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CNET Money's mission is to help you maximize your financial potential. Our recommendations are based on our editors' independent research and analysis, and we continuously update our content to reflect current partner offers. How we rate credit cards

Best Cash-Back Credit Cards for October 2022

Earn cash back on popular spending categories including groceries, restaurants, gas, travel and more.

Show More (1 item)

CNET sister site Bankrate provided card recommendations for this list. 

Cash-back credit cards offer rewards on your transactions that can be redeemed for statement credits, checks or other forms of "cash." There is a wide variety of cash-back credit cards tailored to all kinds of budgets. Some cards even adapt to your spending habits. Many cash-back credit cards also offer welcome bonuses, introductory APRs and other valuable benefits. See which offer below best fits your lifestyle.

Best flat-rate cash rewards card

9.5/10 CNET Rating
See Rates and Fees
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
APR17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Balance Transfer APR17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Our Take

If you're looking for a no-frills card with an ample sign-up bonus, zero annual fee and a simple rewards structure, then you'll go far with the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card. It offers a zero percent introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (then 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR thereafter), unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases, cell phone protection, and Visa Signature perks. Do note, however, that there's an introductory 3% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) for the first 120 days from account opening (then up to 5%; $5 minimum), and a 3% foreign transaction fee for charges made abroad.

For more information, see CNET's review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Best cash back card that can help improve your credit

7.25/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferFor a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
APR16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer APR16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after 4 months of account opening.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Our Take

Here's a card that rewards you for spending responsibly with its "earn-as-you-pay" rewards program. In addition to the 1% cash back you earn on purchases, you'll get an extra 1% cash-back rewards, provided you pay the balance you owe. For a limited time you can earn $200 cash back if you spend $1,500 in the first six months of account opening, and there's no annual fee. And while you'll get an introductory APR on balance transfers, it won't apply to purchases. There's also no limit on the amount of cash back rewards you can receive, so swipe away (just do so responsibly).

For more information, see CNET's review of the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Best cash back card for matching your spending to your earning

7.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro Offer$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
APRSee Terms
Intro Purchase APRSee Terms
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 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.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APRSee Terms
Balance Transfer APRSee Terms
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Late Payment Fee See Terms
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% APR
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 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.

Our Take

This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a rarity in the world of cash back cards. In addition to cardholders being able to select one of six 3% cash back bonus categories, you can swap your choice out once every month, which means you can time big-ticket purchases to coincide with a bonus category. But be careful: 3% and 2% categories share a spending limit totaling $2,500 every quarter, after that the cash back rate drops to 1%. What more, cardholders can earn up to 75% more cash back on purchases as a Preferred Rewards member, as well as Visa Signature benefits and free general admission to more than 200 "cultural institutions" on the first weekend of every month.

Best for supermarket spending

8/10 CNET Rating
See Rates and Fees Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
APR16.99%-27.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward 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 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
Annual Fee$95
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% on balance transfers for 12 months
Balance Transfer APR16.99%-27.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Penalty APR 29.99% Variable
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 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

Our Take

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express charges a $95 annual fee, unlike many other cash back cards. But it offers a lot of value to make up the cost. You'll earn 6% cash back (on up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%) at U.S. supermarkets, which is more than nearly every other grocery card available today. Plus, get rewards in other everyday categories and a big welcome offer. If your spending aligns with the Blue Cash Preferred's bonus categories, you can get a lot of long-term value from this card. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

For more information, see CNET's review of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Best for travel redemptions

8/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferIntro Offer: 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!
APR17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Enjoy 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
  • 1.5% on all other purchases
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Enjoy 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
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Our Take

With no shortage of bonus rewards categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited can make a valuable addition to your wallet. It offers flat 1.5% cash back rewards in addition to higher-earning bonus categories and a welcome bonus that can help you maximize spending throughout the first year. Plus, if you already have a Chase credit card, you'll benefit from combining your points to redeem via Chase Ultimate Rewards.

For more information, see CNET's review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

Best for dining and entertainment

7/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
APR17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers rewards on dining and entertainment, whether you're going out or spending a night in. It's also a good choice to carry on trips, since you can maximize restaurant purchases as well as tourist attractions, museums, and more. It's the no annual fee version of Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*, and offers a valuable alternative for those who don't want to pay that card's fee.

For more information, see CNET's review of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

FAQs

How do cash-back credit cards work?

Cash-back credit cards offer cardholders rewards on their spending in the form of statement credits or cash. A statement credit is a reduction in the amount due to the credit card company on your monthly bill. Note that rewards are not always available the month you earn them -- they are usually applied to your balance by credit card issuers after one or two billing cycles.

The redemption process for cash-back credit cards is either automatic or very simple. Some cards automatically apply cash rewards to your statement balance each month. Others require you to log in and redeem available rewards points for statement credits. Most points don't expire, but you will lose them if you close the account before redeeming them. 

What types of cash-back credit cards are there?

Cash-back credit cards generally fall into four primary categories: flat-rate, tiered, rotating or choose-your-own. 

Flat-rate cards offer the same rate for every purchase. Tiered cards offer a different rewards rate for different categories of spending. Rotating category cards offer different rewards each quarter, determined by the card issuer. Choose-your-own category cards allow you to choose your rewards category.

How do you choose a cash-back credit card?

To choose the best cash-back credit card for you, the most important thing is to have a clear idea of how you're already spending money each month. Once you identify the categories where you have the highest, most consistent spending, use the charts in our list to determine which card will net you the highest return. Consider other features of the cards, too, such as APR, sign-on bonuses and foreign transaction fees -- make sure you get something that fits with your lifestyle and spending habits.

Your credit card choice may also be affected by your credit score. Most of the cards we recommend require a good or excellent credit score, which is typically around 670 or higher. If you don't meet the credit criteria required, there are credit cards available that are specifically for those trying to rebuild credit, like secured credit cards. Alternatively, you can look into the best credit cards for no credit and the best credit cards for bad credit.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, click here.

*All information about the Discover it Cash Back and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.