The Best Available Cash-Back Credit Card Rewards

Beautiful smiling young Asian woman grocery shopping online with mobile app device on smartphone and making online payment with her credit card, with a box of colourful and fresh organic groceries on the kitchen counter at home stock photo
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A quarter of Americans say their primary purpose for using a credit card is for the rewards and perks, a recent GOBankingRates survey found. In addition, 22% said that the rewards and cash back offered by a card are the most important factor they consider when choosing a new credit card. Of course, not all cash-back cards are created equal, and some offer better rewards than others.

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Learn: The Top Purchases You Should Always Make With a Credit Card

Based on GOBankingRates’ Best Cash-Back Credit Cards of 2021 ranking, here’s a look at some of the best cash-back credit card rewards available.

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Top Rewards Rate

Some cash-back credit cards will offer a flat rewards rate for all purchases, while others will offer higher rates for certain purchase categories. Before choosing a cash-back card, compare the rates offered for the type of purchases you make the most. Look for cards that offer a high rate in categories you spend on frequently to make the most out of your credit card rewards.

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Among the credit cards analyzed by GOBankingRates, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card had the highest rewards rate, with 6% cash back on groceries, up to $6,000 a year, and 6% cash back on streaming services. Cardholders also earn 3% cash back on transit, 3% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all other purchases. It’s important to note that this card has an annual fee of $95, so do the math to ensure you’ll make more than this back with cash back based on your typical spending.

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If you’re looking for a no annual fee cash-back credit card, the cards with the highest rewards rates are Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex, U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, Citi Custom Cash Card, Discover it Cash Back Card and the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card. All of these cards offer 5% cash back on certain purchase categories.

Rewards Redemption Options

Cash-back credit cards typically give you rewards in the form of a statement credit, but some cards offer additional redemption options. Depending on your preference, you may want to choose a card that allows you to redeem your cash back in multiple ways.

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For example, GOBankingRates’ top pick for Best Cash-Back Credit Card of 2021, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, also allows cardholders to redeem cash back for direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts, use cash back points to shop at Amazon, redeem cash back for a variety of gift cards and certificates for shopping, dining, entertainment and more, or use cash back to book travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards for competitive rates and flexible ways to pay.

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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 might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of Aug. 11, 2021. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. Rewards had to be in the form of cash back to qualify.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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