I am a firm believer that when used properly, credit cards are a good financial tool to have at your disposal. Credit cards offer users a variety of benefits, including consumer protections such as fraud and theft protection, extended warranties, and the ability to dispute charges. In addition to these benefits, many credit cards offer a variety of rewards benefits including cash back, member rewards, and other discounts.
What to expect from a cash back credit card: It wasn’t long ago that most major credit card companies offered credit cards with 3-5% cash back on all purchases. Unfortunately, those cards are no longer around. Most cards offer a similar cash rewards program which starts at or around 1% cash back, with additional cash rewards or bonuses which may be added to sweeten the deal. Some of these additional cash rewards include bonuses for shopping through the credit card company’s online portal where you can get additional discounts from select vendors. Some credit card issuers also offer bonus cash back for making purchases in select categories. Many issuers rotate bonus cash categories on a monthly or quarterly basis. With a little planning the savings can add up!
What to look for in a cash back credit card: Not all credit cards are the same, so it pays to know what to look for. We recommend using a credit card from a major credit card issuer, or a trusted financial institution. Sometimes the best deals come from the major credit card companies; other times the best cards will be from local or regional banks or credit unions. When shopping for a cash rewards credit card, pay attention to the rewards program, interest rate, bonus categories, rewards eligibility, etc. You will also want to determine if the rewards have any expiration date and in most cases avoid any annual fees.
Best Cash Back Credit Cards
We have done some of the leg work for you – these credit cards all meet the criteria listed above. they offer a variety of cash rewards programs and are some of the best credit cards available. We have done our best to find a variety of cards, but it’s impossible to list every card on the market, particularly those from the smaller regional banks and credit unions. Because of this, we have focused on the major credit card issuers and a few of the major military banks. What follows are some of the best cash back credit cards on the market.
Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card. This is a great cash rewards card which features a good cash rewards program and the ability to earn additional cash rewards in rotating categories throughout the year. For example, you can earn 5% cash back from Citi at Home Depot, Home furnishing stores and home and garden stores between 4/1/13 and 6/30/13, with enrollment, in addition to a full 1% cash back on all other purchases and eligible cash advances. New cardholders can earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. There is no annual fee* with this credit card. Apply for the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card – $100 Cash Back.
USAA Credit Cards. Becoming a USAA customer is easier than ever before, as USAA now offers banking services to anyone who wishes to apply (they still limit insurance availability to those with a military affiliation and their family members). USAA offers a variety of great credit card options, which offer great cash rewards and other benefits. USAA also offers co-branded affinity cards featuring military affiliations. The image in this article is the USAA Wounded Warrior Credit Card. Each of these cards offer some combination of low interest rates, flexible rewards programs, no annual fees, and USAA’s award winning customer service. Click this link for more information, or to apply for a USAA credit card.
Chase Freedom® Visa – $100 Bonus Cash Back. The Chase Freedom Visa is a winner in our book. New cardholders can earn $100 Bonus Cash Back after making $500 in purchases in your first 3 months of card ownership. On top of the initial $100 cash back bonus you can earn 5% cash back on rotating categories throughout the year (like grocery stores, restaurants and even airlines) and 1% cash back on everything else. Your cash back rewards never expire and there is no annual fee with this card. Read more about the Chase Freedom® Visa – $100 Bonus Cash Back.
Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express. We ranked this card high, but would even consider ranking it higher if American Express card were accepted at more overseas locations. The Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express offers excellent cash back in different categories including at supermarkets, gas stations and department stores, and on all other purchases. On top of that, there are no annual fees, no minimum spending requirements to earn the highest rewards, and no rotating rewards categories. Learn More About the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express.
Fidelity Investment Rewards Signature Visa Card. There are two ways to redeem your rewards with this card – you can redeem them for WorldPoints (redeemable as gifts from the WorldPoints rewards catalog), or you can have your rewards deposited into your Fidelity investment account. This card offers 1.5% cash back on your purchases, and spending $15,000 or more per year will increase your cash back rewards to 2%. Apply for the Fidelity Investment Rewards Signature Visa Card.
Navy Federal cashRewards card. The Navy Federal cashRewards card is one of the top credit cards on the market, offering up to 1.5% cash back on all purchases, without spending categories or other qualifiers. There are no caps on the amount of rewards you can earn, your cash rewards never expire, and you can redeem your rewards with as little as $20 cash back. The interest rates are also attractive, as they never exceed 18% APR. There is no annual fee for this card. Here is an in-depth Navy Federal cashRewards card review.
Best Cash Back Debit Card
We know not everyone likes to use or carry a credit card. In that instance, I recommend looking into a debit card with a cash rewards program. Most major financial institutions have done away with rewards debit card programs. We recommend checking out the options at your local bank or credit union, or look into the following card:
PerkStreet FinancialSM Debit MasterCard®. PerkStreet Financial continues to offer best in class debit rewards at a time when most banks are putting their debit rewards programs out to pasture. In fact, their debit rewards program rivals many of these cash back credit card programs. The PerkStreet Financial Debit MasterCard offers cardholders up to 2% cash back on debit card purchases with no maximum cash back limits or annual fees. To get this card you must open a free checking account with The PerkStreet Financial. These accounts are FDIC insured and offer online banking and free bill pay. There is no minimum balance requirement and there are over 37,000 ATMs in their network. Apply for the PerkStreet FinancialSM Debit MasterCard®
Don’t forget to check with your local credit union. There are many military and local credit unions which may offer a great credit card for your needs. We recommend any of the cards above, but as always, do your research and find the best card for your specific situation.
“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.”