Best Cash Back Credit Cards of January 2024

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
January 31, 2024

Credit card cash-back offers can be a simple way to earn more on everyday purchases. The top cash-back credit cards don't have an annual fee to help you save more without eating into your rewards. There are lots of cash-back cards without annual fees you can choose from. Read on for the best cash-back credit cards to get this year. 

Quick Look: The Best Credit Cards for Cash Back

Best Credit Cards for Cash Back 

Ready to get started earning more on everyday purchases? Consider the best credit cards to start saving more. Find the credit cards with the best cashback below: 

1. Best for Rotating Rewards Categories: Chase Freedom Flex Card

Chase's Freedom Flex credit card offers rotating rewards categories, for expenses like travel, dining, drugstores and gas. You can choose from quarterly bonus categories plus a flat 1% cashback in all other categories.  

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Rotating quarterly 5% rewards categories 
  • Travel rewards rate comparable to some of the best premium travel cards
  • Generous rewards rates across categories
  • Earn up to $1,500 quarterly

Cons

  • Must book travel through Chase's portal for 5% cashback on travel
  • Must activate rotating rewards categories

2. Best for Double Cashback: Discover it Cash Back Card

Another option that will give you 5% rotating cash-back categories is the Discover it Cash Back Card. It will also help you track your quarterly spending cap. You'll get 1% cashback in all other categories. A no-annual-fee card can deliver tidy rewards outside of its ongoing 1% earning rate. Better yet, Discover automatically matches all the cash back earned at the end of the first year.

Pros

  • No minimum cashback for redemption
  • 5% cashback on quarterly rotating spend categories 
  • Double cashback

Cons

  • $1,500 limit per quarter in spending
  • Must activate bonus categories 

3. Best for Personalized Rewards: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card

Bank of America offers a unique customized cash-back option. If you qualify as a preferred rewards client, you'll get a 25% to 75% boost in cash-back earnings. Even if you don't qualify for preferred rewards, you'll earn 1% cashback or more with bonuses.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Option to change 3% bonus category monthly
  • Earn 1% to 3% cashback 
  • Earn 25% to 75% more cashback

Cons

  • Quarterly caps on bonus rewards
  • Foreign transaction fee
  • High balance transfer fee

4. Best for Everyday Spend Bonuses: Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is a good overall card for flat-rate cashback. You can earn 1.5% cashback on all purchases. It also offers a low introductory annual percentage rate (APR), no annual fee and transparent bonus structures. 

Pros

  • Good welcome offer
  • Unlimited 1.5% cashback
  • No minimum redemption
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • High balance transfer fee

5. Best for Students: Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cashback on purchases and another 1% as you pay them off. The card has no annual fee and a 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers. After the intro period, the rate sits between 15.49% and 25.49%. 

Remember, though, that there’s an intro fee of 3% on each balance transfer for the first four months and 5% after that. Students can use this card to consolidate debt, earn rewards, enjoy liability and identity protection, and manage emergencies as needed, but you must remember to pay on time to get your cashback.

Pros

  • $200 cashback after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • No annual fee 
  • Get extra entertainment rewards

Cons

  • High foreign transaction fee
  • High balance transfer fee

6. Best for Simplified Cashback: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited rewards — 1.5% cashback on every purchase you make. Plus, your card is regularly reviewed for credit line increases, you can monitor your credit score, tap to pay and protect yourself with fraud coverage. Use Capital One’s online calculator to learn how much cashback you can earn each year with this simple, flat-rate cash-back card.

However, it has a $39 annual fee and a 26.99% variable APR, which is not the best offer. 

Pros

  • Earns flat-rate 1.5% cashback on all purchases
  • Earns 5% cashback on hotels and rental cars if you book through Capital One
  • No annual fee 
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Good welcome offer
  • Flexible redemptions options

Cons

  • Other cards offer higher cash-back rewards
  • No travel-specific benefits
  • You'll need excellent credit to apply 

7. Best for Grocery Bonus: American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is perfect if you buy groceries often, love binging on your favorite shows and travel frequently. It offers a blend of everyday rewards and travel bonuses.

You get 6% cashback at U.S. supermarkets for up to $6,000 in annual purchases and 6% cashback on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 

You can earn 3% cashback on trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses and subways. The card offers 3% cashback at U.S. gas stations and 1% cashbank on other purchases.

You can get a welcome bonus of $300 after you spend $1,000 in purchases in your first three months of card membership.

Pros

  • Earns 6% cashback on groceries and streaming services 
  • Get 3% cashback on travel and gas
  • 1% cashback on all other categories
  • $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first six months
  • 0% intro APR offer

Cons

  • Other cards offer higher cash-back rewards
  • No travel-specific benefits
  • You'll need excellent credit to apply 

8. Best for Entertainment Bonus: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Card

If you spend a lot of time eating out or attending events, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards is one of your best options. You can earn unlimited 4% cashback on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. 

Do you prefer ordering in? The card lets you earn 5% cash back if you order with Uber Eats. It also gives you privileges such as VIP experiences, discounts and on-site perks at select events.

Pros

  • Earn a high cash-back rate on entertainment, travel, dining, and groceries
  • No annual fee 
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Good welcome bonus

Cons

  • Grocery category excludes superstores like Walmart and Target
  • Streaming category excludes Prime Video
  • For the highest cash-back rates, you'll need to use Capital One’s booking portal 

9. Best for Flat Cashback: Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash offers an unlimited 2% cash rewards rate on purchases. There's no annual fee, which puts it in competition with the best flat-rate cash-back cards on the market. Wells Fargo's offering gives you the flexibility of flat-rate unlimited rewards without worrying about bonus categories, activations or spending limits.

Pros

  • $200 cash rewards signup bonus after $500 in purchases within the first three months
  • Unlimited 2% cash-back rewards on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Cell phone protection benefit
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver coverage

Cons

  • No travel transfer partners
  • Foreign transaction fee
  • High balance transfer fee

10. Best for High Cashback: PayPal Cashback Mastercard 

In addition to the PayPal Mastercard's flat 2% cashback, you can earn 3% cashback when you check out using PayPal Digital Wallet. You get all the benefits of a rewards credit card, plus the convenience of a digital wallet.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Integrates seamlessly with your PayPal digital wallet
  • Earn 3% cashback on purchases with PayPal digital wallet

Con

  • Not all merchants accept PayPal as a payment option

What Are Cash Back Credit Cards?

Cash-back credit cards allow you to earn a flat percentage or rotating rewards categories. For example, you might earn a flat 1.5% cashback or earn up to 5% cashback in certain spending categories like travel, dining, gas, groceries or entertainment. Used responsibly, credit cards with cashback can help you save more on everyday purchases. 

How Do Cash-Back Credit Cards Work?

Cash-back credit cards work like any other credit card. When you apply for the credit card and are approved, you'll get a card with a set credit limit, cash-back policies, an APR on any debt and in some cases, new signup rewards. 

When you make everyday purchases with a credit card cashback, the card issuer will apply the cashback directly to your credit card statement or issue points you can redeem for cashback, gift cards or other shopping opportunities. Usually, the credit card issuer can offer cashback by sharing the credit card processing fee charged to retailers with the consumer.  

Types of Cash-Back Credit Cards

You can find various types of cash-back credit cards to choose from. Here's an overview. 

Flat-rate Cash-Back Credit Cards

Flat-rate cash-back cards offer a flat percentage back on all purchases. Usually, that's 1% to 1.5%. However, in some cases, card issuers may offer up to 2% cashback. 

Tiered Cash-Back Credit Cards 

Tiered cash-back credit cards are the most common cash-back card structure. With tiered cards, the card issuer offers higher cash-back percentages on certain categories of purchases. For example, the credit card issuer might offer 3% cashback on gas and groceries, with 1% cashback on all other spend categories.  

Rotating Category Credit Cards

Rotating category cash-back credit cards offer higher rewards in a certain category for a set time, usually one to three months. For example, the card issuer might offer 5% cashback on gas purchases for three months or 3% cashback on entertainment in certain months. All other spend categories remain at a base cash-back rate, usually 1%. 

Common Reward Categories on Cash-Back Credit Cards

The different reward categories on cash-back credit cards, include:

  • Dining: You'll get a higher reward for restaurants and other dining purchases — a good option if you eat out frequently. 
  • Groceries: If you spend a lot on groceries, a cash-back card that rewards grocery purchases can be a smart move. This usually only applies to U.S. grocery stores. 
  • Gas: If you drive and want to lower your gas bill, a cash-back card that offers high rewards on gas can help you save more. 
  • Travel: One of the most popular types of cashback or rewards cards, many travel bonus cards offer points that you can redeem for cash, gift cards or travel bookings.
  • Entertainment: This can include concert tickets, restaurants, museums and more, depending on the cash-back card issuer. 

Pros and Cons of Cash-Back Credit Cards

There are a lot of pros but some disadvantages to cash-back credit cards. Here is an overview of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Simplified rewards
  • Earn more cashback on everyday purchases
  • Cash rewards
  • Most have no annual fee
  • Potential for sign-up bonuses
  • Shopping perks
  • Get 0% APR signup offers to save more

Cons:

  • High APRs after introductory offers
  • Some have foreign transaction fees
  • Earning caps on some cards

​​How to Choose a Cash-Back Credit Card

When choosing a cash-back credit card, consider how you will use the card and look at your normal spending habits. Here is an overview of key considerations:

  • Main spend categories: Do you eat out frequently or spend more on groceries? What is your biggest monthly expense category? Choose a cash-back card with high rewards in your primary spend categories. 
  • Annual fees: The main benefit of a cash-back card is the rewards. An annual fee can cost more than you earn in a year, so choose a card with no annual fees.
  • APR: Choose a cash-back card with a low APR.
  • Introductory offers: Some cash-back cards offer up to $500 in signup bonus rewards or a 0% introductory APR for 12 to 18 months. These rewards can be a good incentive to choose a particular card, especially if they meet your other criteria. 

Maximizing the Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

The best cash-back credit cards offer significant advantages to save more. Carefully consider where you spend the most to maximize bonuses. To get more from a cash-back card, look for credit cards with a large signup bonus. You can find excellent rewards cards from Visa, Mastercard or American Express. 

Regardless of the card you choose, remember strong financial habits for credit cards: Never spend more money to earn a bonus and avoid carrying debt. If you can, pay off the credit card in full every month. With on-time payments, you'll build a positive credit history while earning more on everyday purchases. Find more ideas for the best credit cards, or find the best credit cards for good credit or best credit cards for beginners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Is 5% cashback on credit cards good?

A

Yes, 5% cash back is an excellent reward for a credit card.

Q

Who gives the highest cashback?

A

Who gives the highest cashback depends on your reward category and current card offers. Any of the cash-back cards above offer high cash-back offers.

Q

Are cash-back cards worth it?

A

Yes, cash-back cards are worth it for most people. They offer incentives to earn more on your everyday purchases.

Q

Do you get taxed on cash-back credit cards?

A

No, you aren’t taxed on cash-back credit card rewards. If you earned the rewards by using the card, it’s viewed by the IRS as a rebate instead of taxable income.

About Alison Plaut

Alison Plaut is a personal finance writer with a sustainable MBA, passionate about helping people learn more about financial basics for wealth building and financial freedom. She has more than 17 years of writing experience, focused on real estate and mortgage, business, personal finance, and investing. Her work has been published in The Motley Fool, MoneyLion, and she is a regular contributor for Benzinga.