Cash back credit cards are one of the most popular types of rewards credit cards in the U.S. and if you are looking for a cash back credit card that offers exceptional rewards, you've come to the right place. The demand for good to excellent credit customers is so high right now that banks are offering some of the most lucrative offers in years. Whether you are single or married, like to shop in department stores or online stores, or want to save money on gas and groceries, you will be spoiled for choice with our top picks.
You may have noticed that each cash back card offers slightly different benefits. Some cash back credit cards may give you up to 5% rebates when you spend on certain categories of purchases each quarter of the year (for example, groceries, gas, home improvement, travel, etc), whereas others may give you a flat cash rebate throughout the year. You might want to consider getting more than one cash back card so that you can get discounts on different types of purchases, and benefit from each card's unique privileges.
Instead of using cash or debit cards to make purchases, why not use cash back credit cards so that you can save more money? You could also get additional cards for your family members so that they too can get cash rebates when they buy household items. All these cash rebates will mean huge savings and discounts for you over time.
Do note that for some cards, the cash back you earn may expire after a certain period of time, or if you don't spend on your card for a period of time. Some cards may also have a cap on the amount of cash back you can earn each year. If you are a big spender, you should go for cards that don't have any maximum limit on how much you can accumulate.
Cash Back Rewards Programs
Cash back rewards programs are similar to other rewards programs. You usually earn points of some kind, which can then be redeemed for statement credit or even as cold hard cash in the form of a check or a deposit into your checking or savings account.
Here you can find the main differences and benefits offered by some of the most popular cash back programs in the US.
Chase Ultimate Rewards®
This program is used by Chase rewards cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The cash back you earn is actually earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which you can then redeem for cash back at a rate of 1 point per 1 cent (100 points per $1).
You can choose to redeem your cash back for statement credit or for a direct deposit. A nice perk is that you can combine the rewards you've earned on several Chase credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.
Discover Cashback Bonus
If you have a cash back card from Discover, then this is the cash back program you use. Any Cashback Bonus you earn will be credited to your Cashback Bonus account within two billing periods.
This flexible program does offer a lot. It lets you redeem any amount of Cashback Bonus, anytime.
You can also use Cashback Bonus to pay at checkout on Amazon.com or redeem it for gift cards. You can redeem your Cashback Bonus for higher value gift cards from Discover partners, so redeeming for gift cards is one of the best ways to get more value from this program.
Alternatively you can redeem cash back as donations to charitable organizations. All things said, this is a very flexible cash back program.
American Express Reward Dollars
This is the cash back currency you earn when you use American Express cash back cards. You earn Reward Dollars, which are points Amex uses to track your cash back. You can redeem cash back as statement credit, but not as a bank deposit. Reward Dollars must be redeemed for cash back in $25 increments.
You can also redeem Reward Dollars for gift cards, and you can get good value redeeming this way, especially when discounted gift cards are available on the Reward Dollars website. You can also redeem cash back for merchandise. Terms apply.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards
If you like cold hard cash, this is a very rewarding cash back program to use. You earn cash rewards using cash back credit cards from Bank of America. You can redeem your cash rewards for statement credit, or as a deposit into a Bank of America® checking or savings account (or a Merrill Lynch Cash Management Account).
If you have enough savings, you may be eligible to enroll in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. This additional program lets you get a higher customer bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
The Gold tier applies if you have an average combined balance of $20K to $50K in your eligible Bank of America® checking or savings account over a 3-month period. If you qualify for the Gold tier, you will earn a 25% rewards bonus instead of the usual 10% on eligible Bank of America credit cards. That means if you redeem $200 worth of cash rewards as a deposit into your Bank of America® checking or savings account, you can get $250.
The Platinum tier applies if you have an average combined balance of $50K to $100K in your Bank of America® checking or savings account (in a 3 month period). You earn a 50% rewards bonus on eligible Bank of America credit cards when you redeem cash rewards into your Bank of America® checking or savings account. So $200 of cash rewards could give you $300.
The Platinum Honors tier is not for everybody. You need a 3-month average combined balance of over $100K in your Bank of America® checking or savings account to be eligible. But if you have that kind of money, this tier is very rewarding. You can get a 75% rewards bonus when you redeem your cash rewards from eligible Bank of America credit cards as a deposit into your Bank of America® checking or savings account. That means $200 worth of cash rewards becomes $350 when you redeem them this way.
How We Rate Cash Back Cards
Cash back cards are rated by GET.com based on bonus offers, cash back categories, maximum cash back you can earn and card fees. Our goal is to provide you with a clear picture of how a card performs compared to other similar cards.
We look at how cash back is earned and redeemed, how much cash back is worth in actual cash value, and whether cash back can be redeemed in different ways. We place a high emphasis on cards that let you earn cash back in popular categories like gas, groceries and restaurants.
Other important factors that feature in our card ratings are the presence or absence of caps on cash back earnings, whether or not cash back expires, and whether cash back is earned in fixed or changing categories. The annual fee, ongoing APR, introductory APR period, card benefits and other card fees are also accounted for.