Credit Cards Blog

Finance Blogs » Credit Cards Blog » Best cash-back credit cards

Best cash-back credit cards

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

Dan Dalton/Getty Images

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 6% cash back at grocery stores, 3% on gas and at select department stores, 1% on everything else $150 bonus after you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
Chase Freedom Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases $150 bonus after you spend $500 in first 3 months

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 13.49 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.


  • Earn 6 percent cash back at grocery stores, up to $6,000 per year, and 3 percent cash back at gas stations and select department stores. All other purchases pay 1 percent. Bonus: Earn 10 percent cash back on restaurant purchases in the first six months, up to $200 back.
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 within the first three months.
  • Pay no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.

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 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. While that isn't as generous as competing cards, its simplicity and reliable rewards system makes up for the lower rate.
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $500 within the first three months.
  • Pay no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

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.

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 15.49 to 24.24 percent.

This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by any of the referenced financial institutions or companies. Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any financial institutions or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such entity. All products or services are presented without warranty. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. This post contains references to our partners, and Bankrate may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on certain links posted on this website.

Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
Add a comment

(Comments may take 5-10 minutes to appear)