Using a credit card with cash back can be a great way to stretch your budget and be rewarded for your purchases. As long as you pay your balance in full each billing cycle, the card issuers are essentially paying you to use their card. Plus, cash back rewards are usually easier to understand than rewards programs involving points and miles.
Which Cash Back Credit Card is Right for You?
We think you'll agree with us when we say:
It's REALLY hard to figure out which cashback credit card to apply for.
Or is it?
Well, it turns out, there's 2 questions to answer to help you get started...
Want to Know What is the Featured Offer?
The featured cash back rewards card on CreditDonkey is the Chase Freedom®.
To start the cashback credit card comparison, CreditDonkey’s editors looked for one that combines ease-of-use and generous rewards with no annual fee. Though the Blue Cash Everyday® and Discover it® were impressive, Chase Freedom® is the CreditDonkey featured card.
The Chase Freedom® inched out American Express and Discover’s cards because of its $150 bonus after you make $500 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and the fact that it’s more widely accepted. While CreditDonkey had to make a choice, the editors believe most consumers would be happy with any of the 3 cards.
Why Chase Freedom Is the Featured Cash Back Offer on CreditDonkey
Here’s how Chase Freedom captured the featured spot with the editors at CreditDonkey:
If you rarely purchase items in any of the rotating categories, you may want to opt for another rewards card. But we’ve found that most people do take advantage of the categories, helping them to save significant sums, especially when they align their spending habits with the rotating bonus categories.
To apply for the Chase Freedom credit card, visit Chase's secure online application.
Why You Might Want to Look Elsewhere
Plus, the Blue Cash Everyday offers $100 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months (you will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit).
Bigger Bang for the Buck
Don't settle for just 1% when you can be smart with what credit card you use.
Which category is most important to you?:
For More Cashback on Gas Purchases
Look for a card that offers a higher percentage back on purchases at gas stations. See if the rewards it offers match your spending habits. Here are the two cards we like in particular, both from American Express (a CreditDonkey advertiser).
Blue Cash Preferred: Earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations (such as Shell, Mobil, and Exxon). This card has a $75 annual fee, so we recommend you consider this card if you spend at least $7,500/year ($625/month) at U.S. gas stations.
Look at this way: Spending $7,500 at U.S. gas stations with the Blue Cash Preferred would earn you $225 cash back vs $150 cash back with the Blue Cash Everyday, which has no annual fee.
If you don't spend $7,500 a year at U.S. gas stations, you may still want to consider the Blue Cash Preferred if you spend a lot on groceries (read the section below on cashback cards for groceries for more information).
Otherwise, consider the Blue Cash Everyday, which offers 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and has no annual fee.
Get More Cashback on Groceries
When charges at the supermarket make up a big part of your budget, you could see some big savings with a groceries-focused credit card. You'll need to weigh the pros and cons of getting more rewards in exchange for an annual fee vs. fewer rewards and no annual fee.
Blue Cash Preferred: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6k/year in purchases, then 1%). This card has a $75 annual fee, so we recommend you consider this card if you tend to spend at least $2,500/year (about $209/month) at U.S. supermarkets (such as Vons, Winn-Dixie, and Whole Foods). Spending $2,500 at U.S. supermarkets with the Blue Cash Preferred would earn you $150 cash back vs $75 cash back with the Blue Cash Everyday.
Blue Cash Everyday: If you don't spend at least $2,500/year at U.S. supermarkets, consider the Blue Cash Everyday, which has no annual fee. The Blue Cash Everyday earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6k/year in purchases, then 1%).
Tip: Your definition of a supermarket may not match your credit card companies. Check out the American Express Supermarket List before you go ahead with one of these cards to make sure the place you buy groceries is included. Even though warehouse clubs like Costco sell groceries, they are not supermarkets.
Restaurants: Rewards for Dining Out
Spend more time in a restaurant than at the supermarket checkout line? You can also save on your food consumption by getting the right kind of credit card. Take a look at our extensive guide on credit cards for restaurant rewards.
Credit Cards for Small Businesses
You can find more lucrative rewards when you choose a business credit card. These cards can be used for a range of business types, including side businesses. Consider some of our favorites below.
Ink Cash: Does your small business spend a lot on office supplies, cell phone service, Internet service, purchases at gas stations, and entertaining at restaurants? If so, Chase's Ink Cash may be right for you.
You'll earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, Internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
You'll earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.
Is this the right cash back credit card for your business? Read our Chase Ink Cash review for an in-depth analysis.
SimplyCash: Do you want more control over what types of purchases get the most cash back?
With the SimplyCash, you'll earn 3% cash back on the category of YOUR choice (from a list of select categories, on purchases up to $25,000 per rebate year).
You also get 5% cash back (on up to $25,000 per rebate year in purchases) at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services (purchased directly from U.S. service providers).
For more information, read our SimplyCash review.
Travelers can get more out of their credit cards if they forget cashback and opt for a travel rewards credit card that earns miles.
If you do not have a particular airline or hotel preference, look for a credit card rewards program with miles that you can redeem toward travel with any airline and any hotel. That way, you'll have more flexibility.
Excellent Credit: You Have More Choices
You have been responsible with your credit. You pay your bills on time, every time. So why use an average credit card? Take a look at our list of credit cards for people with excellent credit.
You'll find deals reserved for the most creditworthy applicants.
High Spenders: Pause Here
Are you a big spender? Do you routinely spend thousands a month on your credit card? Take a look at our list of credit cards for high spenders.
Yes, many of these offers have annual fees. But for high spenders, the rewards you'll reap from a premium credit card may offset the annual fee.
But wait. Are you a big spender who routinely carries a balance? Then instead of a rewards credit card, focus on low interest rates instead.
For any type of spender, it does not make sense to chase after rewards if you usually have a balance. The interest rates you will pay over time will wipe out any savings you earn. Focus instead on getting the lowest interest rate you can and try to pay down your debt.
How to Choose a Cashback Credit Card
Although we feature Chase Freedom®, it’s always smart to do your own comparison as well.
Compare rewards, annual fees and interest rates to determine the best one for you. Narrow your comparison by reading reviews on the credit card offers with cash back, such as:
Be sure to pick a card that fits your current spending pattern. You will save money with a cash back card as long as you limit your purchases to those you would have made anyway. These types of cards are best for people who both like deals and can pay off their balance each month but also spend responsibly.
Some credit cards with cash back earn more on specific purchase categories, such as gas, restaurants, or groceries. Some have rotating categories of up to 5% cash back that often change every few months and require free enrollment, while others offer a lower, but consistent reward rate year-round.
Some credit cards with annual fees offer lucrative introductory bonuses that pay for the annual fee and more. Plus, they often include generous benefits and reward structures that are favorable for big spenders or frequent travelers.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.
Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it®, Discover it® for Students, Discover it® Chrome, Citi® Double Cash Card, and Discover it® Chrome for Students have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Cash Back Rewards Benefits
Why Choose a Rewards Credit Card with Cash Back
Here are some of the advantages of having cash back rewards:
What to Watch Out For
Consider these factors before and after you decide on a cash back rewards credit card:
Calculate the rewards you could earn with several cards, based on your normal spending habits, to figure out which card will earn you the most rewards. No matter which card you choose, always remember the importance of paying your bill in full each month – or else you will lose out on the reason you chose a cash back card in the first place.
Articles on Cash Back Rewards
Where does all the money go? See what typical Americans make and spend in a month.
Which American Express cash back credit card should you get? Read this comparison review to see how the Blue Cash Everyday stacks up against the Blue Cash Preferred and its $75 annual fee.
In your quest to get a cashback credit card, you may be torn between the Chase Freedom and the Citi Double Cash Card. Both are great everyday cards for people who want to be rewarded when they go shopping, but the way these cards calculate ...
With $1.3 trillion spent on arguably non-essentials items, CreditDonkey study reveals how consumers find the balance between prudence and extravagance.
Halloween is quickly approaching (it’s a tad creepy how fast it seems to come every year!) and that means that it’s time to purchase candy, costumes, decorations and other party supplies to make this year spooktacular. Before you pull out your ...
Take full advantage of cash rewards credit card benefits when you dispel the top 8 myths.
How do you pick the best cashback credit cards for your needs? It turns out there is a bit of a trick to doing it. Read on to find out what it is.
You might also be interested in
Related: Credit Card Rewards