Cash Back Cards You Need in Your Wallet

Cash Back Cards You Need in Your Wallet
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Whether you rely on a credit card, a debit card or a combination of both, chances are, you have some plastic in your wallet. Credit and debit cards make it easy to buy items online and in stores as well as make travel arrangements while having the peace of mind that you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges. But another big benefit of credit and debit cards is that, with the right ones, you can earn cash back as you spend, saving you a little money every year.

Best Limited Cash Back Cards

Some of the best cash back deals you’ll get are with limited cash back cards. There are pros and cons to this type of card. The con is that you’ll earn the higher cash back amount on spending only in select categories. But the biggest pro is that you’ll earn a higher rate than you’d get with other cards.

  • The Citi Custom Cash Card is tough to beat when it comes to cash back. You’ll get ​5 percent​ cash back in the category in which you spend the most in each quarter. Eligible categories are dining, fuel, groceries, travel, transit, streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment. You’ll also earn ​1 percent​ back on all other purchases.
  • The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card can really pay off for those who spend heavily on groceries and streaming services. You’ll earn 6 percent back on up to $6,000 per year on groceries and 6 percent cash back on select streaming services. This is in addition to a steady 1 percent back on all other purchases.

Best Unlimited Cash Back Cards

With many limited cards, you’ll still earn a small amount of cash back on purchases that aren’t in special categories. But there are some cards that give you a higher rate than ​1 percent​ no matter what you’re buying.

  • The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers a bonus to kick off your membership. You earn a $200 cash reward bonus if you spend at least $1000 during your first three months. After that, you’ll earn ​2 percent​ cash back on all purchases you make using your card.
  • The Citi® Double Cash Card lets you earn ​2 percent​ cash back on every dollar you spend. You get ​1 percent​ when you make the purchase, followed by ​1 percent​ when you pay it off. This does extend the cash back period a little, but as long as you pay your balance each month, you likely won’t notice the slowdown.

Cash Back Debit Cards

You don’t have to sign up for a credit card to earn cash back on your expenses. There are some debit card options that will let you spend without having to worry about interest.

  • The Discover Cashback Debit Card provides a simple, quick way to earn cash back. You’ll earn ​1 percent​ cash back on up to ​$3,000​ in purchases each month.
  • The Empower Debit Card allows you to earn up to ​10 percent​ cash back by taking advantage of special offers. You’ll have to look at the current offers in the app and choose the one you want to activate.

Introductory Credit Card Offers

Some cards give you bonus points during your earliest months as a cardholder. These can be limited-time offers, so they’re subject to change at any time. Make sure you take a look at annual fees, APR and the points you’ll earn after that term is up to get the best deal.

  • The American Express® Gold Card issues points that you can redeem for gift cards or merchandise and even use to book travel. It issues ​75,000​ points as long as you spend at least ​$4,000​ in the first ​six months​ that you have the card. Additionally, you’ll earn ​4 points​ for every dollar spent on dining and groceries, ​3 points​ for flights booked through American Express and ​1 point​ per dollar on all other purchases
  • The American Express Platinum Card® gives you ​125,000​ points with ​$6,000​ in purchases in the first ​six months​. that you have the card. You’ll also get ​10 points​ for every dollar you spend on up to ​$25,000​ in purchases with certain restaurants and small businesses in the first ​six months​.

Cash Back on Everyday Expenses

If you’re limited to certain categories in the cash back you’re earning, it’s important to make sure those categories are useful to you. Cards that issue rewards for gas purchases or food purchases, for instance, will typically give you bigger benefits than those that offer rewards for clothing or streaming service subscriptions.

  • The Savor Rewards Card from Capital One really pays off for dining and groceries. You’ll get ​4 percent​ back on dining, entertainment and streaming services and ​3 percent​ on groceries.
  • The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card allows you to earn ​5 percent​ back on your Amazon Prime purchases, as well as any purchases you make at Whole Foods with this card. You can even power up to ​10 percent​ cash back on select Amazon Prime limited-time offers.

Credit-Building Cash Back Cards

No matter where your credit score stands, chances are you can benefit from an improvement. Credit-building cards give you the tools you need to make sure your score is going in the right direction.

  • The QuicksilverOne Card from Capital One gives you ​1.5 percent​ cash back on all your purchases while helping you build credit. In as little as ​six months​ after getting your card, your account will be reviewed for a credit line increase. Your Capital One account also gives you access to monitor your credit score.
  • The Discover It® Student Cash Back Card is good for college students who might have a tough time getting a credit card. This card is designed specifically to give young people a chance to start building credit. You’ll earn ​5 percent​ with student-friendly categories like Amazon, grocery stores and gas stations, along with an end-of-year dollar-for-dollar match for all the cash you’ve earned.
  • The Petal 2 Visa Credit Card is designed specifically for building credit, giving you access to credit without requiring a credit history. Credit lines start at ​$500​. You’ll earn ​1 percent​ cash back on all purchases, with up to ​1.5 percent​ cash back for on-time payments. They also issue ​2​ to ​10 percent​ cash back with select merchants.

Travel Rewards Cards

Jetsetters typically rely heavily on their credit cards. But whether travel is for work or leisure, you can earn cash for every dollar you spend.

  • The Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card is for travelers who are flexible in their planning. You’ll earn ​5 percent​ cash back on up to ​$1,500​ in purchases in self-activated bonus categories, but you’ll also get ​5 percent​ back on any travel you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card is a good choice if you don’t mind the ​$95​ annual fee. It gives you ​5 points​ for every dollar spent on travel booked through them. You’ll also earn ​3x points​ for each dollar you spend on dining and ​2x points​ on travel you purchase outside of Chase.
  • The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Card is for business travelers. You’ll earn ​3 points​ for every dollar spent on shipping, advertising, internet, as well as utilities and travel. All other purchases earn ​1 point​ per dollar.

Mobile Wallet-Friendly Cards

You can add any credit card to your mobile wallet, so there are plenty of other types that fit in this category. But these cards stand out by being geared toward mobile users.

  • The Apple Card has no fees, a simple design and is made for your phone. You’ll earn ​3 percent​ cash back on all your Apple purchases, along with ​2 percent​ cash back on purchases you make using your iPhone or Apple Watch. There are also special cash back offers with select retailers.
  • The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card lets you take advantage of extra cash back whether your phone is Android or iOS. You’ll get ​3 points​ for each dollar you spend using your mobile wallet on Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, Samsung Pay or LG Pay®. You’ll also get ​3 points​ for every dollar you spend on travel.

Read More:Adding a Card to Apple Pay

No Annual Fee Cards

While many cash back cards don’t come with an annual fee, you may find some do. It’s important to pay close attention before applying for a card.

  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card has no annual fee and lets you earn ​3 percent​ back on dining and drugstores and ​5 percent​ on up to ​$12,000​ in grocery purchases made in the first year. You'll get ​1.5 percent​ cash back on all other purchases.
  • The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card will give you an unlimited ​1.5 percent​ cash back on all purchases along with no annual fee.

Low Interest Rate Cards

It’s important, as you’re considering a new credit card, to look at how much you’ll pay in interest. A high APR might negate any cash back you’re earning. Some cards keep the interest rate low while also helping you earn rewards.

  • The Citi Rewards+® Card gives you a full ​15 months​ with no interest. After that, you’ll pay between ​13.49 and 23.49 percent​ APR based on your creditworthiness. As for cash back, you’ll earn ​2 points​ per dollar on spending at grocery stores and gas stations and ​1 point​ on all other purchases.
  • The Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards provides a lower interest rate if you’re willing to set up autopay. Interest rates go as low as ​8.99 percent​, topping out at ​29.99 percent​, so it’s worth checking out the interest rate for which you'll qualify.


There are many things to consider before choosing a credit card. Points can be great, but make sure you understand eligibility requirements before you sign up for a card. You may find that points are only available in certain spending categories. Also look closely at any annual fees or higher interest rates to ensure any savings won’t be negated by what you’re spending each month.