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7 Cash Back Credit Cards That Make Purchases More Rewarding

cash back rewards credit cards

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Imagine if every time you spent some money someone handed you back some cash. It would certainly make spending a little less of a concern!

The thing is, cash back rewards credit cards do just that. By giving you back a small percentage of each purchase, typically up to a pre-agreed upon limit, you can actually end up saving more on the bulk of your purchases.

Sound too good to be true? It’s important to remember there are limitations to cash back rewards credit cards so don’t start expecting to earn a dollar-to-dollar match on what you get back.

How can you decide on the best cash back rewards credit card? It depends how much you spend, where you spend, your credit score, and how much of your credit card bill you are able to pay each month. We’ve dug through the best cash back rewards credit cards currently being offered (as of July 2018) to help you make the right decision for your circumstances.

Some Need-To-Know Basics About Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards

The actual benefits you get from your cash back credit card will depend on the issuer. However, there are three primary types of cash back credit cards:

  • Flat Rate Rewards: With these type of rewards, you’ll earn a flat rate on every purchase you make, which generally won’t be restricted to a certain type of spending category. Your issuer will have a standard rate – usually between 0.05-1.5% that you’ll get every time you spend on your card.
  • Tiered Rewards: These types of cash back rewards credit cards typically offer you a certain percentage for certain categories, in a tiered fashion. Spending on groceries may earn you 3% cash back, while other shopping may make you just 1%. Despite the tiered rewards, these categories stay constant so you know what to expect depending on where you shop.
  • Rotating Spending Categories: These cards tend to be a mix of flat rate and tiered cards. You’ll get the flat rate on most spending categories, but every so often (typically quarterly) a specific category will earn you double the rewards – or even more. That means this quarter could give you 5% cash back rather than 1% on all grocery shopping, whereas next quarter may offer you that on gas station spending.

How Your Credit Score Impacts Your Choice Of Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards

Another crucial factor to consider when looking at cash back cards is your credit score. Many, if not most of these cards require credit scores of good to excellent in order to qualify. As you can imagine, the higher your credit score, the more options you’ll have to find cash back rewards cards with the highest rewards rates.

Woman with a fan of paper money and a credit card smiling.
Which cash back rewards card is right for you?

The 7 Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards

1. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Annual Fee: None

Qualifying Credit: Good to Excellent

Rewards Rates: The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® is perhaps the best cash back rewards credit card for those who already bank with Wells Fargo and want a consistent, flat rate that they can always count on. You’ll earn 1.5% on all of your purchases, with no set limit. While the rate may be lower than others, the unlimited chance to earn every time you spend is well worth it. For those who bank with Wells Fargo, you have the option of getting your cash rewards from a bank ATM.

Bonuses: You’re eligible for a $200 cash rewards bonus so long as you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months that you have it. You’ll also be eligible for a higher cash back rate of 1.8% during the first year if you use Apple Pay™ or Android Pay™.

2. Chase Freedom®

Annual Fee: None

Qualifying Credit: Good to Excellent

Rewards Rates: As a quarterly category bonus card, you can expect 1% on purchases except for those in designated categories. For spending in the active quarterly category, you’ll get a rate of 5% back up to $1,500 spent.

Bonuses: You only need to spend $500 in the first three months of having the card to earn $150 as a bonus.

3. Capital One® Quicksilver® Card

Annual Fee: None

Qualifying Credit: Good to Excellent

Rewards Rates: You’ll get a flat rate of 1.5% on all of your purchases, and there is no cap on your spending.

Bonuses: What makes the Capital One® Quicksilver® a great rewards card is the bonuses it offers. You’ll get $150 back when you spend $500 in the first three months you have the card. But another major bonus is that the card offers a 0% interest rate for both purchases and balance transfers during the first 15 months.

4. Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee: $39

Qualifying Credit: Limited to Average

Rewards Rates: This is by far the best cash back rewards credit card for those with bad credit. However, you’ll end up paying a higher monthly fee due to your credit. But you‘ll get a great return rate of 1.5% on every purchase at a flat rate. Because this card is designed for people with bad credit, you’ll also get bonuses for making payments, such as a larger credit line if you pay your first five bills as a cardholder on time.

Bonuses: None offered, besides the chance for those with low credit scores to access a reward credit card.

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With these cards, you’ll be able to boost your savings with cash rewards.

5. Discover it® Cash Back

Annual Fee: None

Qualifying Credit: Good to Excellent

Rewards Rates: The Discover it® card works on a rotating category rewards system. Each quarter you’ll have a new designated category where you earn 5% on the first $1,500 you spend during that period. Categories are chosen ahead of time so you can prepare your spending and any big purchases. For July to September of this year, you’ll earn that 5% bonus on spending at restaurants, and from October to December, you’ll get 5% back on Amazon and wholesale clubs. All other spending will earn you 1%.

Bonuses: A massive bonus for cardholders during their first year with the Discover it® is that they will match spending by doubling your rewards rate.This counts for both the 5% and 1% purchases, so you’ll effectively be receiving double the rewards for that year.

6. Citi® Double Cash Card

Annual Fee: None

Qualifying Credit: Good to excellent

Rewards Rates: If you’re looking for higher rewards with a flat rate card, you’ll receive 1% back on purchases, and another 1% when you pay those charges on your bill, meaning you are getting effectively 2% back on each purchase.

Bonuses: If you’re looking to consolidate other high-interest loan balances, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers 18 months of zero interest on balance transfers. For those who want to reduce existing debt, this can be a great way to target those hefty balances.

7. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Annual Fee: None

Qualifying Credit: Good to Excellent

Rewards Rates: You’ll get a flat rate of 1.5% back on every purchase you make.

Bonuses: If you spend $500 in the first three months as a cardholder, you can earn $150 as a reward. You’ll also get 15 months of no interest on both purchases and balance transfers.

If your goal is to boost savings or simply to reduce the cost slightly of every purchase, a cash back rewards credit card is the right tool for you. Remember, as with any credit card, you want to do your research to understand your card’s terms and limitations, and always try to keep your spending within your means so you don’t end up saddled with debt.


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