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The Best Cash-Back Credit Cards for June 2022

These credit cards will maximize rewards for any budget.

Cash-back credit cards offer rewards on your transactions that can be redeemed for statement credits, checks or other forms of "cash." There are 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 overall cash-back credit card

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!
APR15.74% - 24.49% 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 APR15.74% to 24.49% 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 Chase Freedom Unlimited covers more significant rewards categories than other cash-back cards with no annual fee. The travel, dining and drugstore rewards are competitive with the best on the market, and the flat rate that captures all other purchases is 50% higher than the flat rate offered by most other cards. While it may not be the best option for every budget out there, it alone can maximize your total rewards in many scenarios.

For more information, see our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

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
APR14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 billing cycles
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 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies
Balance Transfer APR14.74% - 24.74% 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.

Most cards that offer category selection for maximized cash rewards limit these selections to a single quarter. But the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card allows you to select "online shopping" as an indefinite rewards category where you can earn the topmost rewards rate. 

Note that you must manually choose this category via online banking or the mobile banking app, as the default category is "gas" -- and you can change categories from month to month. Other eligible categories include dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement and furnishings.

Best cash-back card for gas and transportation

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.
APR15.49%-25.49% 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
Balance Transfer Fee N/A
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

While there are a lot of other quality gas cards available, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express boasts simplicity with straightforward cash-back rewards. With 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, it earns one of the highest returns on the market for gas purchases. 

Even for city dwellers and commuters, this card offers great transportation benefits with 3% cash back on transit (trains, buses, parking, rideshare services, taxis, tolls and more). This is a unique offering among gas credit cards. There are more cash-back categories to enjoy with this card, as well, such as 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). Cash back is received in the form of Rewards Dollars that can be redeemed for a statement credit.

Check out our full review of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express for more details.

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 flexible spending

Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
APR15.49% - 25.49% (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 APR15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
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 offers similar flexibility as the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card in that your top rewards category can change every month. But the Custom Cash does it for you automatically based on your spending that month. It doesn't have supplementary rewards categories, but the higher rewards rate may make up for it. Eligible spending categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.

See our full review of the Citi Custom Cash Card for more details.

The highest flat cash-rewards rate

See Rates and Fees
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
APR16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% 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 APR16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% 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

It doesn't get simpler than the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card. This card boasts a 2% flat cash rewards rate on purchases -- one of the highest flat cash rewards rates on the market. You don't have to worry which card you're going to use for which purchase. And while there are other cash rewards credit cards that'll net you 2%, the intro bonus, $0 annual fee and introductory APR make this card stand out among the competition. This is also a great option for an emergency credit card.

See our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card for more details.

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.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card. 

We prioritized the cash-back credit cards that reward broad spending categories where Americans tend to spend significant amounts of money, instead of narrow categories like streaming services or "home improvement." Then we compared reward offerings with potential returns based on typical spending budgets derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 

In the end, we chose five high-value options from the crowded market. Some are no-annual-fee, flat-rate credit cards that earn the same amount on all purchases. Some require you make a certain qualifying purchase to start earning cash-back rewards. Some credit cards offer a signup bonus reward as well as cash back. Some are limited to specific spending categories (such as whether it's a grocery purchase, gas purchase, dining, transit or travel) but have a higher rewards rate, while others charge an annual fee. We then outlined important information for each card, including whether it has a transfer fee, bonus redemption thresholds or introductory APR. We also specified general credit requirements for eligibility (if you find you aren't eligible for a card that offers cash-back rewards, try a student credit card first). 


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

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.