I researched Cash-Back credit cards so you don’t have to

by jakfrist

 

Since the summary table is all anyone cares about, here it is up front. I apologize in advance if any of this is incorrect, I aggregated it by hand in Excel

Issuer Card Name Card Reward Level Annual Fee APR – Low APR – High All Categories Other Limits Promo When spending
Citi Double Cash Mastercard $ – 15.74% 25.74% 2.0% $ – $ –
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Visa Signature $ – 16.24% 16.24% 2.0% Must be deposited into Fidelity Account to get 2% $ 100.00 $ 1,000.00
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard $ – 15.24% 25.24% 1.65% $ 150.00 $ 2,500.00
American Express Cash Magnet AMEX $ – 15.24% 26.24% 1.5% $ 150.00 $ 1,000.00
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Capital One $ – 16.24% 26.24% 1.5%
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa $ – 16.24% 28.24% 1.5% 1.8% w/ digital wallet (ex. ApplePay) $ 200.00 $ 1,000.00
Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa $ – 17.24% 25.99% 1.5% $ 150.00 $ 500.00
Ally CashBack Visa Signature $ – 15.24% 25.24% 1.1% 2.2% Groceries & Gas Must deposit to Ally account to get 2.2% / 1.1% (2% / 1% otherwise) $ 100.00 $ 500.00
Discover it Cash Back Discover $ – 14.24% 15.24% 1.0% 5% rotating categories
Discover it Chrome Discover $ – 14.24% 25.24% 1.0% 2% Gas \ 2% Dining Limit: $1,000 in purchases / qtr
PNC Cash Rewards Visa $ – 15.24% 25.24% 1.0% 4% Gas \ 3% Dining \ 2% Groceries Limit: $8,000 /yr
American Express Blue Cash Everyday AMEX $ – 15.24% 26.24% 1.0% 3% Groceries \ 2% Gas & Department Stores Limit: $6,000 / yr on groceries then 1% $ 150.00 $ 1,000.00
US Bank Cash + Visa Signature $ – 16.24% 25.74% 1.0% 5% Choose 2 Categories \ 2% Everyday Category Limit: $2,000 combined purchases / qtr $ 150.00 $ 500.00
Bank of America Cash Rewards Mastercard World $ – 16.24% 26.24% 1.0% 3% Choose Category \ 2% Groceries & Drugstores \ up to 75% bonus on all cash back w/ Premium Rewards Limit: $2,500 / qtr then 1% $ 150.00 $ 500.00
Chase Amazon Rewards Visa Signature $ – 16.49% 24.49% 1.0% 5% Amazon & Whole Foods (w/ Prime) \ 2% Gas, Dining, & Drugstores
Chase Freedom Visa $ – 17.24% 25.99% 1.0% 5% rotating categories Limit: $1,500 in purchases on selected category $ 150.00 $ 500.00
Citi Costco Anywhere Visa $ – 17.49% 17.49% 1.0% 4% Gas \ 3% Dining2% Costco Limit: $7,000 / yr on gas
Goldman Sachs Apple Card Mastercard $ – 13.24% 24.24% 1.0% 3% Apple \ 2% w/ ApplePay1% w/ Physical Card
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Capital One $ 39.00 26.98% 26.98% 1.5%
Alliant CU Signature Visa Signature $ 59.00 12.24% 15.24% 2.5% 3% all purchases for 1 yr
American Express Blue Cash Preferred AMEX Preferred $ 95.00 15.24% 26.24% 1.0% 6% Groceries \ 3% Gas Limit: $6,000 / yr on groceries then 1% $ 200.00 $ 1,000.00
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Capital One $ 95.00 16.74% 25.74% 1.0% 4% Dining & Entertainment \ 2% Groceries \ 8% VividSeats purchases 8% Cash Back @ Vivid Seats through May 2020 $ 500.00 $ 3,000.00

Best of the Best

Obviously, these are my personal opinions. This is not financial advice for your situation and you should do your own research before applying for any cards

Best All Categories Cash Back

If spending < $1,000 / mo.

Citi DoubleCash 2% interest with no annual fee and no restrictions makes this my current catch-all card.

If spending > $1,000 / mo.

Alliant CU Signature Visa if you plan to spend more than $11,800 / yr on this card then 2.5% cash back more than covers the $59 annual fee, especially in the first year when all purchases receive 3% cash back.

Categories

You Choose

US Bank Cash+ Select 2 categories of your choice and receive 5% cash back up to $2,000 / qtr is just about the best I found anywhere. Pretty much the only way I found to beat this is with a small army of cards dedicated to separate categories.

Dedicated

Costco and Amazon Amazon nets 5% and Costco nets 4% back total on purchases with those retailers if you have a membership. So if you already have a membership and frequently shop at Costco / Amazon both of those cards seem like pretty good deals as well.

Promos

By %

Chase Freedom UnlimitedUS Bank Cash+, & Bank of America Cash Rewards all offer $150 when you spend $500 in the first 3 months which is an astounding 30% back!

By $

Despite the annual fee Capital One Savor offers a $500 promo if you think you are going to spend more than $3,000 in the first 3 months. Personally I am not a fan of the annual fee associated with this card, but if you are just about those promo offers, $500 is nothing to scoff at.

Summary

Selfishly, I made this list for myself as I was deciding which cards to apply for. I already have strong credit, but I wanted to find cards that I could keep open long term to build my credit as my lifestyle changes, so my #1 rule was “No Annual Fees.” Without an annual fee there is no penalty to keeping the account open by purchasing a snickers once / qtr so my average account age can grow. While there are a few cards with annual fees that have nice benefits, I personally didn’t find that they wound up outweighing the chance that my lifestyle would change or a better card would come along and I would need to close the account.

Personally, I wound up applying for the Citi DoubleCash & US Bank Cash+. If I find that I am spending more than $1,000 on the Citi DoubleCash I will probably apply for the Alliant Signature Visa since I will be over the breakeven point. As for the US Bank Cash+, I really like this card because I can see keeping it open for quite a long time due to it’s great rewards and flexibility to adapt to life changes.

Please let me know if I made any mistakes or if you have a better card that should be on this list!

Edit:

I can’t keep up with all the comments so I am just going to list suggestions here without all the details

  • Uber Visa -$0 fee – 4% Restaurants \ 3% Travel \ 2% Online purchases \ 1% everything else
  • PayPal – $0 fee – 2.0% back
  • Alliant Platinum Rewards – $0 fee – 2% back
  • Capital One SavorOne – $0 fee – Dining & Entertainment
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