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Best cash-back credit cards

By Mitch Strohm ·
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Posted: 4 pm ET

Dan Dalton/Getty Images

American Express is a Bankrate advertising partner.

The best cash-back credit cards offer generous rewards and sign-up bonuses. The card that's right for you depends on your spending habits and financial situation.

Do you want a fixed-rate reward for all purchases or a bonus for spending in certain categories, like gas or groceries? Choose wisely. There are hundreds of dollars at stake here.

Here are the best cash-back credit cards, according to the experts at

CARD SEARCH: Reward yourself today. Apply for a top cash-back credit card now.

Best cash-back credit cards
Card Rewards Intro offer
Citi Double Cash 1% cash back on all purchases; 1% cash back when you pay your bill on time 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months
Blue Cash Preferred Everyday Cash Back: 6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 3% at U.S. gas stations; 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

1. Citi Double Cash

This card has a simple rewards structure with no categories to track, no cap on cash back and no annual fee.


  • Earn cash back twice: 1 percent on general purchases and 1 percent when you pay your bill on time. Two percent cash-back on everything makes this an industry-leading card for cash back on general purchases.
  • Pay no interest on balance transfers for 18 months.
  • Register your purchases online through the Citi Price Rewind program and the company will search for lower prices on those items and refund you the difference on better deals.

Who should get this card
This card is best for those seeking an affordable cash-back card with generous rewards on all purchases and an easy-to-use rewards structure. There's no chasing bonus categories, no rotating categories and no annual fee.

This card charges a variable APR of 14.24 to 23.49 percent.

If you typically carry a balance, or often fail to pay on time, this may not be the card for you. There's also no sign-up bonus, something you'll find on other competing cards.

CARD SEARCH: Look for a simple way to enjoy rewards. Find the best cash-back credit card now.

2. Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

Very generous rewards -- among the best available in some categories -- make this card stand out.


  • Everyday Cash Back: 6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 3% at U.S. gas stations; 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate.
  • See Rates & Fees

Who should get this card
This card is best for those who spend big on groceries, gas and department stores. If you're looking for a card that rewards you for more general spending, another cash-back card may be more beneficial.

Blue Cash Preferred carries a $95 annual fee, which is on the high side. But the generous rewards program, when used properly, can offset that fee.

The $6,000 annual spending cap on groceries means the most you could earn is $360 at 6 percent before the relatively low 1 percent rate kicks in. In addition, American Express isn't as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard. That might make it necessary to use this card strategically with others.

After the introductory period, the APR will be 13.74 to 23.74 percent.

CARD SEARCH: Have a big purchase coming up? Get a credit card that pays you back.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited says this card is just as good as the Blue Cash Preferred. It's ideal for the busy cardholder who doesn't have time to worry about spending on bonus categories.


  • Earn an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on ever purchase.
  • Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.

Who should get this card
This card is best for those who want an easy-to-use everyday cash back credit card with rewards for all purchases. While the rewards aren't as generous as competing cards, its simplicity and reliable rewards system makes up for the lower rate.

Freedom Unlimited charges no annual fee, making it a more affordable option than some other cash-back cards. It isn't ideal if you do a lot of spending in one particular category that could earn a higher reward elsewhere.

After the introductory period, you'll pay a variable APR of 15.74 to 24.49 percent.

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