Flat-rate cash back cards offer the same cash back bonus on all purchases across the board. These are the best in the market, so pick the one that best fits your financial habits.
When it comes to managing your finances, there are benefits to keeping things simple. And, that’s especially true when it comes to using cash back credit cards, which offer cash rewards on your spending.
Flat-rate cash back cards offer one of the simplest credit cards rewards structures available. While every cash rewards program varies, most flat-rate cash back cards offer the same rate of cash back, generally from 1 to 2 percent, on every purchase made with the card. While that may not be as lucrative of a rewards structure as, say, a card offering bonus categories for certain types of purchases, it does make it simple to earn rewards on a variety of purchases. Plus, you don’t have to keep track of what categories you need to spend in to maximize your cash back earning potential. You simply swipe and earn.
There are many options to choose from if you’re looking for a flat-rate cash back card, but not all are created equal. To help you narrow down the options, here are the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market. These cards offer consistent rates of cash back on all purchases, all the time, making them a smart choice for many cardholders.
Alliant Visa Signature Card: Best premium flat-rate cash back card
Why we picked it: The Alliant Visa Signature Card* has the highest cash back rate on this list, making it a great card to put all your credit card spending on, if you only wanted one card in your wallet. The Alliant Visa Signature earns up to 2.5 percent cash back on your first $10,000 of qualifying eligible purchases, and unlimited 1.5 percent cash back after that if you qualify for Tier One Rewards.
In order to earn 1.5 percent cash back after your first $10,000 in purchases, you must have a checking account with Alliant, choose eStatements, make at least one deposit per month and keep an average daily balance of $1,000 or more.
As a Visa Signature card, the card also comes with great card perks such as roadside assistance, travel accident insurance and personal identity theft protection.
- Up to 2.5 percent cash back on first $10,000 of qualifying eligible purchases (then 1.5 percent cash back)
- Travel and purchase protections
- No foreign transaction fees
- No annual fee
- Must meet requirements to earn 1.5 percent cash back after first $10,000 in purchases
- Limited redemption options (statement credit or deposit into an Alliant checking or savings account)
Who should apply: The card is best suited for Alliant banking customers or those who prefer to redeem cash back as statement credit since the rewards can only be redeemed as a direct deposit into an Alliant checking or savings account, or as a statement credit.
Who should skip: You must be a member of Alliant Credit Union to be eligible for the card, so if you’re not interested in joining the credit union, keep shopping.
Citi Double Cash Card: Best everyday flat-rate cash back card
Why we picked it: The Citi Double Cash® Card is great for people who pay their balance in full every month because it offers 1 percent cash back when you make a purchase and 1 percent cash back when you pay off those purchases. Plus, the amount of cash back you can earn is unlimited.
The Citi Double Cash is also a great card to have if you plan on paying down a balance over time, as it has a 0 percent intro APR offer on balance transfers for 18 months (and a 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR after that).
- No category restrictions
- Points redeemable for checks, statement credit, gift cards, checking or savings accounts
- Cash back fulfilled as ThankYou points
- 0 percent intro APR offer does not apply to new purchases
Who should apply: If you’re looking for a card that can help you pay off existing debt while still earning cash back, the Citi Double Cash Card is a great choice. Its 0 percent introductory APR offer for 18 months on balance transfers will give you a long window to avoid accruing interest rates while paying down your balances.
Who should skip: If you’d prefer a card with a welcome bonus, to quickly amass a large amount of rewards as quickly as possible, consider other options. And anyone looking to avoid interest rates on new purchases should also look elsewhere.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for credit builders
Why we picked it: Thanks to its lack of fees, including no penalty APR, returned payment fee or foreign transaction fees, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great card for credit builders. Not only does it provide free access to your credit score and tools to help you monitor it but the QuicksilverOne Card may also allow for an increase in your credit limit after six months of on-time payments.
In terms of rewards, you’ll get 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase and 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
- 1.5 percent unlimited cash back on all purchases
- Consideration for a higher credit line after six consecutive months of on-time payments
- No penalty APR
- Free access to credit score with CreditWise
- High regular APR (30.74 percent variable APR)
- $39 annual fee
Who should apply: If you don’t have great credit, you may want to apply for the Capital One QuicksilverOne, as it’s one of the highest-earning flat-rate cash back cards available for cardholders with fair credit scores.
Who should skip: If you tend to carry a balance on your cards, you may want to avoid this one due to its higher-than-average APR. It may make more sense to look for a low-interest card or a card that offers a 0 percent intro APR on purchases instead.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for 2% cash rewards
Why we picked it: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is the perfect credit card for people who want a simple cash back card without quarterly spending categories or other complexities.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, with no cap on how much you can earn. Your rewards will also never expire. Not only is it one of the highest-earning flat-rate cash back cards, but it comes with extensive perks, including an introductory bonus of $200 if you spend $500 within three months of account opening.
- 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers made in the first 120 days (then 20.24 percent, 25.24 percent or 29.99 percent variable APR)
- Cellphone insurance
- Extended warranty protection
- Flexible redemption options (such as statement credit, deposit into a Wells Fargo checking or savings account, cash back from a Wells Fargo ATM, gift cards, purchases or travel through Wells Fargo Rewards)
- Cannot transfer rewards to any travel partners
Who should apply: If you want to earn cash back but don’t want to go through the trouble of enrolling in rotating categories each quarter, this card could be a good fit. Or, if you consider yourself a high spender, a flat-rate 2 percent cash back card like the Wells Fargo Active may earn you more cash back annually than a bonus category card (which can have yearly spending caps).
Who should skip: If the majority of your spending is in a specific category or two each month, you may be better off opening a fixed bonus category card with a rewards structure that better suits your spending habits.
Comparing the best flat-rate cash back credit cards
Before applying for a credit card, it’s best to compare your options and determine which one is the right fit for you. Below are the cards’ key details compiled in a table to show how they compete side by side:
|Cash back rate
|Alliant Visa Signature Card
|Premium flat-rate cash back card
|2.5% cash back on every purchase
|Citi Double Cash Card
|Everyday flat-rate cash back card
|Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
|For credit builders
|Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
|For 2% cash rewards
|2% cash rewards on purchases
How to choose a flat-rate cash back credit card
There are many flat-rate cash back cards that offer attractive features. However, when choosing a card, it’s important to weigh the following factors:
- Cash back rate: You should choose a rewards rate that brings you the most value, which usually means a card with a rewards structure that fits your spending habits. For example, if your credit score is low, you should opt for a card with a lower rewards rate to prevent yourself from overspending.
- Annual fee: While some flat-rate cards have higher earning potential than others, some carry annual fees that may be hard to offset, lowering their worth. Before applying, do the math to see whether your regular spending will generate enough value to offset a card’s annual fee. If not, you should go for a no-annual-fee card.
- Additional benefits: Apart from the rewards rate, you may find value in a card’s other perks such as purchase protection, car rental insurance or concierge access. If you’re torn between two cards, a card’s benefits may be the deciding factor.
A flat-rate cash back credit card is perfect for cardholders who prioritize simplicity. Though such cards don’t offer many bonus rewards on specific categories, they still provide reliable rewards on your everyday purchases without requiring much effort.
Since there are so many cards on the market, it might be difficult to decide which one is best for you. Make sure you do your homework and weigh what’s important to you to narrow down your choices.
*All information about the Alliant Visa Signature Card and Journey Student Rewards from Capital One has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.