Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Welcome Offer: One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 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 and at select U.S. department stores. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Regular APR: 13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 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 on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations 1% Cash Back on other purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Regular APR: 13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase. Earn 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Regular APR: 14.99 - 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Welcome Offer: Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Regular APR: 11.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Regular APR: 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases 1.8% cash rewards on digital wallet purchases including Google Pay™ or Apple Pay® during the first 12 months from account opening
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Regular APR: 14.49%-24.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases). Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases). Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Regular APR: 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase. Earn 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores. Earn 1% on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Regular APR: 14.99 - 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Some of the offers on this page may have expired.

The information about the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.


How to cash in with the best cash back credit cards

Looking to earn cash back on credit card purchases? We can help you pick the right card for it.

A cash back card is a type of rewards credit card that earns you a certain percentage back on eligible purchases. For example, a $100 purchase at 1 percent earns $1 cash back. If you use a cash back credit card every day, your earnings can really add up over time.

So which type of card is best for you — flat-rate, tiered category, rotating bonus category? How do you get the most out of the card you choose? Before you make your decision, use our guide to get informed about cash back credit cards.


Bankrate’s top picks for best cash back credit cards

Card Name Best For Cash Back Highlights Bankrate Review Score
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card No annual fee 1.5% unlimited on all purchases 4.7 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Gas 2% unlimited at U.S. gas stations and 3% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, 1% after) 4.5 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Groceries 6% at U.S supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, 1% after) 4.6 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Sign-up bonus 5% on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases, 3% at restaurants and drugstores 4.6 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Restaurants Unlimited 3% on dining and entertainment 4.6 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Discover it® Cash Back Rotating cash back categories 5% on rotating category purchases on up to $1,500 a quarter, then 1% (activation required) 4.7 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Citi® Double Cash Card Up to 2% cash back 1% when you make purchases + 1% when you pay for them 4.7 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card 1.5% cash rewards 1.5% (1.8% on qualified digital wallet purchases first 12 months) 4.5 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Choice of cash back category 3% in choice category (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) 4.4 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Cash back in multiple categories 5% on rotating categories (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate, then 1%) 4.5 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card Online shopping 5% at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market (2% at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases) 4.5 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card 2.5% cash back 2.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $10,000 in qualifying purchases each billing cycle, maximum cash back earning per billing cycle of $250) 4.7 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Fair credit Unlimited 1.5% on all purchases 4.1 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Discover it® Secured Credit Card Bad credit 2% cash back on gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in combined spending per quarter and 1% on everything else) 4.8 / 5
(Read Full Review)
Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card No credit history Up to 1.5% after 12 on-time monthly payments 4.8 / 5
(Read Full Review)

A closer look at our top cash back cards

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s best for no annual fee

The Quicksilver from Capital One is a great starter cash back card for earning rewards on everyday purchases — no annual fee involved. You’ll earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases with no limit on how much you can earn. There’s also an introductory 0% APR offer on purchases for 15 months (15.49% – 25.49% variable APR after). Plus, you earn a $200 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 in your first three months.

Read our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Why it’s best for gas

With no annual fee, you’ll get 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets on your first $6,000 in purchases per year, 1 percent after, unlimited 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. You’ll also earn $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Read our Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express review.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Why it’s the best for groceries

For an annual fee of $95 ($0 introductory annual fee for one year), you can earn outstanding cash back rewards with this card for feeding your family members. You’ll get 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases annually and 1 percent after) and 3 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations, as well as 6 percent cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3 percent cash back on transit and 1 percent cash back on everything else. Plus, you’ll earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms apply. This is the favorite credit card of Bankrate.com Analyst, Ted Rossman.

Read our Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Why it’s best for sign-up bonus

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid no-annual-fee cash back card with a simple rewards structure and an easily attainable sign-up bonus. You’ll earn $200 when you spend $500 on your card within 3 months of account opening. Plus, you earn 5 percent on travel purchased through Chase, 3 percent at restaurants and drugstores and 1.5 percent on all other purchases. You can redeem your rewards for cash back, travel or gift cards, or shop with points on Amazon.com.

Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s best for restaurants

The SavorOne is a handy no-annual-fee card for earning cash back on food and fun, especially at restaurants. The card earns unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment, 2 percent at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) and 1 percent on everything else. There’s no foreign transaction fee, making it useful for international travel too.

Read our Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Discover it® Cash Back

Why it’s best for rotating cash back categories

The Discover it Cash Back has considerable earning potential if you remember to track the rotating categories and activate each quarter. When you activate the bonus categories each quarter, you earn 5 percent cash back on rotating category purchases (up to $1,500 a quarter and 1 percent thereafter). Outside the bonus category purchases, you earn unlimited 1 percent cash back. You can also plan your spending patterns for the next quarter (and beyond) by checking Discover’s cash back calendar.

Read our Discover it® Cash Back review.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Why it’s best for up to 2% cash back

The Citi Double Cash Card gives you extra incentive to practice healthy credit habits. You earn up to 2 percent cash back — unlimited 1 percent cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1 percent as you pay for those purchases. It’s a great option for those looking for a simple, no-annual-fee cash back card. Plus, you’ll get perks like Lost Wallet® Service, which will replace a lost card within 24 hours.

Read our Citi® Double Cash Card review.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

Why it’s best for 1.5% cash rewards

This no-annual-fee card may be a good option for consumers with good credit looking to earn cash back rewards, especially consumers who are phone-first. The normal 1.5 percent cash rewards rate rises to 1.8 percent on qualified digital wallet purchases (including Google Pay™ and Apple Pay®) during the first 12 months you own the card. Also, if you pay your monthly cellular phone bill with the card, you’ll get up to $600 protection on your cellphone against covered damage or theft (a $25 deductible applies).

Read our Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card review.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Why it’s best for choice of cash back category

Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can earn 25% – 75% more cash back on every purchase, adding value to an already robust rewards program. Having the choice of one of six categories for 3% cash back (travel, gas, online shopping, dining, drug stores and home improvement/furnishings on the first $2,500 in combined 2 percent and 3 percent category purchases each quarter) provides a ton of flexibility for earning rewards. You also get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Read our Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card review.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Why it’s best for cash back in multiple categories

If your spending habits match up with the high-rate categories, the Chase Freedom Flex could be one of your top options for a cash back card. You’ll earn 5 percent in Chase rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter (activation required), then 1 percent. Non-rotating categories include 5 percent cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3 percent cash back on drugstore purchases and at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services. Very few cash back cards can compare.

Read our Chase Freedom Flex℠ review.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Why it’s best for online shopping

Online shoppers, rejoice! The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card offers a generous 5 percent cash back rate on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases. Plus you’ll get 2 percent cash back on restaurants, gas station and drug store purchases, with 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. For the sign-up bonus, you can choose between a $70 Amazon gift card or a $100 statement credit after spending $100 at Whole Foods in the first 2 months of account opening.

Read our Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card review.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

Why it’s best for 2.5% cash back

This card may be a good option for big spenders who don’t stick to specific purchase categories. You’ll earn 2.5% cash back on all purchases (on up to $10,000 in qualifying purchases each billing cycle, with a maximum earning per billing cycle of $250). Plus, the $99 annual fee is waived for the first year. One potential sticking point is that you have to be a member of Alliant Credit Union to qualify.

Read our Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card review.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s best for fair credit

This card could help you move your credit score into the good range and earn cash back rewards in the process, but responsible behavior on your part is essential. The card earns 1.5 percent cash back unlimited on all eligible purchases, and you can automatically be considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with on-time payments. If you’re unsure whether you’ll qualify, you can apply with a fair to good credit score (580-740 FICO).

Read our Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Why it’s best for bad credit

Having a subpar credit score or no credit history usually means limited choices for cash back cards, but the Discover it Secured Credit Card is an exception. This card earns 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants on the first $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, and all other purchases earn unlimited 1 percent cash back. Since it’s a secured card, you will have to provide a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after you’ve been approved. Use it responsibly and you could help build your credit score and credit history while earning respectable cash back rewards.

Read our Discover it® Secured Credit Card review.

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

Why it’s best for no credit history

With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no late fees, no returned payment fees and no credit history needed to apply, the Petal 2 card could be a useful way for a new credit card user to learn the ropes. You’ll earn 1 percent cash back on purchases, and the rate could go as high as 1.5 percent after you make 12 on-time monthly payments. You’ll also gain access to exclusive offers, like earning 2 percent to 10 percent cash back at select local merchants.

Read our Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card review.


What is a cash back credit card?

Just as the name says, cash back credit cards reward you for eligible purchases by giving you a percent of your purchase price back. For example, a 3 percent cash back rate means you earn 3 cents back for every dollar in eligible spending. For a cardholder with a $4,000 annual grocery bill, earning 3 percent at the supermarket could mean up to $120 in cash back rewards.

Cash back is essentially a discount on eligible purchases. You may not see it immediately at the register, but the payoff comes when you redeem your rewards.

Cash back cards are different from other types of rewards cards, like those that offer points or miles for travel purchases. Instead of complicated redemption programs, a cash back card typically offers a few simple ways to redeem your rewards, including:

  • Statement credits
  • Checks payable to you
  • Direct deposits into one of your bank accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Charitable donations

Types of cash back credit card rewards

Cash back cards come in a variety of forms. The best type of cash back card for you depends on your spending habits and lifestyle. Before you apply, you should know all of the options available to you.

Flat-rate

Flat-rate cash back cards offer the same rewards rate for each eligible purchase. These cards are great for those who aren’t keen on activating and tracking bonus categories each quarter. Examples include:

2.5% cash back

  • Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card (on up to $10,000 in spending per billing cycle)

Up to 2% cash back

  • Citi® Double Cash Card (1 percent when you make purchases, another 1 percent when you pay your bill)

1.5% cash back

  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • American Express Cash Magnet® Card
  • Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card (after you make 12 consecutive on-time monthly payments)
  • Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card

Tiered

Tiered cash back cards offer different rates of cash back for different types of purchases. For example, a tiered card may offer a boosted cash back rate of 3 percent on restaurant purchases, while all other purchases are rewarded with 1 percent cash back. The best way to maximize your cash back earnings is to have multiple tiered cards that reward your most common purchases at a high rate. That way, you can spend strategically and make sure you’re earning cash back at a boosted rate as often as possible. Examples include:

3% cash back categories

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent)
  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (3 percent cash back rate on dining and entertainment)

6% cash back categories

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases on up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent) and 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services)

Rotating bonus categories

With rotating categories, you’ll often get higher rewards rates, but these cards typically require enrollment each quarter to qualify for . This can be a problem for forgetful cardholders. Normally, if you forget to enroll, the issuer defaults your earnings in that category to 1 percent cash back. You should also take category caps into consideration. Cards with rotating bonus categories tend to set spending limits on how much you can earn in high rewards categories per quarter. Examples include:

Cards with rotating 5% cash back categories

  • Discover it® Cash Back (5 percent cash back after activation on rotating categories per quarter on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® (5 percent cash back on activated bonus category purchases each quarter on up to $1,500, then 1 percent)

Choose your own category

If your spending habits frequently change but you still want to maximize cash back earning potential, a card that allows you to choose your cash back category comes in handy. With the option to change the monthly category, you can optimize your spending based on the category and plan out your year based on the cash back potential. For example, for the holiday months, you can opt into a category that will reward online purchases or department store purchases.

If you have a hard time keeping track of your credit cards, you may want to steer clear of this option. You need to be on top of your spending habits, as well as activating your categories each month to get the true value out of your card. Examples include:

What cards allow you to choose your own cash back category?

  • Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card (3 percent cash back on one of six choice categories on the first $2,500 in combined choice category and 2 percent grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1 percent)
  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card (5 percent cash back on two choice categories on up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent)

How to choose a cash back credit card

Selecting the best cash back credit card for you is kind of like shopping for clothes. Whether you’re going for flashy or fun, the main concern should be whether it fits.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a cash back credit card:

The type of card

Select a card that matches up with where you spend and how much you spend. Review your spending for the past few months. If your spending isn’t concentrated in any particular purchase category, consider a flat-rate card for all eligible purchases. If you spend heavily in certain areas — gas and groceries, big-brand retailers, restaurants, etc. — a tiered card or rotating categories card with higher rates can help you maximize your cash back potential.

How much upkeep is needed?

Rotating bonus categories earn higher cash back rates, but you’ll probably be required to activate them every quarter. Also, you’ll need to target your spending in certain areas to maximize the earning potential of bonus categories and tiered categories, and spending limits often come into play. If you don’t want to manage all these factors, a simple flat-rate card would be a better choice.

Your credit score

Most cash back cards require a good to excellent credit score. Some cards for no credit history or bad credit have cash back programs, but a higher credit score typically makes it easier to qualify for a higher-earning card.

The annual fee

Some cash back cards come with an annual fee, which raises the cost of owning the card. Assess your cash back potential before applying and compare it to the annual fee to see if the rewards outweigh the cost.

The sign-up bonus

Many cards offer sign-up bonuses or welcome offers that require you to spend a specific amount of money within a specific time-frame. You might feel tempted to sign up for a card just for the bonus, but be careful. By acting impulsively, you could overspend to qualify for the offer and end up carrying a balance.

Your financial habits

Before you apply for a cash back card, take a look at your personal finances. Do you carry a balance on your current card or pay it off in full and on time every month? Carrying a balance usually means paying credit card APR, which can undercut the benefits of earning cash back.

Perks and benefits

Look at all of the benefits and perks that the card offers, which could include anything from purchase protection to referral bonuses. These features add to the card’s overall value and usually don’t require you to spend extra to benefit from them.

What credit card earns the most cash back?

Consumers can choose from hundreds of cash back credit cards that reward purchases ranging from the general (1 percent back on all eligible purchases) to the specific (6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services). Each one puts money back in your wallet, but which credit card pays you the most cash back?

The answer depends on a lot of factors, especially on how you spend your money and what card aligns best with your spending. Ultimately, your spending habits determine which card is going to work hardest for you.

Here’s a guide of how you should look at the cash back earning potential based on your spending habits, with the Blue Cash Preferred card as an example.

A closer look at the Blue Cash Preferred

Here’s a breakdown of the card’s cash back potential.

Rewards rates and categories

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually, then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back on transit (including rideshares, tolls, taxis and buses)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% on everything else
  • Terms apply

Spending limit

  • $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets per year, then 1%

Definitions and exceptions

American Express defines “supermarkets” quite narrowly. Merchants not included in the category include superstores (such as Target), warehouse clubs (such as Sam’s Club) specialty stores (such as wine shops) and convenience stores. Eligible purchases at non-supermarket establishments earn 1 percent cash back, not 6 percent.

Offsetting costs

  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • 2.7% fee on foreign transactions (see rates and fees)

How much could you earn with Blue Cash Preferred?

If you max out the U.S. supermarkets category, you’ll earn $360 per year (6 percent of $6,000). However, bear in mind that you’ll continue to earn for U.S. supermarket purchases, at 1 percent unlimited, after you hit the $6,000 limit.

You’ll also earn unlimited cash back in four other categories: 6 percent on select U.S. streaming services, 3 percent on transit, 3 percent at U.S. gas stations and 1 percent on other eligible purchases.

The $360 per year from maxing out the U.S. supermarkets category could be just the beginning, given the earning potential in the remaining categories. Families that spend a lot at supermarkets and gas stations could easily see several hundred dollars in cash back every year.

How to maximize cash back

Let’s break down how you can get the most out of your cash back credit cards.

Enroll/activate your bonus categories each quarter

Rotating category cards typically require you to enroll or activate (the language varies) the bonus categories for the upcoming quarter to earn the higher bonus rate. If you don’t, you’ll earn the standard rate.

Target your spending

In order to get the most out of a bonus category, try to max out the spending limit for the quarter. For example, Discover’s 2021 bonus categories for April-June are gas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services. By maxing out all of the bonus 5% categories (capped at $1,500 in spending each quarter, then 1%, activation required), you’ll earn $75 in cash back for that quarter. If you max out the bonus categories every quarter, the yearly cash back returns in those categories add up to $300.

Be aware that it may be difficult to maximize your rewards if the bonus category covers the kind of purchases you don’t normally spend a lot of money on. Also, the rewards rate typically returns to the standard percentage after you reach the quarterly limit.

Consider combining cards

A combination of cards will probably serve you best. Some rewards credit cards offered by the same issuer let you use different cards to suit your needs and combine points.

Consider the Chase Freedom®, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Consumers who spend across a wide variety of categories can pick up this combination of cards and combine Chase Ultimate Rewards® points when they’re ready to redeem. By having all three cards, consumers can utilize bonus categories efficiently to maximize rewards for the year.

You can try the same kind of strategy with cards from different issuers. The key is to make sure your major spending categories are covered so that you’re always earning the maximum amount of rewards on purchases. In addition to credit cards that offer boosted rewards in a few categories, it’s a good idea to have a flat-rate card in your arsenal as a catchall.

Explore the card’s ‘online mall’

Some card issuers feature online shopping portals that offer cash back incentives, discounts or both. Examples include Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Barclaycard RewardsBoost.

How we chose our list of best cash back credit cards

All credit cards from our partners are rated with a 5-star scoring system. To select the best cash back cards, we narrow our focus to concentrate on key features that make a big difference in this specific category, such as:

Cash back rates

While a rate of 1 percent cash back on all eligible purchases is useful, the cards that truly stand out tend to earn higher percentages.

Special categories

Many of our top-rated cards feature higher rates for certain purchase categories, which makes it easier to find the most lucrative card for your spending habits and lifestyle.

Low fees and cost of ownership

The whole point of cash back cards is to earn rather than owe, so cards that go easy on annual fees and similar charges get high marks.

Variable APR

We recommend against carrying a credit card balance if at all possible — but if you have to, a reasonable and affordable interest rate can make it less financially taxing.


Additional reviews and research

Find out more about cash back credit cards with these resources from Bankrate:


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, loans, mortgages and other personal finance products for Bankrate since 2018. His work has also appeared on websites including Nasdaq.com, Zillow.com and The Simple Dollar. He was previously an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

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

Frequently asked questions about cash back credit cards

* 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.