  • Promotional APR of 0% for 12 months
  • No fees in the first year for buy now, pay later plans
  • Welcome offer bonus
  • Free Global Assist Hotline to help you with travel delays and issues

Drawbacks

  • Cash back only available to redeem as statement credit
READ OUR FULL REVIEW

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

Why we like it: U.S. Bank lets you choose more categories for bonus earnings than other cards. Besides your choice of two 5% rewards categories from a dozen options, you can also choose one everyday bonus category such as gas/EV charging, groceries or dining out for 2% cash back.

Sign-Up Bonus

  • Earn a $200 rewards bonus after you apply online and spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening

Cash-Back Rate

  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose
  • 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations, grocery stores or restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

Annual Fee

  • $0

Benefits

  • Choose two categories each quarter for bonus earnings and one everyday category
  • A dozen 5% rewards category options to choose from, including electronics stores, sporting goods stores, movie theaters, gyms and fast food
  • Redeem rewards as a statement credit, deposit to your U.S. Bank account or as a U.S. Bank rewards card

Drawbacks

  • Cardholder must choose categories every quarter; otherwise, purchases will earn a maximum of 1% cash back
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Citi Custom Cash Credit Card

Why we like it: The Citi Custom Cash credit card maximizes rewards automatically. Simply make purchases as you normally would and Citi will apply 5% in ThankYou Points for the first $500 of your highest eligible spend category each month.

Sign-Up Bonus

  • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months

Cash-Back Rate

  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases

Annual Fee

  • $0

Benefits

  • Promotional APR of 0% for 15 months, then 14.74% - 24.74%
  • No enrollment required to earn 5% on top spending category
  • Redemption options include statement credit, direct deposit, check, gift cards, travel or select shopping, such as Shop With Points at Amazon.com

Drawbacks

  • Bonus reward category limited to $500 in spending

Capital One SavorOne Rewards Credit Card

Why we like it: The SavorOne Rewards credit card is the ultimate cash-back card for groceries and eating out. Earn 3% on food, entertainment and eligible streaming services.

Sign-Up Bonus

  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months

Cash-Back Rate

  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on entertainment and streaming services
  • 3% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

    Annual Fee

    • $0

    Benefits

    • A promotional APR of 0% for the first 18 months
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Rewards don't expire

      Drawbacks

      • Redemption only available upon request in the form of a statement credit or a check
      • Higher than average APR of 15.24% to 25.24%
      Get Credit Card Perks

      American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

      Why we like it: If you use your credit card for everyday purchases such as groceries and gas, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card offers higher rewards rates of 3% at U.S. supermarkets and at U.S. gas stations.

      Welcome Offer Bonus

      • Earn $200 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card within the first 6 months of card membership

      Cash-Back Rate

      • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 annually (then 1%)
      • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, up to $6,000 annually (then 1%)
      • 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases, up tp $6,000 annually (then 1%)
      • 1% cash back on all other purchases

      Annual Fee

      • $0

      Benefits

      • Promotional APR of 0% for 15 months, then 15.49% to 26.49% variable.
      • No fees for the first 15 months on balance transfers and purchases using the buy now, pay later program, Plan It by American Express
      • Prequalification available without hurting your credit

      Drawbacks

      • Cash back as statement credits only
        READ OUR FULL REVIEW

      Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

      Why we like it: If you like shopping at wholesale clubs such as Costco or Sam's Club, Bank of America's Customized Cash Rewards Visa is accepted — and earns you 2% cash back on your purchases. Plus, choose a category to earn 3% instead of 1%.

      Sign-Up Bonus

      • Online $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening

      Cash-Back Rate

      • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings
      • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
      • 1% cash back on all other purchases

      Annual Fee

      • $0

      Benefits

      • Promotional APR of 0% for 15 months then 14.74 - 24.74% Variable APR
      • Earn 2% on purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
      • Redeem your cash rewards for any amount, anytime as statement credits, as Bank of America account deposits, to a qualifying 529 account with Merrill, or for a check starting at $25

      Drawbacks

      • Elevated rewards of 2% and 3% limited to $2,500 in purchases, then 1%
      READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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      M&T Visa Signature Credit Card

      Why we like it: Power spenders could earn significant cash back with the M&T Visa Signature card — there is no set earning limit on rewards. Plus, the card edges out the standard cash-back credit card by offering 1.5% back instead of the typical 1%.

      Sign-Up Bonus

      • Earn 10,000 bonus points, equal to $100 cash or statement credit, when you spend $500 in the first 90 days

      Cash-Back Rate

      • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase

      Annual Fee

      • $0

      Benefits

      • Promotional APR of 0% for 12 months
      • Redeem points for cash, statement credit or direct deposit to a linked account

      Drawbacks

      • No bonus earning categories

      Discover it Cash Back Credit Card

      Why we like it: Discover matches your cash-back rewards earned the first year to help you kick-start your savings. Plus, you'll receive 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.

      Sign-Up Bonus

      • Get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year

      Cash-Back Rate

      • Earn 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
      • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

      Annual Fee

      • $0

      Benefits

      • Promotional APR of 0% for 15 months
      • Deposit cash back directly into your bank account, apply it as a statement credit, redeem as a gift card or as a charitable donation, or use your rewards to pay at checkout at Amazon.com or with PayPal
      • 25 card designs to choose from

      Drawbacks

      • Rotating categories each quarter
      Get Credit Card Perks

      What To Consider When Choosing a Cash-Back Credit Card

      Not all cards are created equally. However, there are some important points to watch out for when comparing the best-cash back credit cards:

      • Avoid cards with annual fees unless your spend level is high enough to offset the fee. Otherwise, most of your cash rewards could end up going toward the annual fee.
      • Look for cash-back rewards cards offering introductory 0% APR periods. You could leverage the no-interest period to earn more points on larger purchases while saving on interest payments.
      • Read the fine print about how you can redeem the rewards and whether they expire. Some cards only allow you to apply the cash rewards toward your card’s statement balance, while others have wider redemption options, including gift cards and cash.
      • If the card offers rolling categories for bonus rewards, keep a reminder on your calendar of when they’re in effect to maximize your earnings. You may have to activate the bonus category first, so don’t forget this step.

      Takeaway

      You have options when it comes to cash-back credit cards. Different cards offer different rewards and redemption options. Take a closer look at your spending and determine which categories you spend most on. Choose a cash-back credit card that provides you with the largest bonus for your top spending categories to see the savings pile up.

      Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

      Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the best cash-back credit cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; and (5) rewards and features. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the webpage. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of July 6, 2022. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. Rewards had to be in form of cash back to qualify. 

      All information about American Express card offers have been collected independently by GOBankingRates and have not been reviewed or approved by American Express. These offers are not available through GOBankingRates.

      Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. 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 American Express. American Express credit card products are not available through GOBankingRates.com.

      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.

      Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. 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 Chase.

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      About the Author

      Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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