Best Cash Back Credit Cards of May 2022

Some of the card offers on this site are from companies who are advertising clients of U.S. News. Advertising considerations may impact where offers appear on the site but do not affect any editorial decisions, such as which card products we write about and how we evaluate them. Terms apply.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards of May 2022

Some of the card offers on this site are from companies who are advertising clients of U.S. News. Advertising considerations may impact where offers appear on the site but do not affect any editorial decisions, such as which card products we write about and how we evaluate them. Terms apply.

Cash back credit cards provide a simple, flexible way to earn rebates on your spending. Some cash back credit cards pay one flat rate on every purchase, and others offer the highest cash back rates in certain categories. Here's how to choose the best cash back card for your needs. Terms apply.

  1. 2022 Award Winner

    Terms Apply

    Chase Freedom Unlimited®

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Chase Freedom Unlimited®

    On Chase's Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 6.5%

      cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more

    • 5%

      cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®. After your first year or $20,000 spent.

    • 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).

    • 3%

      cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service (after your first year or $20,000 spent)

    • 1.5%

      cash back on all other purchases.

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Intro Bonus

      1.5%

    • APR

      15.24% - 23.99% Variable

    On Chase's Secure Website.

    On Chase's Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      Chase

    • Credit Needed

      Excellent, Good

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      15.24% - 23.99% Variable

    • Penalty APR

      Up to 29.99%

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Intro APR

      0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

    • Cash Advance Fee

      Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

    • See all credit card details
  2. Terms Apply

    Discover it® Cash Back

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Discover it® Cash Back

    On Discover's Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 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, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.

    • 1%

      cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Excellent, Good, Average

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR

    On Discover's Secure Website.

    On Discover's Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      Discover

    • Credit Needed

      Excellent, Good, Average

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% Intro APR for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Intro APR

      0% Intro APR for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

    • Cash Advance Fee

      Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      None

    • See all credit card details
  3. 2022 Award Winner

    Terms Apply

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    On American Express' Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 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

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

    • Intro Bonus

      earn a $300 statement credit

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% Variable

    On American Express' Secure Website.

    On American Express' Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      American Express

    • Credit Needed

      Good, Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% Variable

    • Penalty APR

      29.99% Variable

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% on purchases for 12 months

    • Cash Advance Fee

      Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

    • See all credit card details
  4. Terms Apply

    Chase Freedom Flex℠

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Chase Freedom Flex℠

    On Chase's Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 5%

      cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.

    • 5%

      categories each quarter!

    • 5%

      cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more

    • 3%

      cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service

    • 1%

      cash back on all other purchases.

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Intro Bonus

      $200

    • APR

      15.24% - 23.99% Variable

    On Chase's Secure Website.

    On Chase's Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      Chase

    • Credit Needed

      Excellent, Good

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      15.24% - 23.99% Variable

    • Penalty APR

      Up to 29.99%

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Intro APR

      0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

    • Cash Advance Fee

      Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

    • See all credit card details
  5. Terms Apply

    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

    On American Express' Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 3%

      Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)

    • 2%

      Cash Back at U.S. gas stations

    • 1%

      Cash Back on other purchases

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Intro Bonus

      earn a $200 statement credit

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% Variable

    On American Express' Secure Website.

    On American Express' Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      American Express

    • Credit Needed

      Good, Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% Variable

    • Penalty APR

      29.99% Variable

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% on purchases for 15 months

    • Cash Advance Fee

      Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

    • See all credit card details
  6. Terms Apply

    Discover it® chrome

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Discover it® chrome

    On Discover's Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 2%

      cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.

    • 1%

      cash back on all other purchases - automatically

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Excellent, Good, Average

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR

    On Discover's Secure Website.

    On Discover's Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      Discover

    • Credit Needed

      Excellent, Good, Average

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% Intro APR for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Intro APR

      0% Intro APR for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

    • Cash Advance Fee

      Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      None

    • See all credit card details
  7. Terms Apply

    Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

    On Citi's Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 5%

      cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.

    • 1%

      cash back on all other purchases.

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Intro Bonus

      $200

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

    On Citi's Secure Website.

    On Citi's Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      Citi

    • Credit Needed

      Excellent, Good

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

    • Penalty APR

      Up to 29.99% (Variable)

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Intro APR

      0% for 15 months

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

    • Cash Advance Fee

      5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      3%

    • See all credit card details
  8. Terms Apply

    Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

    On Citi's Secure Website.

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

    On Citi's Secure Website.

    On Citi's Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      Citi

    • Credit Needed

      Excellent, Good

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

    • Penalty APR

      Up to 29.99% (Variable)

    • Balance Transfer Intro APR

      0% for 18 months

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      Intro fee 3% of each transfer ($5 min) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, 5% of each transfer ($5 min).

    • Cash Advance Fee

      5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      3%

    • See all credit card details
  9. Terms Apply

    U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

    On U.S. Bank's Secure Website.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 5

      % cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose.

    • 5

      % cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center.

    • 2

      % cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants.

    • 1

      % cash back on all other eligible purchases.

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Intro Bonus

      200

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% Variable

    On U.S. Bank's Secure Website.

    On U.S. Bank's Secure Website.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      U.S. Bank

    • Credit Needed

      Excellent/Good

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      14.74% - 24.74% Variable

    • Purchases Intro APR

      0% Intro on purchases for 15 billing cycles on purchases

    • Balance Transfer Intro APR

      0% Intro on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in U.S. Dollars 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency

    • See all credit card details
  10. Terms Apply

    Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

    in Cash Back Credit Cards

    Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

    The information for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by U.S. News and the card is not currently available on the site. The information has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer and it is accurate as of the date posted.

    Top Rewards Rates

    • 3%

      Cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market

    • 2%

      Cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores

    • 1%

      Cash back on all other purchases

    At A Glance

    • Credit Needed

      670-850
      Good to Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • Intro Bonus

      The Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card offers a $60 Amazon.com gift card upon approval. The gift card value will increase to $100 if you have an eligible Amazon Prime membership upon approval for the card

    • APR

      14.24% to 22.24%, based on your creditworthiness

    The information for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by U.S. News and the card is not currently available on the site. The information has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer and it is accurate as of the date posted.

    The information for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by U.S. News and the card is not currently available on the site. The information has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer and it is accurate as of the date posted.

    Rates & Fees

    • Issuer Name

      Chase

    • Credit Needed

      Good/Excellent

    • Annual Fee

      $0

    • APR

      14.24% to 22.24%, based on your creditworthiness

    • Penalty APR

      None

    • Balance Transfer Fee

      $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

    • Cash Advance Fee

      Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater

    • Foreign Transaction Fee

      None

    • See all credit card details

See all of our credit cards here.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards Compared

Credit Card

Rewards Rate

Intro Bonus

Annual Fee

APR

6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more

5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®. After your first year or $20,000 spent.

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).

3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service (after your first year or $20,000 spent)

1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Additional 1.5% cash back

$0

15.24% - 23.99% Variable

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, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.

1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

N/A

$0

12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR

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

earn a $300 statement credit

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

14.74% - 24.74% Variable

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.

5% categories each quarter!

5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more

3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service

1% cash back on all other purchases.

$200 Bonus

$0

15.24% - 23.99% Variable

3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)

2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations

1% Cash Back on other purchases

earn a $200 statement credit

$0

14.74% - 24.74% Variable

2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.

1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically

N/A

$0

12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR

5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.

1% cash back on all other purchases.

$200 cash back

$0

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

N/A

N/A

$0

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

5 % cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose.

5 % cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center.

2 % cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants.

1 % cash back on all other eligible purchases.

$200 bonus

$0

14.74% - 24.74% Variable

3% Cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market

2% Cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores

1% Cash back on all other purchases

N/A

$0

14.24% to 22.24%, based on your creditworthiness

Commonly Compared Cash Back Credit Cards:

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Nazir News - CBC Trending News Daily 😣😜😞 Best Cash Back Credit Cards of May 2022 | U.S. News
Nazir News - CBC Trending News Daily 😣😜😞 Best Cash Back Credit Cards of May 2022 | U.S. News

Best Cards Summary

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: Chase Freedom Unlimited charges no annual fee. It earns 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. You can 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. See our full review.

Discover it® Cash Back

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: The Discover it Cash Back offers 5% cash back each quarter in rotating categories, such as Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. There is no annual fee. At the end of your first year as a cardmember, Discover will match all the cash back you earned. See our full review.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers cash back on everyday purchases. Cardholders earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases and then 1% back. Select U.S. streaming subscriptions earn 6% cash back; transit and U.S. gas stations earn 3% cash back; and other purchases earn 1% cash back. See our full review.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: Chase Freedom Flex delivers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. You’ll also earn 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back at drugstores and restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and 1% back on other purchases year-round. See our full review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express rewards you with cash back on day-to-day purchases. You'll earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to the first $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1% back. Purchases at U.S. gas stations earn unlimited 2% cash back. Plus, you'll get unlimited 1% back on other purchases with no annual fee. Cardholders earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. See our full review.

Discover it® chrome

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: This card caters to consumers who want to earn cash back on gas and dining purchases. You'll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to the first $1,000 in combined purchases quarterly. After that, you'll earn 1% back, along with unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. There's no annual fee and rewards never expire. See our full review.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: The Citi Custom Cash Card earns five ThankYou Points per dollar on up to $500 spent in a category that can shift according to your spending habits each billing cycle. Eligible categories include restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores. Other spending earns one ThankYou Point per dollar. The card does not charge an annual fee, and new cardholders can earn points worth $200 in cash back if they spend $750 in the first three months with the card. See our full review.

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: This card earns a flat 1% cash back on purchases and 1% cash back when cardholders make payments for those purchases, with no spending category restrictions, no cap on how much cardholders can earn and no annual fee. See our full review.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: With the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, you earn 5% on the first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter in two categories of your choice. You also earn 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car rentals booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center, and 2% on one everyday category, such as gas stations and EV charging stations, grocery stores, or restaurants. You get 1% on all other eligible purchases, plus earn a $200 rewards bonus after you apply online and spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within 120 days of opening the account. See our full review.

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Why this is one of the best cash back credit cards: The Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card is a cash back rewards credit card designed for frequent shoppers of Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. The card earns 3% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% at drugstores, gas stations and restaurants and 1% on all other purchases. When the card is paired with an eligible Amazon Prime membership, cash back earnings at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market increase to 5%. This card does not charge an annual fee. See our full review.

Take a look at the U.S. News methodology to see how we rank the best credit cards.

U.S. News Survey

U.S. News Survey: Almost Everyone Is Feeling the Effects of Inflation

Inflation is affecting almost everyone’s financial health, according to a new U.S. News survey. More than 88% of respondents have experienced inflation in some way, and 35.5% of people have been affected in a dramatic way, saying inflation has made their financial situation more tenuous, pushed them into debt or made their debt worse.

Relatedly, 67.2% of respondents say they are worried about money. Among that worried group, inflation is the main driver of financial anxiety for 31.7% of people. People are feeling inflation the most when they buy groceries (28.7% of respondents), buy gas (25.7%) or pay rent (14.2%). To lessen the effects of inflation, 58% of respondents have cut back their spending.

Additional Survey Insights

Living paycheck to paycheck is the primary cause of financial anxiety for the second-largest group (23.7% of people).

One way to fight inflation is to use a credit card that gives bonus rewards in high-inflation categories. Respondents say groceries and gas are the two most important bonus categories to them.

till, 25.3% of respondents say they don’t have a rewards credit card.

Of the people who have a rewards credit card, 64.8% say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the rewards their card offers.

It’s important to evaluate your credit cards and make sure they are still working for you. In the past year, 20.9% of respondents changed their primary credit card, and another 22% of respondents did so in the past two to three years.

Nazir News - CBC Trending News Daily 😣😜😞 Best Cash Back Credit Cards of May 2022 | U.S. News
  • Living paycheck to paycheck is the primary cause of financial anxiety for the second-largest group (23.7% of people).

  • One way to fight inflation is to use a credit card that gives bonus rewards in high-inflation categories. Respondents say groceries and gas are the two most important bonus categories to them.

  • till, 25.3% of respondents say they don’t have a rewards credit card.

  • Of the people who have a rewards credit card, 64.8% say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the rewards their card offers.

  • It’s important to evaluate your credit cards and make sure they are still working for you. In the past year, 20.9% of respondents changed their primary credit card, and another 22% of respondents did so in the past two to three years.

Nazir News - CBC Trending News Daily 😣😜😞 Best Cash Back Credit Cards of May 2022 | U.S. News

U.S. News Survey Methodology

  • U.S. News ran a nationwide survey of 1,216 respondents through PureSpectrum between April 1 and April 2, 2022. Only people who currently have a credit card answered questions.
  • The survey sample drew from the general American population, and the survey was configured to be representative of this sample.
  • The survey asked 10 questions relating to inflation and credit card rewards.

Survey Results

What Is a Cash Back Credit Card?

A cash back credit card allows you to earn cash rewards for card purchases that can be redeemed for checks, bank deposits or statement credits. You could get money back on every purchase you make with a cash back card.

Say your card earns 1% cash back on all purchases. That percentage might not seem like much, but it can add up: Spend $1,000, and you get $10 back just for using the card.

What Are the Different Types of Cash Back Credit Cards?

You can choose from several types of cash back credit cards, and each one works a bit differently. Here's what you need to know:

Flat-rate cards. A flat-rate card pays the same amount of cash back on every purchase. You might earn 1.5% back on all purchases, for example.

Your options for redeeming cash back rewards with flat-rate cards are statement credits, checks or bank deposits. Some cash back cards provide other ways to redeem rewards, such as travel bookings, gift cards or products.

Flat-rate cards to choose from include:

  • Citi Double Cash Card, which earns 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off and offers a 0% intro annual percentage rate on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which pairs a flat cash back rate of 1.5% with a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24% to 25.24% (variable) APR after that.

Tiered cash back cards. These credit cards offer different cash back rates for different types of purchases. Most cards let you earn 1% to 6% back on eligible purchases. You might get 3% back on groceries, 2% on gas purchases and 1% on all other purchases, for instance.

Choosing this type of cash back card could allow you to earn a lot of rewards if you maximize your spending in each category. But read the fine print because the categories may have dollar limits and other restrictions.

Tiered cash back cards to choose from include:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 5% cash back on travel purchases through Chase, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
  • Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, which offers 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual spending at U.S. supermarkets and then 1%; 2% back at U.S. gas stations and 1% back on other purchases. The card allows you to redeem rewards as statement credits.

Rotating category cards. Several cash back credit cards have 5% bonus categories that rotate quarterly. Common categories include groceries, gas stations, home improvement stores, and even Amazon and Uber purchases.

Some caveats: You may have to sign up online every quarter or you won't earn the bonus rewards. Also, the 5% bonus categories have dollar limits, so you will need to track your spending.

Rotating category cards to choose from include:

  • Discover it Cash Back, which features 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, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card, which allows you to pick a 3% cash back category monthly, plus earn 2% back on up to $2,500 in quarterly purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Other purchases receive 1% cash back, and you can boost your earnings by enrolling in Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program.

How Do You Compare Cash Back Credit Cards?

You might feel overwhelmed as you try to pick the right cash back credit card. Follow these steps to make the process easier:

1. Calculate your earning potential. You can earn rewards at different rates depending on what type of cash back card you use, where you make purchases and whether a category bonus applies. Analyze your spending and then look for a credit card that earns bonus rewards in the categories where you spend the most.

  • Flat-rate cards: Generally, the rate is 1% to 2% for all purchases, although you may find a card promotion for a higher rate. A flat-rate card can be valuable if your spending is evenly spread across multiple categories or if you don't want to track which credit card will earn the most for your purchases.
  • Tiered cash back cards: These credit cards offer different cash back rates on certain categories. Common bonus categories include travel, dining, gas, and grocery and department stores.
  • Rotating bonus category cards: Most have a base 1% cash back rate, along with bonus categories that can change quarterly. The rotating categories typically offer 5% cash back, one of the highest cash back rates you'll get on a credit card. But the categories almost always have limits to how much you can earn each quarter.

2. Factor in sign-up bonuses. Many cards attract applicants by offering sign-up bonuses. A cash back card with a large sign-up bonus can certainly help boost your earnings, but you'll need to know the spending requirement to receive it. If you can't get the bonus without spending more than you normally would, then the card probably isn't a good match for your wallet.

3. Subtract annual fees. Some cash back credit cards charge an annual fee, and the average fee is less than $100, according to U.S. News research.

Consider whether the earnings or benefits of using a card will more than offset an annual fee. If they don't, you likely will be better off with a no-fee card.

When an annual fee is waived the first year and then the fee comes due, you could ask the issuer to waive it for another year, request to downgrade to a no-fee card or cancel the card. You could also call the issuer and ask for a credit card retention offer, such as a statement credit or rewards to offset the fee.

4.Understand cardholder benefits. Many credit card issuers and card networks offer benefits beyond a rewards program. Benefits could include not only free credit score access, but also extended warranties, concierge services, travel accident insurance policies, theft and fraud protections, and low-price guarantees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card users, for example, can get benefits such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, extended warranty protection and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage.

How Can You Maximize Your Cash Back Rewards?

Here is how you can reap more rewards without necessarily spending more on your cash back credit card:

  • Avoid carrying a balance. This is the No. 1 rule with any rewards credit card.
  • Step away from your cash back credit card if you start carrying a balance. Revolving balances can lead to paying more in interest than you earn in cash back. But the worst part? You could end up with credit card debt.
  • Choose a card that matches your spending habits. A rewards card with bonus categories that align with your normal spending can help boost your cash back earnings.
  • Look for a sign-up bonus you can achieve. Sign-up bonuses can be a great way to earn a lot of cash back quickly, but don't spend money you wouldn't have otherwise.
  • Earn extra cash back. Some cards have referral programs and offer a bonus for referring new cardholders. You might also get additional cash back for adding authorized users.
  • Don't forget about the card's other benefits. Your cash back credit card might offer purchase protection, extended warranty coverage or other perks.
  • Get a retention offer. This is an incentive from your issuer to keep your card, and securing it could take some good old-fashioned negotiating. You might be able to get an annual fee waived or reduced, for example, but you will need to call the issuer and ask for it. The higher your credit score, the better your chance of success.

What Are Some Pros and Cons of Cash Back Credit Cards?

Pros

  • Easy to understand your earnings. Tracking how much you've earned in rewards and what those rewards are worth is not hard. Generally, 1% back means you will get 1 cent for every dollar you spend.
  • Simple to redeem cash back rewards. Your card might require you to have a certain amount of cash rewards – say $25 – before you redeem them. But once you earn them, you can easily cash out.
  • Wide range of bonus categories. Some cards pay the highest cash back rate when you make particular purchases. With certain cards, bonus categories change throughout the year, giving you different opportunities to earn extra rewards.
  • Sign-up bonuses. Cash back credit cards may offer sign-up bonuses ranging from $100 to several hundreds of dollars. You might also be able to get extra cash back by adding an authorized user to your account or for referring friends who become cardholders.
  • Cardholder benefits. These are not exclusive to cash back cards but often include special event access, zero liability fraud protection, extended warranty and purchase protection, rental car insurance, roadside dispatch service, and lost luggage reimbursement.

Cons

  • Good to excellent credit requirements.The best cash back credit cards generally require a good to excellent credit score, which is a FICO score of at least 670.
  • Sign-up bonus requirements. If you want to earn a sign-up bonus, then you will have to meet a spending requirement. The spending requirement varies by card but ranges from about $500 to a few thousand dollars, and you'll usually have to accomplish this within three months of opening an account. But don't increase your spending just to get the sign-up bonus. If you can't meet the requirements within the bounds of your normal spending habits, then maybe it isn't the right cash back card for you.
  • Monitoring bonus categories. If you want to earn the most cash back using a card with rotating categories, you will need to take time and effort to track the categories and their cash back rates.
  • Potentially less-valuable rewards than other cards. Your cash back card's point value may be locked in at a certain level, which means you won't have a chance to receive more value. This is different from co-branded airline and hotel cards that sometimes allow you to redeem points at different rates.
  • Fewer perks thanother types of rewards credit cards. If travel deals and free checked bags appeal to you, then a travel credit card could be a better fit.
  • Fees. You might find that you're spending more on annual fees than you're earning in cash back rewards, depending on how you use a card. And if you think you might carry a balance, you could be better off with a plain lower-interest credit card. Carrying a balance with a rewards credit card can lead to credit card debt.

Is Cash Back From a Credit Card Taxable?

No. Since you have to spend money to receive cash back, it's considered a rebate and not taxable income.

Cash Back Credit Card Alternatives to Consider

Although a cash back credit card may sound like the best choice, another card may suit you better.

  • Travel credit card. If you spend a good amount on travel already, or you're looking to rack up rewards to help offset costs of future travel, then a travel credit card might be more beneficial. Many travel cards offer greater rewards for travel spending and will reward you with miles or points to redeem for flights, hotel stays and other travel perks.
  • Low-interest credit card. If you think you'll carry a balance at any point, then a cash back credit card is not the best option. Your rewards likely won't offset the cost of interest, so instead consider a card with a lower rate.
  • No-annual-fee card. If you're considering a card for occasional purchases or emergencies only, then you likely won't spend enough to offset an annual fee.

U.S. News has been helping consumers make money decisions for decades. For our Best Cash Back Credit Cards list, we factor in overall satisfaction data, cash back earning rates, annual fees, APRs and sign-up bonus values. The satisfaction data is based on an annual nationwide survey.

Our top picks may earn a flat cash back rate for all types of purchases or a bonus rate when you spend in certain categories. Consider how you spend to determine which would be the best card for you.

Take a look at the U.S. News methodology to see how we rank the best credit cards.

Cash back credit cards pay you back a percentage of each eligible purchase. The money may come as a check, bank deposit or statement credit.

Some cards earn a flat cash back rate, meaning you earn back the same percentage on every transaction. For example, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Compare that with the Discover it Secured Credit Card, which earns 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.

[READ: Smartest Ways to Redeem Credit Card Cash Back.]

Cash back cards may give you the option of redeeming your rewards as a statement credit, check or deposit into your bank account. So if you choose to receive your cash back rewards as a check or bank deposit, you are getting cash.

A cash back credit card could work for you if you pay off your balance each month. As you consider your options, look at each card's annual fee, bonus category rates and sign-up bonus.

Many cash back rewards don't expire as long as your account remains active and in good standing. However, it's important to check for any exceptions your specific card may have.

Comparative assessments and other editorial opinions are those of U.S. News and have not been previously reviewed, approved or endorsed by any other entities, such as banks, credit card issuers or travel companies. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired.

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