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Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2017

Jennifer Blocker
Updated on: 11/08/2017

If the points and miles game seems confusing and you’re not ready to transfer points and redeem miles, a cashback credit card is a great, straightforward option. Cashback cards are simple. Once you earn enough points, you can redeem them for a check or a statement credit.

With one of these cards you’ll often get a penny back for every dollar you spend on most purchases, which is a 1 percent return. But some cards offer more. A good return rate on a cashback card is 5 percent, which is like getting five cents back per dollar spent. However, you can get as much as 10 percent cash back under the right circumstances and with the right card. Cashback rewards can be extremely lucrative when used systematically. And remember, a penny earned is a penny saved!

6 Top Rated Credit Cards for Earning Cash Back

Many cashback credit cards reward cardholders with return rates of one to 5 percent. You can increase the rewards you earn by being familiar with your cards. Different credit cards will reward you differently for different types of spending. When comparing cashback credit cards, you should have at least one good everyday card as well as a mix of specialty cards and cards that have rotating category spending bonuses. Having several cashback credit cards can also help you take full advantage of several categories at the same time and give you the most potential to maximize your rewards.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Raiting: 96/100

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by February 10, 2018
Regular APR
11.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %5% in rotating categories each quarter like Gas, Dining, Amazon.com, Wholesale Clubs and more
  • %1% on Travel
  • %1% on Groceries
  • %1% on All Other Purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back offer

    • Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Featured Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

You won’t be hit with any additional fees for using your Discover card while traveling internationally.

Why should you get this card?

  • Cashback Match: After your first year, Discover will double all of the cash back you earned with no cap!
  • Good Earning Potential: The Discover it card earns 5% back on quarterly rotating categories that include things like dining and gas stations, and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Your cash back is worth what you think it is, and there are no minimums or category restrictions to your redemptions.
  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all the rewards you earn are essentially free. How can you beat that?

Our Expert's Conclusion

Discover it is a solid credit card that should be in just about everybody’s wallet. The card offers a great five percent return on categories that rotate quarterly, and one percent back on all other purchases. The first year as a cardholder can be really good for your bank account because all the rewards you earn will be doubled by Discover, with no limit!

In addition to being a great everyday earner, the Discover it card doesn’t have an annual fee and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees if you want to use the card abroad. Redeeming cash back is super simple with no minimum redemption amount and no restrictions about what you can use the cash back for.

  • 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.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash in any amount, anytime.
  • Your cash back never expires.
  • $0 Fraud Liability.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.

Citi® Double Cash Card
Raiting: 94/100

Citi® Double Cash Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for 18 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening
Regular APR
14.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Citi® Double Cash Reward Program
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %2% on Travel
  • %2% on Dining
  • %2% on Gas
  • %2% on All Other Purchases
  • 3% of each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars

Featured Benefits

Concierge service:

Citi Concierge helps you save valuable time with a staff of specially-trained experts who are ready to assist you with your travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and everyday needs.

Foreign Transaction Fee:

3% of each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars.

Why should you get this card?

  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all of the rewards you earn are pure bonus!
  • 2% Cash Back on Everything: You don’t need to keep track of specific categories that earn more or less cash back; everything earns 2%!
  • No Caps on Your Earning: Some credit cards that offer higher cash back have a cap on how much you can earn, but not with the Citi Double Cash.
  • Late Fee Pass: If you accidentally miss a payment, Citi has you covered and won’t charge you a late fee–but only once.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Citi Double Cash mostly makes sense under two circumstances. The first is for someone who is seeking simplicity. Since the Double Cash card doesn’t have rotating or any other type of bonus categories to worry about, all you have to do is swipe, pay off your card and reap the benefits!

The second type of person that the Double Cash makes sense for is someone who has a few other rewards cards that cover popular purchase categories, like groceries, gas and travel, but they’re looking for a card for other purchases that otherwise would not earn a bonus. The Double Cash is a great option for that!

  • Earn Cash Back TWICE with 1% on purchases and 1% as you pay for those purchases in full or over time.
  • No caps and no Category restrictions.
  • Credit card late fee pass.
  • Citi® Private Pass®.
  • Citi Price Rewind.
  • 24 Hour fraud protection.
  • The Lost Wallet® Service.
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • EMV Chip Technology.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection.
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance.
  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance.

Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Raiting: 93/100

Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for the first 9 months that your account is open
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for the first 9 months that your account is open
Regular APR
13.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Capital One® Cash Back Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %1.5% on Travel, Dining and Car Rental
  • %1.5% on Gas
  • %1.5% on Hotels
  • %1.5% on All Other Purchases
  • $100 bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Featured Benefits

Travel Upgrades and Savings:

With your access to the Luxury Hotels & Resorts program, you can enjoy complimentary room upgrades, early check in and late checkout, subject to availability.

Travel Protection:

Get reimbursed up to $1,500 per trip for non-refundable travel costs if your trip is canceled or ends early.

Wi-Fi:

Only A-List Preferred status members get inflight Wi-Fi at no charge.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: For every purchase you make you’ll earn 1.5% cash back. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: You can redeem your cashback at any time with no minimums! You’ll either get a statement credit or a check in the mail—whatever works for you.
  • Great Sign-Up Bonus: This card comes with a sign-up bonus of $0 after spending only $500 within the first 3 months. After a few cell phone payments and trips to the grocery store, you’ll have a cool $100 very quickly!
  • No Annual Fee: No matter how you use your card, you won’t pay an annual fee. You don’t have to worry about paying a hefty annual fee and all the rewards are all yours.

Our Expert's Conclusion

Capital One’s Quicksilver card is a great card for earning cash back. If you want to simplify your wallet and you value cash more than miles and points, this is the card for you. Since you can earn 1.5 percent back on every single purchase you make and never pay an annual fee, you can earn some serious cash on everyday purchases, big ticket items, all types of travel or whatever else you choose.

Again, since this card has no annual fee, there’s little downside to the Quicksilver credit card. Yet, it still comes with the elevated MasterCard World Elite protections. As far as travel cards go, this is not a premium card that helps earn status, free checked bags or lounge access, but if you’re an occasional traveler or prefer to fly economy, this card is still a good bet. The cashback you earn can be used toward travel or any other purchase you make. Flexibility makes this a great card.

  • Earn a one-time bonus of $100 once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
  • Rewards don't expire, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount, anytime.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Fraud coverage.
  • Security Alerts.
  • Extended warranty.
  • Complimentary concierge service.
  • Identity Theft resolution services.
  • Travel upgrades and savings.
  • Travel protection.
  • Price protection.

Savor℠Credit Card from Capital One

Savor℠Credit Card from Capital One
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for the first 9 months that your account is open
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for the first 9 months that your account is open
Regular APR
15.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Capital One® Cash Back Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %3% on Dining
  • %2% on Groceries
  • %1% on Gas
  • %1% on All Other Purchases
  • $150 bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Featured Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

You will never be charged additional fees for using this card while traveling abroad.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll earn bonus points at restaurants and grocery stores. You’ll get 3.0 and 2.0 percent cash back, respectively, by spending in those categories.
  • No Annual Fee: There’s no risk involved with the Savor card, and all the rewards you earn cost you nothing to keep.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Rewards can be used for statement credits toward any expense. Redeem cash back at any time, in any amount and toward any purchase.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Spending just $500 on the card in the first 3 months will net you $150 straight in your pocket. What’s better than free money?

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Savor card from Capital One is a decent option for consumers who spend a lot on dining and at grocery stores. The card costs nothing and earns 3 percent cash back at restaurants and 2 percent cash back on groceries. Being awarded $150 after spending $500 in three months makes the card even more appealing.

However, and this applies to all cashback cards, the rewards are limited. Why? Because the points are worth one cent each no matter how you redeem them. There isn’t a way to increase this value by, for instance, booking travel or transferring points to partners.

  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • 3% cash back on dining.
  • 2% cash back on groceries.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Rewards don't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem cash back for any amount.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Identify theft resolution services.
  • Complimentary concierge service.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
  • Price protection.
  • Extended warranty.
  • Travel assistance services.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Baggage delay insurance.

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
Raiting: 90/100

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles after the account is opened
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening
Regular APR
15.99% to 25.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Barclaycard CashForward™ Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %1.5% on Travel, Dining and Car Rental
  • %1.5% on Gas
  • %1.5% on Hotels
  • %1.5% on All Other Purchases
  • $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
    • 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
  • 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Featured Benefits

Foreign Transaction Fee:

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: Every purchase you make generates a 1.5% return at any merchant or service provider. Not that many no-fee cards can beat that earning on all transactions.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Spending just $1,000 on this card in the first 3 days of account opening will earn you a $0bonus, which is excellent for a no-fee card. Most other cards with this earning potential offer a smaller bonus or no bonus at all.
  • No Annual Fee: Holding a card long term increases the average age of your accounts, and not paying for a card makes it easy to keep. Not to mention, earning cashback rewards doesn’t cost a dime.
  • Double Points: Redemptions start at $50 and can be applied toward a statement credit, gift cards or a deposit into a checking or savings bank account.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard is a solid option for someone who’s not too invested in travel rewards and is looking for a no-fuss cashback credit card. You’ll earn $200 just for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and continue to earn 1.5 points on all purchases, no matter the purchase category or time of year.

This is also a good option for those who cannot qualify for a Chase card because they’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months. If you fall into that camp, the competitive Chase Freedom Unlimited card is out of reach.

  • Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase.
  • Every time you redeem get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption.
  • Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account, a statement credit or gift cards.
  • Cash rewards do not expire.
  • Free online FICO® Credit Score.
  • Chip card technology.
  • Mastercard travel assistance services.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
Raiting: 89/100

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for 7 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Costco Cash Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %4% on Gas
  • %3% on Dining and Travel
  • %2% on All Other Purchases From Costco
  • %1% on All Other Purchases
  • 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Featured Benefits

Bonus Cash Back for Travel:

You’ll get 3% back for travel purchases, including airfare, hotels and car rentals

Foreign Transaction Fee:

This card does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s best not to use it outside of the United States

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll earn an unlimited 3% back on travel and restaurants, 2% back on Costco purchases, and 1% everywhere else with no caps. You also earn 4% back on gas for up to $7,000 a year.
  • 0% APR for the First 7 Months: Need to make a big purchase? You can spread out your payments with 0% interest for the first 7 months you have the card. Just be sure to continue making at least the minimum payment and know that interest kicks in on any remaining balance after the introductory period.
  • Straightforward Redemption: Redeeming rewards is simple as Citi mails your annual cashback certificate each February. It can be redeemed at Costco for merchandise or cash.
  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all the rewards you earn are essentially free. How can you beat that?

Our Expert's Conclusion

Like to shop at Costco? Then this is definitely a card you should keep in your wallet. Not only do you earn 2 percent back on every Costco purchase, but you can earn cash back for gas, dining out, travel and more. And since there’s no annual fee, all the rewards you earn are yours. You may not want this to be your only card, though, because you will incur foreign transaction fees if you use it outside the United States or if you make purchases in non-U.S. dollars.

If you don’t live near a Costco, you can still use this card for online purchases (assuming you’re a member), but you may not get as much value as those who can get to a nearby store. Also, if you like to have more flexibility with your rewards, this may not be the card for you. And if travel rewards are what you seek, the Costco Visa should not be your first choice.

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Costco, for the first $7,000 per year in gas purchases and then 1% thereafter.
  • 3% cash back on restaurant (including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants) and eligible travel purchases worldwide, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, cruise lines and Costco Travel.
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash back will be provided as an annual credit card reward certificate in February billing statements, redeemable for cash or merchandise at US Costco Warehouses.
  • Damage & Theft Purchase Protection.
  • Extended Warranty.
  • Citi Price Rewind.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection.
  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance.
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance.
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance.

Compare Cash Back Credit Cards

Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.

Credit Card
Bonuses & Rewards
First Year Rewards
FEES
RE® value
Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $100 sign-up bonus.
  • $360 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$460
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$460
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

More Details
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $200 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$440
FEES
-$95
RE® value
$345
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Blue Cash® Card from American Express

Blue Cash® Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 15,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 36,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$510
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$510
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Chase Freedom® Card

Chase Freedom® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 15,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
AARP® Credit Card from Chase

AARP® Credit Card from Chase

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$440
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$440
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $480 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$480
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$480
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 48,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$926
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$926
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $200 sign-up bonus.
  • $360 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$560
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$560
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
NFL Extra Points Credit Card

NFL Extra Points Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card

Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$323
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$323
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
Bank of America® Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

More Details
Pink Ribbon BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Pink Ribbon BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

World Wildlife Fund Credit Card

World Wildlife Fund Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

MLB™ Credit Cards

MLB™ Credit Cards

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

U.S. Pride® BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

U.S. Pride® BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Bonuses & Rewards
  • match all the rewards at the end of first year
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$480
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$480
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

More Details
NHL® Discover it® Card

NHL® Discover it® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • match all the rewards at the end of first year
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$480
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$480
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card

U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $480 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$480
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$480
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $360 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$360
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$360
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

Ten Strategies for Maximizing Reward Rates on Cashback Credit Cards

Using different cards for different purposes can help you get the most out of your credit cards. Below are some things to consider when you make your game plan to reach the highest reward rates on your credit cards. Remember, you don’t have to choose just one card or stick with a card forever. It is healthy for your credit score to have at least 11 open rotating lines of credit. Also, the more cards you have, the higher your credit limit, which will help with for your credit utilization and debt-to-credit ratio, ultimately improving your credit score. However, I don’t advise applying for more than one card at a time, and you should be sure to meet any minimum spending requirements needed to earn the sign-up bonus before obtaining your next card.

  • Strategy #1: Have at Least One Good Everyday Card

    A good everyday card is one that earns more than 1 percent return on all purchases. When making smaller purchases that don’t fall into a specific bonus category with a higher return, you’ll want to use your everyday card. Savvy rewards earners use their credit cards for everything, no matter how big or small.

    Many cashback cards offer just 1 percent on all purchases, but you don’t have to settle for that. When looking for a cashback card to use for everyday spending, you will want one that awards the most on all purchases. The Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card from Capital One is a good example of an everyday card. Instead of offering the usual 1 percent back on purchases, this card offers an unlimited 1.5 percent back. In addition, Quicksilver cardholders also receive a one-time bonus of $100 if they spend $500 within the first three months.

  • Strategy #2: Consider Several Specialty Cards

    These are cards that focus on specific types of purchases and consistently give you a high reward rate for certain bonus categories. A good specialty card typically offers at least 2 percent cash back in two or more shopping categories. These cards usually offer larger cash back bonuses on select qualifying purchases, even when compared to good everyday cards.

    An example of a good cashback specialty card is the Premier Dining Rewards From Capital One. This card allows you to earn unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining, as well as 2 percent cash back on groceries and 1 percent on all other purchases.

    When comparing cards, be sure to consider your spending habits. Depending on the card, you can earn bonus rewards for a variety of different purchases, including things like gas, travel, groceries, entertainment and much more. If you want to maximize your cashback rewards, it’s a good idea to have a couple of these specialty cards in addition to your everyday card.

  • Strategy #3: Take Advantage of Rotating Bonus Categories

    Some cashback credit cards have bonuses for rotating categories of purchases. These types of cards have large cashback bonuses for certain types of purchases, which change periodically throughout the year. It may be in your best interest to have several of these cards so you can switch between them as the bonus categories change.

    For example, the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ card offers 5 percent cash back in rotating categories every quarter. Some of these include purchases made from Amazon, gas stations, restaurants and wholesale clubs. Credit cards that award spending bonuses in rotating categories are great due to the large quarterly rewards you can earn.

  • Strategy #4: Earn Sign-Up Bonuses and One-Time Offers

    Many of the best cashback cards offer a sign-up bonus. These sign-up bonuses give you a significant cashback bonus when you spend a certain amount on that card within an allotted period of time. Additionally, one-time offers are bonuses that you will only receive once, they will not be ongoing or on an annual basis, but they can definitely put some quick cash, back in your pocket.

    Good examples of a cashback cards that come with both a sign-up bonus and a one-time offer include the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. You can get up to $350 cash back with these cards. By spending $1,000 within your first three months of having one of them, you can earn up to $150 cash back as a welcome bonus, depending on which card you have. Both of these cards include a one-time offer which allows you to get 10 percent cash back at restaurants within the first six months of having the card, for a total return of up to $200.

  • Strategy #5: Pay Monthly Bills and Living Expenses

    One of the best ways to consistently earn rewards with your cashback credit cards is by using them to pay all your monthly bills and living expenses. Almost any bill can be paid online with a credit card, meaning that you can use a credit card to pay for a lot more than just your phone bill. A few examples of monthly bills that should be paid for with your cashback card include cable, internet, phone, insurance and utilities like gas, water and electricity. Also, any other recurring monthly expenses, such as subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, should be attached to your credit card.

    You can also use your credit card to pay things you may not have considered before, like your car payments and insurance. There are even third party services available that allow people to pay their rent or mortgage with their credit card. You can also pay your taxes with your card, including property and income taxes. Some payment services charge a flat fee, while others take a percentage of the total payment. If there is a third-party service you are using to make a payment, consider any fees related with the service and make sure the rewards outweigh the cost.

    In addition to monthly bills that you can pay with your credit card, there are also a great deal of regular living expenses that you cover with your cashback card, like food, clothing, health care and hygiene products. There is almost no limit to the type of monthly bills or living expenses that you can charge to your card and the rewards you can earn.

  • Strategy #6: Make Large Purchases

    A fast way to boost your cashback rewards is to use your card for all your large purchases. Even at the lowest cashback rates, large purchases will allow you to earn a great deal of rewards in one transaction. I also want to caution anyone against using special financing or store credit cards that advertise special financing for large purchases. Many times, when you see a card or a promotion that is labeled as interest free or special financing, it is usually referring to deferred interest. This means that if you do not pay your balance in full by the end of the interest-free period, you can get slapped with interest dating back to the original date of purchase. This can cause you to get hit with a lump sum interest payment. It is much better to use your cashback credit card and get a lump sum of rewards instead.

  • Strategy #7: Keep Track of Bonuses and Spending

    Your cards will be most lucrative if you can keep track of spending bonuses and rewards. Whether you use a high-tech approach like an app or a website, or an old-school method like labeling your cards or creating a cheat sheet, you should be familiar with the best card to use for each purchase you make.

    There are many options to help you create and learn a strategy for your credit card spending. You can create a spreadsheet or just write a list. There are plenty of internet tools and apps to help as well. You will find that doing this will ultimately be a great reference and help you differentiate and use credit cards to the best of their ability. Eventually you won’t have to even think twice about it.

  • Strategy #8: Know Your Limits

    Some cards put limits on category spending. For example, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi allows you to earn 4 percent cash back on gas, but only up to $7,000 a year. When you max out your rewards on one card, turn to another one. Don’t spend on a card if you are not earning the bonus anymore.

  • Strategy #9: Try Double Dipping

    Double dipping is when you use a loyalty program in conjunction with a rewards credit card. Many stores, airlines and hotels offer loyalty programs that allow you to earn rewards just for being a member. Why not earn double rewards by joining the loyalty program and paying with a rewards card?

    For the most part I avoid specific store credit cards. They have notoriously high interest rates and, in many cases, you can get the rewards without the credit card. By joining their loyalty program and paying with a cashback credit card you can get rewarded on both sides.

  • Strategy #10: Consider Business Cards

    Cashback business credit cards can be another avenue to increase your rewards rate for bonus spending categories. You don’t need a storefront or a corporation to get one. If you have a side business, like buying and selling stuff on ebay or renting a room on Airbnb, you can get a small business card. No matter how small your side hustle is, you can qualify, which can help you increase your rewards rates in the realm of things like office supplies and internet services.

FAQs

Need more info? Check out our FAQ. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

  • There is no limit to the number of credit cards you should have. However, you should have at least 11 open accounts, though more than 21 is optimal. These don’t all have to be credit card accounts. Lenders like to see a variety of credit lines.
    Never apply for more than one card at a time and never apply for too many cards in a short time span. This could make you look desperate for credit, which lenders don’t like to see either. Always give yourself time to complete the necessary amount of spending to get the sign-up bonus before you get your next card.
    When you are maximizing rewards from cashback credit cards it is a good idea to have a variety of credit cards as well. To be able to get the highest percentage return and the most options, you should have at least one everyday card, several specialty cards and a variety of cards with rotating bonus categories.
  • To get the best cashback credit cards you need good or excellent credit. If you have good or excellent credit, the options are almost limitless. If you have fair or poor credit, you should be taking steps to improve it.
    The better your credit, the more options you have. That’s true for not just in the world of credit cards, but also for life in general. Your credit score is like your health, you need to maintain it. Don’t wait until it goes downhill to the point where you have to take drastic measures to fix it. Take care of it and it will take care of you. If your credit has taken a turn for the worse, then wait no longer and revive it now.
  • When comparing cashback credit cards, there are some basic things to consider. Reward rates are key with cashback credit cards. You should never earn less than 1.5 percent, but 5 percent is optimal. Much of your decision should be guided by your spending habits. It doesn’t matter if a credit card has the highest reward rate on gas if you don’t drive.
    If you have good credit, there is no reason you should settle for a card that doesn’t give some kind of welcome bonus. Also consider one-time rewards, like the $50 Amazon gift card you get upon approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card.
    While interest rates should be considered, if you want to get the most out of your rewards you really don’t want to carry a balance unless you have a no-interest promotional APR. Paying interest will easily take away from the value of your rewards.
  • Determining which credit card offers the best cashback rewards is subjective. For the most part, it will depend on where you shop and how you spend your money. Cashback cards offer different rates and come with different features. Certain cards offer high rewards in specific shopping categories, while others offer a fixed rate for all purchases.

    Many of the cashback rewards credit cards that are out there offer 2 percent or more back in a specific shopping categories and only 1 percent for all other purchases. Anytime you can get 5 percent or more in a certain category, use that card.

    For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6 percent cash back at supermarkets with a $6,000 annual spending limit. Therefore, this is a good card to use to buy groceries, at least until you reach the limit. At that point you should switch cards. In addition, the Blue Cash Preferred allows you to collect unlimited 3 percent cash back at gas stations.

    If managing several cards seems like too much of a task and you just want a solid everyda card with a flat earning rate for all purchases, the Citi Double Cash card earns 2 percent back for everything. The first 1 percent is earned when the purchase is made, and another 1 percent is earned once the purchase has been paid for.

  • Redeeming your earnings for cash back is a simple process. Depending on your card, it’s usually quite easy to do online or over the phone. Most cashback cards have no minimum earning requirements, meaning that you will be able to start redeeming what you’ve earned before you even have to pay your first credit card statement.

    Most credit cards that offers cash back will allow you to redeem your cashback rewards for a statement credit or a check that comes in the mail. Some cashback programs will allow you to redeem rewards for more than just a statement credit or check. For instance, the cashback rewards that are earned with many Discover credit cards can be redeemed on purchases made from Amazon.

    There are also many cashback card issuers that will allow you to redeem for gift cards and make donations to charity. You may also have the option of gifting your rewards by transferring them to another account.

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