Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2019

With the right credit card, 2019 could be the year you really cash in. Cash back cards put money back in your pocket, offering a flat rate on everyday purchases or a higher percentage on bonus categories. Bankrate has looked at more than 30 cash back cards to help you choose one (or more) best suited for your spending habits, from dining and entertainment to groceries and gas. Check out our recommendations for 2019’s best cash back credit cards below.

Editor's Top Picks: The Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2019

Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which Bankrate.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants' credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. Bankrate.com does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Discover it® Student chrome

discover-it-chrom-for-students-012518.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Discover's secure website
Recommended Credit Score:
See Terms

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 6 months Purchases intro APR
10.99% for 6 months Balance Transfers intro APR
15.24% - 24.24% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts — Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 15.24% - 24.24%.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

journey-student-rewards-from-capital-one-052218.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website
Recommended Credit Score:
580 - 740

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
26.96% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Card Details

  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
Terms and Restrictions Apply

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

penfed-platinum-rewards-visa-051016.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Pentagon FCU's secure website
Recommended Credit Score:
740 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
0% for 12 months Balance Transfers intro APR
11.74%-17.99% Variable Regular APR
See Terms Annual Fee

Card Details

  • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months now through March 31, 2019. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 11.74% to 17.99%. APR will vary w/the market based on Prime Rate. 3% balance transfer fee per transaction. Subject to credit approval. $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Rate and offers current as of January 1, 2018 and subject to change.
  • Earn 5 points on gas purchases at the pump. Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats do not receive cash back rewards.
  • Earn 3 points on supermarket purchases
  • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No cash advance fee
  • Chip enabled for added security
  • Federally insured by NCUA
  • Variable rate as low As 11.74% APR
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Charity Charge World Mastercard® Credit Card

e110f180-ed0a-11e8-a2b5-e126a204cbed.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Charity Charge's secure website
Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
1.99% for 6 monthly billing cycles Purchases intro APR
1.99% for 6 monthly billing cycles Balance Transfers intro APR
16.24%-22.24% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Card Details

  • Donate your cash back to any nonprofit or religious organization of your choice.
  • Earn an unlimited 1% cash back that's automatically donated on your behalf through your everyday purchases.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • An easy way to make a difference (at no cost to you).
  • 100% Tax-Deductible.
  • Low APR between Prime + 6.99%-16.99% dependent on creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee of either $10 or 5% of the amount of each Balance Transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Receive all the benefits of a World MasterCard such as: extended warranty, MasterCard global service, concierge services, ID theft protection, price guarantee, and many more exclusive services.
  • Chip and Apple Pay enabled.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

costco-anywhere-visa-card-by-citi-041618.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Citi's secure website
Recommended Credit Score:
740 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
17.49%* (Variable) Regular APR
$0* Annual Fee

Card Details

  • Exclusively for Costco Members: Go Big with Cash Back Rewards
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership*
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

66184ad0-1a98-11e9-8960-b116b27e9fa4.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Wells Fargo's secure website
Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 12 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 12 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.74%-27.24% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Card Details

  • Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 14.74%-27.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: January 15, 2019

Have questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.


Table of contents


Bankrate’s picks for the best cash back credit cards of 2019

Card Name Bankrate Score Best For
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 93/100 Your first cash back credit card
Chase Freedom Unlimited® 92/100 1.5% cash back on everything
Discover it® Cash Back 93/100 Cash back bonus
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card 97/100 Dining and entertainment
Citi®Double Cash Card 94/100 Flat-rate cash back
Chase Freedom® 90/100 Rotating cash back cateories
Citi Rewards+SM Card 92/100 Small everyday purchases
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card 90/100 Additional cash back rewards on mobile wallet purchases
Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card 91/100 No annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American
Express
89/100 Gas and groceries

Why you can trust Bankrate

Our team at Bankrate offers expert financial advice tailored to each and every stage of your life. We know financial decision making is tough – that’s why our experts provide timely, well-researched credit card reviews and comparisons to help you make the best personal finance decisions for your lifestyle. When reviewing cash back cards, we dig into both the short-term and long-term benefits of each, all with cardholders in mind. No matter where you are in life – from college to raising a family to settling in for retirement – let Bankrate be your trusted source of credit card knowledge.

Review Criteria

We take into account every element of a cash back card offering: From its cashback rate and sign-up bonus to its annual fee and extra rewards. A good cash back credit card is one that helps you quickly collect a nice chunk of bonus cash, save on everyday expenses, and improve your credit score, all without costing you much in fees. Our proprietary Bankrate Score takes into account a number of factors, but we have weighted what we consider to be the most important more heavily.

  • Cash back rate: Probably the biggest factor in choosing a cash back card, you can expect to earn at least 1% cash back on most purchases and even more in bonus categories. We review cash back rates in the context of redemption systems, spending categories, and more to establish a ranking.
  • Sign-up bonus: Most cash back cards attract new cardholders with introductory bonuses of $150 or more after spending a certain amount on the card in the first few months or so. Bankrate experts evaluate these bonuses with required spending in mind to judge their overall value to our readers.
  • Annual fee: Annual fees can take a big bite out of cash back earnings. Although most cash back cards have no annual fee, some of the more lucrative earners do, which is not necessarily the worst thing if you can strategize your spending. We do the math for you to give you an idea of what you need to spend to overcome annual fees.

What is a cash back credit card?

Cash back credit cards, simply put, give you a rebate on the money you spend every day. For example, if you spend around $4,000 a year on groceries and charge your grocery purchases to a cash back rewards card offering a 2% flat-rate cash back, you would receive $80 in cash back on those purchases. Cash back cards are often simpler than rewards cards which may have a more complicated points redemption structure.

There are many different types of cash back cards. Some offer a standard flat-rate of cash back on every purchase, some have bonus categories that will offer high returns on certain spend groups — like dining and entertainment. Others have bonus categories with high-rates of cash back returns (as much as 5%) that rotate every few months.

This means there’s a card out there to suit everyone. If you want to put in a bit of effort to track and sign up for rotating bonus categories to get higher returns, a rotating category card like the Discover it Cash Back card could be right for you. If you’re looking for a set-it-and-forget-it card that gives you cash back on every purchase then a card like the Citi Double Cash card might be a good choice.

Pros and cons for you to consider

Pros

  • These cards typically don’t charge an annual fee.
  • Flat rate cash-back cards are an effortless way to earn money back for spending the way you would normally.
  • If you’re highly organized and up for the challenge, combining a flat-rate cash-back card with one that offers rotating bonus categories, can net you some serious savings.
  • You can redeem the savings as a statement credit on your card.
  • Using one of these cards can cut back the bill for your regular monthly spending, helping to make extra room in your budget.

Cons

  • There may be caps on how much cash back you can earn.
  • Cash-back cards typically have meager or no sign-up bonuses.
  • There are different levels of complexity with different types of cards.
  • If you don’t pick the right type of card for your spending habits, you won’t maximize the value.

Deeper analysis on our best cash back credit cards

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

For cash back rookies, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great choice to make a big splash in 2019. Simplicity makes this card ideal for first-time cash back cardholders — no rotating categories or quarterly sign-ups, just 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases. If 2019 is the year you get into the cash back game, our experts recommend this card to help you earn lucrative rewards while learning the ropes.

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

We believe this card is just as good as the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It’s ideal for the busy cardholder who doesn’t have time to worry about spending on bonus categories. Plus, if you have a Chase Sapphire card as well, you can turn your cash back into valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Read Bankrate’s full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Discover it® Cash Back

If you add the Discover it® Cash Back to your wallet in 2019, you’ll qualify for a huge reward in 2020. At the end of the first year, Discover will match all of your accumulated earnings. Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year.

Read Bankrate’s full Discover it® Cash Back review.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you love saving money as much as you love food, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has a tasty offer. The card’s annual fee is waived the first year, which means you don’t have to pay the $95 fee until 2019 is over. Consider what you can look forward to, for no annual fee for first year: unlimited 4% back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. Depending on your spending habits, these reward rates could really supercharge your cashback returns.

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Citi Double Cash Card

When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee. We love this card for its simplicity. Citi Double Cash pays 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back as you pay for that purchase. There’s no cap on how much you can earn back, making this card a leader in the cash-back category. Although cards like the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card have a higher cash back rate, it comes with a $59 annual fee, which only makes it ideal for people who spend a lot on their credit card each year.

Read Bankrate’s full Citi Double Cash review.

Chase Freedom

For those who enjoy the thrill of tracking rotating bonus categories to earn maximum rewards, the Chase Freedom will deliver. The card offers categories that change every three months and pay 5% back, up to a quarterly maximum of $1,500. If you max out the bonus possibilities, you’ll earn at least $300 cash-back annually, plus all of your other spending will earn 1% cash back.

Read Bankrate’s full Chase Freedom review.

Citi Rewards+SM Card

If you’re looking for a way to maximize your earning potential on those small everyday purchases, look no further than the Citi Rewards+ Card. With a round-up feature entirely unique to this card, the points you earn on each purchase will round up to the nearest 10 – meaning your daily $2 coffee run is worth 10 points instead of two. It’s easy to rack up points on those small daily purchases, making this a great card to pair with other cards such as the Citi Premier Card.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card has a special offer that can make 2019 the year of the mobile wallet (and a higher cash back rate). This card offers 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile purchases with Apple Pay® or Google Pay™ in the first 12 months of opening the account. On all other purchases, you earn a flat-rate 1.5% cash back. The first-year offer can help you earn more cash back in 2019 without even reaching into your pocket.

Read Bankrate’s full Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card review.

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Foodies who don’t want to pay the annual fee of the Capital One Savor card should consider the SavorOne. The rewards rate is slightly lower than the Savor card but it still offers a competitive (and unlimited) 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at the grocery store, and 1% on everything else. Those cash back rewards will stack up fast for above-average spenders on the dining and entertainment bonus category.

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

With no annual fee or rotating categories, this card features automatic cash-back where you spend the most. Combined with 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (after that, variable APR of 15.24% to 26.24% applies), this card is a smart choice for everyday expenses. Offering 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (1% thereafter), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% back on all other purchases, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a straightforward cash back card that makes card benefits easy.

Read Bankrate’s full Blue Cash® Everyday Card from American Express review.

How do cash back credit cards work?

Credit card companies can afford to offer cash back because they make money by charging an interchange fee on every purchase you make. This means that if you made a purchase for $100, the merchant — the seller you are buying the item from — may only receive $97 because they (the merchant) pays the interchange fee. Credit card companies want to encourage cardholders to use their cards as much as possible because the more often you use your card, the more money they make in interchange fees. For instance, a card offering 2% cash back would give you $20 back on a $1,000 purchase, but the merchant (seller) would have paid the issuer $30. Although it’s not quite that cut-and-dry that’s basically how credit card companies can afford to offer generous cash back incentives.

The biggest types of cash back cards earn rewards differently: A flat-rate cash back card gives you the same percentage cash back on every purchase you make, with a category bonus card or tiered bonus cash back card spending on certain categories (like gas, dining, entertainment) will earn you different amounts of cash back. Banks can keep track of where you’re spending your dollars through merchant four-digit category codes which indicate what type of business you’re spending at. It’s important to have the right cash back card to compliment your everyday spending, as experts can attest:

I have several cash back cards. I try and use the card that has the best rewards for the type of spending I am doing. Some cards give extra points for dining or travel.

— David Rae, President of DRM Wealth Management

Pick a card that’s aligned with how you spend money. Some cards give you 2% cash back on all purchases while other may provide 5% cash back in rotating categories (like restaurants or travel) and 1% on everything else. Find the card that will give you the maximum benefit based on which categories you tend to spend the most amount of money in each month.

— Priya Malani, Founding Partner Stash Wealth

The best cards make redemption very easy. Often you can receive cash back as statement credit, gift cards, merchandise, a donation or as a deposit into a bank account. Sometimes your cash back is worth more when used to make purchases through the issuer’s own shopping portal. How you can redeem your cash back is an important factor in deciding which cash back card is right for you.

How a cash back card can save you money

If you have a good credit score you should definitely consider a cash back credit card. Using a debit card for your everyday spending is essentially leaving money on the table. With bank interest rates still less than 1 percent, your rate of return on your spending with a good cash back card will actually beat interest accrued in a typical savings account. Also, cash back earned on your credit card is not taxed, unlike interest earned in a savings account.

Credit card rewards can come in other forms like travel rewards points and miles but sometimes cardholders find cash back cards to be the easiest way to earn on their everyday spending. With a cash back card, the amount you accrue is simple and easy to follow, it’s essentially a rebate on everything you spend. So, with a 2% flat-rate cash back card, if you spend $4,000 a month you would get $80 back per month. The alternative points and miles rewards involve keeping track and working out the respective values of these rewards. Some people find that too onerous and not rewarding enough:

I have always chosen cash back credit cards over travel rewards cards for the one reason of simplicity. It is so much easier to know that for every $1,000 I spend I am getting $20 cash back (2%) rather than accumulating miles that have to be used to purchase a flight based on credit card companies’ conversion factors. If I want to travel, I can spend my cash back rewards on flight purchases, it’s so much simpler this way.

— Phillip Christenson, CFA, Portfolio Manager & Financial Advisor at Phillip James Financial

One word of warning: The APR — interest you will incur — on an outstanding balance on a cash back card will far and away outweigh any benefit you receive from the cashback rate. A rolling balance is the biggest way to spoil your cash back rewards. For example, if you charged $500 on your cash-back card, which earns a 1 percent flat-rate and has a 16 percent APR, and then you only paid $100 off your balance, you will have paid $5.33 in interest for $5 cash back. This just keeps getting worse if you repeatedly roll over your balance. However, if you always clear your balance you can keep earning great cash back rewards and never pay a penny in interest. That’s why it’s important to find a card that will work for your existing spending habits. Take a look at what you spent and where you spent it over the last few months to help inform you on what type of card will offer the best rewards rates for your high-spend categories.

Cautionary Note: Don’t spend just to get points. Meaning, If you don’t dine often, don’t start spending excessively on dining to get 1-2% back. You won’t come out ahead with that kind of thinking.

— Christopher Grande, MSIM, CFP®, RMA®, Principal at Walnut Hill Advisors, LLC

Typical rewards rates: bonus vs. flat-rate cash back

One percent back on all purchases used to be routine, but now several issuers offer a flat 1.5 percent or even 2 percent back on all purchases.  There are also bonus category cash-back cards which reward you with higher percentages when you spend within certain parameters. For example, the Capital One Savor card offers unlimited 4 percent cash back on dining and entertainment, 2 percent at the grocery store and 1 percent on everything else. It’s about finding the card that rewards you the highest rate for categories you already spend heavily in. It pays to review your spending and see where you allocate most of your monthly budget.

Other types of cards such as the Discover it Cash Back credit card offer a whopping 5% cash back when you activate and enroll on up to $1,500 in rotating categories that change every quarter after enrollment, for example, these categories include gas stations and drugstores for the 1st quarter of 2019.

Put all of your recurring bills on your cash back card so you can maximize the cash back you receive each year. It also makes paying and tracking your spending a bit easier when everything is clearly listed on one monthly bill. You may be surprised at how quickly the cash back adds up.

— David Rae, President of DRM Wealth Management

Cash back cards vs. travel rewards cards

Think of cash-back cards as a basic type of rewards card. Although the amount of cash-back and ways to earn bonus cash back can vary greatly from each card, they all give one reward back: cash. The consistency here is really nice. “No one can tell you where you can and can’t spend your cash,” says famous savings expert Clark Howard, who typically favors cash back cards over cards that offer miles or points.

But with travel rewards cards, there are usually multiple ways to use those rewards. Some travel rewards cards give you the option to redeem point or miles for travel or take cash-back. However, travel-specific credit cards will most often give you the maximum value on your rewards if you redeem for travel.

Co-branded travel cards are when issuers partner with airlines or hotel chains to offer loyal customers additional benefits on their spending with the brand. For instance, an airline co-branded card will often earn higher rates of miles on purchases made with the airline but they also sometimes feature additional perks like automatic status and a free checked bag. Some premium rewards cards will give you a greater redemption value if you use the accrued rewards to book travel through their portal.

If you don’t travel very often, or just want a more straightforward earnings structure and flexible redemption, a cash back rewards card can make a lot more sense than travel rewards points.

I used to use a travel rewards card and ended up with over 250,000 points, which was enough for multiple trips to Australia, or so I thought. When I went to use the points, taking into account the blackout dates and the fees, it was really only good for a couple of trips to Florida. With cash back, you know for sure that you’re getting 2% back on everything you spend. It’s a lot easier to see the value.

— Eric Arnold, Co-founder and CEO of Planswell

Just as there is no one best cash-back credit card for everyone, the same is true of travel rewards cards. Someone who only travels once a year by car will benefit more from a different type of card than a globetrotting wanderer.

Someone who is trying to stick to a budget, save more, spend less or pay down debt should consider a cash back card over a travel rewards card because they’ll be able to put more cash towards these specific goals. A travel rewards card might incentivize more spending even though you may get a free flight.

— Levi Sanchez, CFP®, BFA, Financial Planner Millenial Wealth

How to choose the right cash back card for your spending habits

Finding the right card for you is simple. Review your spending for the past few months and see what categories you spend the most on. Check your credit score to see what cards you are likely to be approved for.

Decide on the features that are most important to you and research the best cash back cards. Apply for a cash back credit card that offers the best rewards for your highest-spend groups. For instance, if you notice that a considerable portion of your monthly budget goes on eating out at restaurants then focus on cards that offer high cash-back rates on dining. If you can’t pinpoint an area where you spend the most, it’s hard to go wrong with a general purpose cash-back card — it’s like getting a discount every time you spend on the card.

A busy suburban family, for example, will likely benefit more from a card that offers greater rewards on gas and groceries than a single urban dweller who frequently dines out and doesn’t own a car.

Frequent warehouse shoppers may find that a co-branded card to their favorite location will give them the most bang for the buck.

Match your rewards to your lifestyle needs. If you want to enjoy flexible benefits with extra cash rather than have a plan to travel, cashback may be a better fit compared to other types of rewards like travel, airline or hotel cards.

— Aris Jerahian, AVP Card Services

Although it’s important to find the cashback rate that best suits your lifestyle you should also compare cards on things like annual fees. Some cards charge cardholders a fee every year and even if the rewards are very generous, this fee can eat into the overall value of the card. Consider the cards interest rates if you’re worried you might occasionally carry a balance. Another important point of comparison is sign-up bonuses. Some cards offer very generous sign-up bonuses after you spend a certain amount over a given time period (usually the first three months after you open the account). These welcome offers can be hundreds of dollars in cash back but make sure not to be seduced by the sign-up bonus if it would require you to overspend and carry a balance.

Cash-back cards are best for disciplined spenders who consistently pay off their credit card balance each month. Doing so can maximize the benefits of this type of card, boosting savings on budgeted expenses. Otherwise, interest charges incurred on a balance can eat into the rewards earned on your spending habits.

Do your research! If you already have a debit card through your bank, check out what cash back cards they offer and what additional benefits you may get for being an existing customer. Then, research other options to be sure you’re picking the best option for you. Choose a card that will give you cash back on the things you regularly purchase.

— Lauren Stansell, CFP®, Financial Planner Yebu.com

Ask the experts: more helpful tips

What are some tips for beginners using a cash back card?

Make sure you understand what the terms are for receiving cash back, like which purchases are eligible and if you’re going to be paying an annual fee for the card. Don’t let attractive offers lead you into opening a credit card unnecessarily. It’s not worth damaging your credit simply to chase down rewards. Find what works best for you, be disciplined and stick with it.

— Douglas A. Boneparth, CFP®, President of Bone Fide Wealth, LLC

How do you like to use your cash back rewards?

I use them to cut costs. I leverage the cash back to increase personal cash flow. I encourage my private clients and corporate employees to do the same. Don’t waste the cash back benefit on unwanted spending. Use the cash back to grow net worth.

— Mark Struthers, CFA CFP®, Founder and Financial Advisor at Sona Financial

Additional reviews and research

Still not sure what cash back card is right for you? No worries, we have plenty of reviews for you to browse through. Below is a link to our dedicated reviews section, where you can read through every cash back card review that we’ve ever written. We keep them updated all the time as credit card issuers change their offers too.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.