Our up-to-date list of cash back offers makes it easy to find a card that will maximize your savings. And bonuses of $100-$150 for new accounts can add up quickly. Review this list of offers from our partners to find the card that rewards the categories you use most. Or find a one that offers a high rebate on all purchases.
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Updated: May 22, 2017
|Card||Welcome Bonus||Bonus Requirement||Rewards Rate|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card||$100 Cash Bonus||Spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day|
|Capital One® Premier Dining Rewards Credit Card||$100 Cash Bonus||Spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on all other purchases|
|Discover it® Cashback Match™||Automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year (new cardmembers only)||Automatic|| Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants, Amazon.com, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate
Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card||$200 Cash Rewards Bonus||Spend $1,000 in the first 3 months||Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on virtually every purchase|
|Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM||$150 Bonus||Spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase|
|MLB™ BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ MasterCard®||$100 Cash Rewards Bonus||Spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening||Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||N/A||N/A||Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases|
|Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®||$200 Cash Rewards Bonus||Spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening||Unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase|
There are few credit cards as versatile as the cashback card.
No matter your purchase habits, there's likely a cashback card for you. You can earn cash without having to think about it. You can max out rewards by pairing this kind of card with a travel rewards card. You can even build your credit when it's not at its best while earning cash back.
Many have no annual fee. There is also the option of rotating categories or flat cashback percentages. We'll explain all that in easy-to-understand language. Here's what you need to know:
Cashback credit cards work in a variety of ways, usually offering a percentage back for your purchases.
Say you have a Wells Fargo Cash Wise card, which gives 1.5% back on everything. That means if you spend $1,000 a month on groceries, gas and other expenses, at year end, you'll earn $180 back. And because many cashback cards don't have annual fees, you're not having to clear that “fee hurdle.”
Some cashback cards are a little more complicated. They might pay for quarterly categories, for example, such as the Discover it Cashback Match. Categories can have reward limits -- for example, the Cashback Match gives you 5% back for up to $1,500 a quarter. Categories can include wholesale clubs, restaurants, gas and more. The advantage with a card that has quarterly categories is that you get a higher reward. However, there are usually signups, limits and you have to keep track of which categories qualify.
Depending on the card, cash back can be in the form of credit statements, bank deposit, checks, even merchandise through shopping portals. For example, Discover Deals allows you to get cashback bonuses or money off your purchases. Through these shopping portals, you can shop for clothing, gifts, health and beauty aids, travel and more. Some cards, such as the Wells Fargo Propel, allow you to redeem for gift cards.
Some cashback cards offer a signup bonus in exchange for a certain spend in a certain amount of time. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers $150 after a $500 spend within your first 3 months of card membership.
On the surface, it doesn't make sense why creditors or credit card issuers offer cashback credit cards. Used correctly, you can get hundreds of dollars back each year. But it makes sense, once you understand the issuer business model. Here's how it works:
With all these fees floating around, what do you do? First off, pay in full and on time each month. That will keep you from paying late fees and interest fees. Also, keep an emergency fund so you won't be tempted to take out a cash advance. Finally, ask the merchant if you are being charged a checkout fee for using your Visa or MasterCard. If so and it's a big purchase, you may want to think about shopping elsewhere.
There is no typical cashback rate. Cards can pay out a flat 1.5% or 2% or they can give a higher rate for specific types of purchases. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday offers 3% back on purchases made at U.S. supermarkets for up to $6,000 a year. (It's 1% after that.) That comes to $180 back. Terms apply.
Some cards, such as the Chase Freedom, pay out for categories that you sign up for each quarter. The Freedom, for example, offers 5% back on quarterly categories for up to $1,500 spend, or $75 back each quarter.
Here's how to compare cashback credit cards:
Track your spending for 2 months. You'll want to see how much you spend on items such as groceries and gas. Also look at how much you spend at specific stores, such as Sam's Club or Amazon.com.
Study a mix of cashback cards, including Discover it Cashback Match, Blue Cash Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited. Each has a specific type of model: The Cashback Match offers quarterly categories (as does the Chase Freedom); Blue Cash Preferred offers yearlong rewards for specific categories; and the Chase Freedom Unlimited (as well as the Wells Fargo Cash Wise) offers a percentage for all purchases.
If Amazon is a go-to for you, the Cashback Match may be a good choice for you. If you have a family and spend a lot on groceries, the Blue Cash Preferred can be a good option. And if you don't want to be pinned down by what you use your card for, the Cash Wise might be the one for you.
There’s no guarantee, and categories change from year to year, but here are common cashback categories:
The Cashback Match is generous with this category, as is the Chase Freedom. This is a good category for the millennial to target if your evenings center around trying out new restaurants or during the workweek checking out the latest lunch spot.
Do a lot of shopping online? The Cashback Match has featured this category, giving you 5% back on Amazon shopping for up to $1,500 in the selected quarter, up to $75 back -- $150 back at the end of your first year.
This is an increasingly popular category for cashback cards, sometimes as a quarterly category and sometimes in a limited time offer.
Groceries are a favorite category for cashback cards. In addition, during the quarter when grocery stores were featured, Chase Freedom included drugstores. If you shop for a family, this can be a good category — with the Discover it Cashback Match, for example, you can spend $500 a month on groceries and max out the spend, giving you back $75 for that quarter. And don't forget the additional $75 back at the end of your first year.
Some cards give a higher percent for gas, such as the Blue Cash Preferred. Others, such as the Chase Freedom, also give 5% back during specific quarters on parking, tolls and Amtrak purchases. This category is a good choice for the daily commuter or if you do a whole lot of shuttling the kids and the soccer team.
Cards with rotating categories usually give you a higher percentage back than other cards, but only for a quarter. Categories can be restaurants, groceries, gas and more. In the last year, Amazon.com and warehouse clubs have increased in popularity.
You usually have to sign up each quarter, but if you don't mind tracking which categories you'll use each month, you can get as much as 10% back at the end of your first year. One thing, there is usually a limit to how much you can spend toward the quarter, typically $1,500 a quarter. After that it's 1%.
An alternative is the flat rate, which gives you the same amount back regardless of the purchase. The amount is usually 1.5%-2% back. So, if you get 2% back on everything, it doesn't matter what you are using your card for — groceries, clothes shopping, whatever. If you spend $1,000 a month with your card, you get $240 back at the end of your year. And there is no maximum spend.
From incurring additional debt to impacted credit, there can be disadvantages to cashback credit cards.
On the plus side, you can earn cash back for using your cashback card. On the downside, you can end up owing more than you can pay off or even harming your credit. Here are possible disadvantages to cashback cards and what you can do about them:
You can redeem cash rewards a number of ways, depending on the card. In most cases, you get a statement credit, but some issuers allow you to spend your cash back on shopping or gift cards. In some cases, you can deposit the cash back in a bank account or get a check cut. Issuers might give a better deal for the statement credit, though.
Most cashback credit cards give you your cash in what's called a statement credit. That means that on your monthly statement, you'll see a positive balance that you can use toward your monthly bill. Some issuers also allow you to deposit your cash back into a bank account or even get a check cut, however, there can be financial incentives to opt for a statement credit.
You may be wondering why you should use a cashback credit card. If you can pay your balance in full and on time each month, you can earn cash back in the hundreds each year. Say you have a card that pays 2% back on everything, and there is no annual fee. If you spend $1,000 a month for a year, you will get $240 back at the end of that year.
Also, by paying in full and on time each month, you will improve your credit, because FICO, the dominant scoring model, loves it when you don't carry a balance on your credit cards, and it really loves when you pay on time.
There can be limitations on where you can spend your cashback rewards, because issuers have different rules for how you can get your cash back. You usually get your cash through statement credits, but some issuers offer you the option to park your cash in a savings or checking account (you can get a 10% bonus when you do this with your BankAmericard Cash Rewards, provided it's a Bank of America account), while other issuers allow you to redeem with gift cards, such as the Barclaycard CashForward.
Some issuers, such as Discover, also have portals where you can shop with your cash back while getting discounts on goods and gift cards.
Cashback rewards are usually not taxable as income; they are typically considered a discount by the IRS. The same is true of rewards points and miles.
“However, there may be times when you need to reduce the amount of a deduction to reflect the discount that a cash back reward provides you with,” says TurboTax.
TurboTax gives the example of when you are self-employed and you purchase a cellphone that you only use for business. Although your phone is deductible on your taxes, TurboTax points out that you can only deduct your actual cost. So, if you get a $150 rebate for your $200 phone, you really only paid $50 for the phone, and that's how much you can deduct.
There are a number of ways you can maximize your cashback rewards. It starts with choosing your card.
Our cash back credit card reviews can help you make your final decision once you narrow it down to a few contenders. The details in these reviews can better inform you about which cards best fits your needs.
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