Best Cash Back Credit Cards of December 2021
This fall, take a look at these cash back credit cards offering some of the most lucrative rewards rates and signup bonuses without charging exorbitant fees. If you can’t seem to settle on a cash back card for your wallet, any of the cards on this list can help guide your decision.
- Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card: Best for Flat-Rate Rewards
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for Bonus Rewards
- Discover it® Miles: Best for First-Year Rewards
- Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best Cash Back Card with Rotating Categories
- Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Fair Credit
- Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Dining and Entertainment
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Best Cash Back Card for Flat-Rate Rewards: Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card helps you maximize the cash back you earn by offering a great flat-rate cash back on all purchases, all of the time.
- Earn up to 2% cash rewards on all purchases.
- Earn $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within first three months of account opening.
- 15 months of 0% intro APR financing on both new purchases and qualifying balance transfers
- No annual fee
- 3% foreign transaction fee
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers 2% cash rewards every time you make a purchase, with no limits, categories or gimmicks. These cash back rewards apply to all purchases and there’s no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn.
This card also offers you a $200 new account bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. You also get 15 months of 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers (after that the standard APR applies) with a 3% balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever is greater). Balance transfers must be completed within the first 120 days of account opening to receive the introductory offer. There’s also no annual fee for this card.
Best Cash Back Credit Card for Bonus Rewards: American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card
When it comes to earning up to $350 of cash back on purchases you make the most, this card can’t be beat.
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- Unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit.
- $350 welcome bonus after you spend $3,000 in first 6 months of card membership.
- 12 months of 0% intro APR on new purchases.
- $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
- 6% cash back at U.S supermarkets is limited to your first $6,000 spent each calendar year (then 1%).
There are a lot of bonus cash back options to get excited about with this card. First, there’s the whopping 6% cash back you receive on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year. You also receive 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% back on transit and at U.S. gas stations. You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. This gives you the chance to earn up to $400 in cash back each year on groceries alone.
Earn $350 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership (received in the form of statement credits). You’ll also enjoy 12 months of 0% intro APR financing on new purchases (after that the standard APR applies). All of these opportunities to earn cash back make it well worth the card’s $95 annual fee, which is currently waived the first year.
See Rates & Fees. Terms apply*
Best for First Year Rewards: Discover it® Miles
The Discover it Miles Card offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent and miles are worth one cent each towards cash back. Plus, Discover will match your miles after your first year to give you a total of three miles per dollar, worth 3% of your spending as cash back.
- Earn 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent, with no limits.
- Earn a rewards match during your account’s first year.
- 0% Intro APR for 14 months on purchases.
- Redeem reward miles for travel statement credits or cash back.
- Strong customer service.
- No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
- The Discover card offers few cardholder benefits.
- No sign-up bonus.
The Discover it Miles Card can either be used as a cash back card or a travel rewards card since you can redeem your Miles for cash back or travel. You’ll receive unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar spent on all purchases and Discover will match the miles you’ve earned at the end of your account’s first year. This gives you an amazing 3% cash back on all purchases made during your first year.
New cardholders will receive 14 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and a lowered intro balance transfer rate of 10.99% APR for the first 14 months (after that the ongoing rate applies). Discover is also well known for its excellent customer service and has very friendly policies such as no penalty interest rate, automatically waiving your first late payment fee and no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
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Best Cash Back Card with Rotating Bonus Categories: Chase Freedom FlexSM
This new version of the popular Chase Freedom Card (no longer offered) now offers valuable permanent bonus categories on top of it’s 5% quarterly bonuses.
- Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within first three months of account opening. You also receive 5% back at gas stations, for up to $6,000 spent in your account’s first year.
- Earn 5% cash back in merchant categories that change each quarter (up to $1,500 per quarter), and 5% cash back on travel when purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants and drugstores.
- New accounts receive 15 months of 0% intro APR financing on new purchases.
- 3% foreign transaction fee.
- This card is part of the Mastercard payment network, so it isn’t accepted at Costco.
The Chase Freedom has long been famous for offering 5% cash back on purchases from featured merchants or categories of merchants. This is still offered, however, the new Freedom Flex also features 5% cash back on travel when purchased through Chase Ultimate Reward, plus 3% cash back on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), and 3% cash back on drugstore purchases. You also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases and there’s no annual fee.
Best for Fair Credit: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Just because you don’t have perfect credit doesn’t mean you can’t earn valuable cash back. The Capital One QuicksilverOne is the perfect card for those with good – fair credit that want to earn rewards on their purchases.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- Available to applicants with average credit.
- Automatic account review for higher credit line after making your first six on-time payments.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- $39 annual fee.
- Relatively high standard APR.
The QuicksilverOne Card from Capital One allows you to earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits. This is a competitive rate for a cash back card, but what makes it so unique is that it’s available to people with less than perfect credit. As long as you have fair credit, you’ll have a good chance of qualifying for this card.
Cardholders will enjoy earning cash back on all purchases, just like your friends with excellent credit. This card has a $39 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fees.
Best for Dining and Entertainment: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
Even if you’re only ordering takeout and delivery, you can still earn great cash back on your dining and entertainment purchases.
- 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and select streaming services, and 3% at grocery stores.
- One-time $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening.
- Redeem rewards with Amazon.com or PayPal.
- Cardholders receive access to premium experiences like VIP tickets and 5-star meals.
- $95 annual fee.
- Earn only 1% cash back on most purchases.
With the Capital One Savor Rewards Card, you can earn 4% cash back on dining (includes restaurants, takeout and delivery) and entertainment purchases, plus 4% on popular streaming services. Grocery store purchases will earn 3% cash back and all other purchases will earn 1% cash back.
New applicants can earn a $300 cash back bonus after using your card to spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.
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Frequently asked questions about cash back credit cards
Q. Do cash back credit cards charge an annual fee? Most do not. However, you may want to consider getting a card with an annual fee as the additional rewards make up for it. Cards designed for those without excellent credit, like the Capital One Savor, will often have an annual fee.
Q. Do cash back credit cards have low interest rates? Cash back rewards cards will typically have higher standard interest rates than similar cards that don’t offer rewards. So if you’re expecting to carry a balance, then you should look for a low interest rate card that doesn’t offer rewards. However, if you have excellent credit, you should expect to receive an interest rate that’s at or below the national average of about 15% APR.
Q. Do cash back credit cards come with 0% APR introductory financing offers? Yes, several cash back credit cards offer 0% APR introductory financing. These offers can be valid for new purchases, balance transfers or both.
Q. How can you redeem your cash back rewards? Each cash back credit card varies. Some cash back credit cards only let you redeem points for statement credits, while others will directly deposit cash into your bank account. Many also give you the option to redeem your rewards for gift cards, cash back, travel or merchandise.
Q. Do most cash back credit cards require very good or excellent credit? To qualify for the best cards, you typically need a credit score of 740 or higher. However, there are some cards that you can be approved for with fair or good credit. Consider the Discover it card as well as the QuicksilverOne Card from Capital One if your credit isn’t excellent.
How we chose the best cash back cards
To find the best cash back cards, we first divided the market into the six most popular types of cards. Then we looked at the cash back credit cards offered by all of the major card issuers. Each of their cash back credit card offers were examined and compared to other cash back cards. We looked at not just the rates of cash back offered, but other factors such as limits to the amount of cash back you could receive, fees charged and cardholder benefits provided.
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