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Best Cash Back Credit Cards Of March 2019

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser.

Compare the best cash back credit cards from Money Under 36’s editors. Get $200 or more in sign-up bonus cash back and earn up to 5% cash back on purchases.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards Of 2018

Nobody would say no to a little extra spending money, which is one of the reasons cash back credit cards are so popular.

Offering consumers cash back points or benefits on specific purchases, cash back cards are frequently the first card out of the wallet when the bill comes. These cards are even more appealing because they offer cardholders cash back rewards on the money they are spending anyway. So, you are getting free bonuses every time you swipe.

Too good to be true? In fact there are so many credit cards that offer cash back rewards you can take advantage of.

We’ve done the research for you; here are the top five cash back credit cards on the market right now, based on metrics like APR, annual fees, credit required, rewards structure, sign up bonus, and more.

Overview: Best cash back credit cards

Credit CardBest For

Editor's Choice, March 2019:

Chase Freedom(R)
Quarterly Bonus Categories
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) CardGeneral Rewards
Discover it(R) Cash BackCash Back Match
Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit CardDining Out & Groceries
Bank of America(R) Cash Rewards credit cardBank of America Customers
Capital One(R) QuicksilverOne(R) Cash RewardsCredit Building
Credit One Bank(R) Visa(R) Credit CardPoor Credit

Editor’s Choice, March 2019:

Best for quarterly bonus categories

Chase Freedom(R)

Chase Freedom®

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
0%15 months0%15 months17.24 - 25.99% Variable$0

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The Chase Freedom(R) card is a spectacular alternative for consumers searching for a good earn rate and fast cash back. Cardholders who spend $500 within the first three months are entitled to a $150 cash reward, and can gain extra on certain purchases.

You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Remaining purchases get you 1% cash back with no date restrictions.

The card is also ideal for users with good to excellent credit, and its APRs once the introductory period end rates are between 17.24 - 25.99% Variable based on creditworthiness. Overall, Chase Freedom(R) is a good option if you’re looking to get cash back fast.

  • Regular APR: 17.24 - 25.99% Variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; 1% on all other purchases

See card details/apply or read our full Chase Freedom review.

Best for general rewards

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) Card

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
0%12 months0%12 months16.24%-28.24% (Variable)$0

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Customers seeking a good blend of introductory benefits and flexible cash back redemption will enjoy the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) card.

New cardholders can obtain a $200 cash reward bonus when they spend $1,000 in total purchases during the first three months. Moreover, the card does not charge an annual fee, and offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all net purchases.

One of the card’s biggest benefits is the flexible cash back rewards. This is better suited for customers who have good to excellent credit (700-850). With a great introductory offer and interesting perks for users looking for cash back rewards, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) card is a strong contender.

  • Regular APR:
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 1.5% on all purchases

See card details/apply or read our full Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) review.

Best for cash back match

Discover it(R) Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
0%14 months0%14 months14.24% - 25.24% Variable$0

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One of the biggest perks the Discover it(R) Cash Back card delivers is a massive cash back bonus after one year of membership. The company matches new cardholders’ total cash back earned at the end of their first year automatically.

Customers earn 5% for purchases at specific locations up to the quarterly maximum, and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. Quarterly enrollment is required.

There are also no annual fees, and the company’s APRs, after a 0 percent introductory 14-month period, are competitive for the industry. After the introductory period, interest rates will go to between 14.24% - 25.24% Variable.

  • Regular APR: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 5% on quarterly categories when you activate; 1% on all other purchases

See card details/apply or read our full Discover it(R) Cash Back review.

Best for dining out & grocery stores

Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card

This offer requires Excellent/Good credit.

    Card Highlights

    • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
    • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
    • View Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card details and how to apply »

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The Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card provides a generous cash rewards program on top of a healthy sign up bonus.

There are a few cards that offer higher rewards for dining, but not many. With the Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn 4% when you eat out, year round, ad well as on entertainment. You’ll also get 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else.

The Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card boasts a generous sign up bonus—$500 after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

The Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year.

  • Regular APR: 16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Rewards: 4% on dining out and entertainment; 2% at grocery stores; 1% on all other purchases

See card details/apply or read our full Capital One(R) Savor(R) review.

Best for Bank of America customers

Bank of America(R) Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good
  • No annual fee
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • NEW OFFER: Maximize your cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement /furnishings
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
0% Introductory APR on purchases12 billing cycles0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days12 billing cycles16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers$0

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Unlike many of its competitors, Bank of America(R) Cash Rewards credit card provides an interesting layered cash back program for card holders.

While customers still earn 1% on standard purchases, they accumulate 2% at grocery stores and wholesale stores, as well as 3% on a category of their choice for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/choice category purchases each quarter. Customers can also earn a quick $150 in online cash rewards after tallying $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening the account.

3% Choice Categories are as follows:

  • Gas
  • Online Shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug Stores
  • Home Improvement/Furnishing Stores

Most cards encourage you to redeem your cash back for special deals and gifts, but with Bank of America, if you redeem into your checking or savings account you’ll get an extra 25-75 percent for the bank’s Preferred Rewards clients.

  • Regular APR: 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: 3% on the category of your choice; 2% at grocery stores and wholesale stores; 1% on all other purchases

See card details/ apply or read our full Bank of America(R) Cash Rewards review.

Best for credit building

Capital One(R) QuicksilverOne(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card

This offer requires Average/Fair/Limited credit.

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Another strong offering from Capital One(R), the QuicksilverOne(R) Cash Rewards credit card is aimed at users with average credit who are looking for unlimited cash back potential with reasonable rates. Members can collect an unlimited 1.5 percent on all purchases, with no restrictions.

The card features a 26.96% (Variable), which is on the higher end of the industry average, but can encourage users to spend more responsibly and pay on time. It also features a low annual fee of $39.

Overall, this option presents a great card for customers looking for a blend of benefits and tools to rebuild their credit.

  • Regular APR: 26.96% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Rewards: 1.5% on all purchases

See card details/apply or read our full Capital One(R) QuicksilverOne(R) review.

Best for poor credit

Credit One Bank(R) Visa(R) Credit Card

Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card

Credit Needed: Bad Credit
  • Find the card that's right for you without affecting your credit score.
  • Show off your personality by selecting from a variety of card designs, a fee may apply.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV, terms apply.
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/AN/AN/A20.24% - 26.24% Variable$0 - $99

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The Credit One Bank(R) Visa Credit Card is attractive for borrowers with poor credit who want a credit card without having to pay a security deposit and want the perk of cash back. Other basic benefits like mobile banking, travel and auto rental insurance, and NFC payments round out the package.

Unfortunately, in order to get the cash back you have to pay pretty high APR of 20.24% - 26.24% Variable and an annual fee of up to $99.

  • Regular APR: 20.24% - 26.24% Variable
  • Annual Fee: $0 - $99
  • Rewards: N/A

See card details/apply or read our full Credit One Bank(R) Visa(R) review.

Summary of the best cash back credit cards

Credit Card
Credit Needed
Cash Rewards
Unique Features
Editor's Choice, March 2019:
Chase Freedom(R)
700
1-5% cashback*
5% cashback on rotating categories*

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) Card
700
1.5%
Excellent sign-up bonus on top of cash back offer
Discover it(R) Cash Back
700
1-5% cashback*
5% cashback on rotating categories*
Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card
700+
1% standard, 2% grocery, 4% dining & entertainment
Best cash rewards program for dining
Bank of America(R) Cash Rewards credit card
700
1% standard, 2% grocery & wholesale, 3% choice categories
$0 annual fee, strong layered cash back program
Capital One(R) QuicksilverOne(R) Cash Rewards
600
1.5%
Great card for building credit with solid cashback program
Credit One Bank(R) Visa(R) Credit Card
350
1%
Rare rewards program for poor credit, no security deposit

How we came up with our list of the top cash back credit cards

With so many terrific options, you might be wondering how we narrowed down the list to find the very best cash back credit cards. To be fair, there are plenty of good options that didn’t make our list.

The cards we presented above are our favorites because they score highly on the most important features people should be looking for in a cash back card, including a high sign-up bonus, low annual fees, easy rewards redemption and earning policy, and favorable terms for their other fees.

We factored in the most important features of a cash back card and compared the various contenders until we found the cream of the crop.

Most important features of cash back credit cards

While every credit card comes with some benefit or another, there are definitely features that make some cards more valuable than their competitors. Here are the most significant features to look for in a cash back credit card:

APR

How much interest you pay on your credit card is a big deal. In fact, it is one of the most important factors to consider when comparing credit cards.

A high interest rate could offset any cash back rewards you earned during the month and even send you into debt due to unmanageable accrued interest charges.

Fortunately, many cards have phenomenal introductory APRs and competitive rates once the initial offer runs out. For example, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card offers new members 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months. That’s a tremendous savings.

At Money Under 36 we always recommend you make sure you’re able to pay off your credit card balance in full and on time to avoid ever paying your APR.

Annual fees

The Chase Freedom(R) card has no annual fee and still has great cash back rewards (which is why it is one of our top picks).

Credit score required

This feature may or may not be significant to you depending on your credit score. If you have a reasonable score, then a high credit score requirement won’t phase you. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who suffer from poor credit scores and will be excluded from offers that demand a higher bracket.

Fortunately, cards like the Credit One Bank Visa card cater to even very poor credit, with a score requirement of only 350 making it accessible to almost anyone.

Redemption

Rewards points are only as good as the ease with which they can be used. If the cardholder has to jump through hoops to redeem their points, this won’t make a good bonus. We graded credit cards on how easily their points system could be used.

This includes how long points remain valid before they expire, where points can be redeemed, whether or not a login was required to redeem the points, how many points could be accrued, and whether or not there was a minimum point grade before redemption kicked in.

Cash back structure

How you earn points is also a heavy determining factor as to whether or not a card is worth the effort. Do you receive cash back points every time you make a purchase or are there select locations that award points? Are there different categories that reward higher or lower point values for purchases, or is this a flat-rate cash back card? What is the points structure?

A good cash back structure will reward you amply for your purchases and not make vague promises that are cloaked in legal jargon designed to swindle you out of your earned points. The Capital One(R) Quicksilver credit card is a good example. This card has no rotating categories (meaning all categories earn you the same 1.5% rewards), and you get the cash back on every purchase, every day, with no limit.

Sign up bonus

The sign up bonus can sometimes be the most lucrative part of a credit card.

Many cash back cards offer juicy sign up bonuses as a way of welcoming their new clients, such as the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) Card, which provides an easy way to snag $200.

All you have to do is spend $1,000 in the first three months and you’ll earn a $200 cash rewards bonus.

Foreign transaction fees

This is one of the most insidious fees that really trips people up simply because they don’t know about it or aren’t aware of how quickly it adds up.

Take the following example: Assume you sign up for a credit card on which you are charged a 3 percent foreign transaction fee for every foreign transaction. If you go on vacation to Prague, every gift, meal, or attraction you pay for with that card will receive that 3 percent fee.

That quickly adds up, as the average cost for a vacation per person per night could run anywhere from $200-$600! At that rate, a two-week vacation could cost you close to $300 or more, and that doesn’t even account for souvenirs and additional expenses.

A foreign transaction fee can also catch people unaware when shopping online. Remember, if you are surfing a website that is run in a different jurisdiction or uses a foreign currency, you will be charged this same fee. Online shoppers beware.

Additional benefits

What other perks come with this card? Can you get invitations to VIP events, insurance for travel plans, airfare, or purchases, roadside assistance, free nights at hotels, birthday and anniversary gifts? These and more benefits can be gleaned by using the right credit cards at the right time.

FAQs

How do I earn cash back points?

How you earn rewards depends on the credit card company’s policy. In general, though, cardholders earn rewards every time they use their cards to make a purchase from one of the specified categories. This can include gas stations, wholesale clubs, grocery stores, restaurants, online partners, hotels, airlines, and more. If no categories are specified, then any purchase will earn you rewards.

How many points can I earn with my cash back rewards card?

How many points can be earned depends on the program you are signed up with. Some cards have no caps whatsoever, while others will cap you monthly, quarterly, or annually. To see what your points caps are, visit the credit card of choice’s details page here.

How can I redeem my cash back rewards points?

Points are easily redeemed in one of two ways (depending on the rewards program you have):

  1. Log onto your credit card account. From your account center, you can view a list of online redemption options for you to choose from. Redemption options include donations, gift cards, Amazon rewards, apply part of the points to your credit card bill’s balance, or deposit the amount directly into your bank account. You can also set up your account so you can automatically transfer points to your savings or checking account as they accrue.
  2. Calling the credit card hotline and requesting cash back. For example, the Capital One(R) QuicksilverOne(R) card lets you make a cash back request anytime you want.

Do cash back rewards expire after a certain amount of time?

Once again, this depends on the credit card in question. All of our leading cash back credit cards have a no expiration policy, however. This applies for as long as you have an active account with that credit card.

Should you get a cash back credit card?

Cash back credit cards give cardholders the freedom to use their rewards in the way that best suits their needs.

By offering cash instead of points, members can choose to cover important expenses, pay for their favorite activities, or grow their savings easily. While not every card delivers the same benefits or meets the same needs, there are excellent choices available for any type of consumer.

Regardless of credit score, you can use one of these cash back cards to rebuild credit scores, cover small business expenses, or even take advantage of the great perks of a top-tier club while still receiving cash back for every dollar spent.

Finally, the best cash back credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than credit cards that don’t pay rewards. Keep this in mind if you don’t pay your balance off in full each and every month. You may be wise to forgo a cash back credit and instead get a credit card that may not offer rewards but has a lower regular APR.

Not sure you want a cash back credit card? Finding the right credit card for you is much simpler if you know your credit score, and can narrow your search to only the cards you know you’ll get approved for. We’ve made it easy for you. If you don’t already know your score, use our quick and free Credit Score Estimator tool – then find the perfect card for you!

Summary

Cash back rewards cards are the most lucrative and exciting cards available today. Use our helpful comparison tool to compare the different options available to you, and earn more whenever you make a purchase from now on.

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    About David Weliver

    David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 36. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

    Comments

    We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 36.

    1. Kim says:

      I signed up for the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card a few months ago, and I have to agree with this review. It’s been wonderful, and I really feel like I’m making money every time I pay for something with my credit card now. My friends have started making jokes that I’m always happy to pick up the check as long as I can put it on my card!

    2. Ellen says:

      Are there caps on the cash rewards earnings?

      • Money Under 36 Staff says:

        Most of the cash back credit cards on this list are unlimited, like the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) card and the Capital One(R) QuicksilverOne(R) Cash Rewards credit card.

        Some cards have limits on certain categories like the Discover it(R) Cash Back which limits your quarterly categories earnings and requires activation but not your regular flat rate rewards earnings.

    3. Joe Krentz says:

      I have a question – is it better to have a flat rate cash back card or a credit card with rotating categories?

      • Money Under 36 Staff says:

        That depends on what type of a spender you are and which categories are rotating.

        For example, with the Bank of America(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card, you get a great rate of 3% on all gas purchases. If you drive around a lot, then this is a great deal for you.

        If you don’t, you’re better off with a card like the Discover it(R) Cash Back that supplies you with 1% unlimited cash back on all categories plus you’ll get 5% on rotating categories up to $1,500 in purchases.

        You will however have to activate the 5% cash back rewards each quarter. So you’ll need to be committed to that.

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