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Best Cash-Back Credit Cards in January 2023

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

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Cash-back credit cards can help you earn money back on monthly purchases you often make.

There are two types of cash-back credit cards: flat-rate cards that reward you on all purchases  and cards that offer specific rates for certain spending categories.  You can then turn those rewards into statement credits to lower your credit card account balance or redeem them for cash, gift cards or travel.

There are a myriad of cash-back credit cards to choose from. Pick the one that most closely aligns with your spending habits.

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
APR19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% 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 APR19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% 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

The Active Cash card is one of the best general credit cards you could choose. Not only does it reward you for your purchases, but it also features a welcome bonus that's easy to reach through normal spending and an introductory APR offer on purchases and qualifying balance transfers.

And all of the benefits come with no annual fee. The Active Cash card outranks its main competitor, the Citi Double Cash, thanks to its welcome bonus and additional features like  cell phone protection and access to a few Visa Signature benefits. It would pair well with a credit card that covers multiple bonus categories.

You can learn more in our Wells Fargo Active Cash card review.

Read our Wells Fargo Active Cash Card review.

 

Mitigate credit card debt and earn good rewards

7.25/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR18.24% - 28.24% (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 APR18.24% - 28.24% (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

While it may fall a bit short compared to the Active Cash card, the Citi Double Cash is still a strong contender. And if you need to eliminate some existing credit card debt it'll be the better option.

It earns rewards for all purchases, has no annual fee and features a relatively long introductory 0% APR for balance transfers. Cardholders get 18 months (then 18.24% to 28.24% variable) to pay off a transferred balance. While those are compelling reasons to get the card, it doesn't offer much else outside of them.

You could use it to knock out existing credit card debt by transferring your balance and paying it down while it accrues no interest and then continue to use it to earn rewards afterwards. 

You can find all the details in our Citi Double Cash card review.

Pick how you'd like to earn

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
APR18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
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 APR0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
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 offers more flexibility than most cards, but it's held back by a low spending cap. That means it's better suited to lower spenders as your rewards rate will fall to 1% once you spend $2,500 in combined purchases across its bonus categories each quarter.

It offers the choice of a few unique 3% cash back categories including online shopping and home improvement/furnishings, while its 2% cash back choices cover everyday expenses like grocery stores and wholesale clubs. If your combined quarterly expenses in the 3% and 2% rewards categories aren't greater than $2,500, this could be a good card to pick. Consider pairing it with a flat-rate, no-annual fee card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash card.

You can learn more in our Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card review.

Best for supermarket spending and streaming

8/10 CNET Rating
See Rates and Fees Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
APR18.24%-29.24% 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$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% on balance transfers for 12 months
Balance Transfer APR18.24%-29.24% 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 is one of, if not the most, rewarding credit cards when it comes to U.S. supermarket purchases and select U.S. streaming subscriptions. While it does carry an annual fee of $95 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year), its high rewards rate makes it easy to quickly cover the fee.

It would take just $1,600 in U.S. supermarket spending each year (roughly $133 per month) to essentially cover its annual fee, without taking into account any rewards generated from its other bonus categories. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Most people spend far more than that each year on groceries, especially considering how much food prices have increased over the past year.

Learn more about earning rewards on essential purchases in our American Express Blue Cash Preferred review.

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.

A revolving rewards card

8.5/10 CNET Rating
See Rates and Fees
Card Highlights
Intro Offer$200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.
APR18.74% - 28.74% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR 0% intro APR Intro APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles.
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit
Reward Rates
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose.
  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center.
  • 2% cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants.
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR Intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles.
Balance Transfer APR18.74% - 28.74% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees 2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in U.S. Dollars 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose.
  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center.
  • 2% cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants.
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Our Take

The U.S. Bank Cash+ offers rewards that cover some unique purchase types, including fast food, gym and fitness centers, furniture stores, movie theaters and home utilities, to name a few. You'll need to manually activate your top two eligible categories each quarter to qualify.

You can earn a maximum of $100 each quarter before the 5% rewards rate on your two chosen categories falls to 1%, but there's no limit to the number of rewards you can earn with its 2% cash back categories.

Eat out while traveling

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!
APR19.24% - 27.99% 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 APR19.24% - 27.99% 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

The Freedom Unlimited is a great dining companion for travelers. It combines a strong base rewards rate with an introductory APR offer and high travel rewards when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards. It also lacks an annual fee -- a welcome surprise for a card with these features.

It's straightforward and rewarding. If you don't already have a card that earns 1.5% cash back for general spending, this card has you covered.

You can read more about it in our Chase Freedom Unlimited Review.

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
APR19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • 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 APR19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases
  • 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 SavorOne is another card that offers a ton of features without asking for an annual fee in return. Its limited-time offering of 10% cash back for Uber and Uber Eats (through 11/14/2024) is far higher than what most rewards cards -- even those with an annual fee -- offer. Coupled with its 8% cash back for Capital One Entertainment, you could earn a huge return on your entertainment spending.

In addition to its high earning potential, it has an introductory APR offer to help avoid interest charges on new purchases and any transferred balances. If you're looking for a card that rewards you whether you're going out or staying in to watch your favorite streaming service, this is definitely one to consider.

You can learn all the details in our Capital One SavorOne review.

Amaz-ing rewards

9.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferUp to a $150 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval
APR18.49% - 26.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.49% - 26.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Late Payment Fee Up to $39
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

Our Take

It's nearly impossible to match the number of products Amazon offers shoppers, and its Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card* is almost as impressive. It's important to note that, while it doesn't carry an annual fee, you'll need to subscribe to Amazon Prime ($139 annually) to qualify. Otherwise, there's a non-Prime version.

Unlike many retailer-specific credit cards, you can also earn rewards outside of the Amazon ecosystem. The welcome bonus is also unique in that you can earn up to a $150 Amazon gift card upon approval – no spending requirements necessary to unlock it.

You can learn more in our Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card review.

A well-rounded card

6/10 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
APR18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit
Reward Rates
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
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 unlimited 1.5% cash back on all 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® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card isn't the best-in-class of any category, but as a combination its benefits become competitive. The flat-rate rewards may appeal to those seeking simplicity in their credit card, and the introductory APR is one of the longest on the market. The welcome bonus is also on par with other cash-back cards with no annual fee.

Earn rewards for online shopping

5.5/10 CNET Rating
See Rates and Fees Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
APR18.24%-29.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR18.24%-29.24% 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
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

Our Take

If you're looking for a way to earn rewards for essential purchases like U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, consider the Blue Cash Everyday Card. While everyday spending is at the forefront of the card, it also features a rare bonus category for U.S. online retail purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

It provides a higher cash-back rate than most other no-annual-fee cash-back cards and features an introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers, which provides even more utility. Earning rewards for purchases you need to make no matter what should be an easy choice to make. 

You can find all the details in our Blue Cash Everyday card review.

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.

Average rewards with strong features

7.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
APR19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • 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 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 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 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Our Take

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card* offers an average cash-back rate rounded out with an introductory APR offer and an easily obtainable welcome bonus.  Unlike some comparable cards, it could also double as a travel rewards card considering the lack of foreign transaction fees.

Learn more in our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Versatile and lucrative rewards

9.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
APR19.24% - 27.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 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
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR19.24% - 27.99% 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
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 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
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Our Take

Few other cards can match the versatility of the Chase Freedom Flex*. Its rewards span across multiple different purchase categories and it offers a nice selection of additional card perks, along with an introductory APR offer.

Even some credit cards with an annual fee have a hard time matching the earning potential of the Freedom Flex. It's only held back somewhat by its spending limit on its quarterly rotating category -- which, for January to March, is purchases at grocery stores (excluding Walmart), Target, and fitness clubs & gym memberships -- but even when that limit is hit, you can still earn a good return for purchases in its other bonus categories.

Keep in mind you'll need to activate the bonus categories manually each quarter. However, even if you activate late, you'll earn retroactive rewards as long as you activate by the deadline.

You can read more in our Chase Freedom Flex review.

More flexibility than most

7.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
APR18.24% - 28.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 months on purchases
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 15 months on balance transfers
Balance Transfer APR18.24% - 28.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Citi Custom Cash Card has more flexibility than the average rewards card. Each month, cardholders earn 5% cash back (on the first $500 spent each billing cycle, then 1%) on their top eligible spend category. Eligible categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.

It includes some rare categories – namely fitness clubs, home improvement stores and live entertainment – that most other cards don't. And while 5% cash back sounds like a lot, it has a pretty low spending cap. You can only earn $25 in rewards each billing cycle before the rate falls to 1%.

You can learn more about it in our Citi Custom Cash Card review.

Gas rewards for the Costco shopper

5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR19.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent
Reward Rates
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases 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
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR19.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 0%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases 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

Our Take

While there is no annual fee for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi*, you will need to be a Costco member to qualify, which costs $60 per year.

Its strongest feature is its gas rewards, as it earns much more than its competitors. However, you can only redeem rewards on an annual basis rather than the standard monthly basis -- and you may forfeit your rewards if you don't redeem them in time.

Find all the details in our Costco Anywhere Visa Card review.

Revolving rewards

7.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferIntro 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.
APR16.24% - 27.24% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 months
Recommended Credit Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR16.24% - 27.24% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
Late Payment Fee None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $41.
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Our Take

The Discover it® Cash Back* offers cardholders rewards that shift every quarter. For January to March, it offers cash back at grocery stores, drug stores and select streaming services. It also has one of the best welcome bonuses on the market: Discover will essentially double the cash back you earn for your first year with the card at the end of your first year.

Each quarter you'll need to manually activate the rewards. Just be sure you do so on time, because unlike the Freedom Flex, there are no retroactive rewards to be earned here. In addition to the rewards and welcome bonus, you can use its introductory APR offer to avoid interest charges for a time.

You can read more in our Discover it Cash Back review.

A good credit union card

6.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR15.24% – 25.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent
Reward Rates
  • 2.5 percent cash back on all purchases (on up to $10,000 in qualifying purchases each billing cycle, then 1.5 percent) with a qualifying Tier One Rewards status
  • Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back with Tier Two Rewards status
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Balance Transfer Fee 3%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 2.5 percent cash back on all purchases (on up to $10,000 in qualifying purchases each billing cycle, then 1.5 percent) with a qualifying Tier One Rewards status
  • Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back with Tier Two Rewards status

Our Take

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card* has a lot going for it. It's got a potentially high cash-back rate along with a number of solid travel and shopping protections. However, you'll need to be a Alliant Credit Union member to qualify, and you'll want to have an Alliant High-Rate Checking account to get the most out of it.

If you have an Alliant High-Rate checking account, you can earn 2.5% cash back on the first $10,000 spent per billing cycle in qualifying eligible purchases (then 1.5%), which is more than some of what the best flat-rate cash-back cards offer. However, it is a bit more restrictive than those other cards considering you'll need to be an Alliant member to use it.

Invest your rewards

5.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR18.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent Credit
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2% cash back on card purchases
Annual FeeNone
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 1% of each foreign transaction
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 2% cash back on card purchases

Our Take

The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card* earns you a $50 deposit into your Fidelity investment account every time you spend $2,500 on the card, which essentially works out to 2x points per dollar. That's competitive with other reward credit cards with no annual fee, only you'll need to be a Fidelity investing member to use this one.

Rewards can either be used as statement credits or use them to fuel your Fidelity investments.

Intro Offer: N/A

APR: 17.24% - 31.24% (Variable)

Intro Purchase APR: N/A

Recommended Credit: Limited/Fair/Good/Excellent

Reward Rates

  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.

Annual Fee: $0

The Petal 2 card is easier to qualify than most cards, as you don't need an extensive credit history or high credit scores to get approved. It's meant to help build your credit while also offering a return on your spending.

There are no late fees, annual fees or foreign transaction fees to worry about. Instead, it seeks to incentivize you to pay your bill on time and in full each month by offering greater cash back opportunities for doing so.

You can learn all the details in our Petal 2 review.

A combination credit card

7.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR14.99% - 29.99% APR
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good/Fair
Reward Rates
  • Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Late Payment Fee No Fee
Foreign Transaction Fees No Fee
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment

Our Take

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa* card combines a personal loan with a credit card. You use your card for purchases, but at the end of the month, your balance is converted to a personal loan with a set interest rate and monthly payment.

It's more personal loan than credit card, but it could be a good way to finance a large purchase if you don't have time to save up for it.

You can learn more in our Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa card review.

How to choose a cash-back card

When you're choosing a cash-back credit card, the rewards rates and categories are among the most important features, along with the annual fee. These features go hand-in-hand somewhat, as you'll want to see if the rewards are enough to cover the annual fee, yet still offer a profit.

Pick a card that bolsters your own spending habits, or a general rewards card that earns on purchases no matter what you're buying. You might be able to further maximize your rewards by choosing cards that specialize in essential purchases like gas and groceries.

Consider any additional card perks, also. For example, cash-back cards can sometimes include an introductory 0% APR on new purchases to help you temporarily avoid interest charges. They also tend to include things like purchase protection or extended warranties to protect your purchases against damage or theft.

How do cash-back 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.

Types of cash back credit cards

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.

Pros and cons of cash-back cards

Pros

  • Earn rewards on purchases
  • Build your credit through responsible use
  • Shopping and travel protections
  • Intro APR offers

Cons

  • They could encourage unnecessary spending
  • Interest charges should you choose to revolve a balance
  • Damaged credit if you don't pay on time
  • Some credit cards carry annual fees

How does a cash-back card compare to travel rewards cards?

Cash-back credit cards typically earn rewards as -- you guessed it -- cash back, whereas travel credit cards tend to earn rewards as points or miles. Cash back can be used to lower your overall statement balance or to add to your bank account, while travel cards can use their points or miles to cover travel expenses.

The two types of credit cards also tend to differ in which kind of benefits they offer. Travel cards usually offer protections including things like travel accident or rental car insurance, and may even offer annual statement credits. Cash-back credit cards on the other hand will usually feature shopping protections and introductory APR offers.

Is a cash-back card right for you?

If you don't have a credit card that rewards you for your regular everyday spending or general spending habits, consider a cash-back credit card. 

If there is something you regularly spend a lot on, choosing a credit card that earns rewards for the purchase can be a good way to bolster your finances. Just try not to let a cash-back card encourage you to spend money you otherwise wouldn't have.

How to apply for a cash-back credit card

Follow these steps to get a cash-back credit card of your own:

  1. Find the card that matches your budget.
  2. Apply securely on the credit card issuer's website by following the links above.
  3. Provide the issuer with all of the necessary financial information
  4. Use the card to earn rewards.

FAQs

Are cash-back rewards taxable?

No, the IRS typically treats credit card rewards as a discount rather than as income.

What's the highest cash back rewards rate?

The highest cash-back rate is 10%, but that's mostly reserved for special promotions. The general maximum is 5%, but most cards earn at least 1% across your purchases.

Can you apply cash back to your credit card balance or statement?

Yes, redeeming cash back as a statement credit will lower the overall balance of your credit account.

Does cash back expire?

It can, but it varies from card to card. You'll need to look at the terms of yours to find out.

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

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

*All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Quicksilver, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, Alliant Cashback Visa Signature, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, Chase Freedom Flex, Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature, Upgrade Cash Rewards Card and Discover it Cash Back 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.