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How To Choose A Cash Back Credit Card

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.

Cash back credit cards offer consumers a great way to get money back every time they shop. If you’re considering getting one, compare several cash back cards before you settle on one.

How To Choose A Cash Back Credit Card

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    Credit card rewards offer an excellent way to get value back every time you shop. But with so many types of rewards credit cards, it’s not always easy to know which type is best for you.

    The simplest and most straightforward form of credit card rewards is cash back. Since you can use cash for anything you want, it’s often preferable to complicated points and miles programs.

    If you’re considering a cash back credit card, here’s what you need to know.

    What are cash back rewards?

    As the name suggests, cash back credit cards offer cardholders cash back on everyday purchases, typically in the form of a statement credit, direct deposit, or a paper check.

    There are three types of cash back credit cards: flat-rate cards, bonus rewards cards, and rotating bonus rewards cards.

    Flat-rate rewards cards

    With these cards, you’ll get a flat rewards rate on all of your purchases. Among the best cash back credit cards, the rate is 1.5 percent or higher.

    Flat-rate rewards cards are best for people who want a straightforward rewards program and for those who don’t spend a lot in any one specific spending category.

    Bonus rewards cards

    Bonus rewards cards offer extra cash back on certain spending categories, such as groceries, gas, or dining. Depending on the card, you can have one bonus category or many, and the base rate for non-bonus spending is typically one percent.

    Bonus rewards cards are excellent for people who spend a lot in certain areas of their budget. But it can get complicated if you have to remember when to use that particular card instead of cash, debit, or another credit card.

    Also, the one percent base rewards rate isn’t ideal, especially if most of your spending doesn’t align with one of the card’s bonus categories.

    Rotating bonus rewards cards

    These cards offer a high rewards rate on certain categories that rotate every three months, giving cardholders a chance to earn bonus rewards on several different categories throughout the year.

    Other ways to earn cash back

    Depending on the cash back credit card you choose, you may get a chance to earn cash back on more than just your everyday purchases.

    For starters, many cash back credit cards offer sign-up bonuses. You usually need to spend a certain amount in the first few months to qualify for it, but the minimum spending requirement is rarely more than $1,000.

    Also, some credit card issuers have shopping portals or cash back offers. For example, BankAmeriDeals is a program that allows you to earn extra cash back when you activate deals and shop online through Bank of America’s website.

    Credit cards with the best cash back rewards

    With so many cash back credit cards on the market, it can be tough to narrow down your search to just one. To help, here are some of Money Under 36’s favorite cash back cards.

    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 »

    If you spend a lot eating out, the Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card is worth having in your wallet. The card offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, as well as 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back everywhere else.

    The card also offers a one-time bonus of $500 after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Other details include:

    • Premier culinary experiences
    • Travel accident insurance
    • No balance transfer fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    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

    The Discover it(R) Cash Back is one of the few cash back cards that offer rotating bonus categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to $1,500 spent, when you activate.

    You’ll also receive 1% cash back on all non-bonus spending. However, Discover will double all of the cash back you earn during your first year. Here’s what else you’ll get:

    • No penalty APR
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • No annual fee

    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

    A flat-rate rewards card, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa(R) Card offers 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases. You’ll get an additional 20 percent cash back on transactions made through mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay during the first year.

    You’ll also get a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Other benefits include:

    • Cellphone protection worth up to $600 if you use your card to pay your phone bill
    • Zero percent APR promotion on purchases and balance transfers
    • Access to Wells Fargo Earn More Mall cash back shopping portal
    • No annual fee

    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

    The Bank of America(R) Cash Rewards credit card is a solid option if you spend a lot on groceries and gas. The card offers 3% back on a choice category (including gas) and 2% back on groceries and wholesale clubs on up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/choice catgeory purchases each quarter.

    You’ll get 1% cash back on all other purchases, plus a $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first 90 days. Here are some of the card’s other highlights:

    How to evaluate cash back rewards credit cards

    If you’re still not sure which cash back credit card is best for you, it’s important to compare them in context. Here are a few things to think about as you shop around.

    Your credit score

    Most cash back credit cards require good to excellent credit to get approved. This typically means having a credit score of 700 or higher.

    If your score doesn’t meet that requirement, you may still qualify for a Credit Cards For Young Adults

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