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Which 1.5 percent cash back card is right for you?

All 1.5% cash back credit cards offer 1.5% back on general purchases – but that doesn’t mean they offer the same value

Summary

If you want to earn cash back on every purchase without the hassle of dealing with a complicated rewards structure, a flat-rate, 1.5% cash back credit card is a great option.

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If you prefer to be rewarded for your spending with cash or statement credits instead of points or miles, a cash back rewards credit card is the way to go. There is a large variety of cards that offer cash back bonuses on specific purchases, such as dining and gas. But for those who want to earn cash back on every purchase without the hassle of dealing with rotating categories or complicated rewards structures, a flat-rate credit card is a great option.

There are quite a few credit cards on the market that offer 1.5% cash back on every purchase, but that doesn’t mean they offer the same value. Read on to learn more about 1.5% cash back cards and which one might be the best choice for you.

Comparing 1.5% cash back cards

Once you decide that a flat-rate, 1.5% cash back card is the right fit for you, there are a variety of other factors you need to consider. See what we found when comparing these cards:

Introductory bonusAnnual feeAverage yearly earnings ($15,900 spend)
American Express Cash Magnet® Card*
  • $150 if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Terms apply
$0$288
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card*
  • $150 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months
  • 1.8% cash rewards on Google Pay™ and Apple Pay® purchases for the first 12 months
$0$320
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • $200 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months
$0$392
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card$200 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months$0$305
U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express*$150 if you spend $500 in the first 90 days$0$288
Navy Federal Credit Union Cash Rewards
  • $150 if you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days
  • Offer ends Jan. 4, 2021
$0$321
Ultimate Cash Bank card from Santander Bank3% cash back for the first year on qualified purchases, up to $20,000$0$272
M&T Visa Signature$100 if you spend $500 in the first 90 days$0$272
First National Bank of American Express$100 if you spend $500 in the first 90 days$0$272
USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® CardNone$0$238
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit CardNone$39$212

As you can see, typically, cards that offer 1.5% cash back also don’t charge annual fees – aside from the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Which card is best?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a card. For example, if you’re interested in earning a sign-up bonus, the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card and Capital One QuicksilverOne cards are not the right fit for you. Here are some other factors you should consider:

Best for the highest yearly rewards value

If you’re interested in earning the highest yearly rewards value from a 1.5% cash back card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is your best bet.

By our estimates, the average consumer who spends approximately $15,900 each year on purchases can earn around $392 worth of rewards annually with the Freedom Unlimited card. This is due to the fact that after the recent changes to the card, it received additional cash back categories, including 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining and 3% cash back on drugstore purchases. On top of that, the Freedom Unlimited will earn you 5% cash back on Lyft purchases through March 2022, and 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Since other 1.5% cash back credit cards don’t offer any bonus cash back categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the clear winner when it comes to the rewards value.

Best for carrying a balance

If you want to purchase a big-ticket item and pay it off over time, or you just plan to carry a balance on your card (though we recommend that you pay off your balance in full each month), the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, American Express Cash Magnet® Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards offer the longest interest-free introductory periods on purchases among these cards.

Best for not spending a large sum of money up front

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money up front, you should be on the lookout for a card that doesn’t require a large spend threshold to receive the sign-up bonus.

Among the cards listed in the table, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards and the Chase Freedom Unlimited cards require the lowest spend thresholds to earn a $200 sign-up bonus – $500 in the first three months of card membership.

How about a 2% cash back card instead?

We would also note that there are a few flat-rate cards that offer a higher rate than 1.5% cash back. For instance, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers up to 2% cash back – 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay your bill on time. It doesn’t include a sign-up bonus, so it’s less valuable in the short term, but if you are looking for a great cash back card for the long haul, the Citi Double Cash card could be an excellent option.

*Information about the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card and the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Credit Card Rate Report
Business
14.22%
Airline
15.51%
Cash Back
16.10%
Reward
15.90%
Student
16.78%

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