Best Cash-Back Credit Cards 2017

If you’re the type of consumer who uses a credit card frequently and always pays off your bill on time, you could be making money off the purchases you make every day. There are myriad of reward programs and options on the market, but often, nothing beats cold, hard cash.

Advantages of cash-back cards

Advantages of cash-back cards
  • What you see is what you get.
    With points-based reward programs, you often have several different ways to cash in your rewards. Choosing one option over another can highly affect the value of your rewards. With a cash-back card, 2% cash back means just that.
  • There is less complicated redemption.
    Generic rewards cards may have you go through a rewards center to turn your points into rewards. However, with a cash-back card, you can often get the money as a statement credit, or as a check.
  • More everyday categories are included.
    While free international flights and hotel nights are nice, cash-back cards are more focused on everyday categories such as  groceries, gas and specific retail categories to meet generic consumer needs.

What to look for in a cash-back card

Dis-Advantages of cash-back cards
  • No or low annual fee.
    If you’re paying a $100 annual fee on a card that gives 2% cash back, you’ll need to spend $5,000 per year (and pay the bill on time) just to break even.
  • A low introductory annual percentage rate (APR).
    There are several cash-back cards, such as the Chase Freedom Card, which offer a 0% APR for the first few months of a card. This can help with a big upcoming purchase, by helping to get rewards without piling up interest. Be aware that for many of these cards you still need to pay the minimum monthly balance to keep the introductory APR.
  • Cash back from the places you shop most.
    It may seem obvious, but if you live in a big city and mostly use public transit, the card with the best gas perks doesn’t make a lot of sense. Likewise, if you rarely eat out, focus on a card that gives you cash back for groceries, not restaurants.

Best cash-back credit card for frequent drivers

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee: $0.

Introductory APR: 0% for 12 months.

Sign-up bonus: $100 after spending $500 in the first three months.

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back on groceries, 1% on everything else.

Why we love it: The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card doesn’t have any rotating categories to worry about and has a simple reward structure that gives everyday shoppers the most money back for common items such as gas and groceries. If you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you can receive even more cash back by depositing your rewards there, encouraging consumers to save.

Things to consider: The gas and grocery rewards are capped at $2,500 per quarter; at that point  they revert to 1% cash back. However, that comes out to almost $200 per week in each category, so it won’t be difficult to maximize rewards.

Also consider: Blue Cash Everyday from American Express®

Best cash-back credit card for on-time payments

Citi Double Cash Card

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Annual fee: $0.

Introductory APR: 0% for 18-months on balance transfers.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases, 1% cash back on all payments.

Why we love it: The Citi Double Cash Card is extremely straightforward, offering essentially 2% cash back on every purchase, which is tough for many of the best rewards cards to compete with. There aren’t any rotating categories to manage or special conditions to consider.

Things to consider: There isn’t any sign-up bonus, and if you are looking for a card that gives more cash back in certain categories, this may not be the card for you. Even if you carry a balance, you will get the 1% cash back upon payment, but the interest would hurt more than the cash back would help.

Best cash-back card for rotating categories

Chase Freedom Card

Annual fee: $0.

Introductory APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

Sign-up bonus: $150 after spending $500 in the first three months.

Rewards: 1% cash back on every purchase, 5% cash back on quarterly categories.

Why we love it: The Chase Freedom Card offers a great baseline of 1% cash back on every purchase, but what sets this card apart is the 5% cash back in very common categories such as gas and groceries. Some cards are a little more specific with their categories (i.e. electronics stores), but the Chase Freedom Card can help maximize everyday shopping.

Things to consider: If you are counting on that 5% cash back to make the most of these rewards, it may be difficult. For example, groceries or gas are year-round purchases and not just made three months out of the year.

Also consider: Discover IT Card

Best cash-back card for straightforward shoppers

Quicksilver from CapitalOne

Annual fee: $0.

Introductory APR: 0% for nine months.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

Why we love it: The Quicksilver card from CapitalOne is a no-fuss cash-back card. You won’t get any rotating categories or extra cash back from this card, but you will get consistent cash back on every purchase. There is a nine-month 0% introductory APR on the card as well as World Elite Mastercard travel benefits.

Things to consider: There isn’t any sign-up bonus, and there aren’t any incentives for shopping in certain categories. This card is best for consumers who doesn’t want to have to worry about where they’re spending and knowing that they’re getting a decent return on their purchase.

Also consider: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Conclusion

While the standard 1% cash-back bonuses may not be enough to entice you into a cash-back card, there are several cards that offer even more generous reward structures, helping you make money off your everyday purchases. Look for a card that gives you the best rewards where you spend your money most often, and check out your options on our personal credit cards page, using the cash-back filter.

CardRegular APR 
13.49% – 23.49%Apply
13.49% – 23.49%Apply
11.24% – 23.24%Apply
11.24% – 23.24%Apply
14.49% – 22.49%Apply