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Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash Back Deals: July 2014

We've compiled a list of the Cash Back Deals currently available on CreditDonkey.

Cash Back Credit Cards

Compare cash back credit card offers from our partners
Using a cash back credit card 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 much easier to understand than rewards programs involving points.


Best Cash Back Credit Card 2014: Chase Freedom

The best cash back rewards card on CreditDonkey is the Chase Freedom®, according to our analysis.

Chase Freedom To find the best cash back credit card, CreditDonkey’s editors looked for one that combines ease-of-use and generous rewards with no annual fee. Though Discover it® finished a close second, Chase Freedom® is the clear winner.

Both cards offer very similar programs, but ultimately the Chase Freedom® inched out Discover’s leading card because of its $100 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 either card.

Why Chase Freedom Is the Best Cash Back Credit Card on CreditDonkey

Here’s how Chase Freedom captured the top spot with the editors at CreditDonkey:

  • Cardholders earn 5% cash back in rewards categories that rotate every three months, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases. The bonus categories for the remainder of 2014 are:

    • Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations and Kohl’s® department stores.
    • Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and select department stores, just in time for Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season!

    Keep in mind, you'll have to activate your bonus reward categories each quarter (it's free and easy)

  • Cardholders earn 1% cashback on all other purchases.

  • New cardholders receive a $100 bonus after making $500 in purchases during the first three months of opening their account. And they can earn an additional $25 bonus for adding another authorized user and making a purchase within this same three-month window.

  • 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. (After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99% to 22.99%)

  • There is no annual fee, and the rewards never expire.

  • Since this is a Visa credit card, you’ll enjoy more widespread merchant acceptance of it than you would with cards from American Express or Discover. This is an important differentiating factor, especially if you frequently patronize smaller businesses.

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.

Why You Might Want to Look Elsewhere

Discover it
Apply for Discover it
If you have an existing balance to transfer, you might want to consider Discover it®, which offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (vs 15 months on the Chase Freedom). After the intro period, the variable APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness.

Discover it also has 5% cashback bonus (up to the quarterly maximum) in categories that change throughout the year. Right now, it offers 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 (requires free and easy enrollment on their website to activate bonus categories). There is no annual fee.

For those without a balance to transfer, the Chase Freedom is more advantageous as Discover it’s introductory 0% APR lasts only six months for new purchases (vs 15 months on the Chase Freedom).

Bottom Line

Chase Freedom
Apply for Chase Freedom
If you always pay in full each billing cycle, a cash back credit card is worth owning. Chase Freedom is easy to use, and its rewards structure is much easier to grasp and track than the points and miles systems of other rewards cards. As long as you don’t get swept up by the promotional categories and buy things just because you’re getting the higher percentage of 5% back, you can rack up some cash on the side for purchases you would be making anyway. Be sure to sign up for Chase’s text or email alerts every quarter so you can sign up for the rewards each quarter.


How to Choose a Cash Back Credit Card

Although we believe Chase Freedom® is the superior card, 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 top cash back credit cards available, such as:

  • Top Rewards: Up to 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories, or
  • Best Gas Rewards: Up to 2% gas cash back on gasoline at qualifying gas stations, or
  • Best for Business: Small business owners can earn exclusive cash back deals by using business cash back cards

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.

Rewards
Does the credit card rewards structure match your lifestyle? 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.

Annual Fees
While most consumers should opt for a cash back credit card with no annual fee, don’t let an annual fee scare you away. 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.

Interest Rates
Reward credit cards generally have higher interest rates.

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 otherwised endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: Discover is a paid advertiser of CreditDonkey.

Infographics: Where Does All My Money Go

Infographic: Household Spending Statistics

Where does all the money go? See what typical Americans make and spend in a month.


Chase Freedom
Read ReviewApply for Chase Freedom
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99%-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between July 1 and September 30, 2014 at gas stations and Kohl's®
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Bonus Cash Back: 5% cash back in new bonus categories every 3 months, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2014:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2014): Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks® stores
Q2 (April 1 – June 30, 2014): Restaurants and Lowe’s® home improvement stores
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2014): Gas stations and Kohl’s®
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2014): Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores
Our Review: With its sign-up bonus, rotating 5% cash back categories, and 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, the Chase Freedom card is one of the most popular no-annual-fee rewards cards on the market. Because this card lets cardholders earn cash back in so many different ways, it fits a wide range of lifestyles... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

Discover it
Read ReviewApply for Discover it
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months - then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.
  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 Stars by over 4,000 cardmembers.*
  • No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for you paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements.*
  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.*
  • 100% U.S.- based customer service - anytime, day and night.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Cash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackNo Limits on RewardsExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection$0 Fraud Liability
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: 1% cash back on all other purchases
Bonus Cash Back: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that change throughout the year (requires free and easy sign-up.)*
Bonus Categories for 2014:
January - March: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants and Movies
April - June: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond®
July - September: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations
October - December: Categories for Holiday Shopping TBA August 2014
Limitations apply*. See Issuer's Website for additional program details.
Our Review: A generous cash back and 18-month balance transfer offer makes the Discover It Card the go-to card to keep more money in your pocket. When you consider the rewards, low fees, and good customer service, it’s pretty easy to see why Discover It is one of the most popular cash back credit cards available... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
10.99% - 22.99% Variable*
$0

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card
Read ReviewApply for Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card
  • Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 5% Cash Back in categories every quarter. Right now, on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 - 9/30/14
  • Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year, excluding the $100 cash back with this offer. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months. After that, the APR will be 12.99%-22.99% variable based on your creditworthiness*
  • No Annual Fee*
  • Click Apply Now to see pricing details
Introductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionBaggage InsuranceTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability Identity Theft Assistance
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. (The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year, excluding the $100 cash back with this offer. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.)
Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Bonus Cash Back: Earn 5% Cash Back in categories every quarter. Right now, on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 - 9/30/14
Our Review: If you’re looking for a cash back card with a 0% introductory APR and no annual fee, you should consider the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card. This card also offers rotating cash back bonus categories and a sign-up bonus. But big spenders beware: the annual $300 cash back limit might put a damper on your earnings... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0%* for 12 months*
0%* for 12 months*
12.99% - 22.99%* (Variable)
$0*

Discover it for Students
Read ReviewApply for Discover it for Students
  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR.*
  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.*
  • Human. Talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Looks out for you-since each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.*
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards and other information
StudentCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackNo Limits on RewardsExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection$0 Fraud Liability
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus Cash Back: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that change throughout the year (requires free and easy sign-up.)*
Bonus Categories for 2014:
January - March: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants and Movies
April - June: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond®
July - September: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations
October - December: Categories for Holiday Shopping TBA August 2014
Limitations apply*. See Issuer's Website for additional program details.
Our Review: College students looking to build credit, earn cash back, and pay no annual fee should consider the Discover It for Students. With the combined generous rewards program, intro APR on new purchases and no late fee on the first late payment, it's clear to see why this Discover student credit card is among the most popular offers for college students on the market today... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
See Terms
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
$0

Citi Dividend Card for College Students
Read ReviewApply for Citi Dividend Card for College Students
  • Build credit while earning cash back fast
  • Earn 5% Cash Back in categories every quarter. Right now, on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 - 9/30/14
  • Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.
  • Choose your payment due date
  • No Annual Fee
  • Click Apply Now for pricing details
StudentCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityEmergency Assistance Identity Theft Assistance
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases (The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.)
Bonus Cash Back: Earn 5% Cash Back in categories every quarter. Right now, on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 - 9/30/14
Our Review: Free of annual fees, the Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students offers 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. Cardholders also receive an introductory purchase APR and a variety of extra protections. Because this card does not require a co-signer from students who have an income, it can be a good pick for a first credit card... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0%* for 7 months*
N/A
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
$0*

Discover it chrome
Apply for Discover it chrome
  • 2% cash back automatically on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter - no sign-ups needed*. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months - then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • APR won't go up if you pay late.
  • No annual fee, no overlimit fee, no late fee on your first late payment and no foreign transaction fee*.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on your monthly statement so you can track your score's progress*.
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
  • U.S. based customer service - anytime, day and night.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply".
Cash Back RewardsDining RewardsGas RewardsCar Rental Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: 2% cash back automatically on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter - no sign-ups needed*. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
10.99% - 22.99% Variable*
$0

Discover it chrome for Students
Apply for Discover it chrome for Students
  • No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee*.
  • 2% cash back automatically on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter - no sign-ups needed*. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months - then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • APR won't go up if you pay late.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on your monthly statement so you can track your score's progress*.
  • Free text alerts can remind you when your payment is due. And free mobile app helps you stay on top of your account.
  • U.S. based customer service - anytime, day and night.
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards and other information.
StudentCash Back RewardsDining RewardsGas Rewards
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: 2% cash back automatically on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter - no sign-ups needed*. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 6 months
See Terms
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
$0

Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus
Apply for Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus
  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR.*
  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.*
  • Human. Talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Looks out for you-since each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.*
  • Experience our cash rewards with $20 Cashback Bonus® after you make your first purchase within 3 months of approval.*
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards and other information
StudentIntroductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsBonus Cash BackNo Limits on RewardsExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection$0 Fraud Liability
Cash Back Rewards Benefit: 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Experience our cash rewards with $20 Cashback Bonus® after you make your first purchase within 3 months of approval.*
Bonus Cash Back: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that change throughout the year (requires free and easy sign-up.)*
Bonus Categories for 2014:
January - March: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants and Movies
April - June: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond®
July - September: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations
October - December: Categories for Holiday Shopping TBA August 2014
Limitations apply*. See Issuer's Website for additional program details.
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/ASee Terms
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
$0

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard - Average Credit
Read ReviewApply for Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard - Average Credit
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else
  • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you've made.
  • No blackout date, no redemption fees, no limit on the points you can earn and no complicated set up.
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly providing you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account."
Cash Back RewardsPoint RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsNo Expiration on RewardsNo Limits on Rewards
Our Review: For people with average credit looking to earn reward points with no annual fee, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard is a good pick. The card's relatively high interest rate makes it best suited for people who plan to pay in full each month... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
24.99%* (Variable)
$0

Disclaimer: Discover is a paid advertiser of CreditDonkey.


Cash Back Rewards Benefits

Why Choose a Cash Back Credit Card

Here are some of the advantages of having a cash back credit card:

  • Cash back is like getting a discount every time you shop. Getting 3% cash back at the gas station is like getting 3% off your total bill. In fact, it's like easy money - you are essentially being paid to use your credit card.

  • Cash back is easy. Who wants to do math on reward points? With cash back, your return for spending is much easier to understand and the math is minimal (just pay attention to how you'll get the cash - through statement credit, gift card or an actual check).

  • Cash back makes more sense for some lifestyles than other rewards. Credit cards used to offer airline miles almost exclusively as rewards. Travel rewards and other travel perks are still available on some cards today, but for people who don’t travel much, a cash back reward structure is more useful, convenient, and practical.

What to Watch Out For

Consider these factors before and after you decide on a cash back credit card:

  • Interest rates: Credit cards with cash back rewards tend to have higher than average interest rates, so make sure you pay the balance in full each month. If you plan to carry a balance, look for a credit card with low interest instead.

  • Introductory offers: Credit card companies offer a variety of incentives to get you to choose their card, but many of them don’t last long. These range from 0% APR balance transfers for an introductory period, to bonus cash offers for signing up, to 5% cash back on categories that change.

  • Overspending: Since you’re earning cash back as a percentage of your spending, your rewards increase as you spend more. This can make overspending very tempting. Don’t spend more than you can afford, and always purchase wisely.

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

    Infographics: American Consumer

    Consumer Spending Statistics

    By Annette O'Connor - Money Tips
    With $1.3 trillion spent on arguably non-essentials items, CreditDonkey study reveals how consumers find the balance between prudence and extravagance.
    Infographics: Halloween by the Numbers

    Halloween Statistics

    By Meghan C - Money Tips
    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 ...
    Tip Jar

    Top 8 Cash Back Credit Card Myths

    By Grace C - Money Tips
    Take full advantage of cash back credit card benefits when you dispel the top 8 myths.
    One Dollar Floating Away in Small Pieces

    Cash Back Credit Card Secrets

    How do you pick the best cash back 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.

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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.