Top 10 Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2014

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best cash back credit cardsCash back credit cards are one of the best ways to put extra money in your pocket. With the top cash rewards giving you 2% or more on every purchase, and many offering bonus cash for new card members, the time is never been better to get a credit card that pays you to use the card. With some of the best cash back credit cards, you can even get 0% on purchases or balance transfers.

As the offers continue to improve, cash back credit cards are becoming more lucrative and currently, there are close to a dozen solid cash back credit card offers.  Should you find a card you feel belongs on this list, let us know, and we’ll add it!

1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

2x miles on all purchases + 10% bonus every time miles are redeemed for statement credit

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers some of the richest rewards currently available. While the standard cash back reward is 1%, this card offers rewards worth 2% when redeemed for travel. To make the card even more rewarding, they add a 10% bonus when you redeem miles for a travel statement credit. In those instances, the card pays a whopping 2.2%.

Bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. This is enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit.

Cash Back Rewards: Cardmembers earn 2 miles for every dollar spent, making the card a true 2% cash back card. Miles can be redeemed for travel statement credits starting at 2,500 miles for a $25 credit on purchases made within the last 120 days. Miles do not expire and there are no foreign transaction fees for overseas purchases.

Fees: There is an $89 annual fee that is waived the first year.

Credit Needed: As you would expect from one of the top rewards cards, excellent credit is required. Based on data provided by Credit Karma, the average credit score of those approved for this card is over 700.

Introductory APR: There is no 0% introductory offer with this card.

Bottom Line: For those that travel, this card offers one of the best cash back rewards programs you’ll find anywhere. Barclaycard also offers complimentary FICO Score access.

2. Discover it® chrome

2% cash back on gas and restaurants; 1% on everything else

A new card offer from Discover, the Discover it® chrome takes a simple approach to cash back rewards. Rather than offer rotating categories, the card offers 2% cash back on gas and restaurants up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus for this card

Cash Back Rewards: The rewards for this card are simple. You’ll earn 2% cash back on gas and restaurants on combined purchases up to $1,000 each quarter. All other purchases earn 1%.

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card or late fee on the first late payment. There is a 3% fee on each balance transfer.

Credit Needed: Although this card is fairly new with little historical data on credit scores, it will require excellent credit.

Introductory APR: The card offers 0% introductory APR for 14 months on both balance transfers and purchases.

Bottom Line: The card earns top rankings due to its excellent cash back program and 0% introductory offer. With Discover, you also get free access to your FICO credit score.

3. Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card

5% cash back on categories that change throughout the year; 1% cash rewards on other purchases

One of several cards that offer 5% cash back on rotating categories, the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card is Citi’s top cash back credit card. Earn 5% on select rotating purchase categories each quarter. It also offers a $100 sign-up bonus and 0% introductory APR.

Bonus: Earn a $100 bonus when you spend $500 on the card in the first three months.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter on select purchases categories that change every three months. You’ll earn 1% on all other purchases.

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card; there is a balance transfer fee.

Credit Needed: Excellent credit.

Introductory APR: 0% for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases.

Bottom Line: A solid cash back card with both good cash back rewards on rotating categories and a reasonable 0% introductory offer. You must enroll each quarter to be eligible for the 5% cash back.

4. Discover it®

5% cash back on select categories of purchases that change each quarter; 1% back on all other purchases

The Discover it® is Discover’s traditional 5% cash back on rotating categories card. In addition, it offers an extremely long 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, all with no annual fee. As with other Discover cards, you get free access to your FICO score.

Bonus: None.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn 5% cash back in categories that change throughout the year, up to the quarterly maximum. You must sign up for these offers each quarter. All other purchases earn 1%.

Fees: There is no annual fee for this card.

Credit Needed: Excellent credit.

Introductory APR: 0% introductory APR for 6 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers.

Bottom Line: One of the best 5% cash back card on rotating categories, with arguably the longest 0% balance transfer offer available. The free FICO score and no annual fee are icing on the cake.

5. Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Average Credit

Earn 2x points on gas and groceries; 1x points on all other purchases

The Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Average Credit makes our list because it offers strong rewards for those with average credit. Cardholders earn 2x points on purchases of gas, groceries, and utilities. The card pays 1x points on all other purchases. It also offers free access to your FICO score.

Bonus: None.

Cash Back Rewards: The card offers 2x points on purchases of gas, groceries, and utilities. Earn 1x points on all other purchases. Points can be used like cash to pay for purchases on the card.

Fees: No annual fee.

Credit Needed: Average credit.

Introductory APR: None.

Bottom Line: For those with average credit, this card offers good cash rewards with no annual fee. And with free access to your FICO score, cardholders can work on improving their credit.

6. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Earn 6% at supermarkets on the first $6,000 in annual purchases; 3% on gas and select department stores; 1% on all other purchases

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers up to 6% cash back at supermarkets for the first $6,000 spent annually, then 1%. It also offers 3% cash back on gas and select department stores, and 1% on all other purchases.

Bonus: None.

Cash Back Rewards: Cardholders earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in annual purchases at supermarkets, and 1% thereafter. The card also pays 3% cash back on gas and select department store purchases; 1% on all other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

Fees: Annual fee of $75.

Credit Needed: Excellent credit.

Introductory APR: 0% introductory APR on purchases.

Bottom Line: A top cash back card, but one that requires excellent credit and charges a $75 annual fee.

7. Discover it® chrome for Students

Earn 2% on gas and restaurant purchases up to the quarterly limit; 1% on all other purchases

The only student card to make the list, the Discover it® chrome for Students pays 2% cash back on gas and restaurants on the first $1,000 in quarterly purchases, and then 1% on all other purchases. There is no annual fee, and rewards can be used to pay for purchases at Amazon.

Bonus: None.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn 2% on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter on gas and restaurants. All other purchases earn 1%.

Fees: No annual fee.

Credit Needed: Designed for students with limited or no credit history.

Introductory APR: An excellent card for students. In addition to rewards program, cardholders receive free access to their FICO score.

Bottom Line:

8. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Earn 1.5% on all purchases

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card pays a solid 1.5% on all purchases. The card also offers a one-time $100 bonus and a 0% APR introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers, with no annual fee.

Bonus: $100 one-time bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first three months.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn 1.5% on all purchases.

Fees: No annual fee.

Credit Needed: Excellent credit required.

Introductory APR: 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers.

Bottom Line: An excellent choice if you do not want to hassle with rotating categories and you have excellent credit.

9. Fidelity® Investment Rewards® American Express® Card

Earn 2% on purchases paid to an eligible Fidelity account of your choice

The Fidelity® Investment Rewards® American Express® Card offers 2% on all purchases for Fidelity account holders. The rewards are paid directly into the eligible Fidelity account of your choice. There is no annual fee for the card, and rewards can be divided among multiple Fidelity accounts.

Bonus: None.

Cash Back Rewards: One of the most interesting cash back credit cards in our list, this card pays 2% on all purchases, but with a catch. The rewards must be deposited into an eligible Fidelity account, which are the Cash Management Account, brokerage account, Fidelity-managed 529 account, or Fidelity Retirement account.

Fees: No annual fee.

Credit Needed: Excellent credit required.

Introductory APR: None.

Bottom Line: A great cash back card for those that have a Fidelity account.

10. U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Cash Rewards Visa® Card

Earn 3% on cellular, gas and office supply store purchases; 1% on all other purchases

The only business cash back card to make the list, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Cash Rewards Visa® Card pays 3% cash back on cellular, gas and office supply stores, and 1% on all other purchases. There are no cap on rewards and no annual fee as long as at least one purchase a year is made with the card.

Bonus: None.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn 3% on cellular, gas and office supply store purchases and 1% on all other purchases.

Fees: No annual fee as long as at least one purchase is made with the card each year.

Credit Needed: Good credit.

Introductory APR: 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles.

Bottom Line: A strong card for those with small businesses looking to earn cash back on common business expenses.

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

Discover is a paid advertiser of this site.

Published or Updated: July 2, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Guy says:

    The wife and I love our True Earnings Card from Costco! Not only do we get a check from American Express at the end of the year, but we also get a check from Costco as well, you can’t beat that.

    • Rob Berger says:

      I have the card too, but I didn’t list it here for one reason–you have to wait until the end of the year to get your cash back rewards.

  2. Kevin says:

    I love rewards cards that give you cash back for things you buy every week, like groceries and gas. I’m a big fan of the Discover More card for this reason. I find it pretty hard to beat.

  3. Cash is king says:

    I wonder what Warren Buffet thinks about “cash back” credit cards?

    • Ben says:

      He probably wants to be taxed on it. We just got a sweet offer in the mail from Citi.. 5% cash back, 0% intro APY for 21 months!

  4. bob says:

    You left out American Express Clear. It’s very straight forward, 1% back on everything. No gimmicky multiple tiers that promise “up to” some percentage, but start out at only 0.25% Every $2,500 in spending, you get another $25 American Express gift/debit card. Not quite as convenient as just getting plain cash back but almost as good as long as you’re attentive to the expiry dates on the gift/debit cards (which are typically well out into the future)

  5. Scoottr says:

    Actually for the Pen Fed card you can get admitted to the credit union after you put $5 in a savings account and make a donation to a military families charity.

    This card is the best I have run across! Highly recommend it. Walmart counts as a supermarket no matter what you purchase there, so you get 2% back.

    Plus, being part of a credit union you get better interest rates on car loans and other loans.

    This is the best card out there folks…it is a Visa so is accepted everywhere!

  6. Mark says:

    The PERKSTREET Financial Debit Card recommended above is EVEN BETTER with special reference code below – 3% CASH (Or GIFT CARD) REWARD On All Debit Card Purchases For 90 Days – NO minimum checking account balance. You will earn regular perks after the 3-month period (90 days). Regular Perks are 2% for all debit card (non-pin) transactions any day your checking account balance is $5000 or more & 1% on days when your balance is under $5000 to start the day. There is no minimum balance. The Cash is awarded in the form of prepaid VISA gift cards ranging from $25-$100. If you choose store gift cards, redemptions start in increments of $5.

    • Rob Berger says:

      Note that PerkStreet is no longer available. The bank closed its doors in 2013.

  7. jim says:

    We have the Amex Costco card and the Citi dividend platinum card. The Costco card is great for 3% on restaurants and 3% on gasoline. The Citi card has the 5% rotating deals so we use that sometimes to maximize the rewards, like one quarter they had 5% on restaurants and another quarter it was 5% at department stores. I’m quite happy with both companies. Of course we pay off our balance in full every month.

  8. chat says:

    Plus, being part of a credit union you get better interest rates on car loans and other loans

  9. Mark says:

    While cash back sounds great, it isn’t an open invitation to spend loosely on credit. Also, for frequent flyers, the flyer miles cards quickly make a difference in what you spend on airfare. Analyze your spending to discover the best option for you.

  10. Dan says:

    The Citi ThankYou Premier and Preferred cards are both currently offering between $100-$300 in gift cards for new apps (I know, it’s not cash but close!)

    Also the Citi World Mastercard is giving $200 in cash after spending $500 with the card

  11. Willie DeJarnette says:

    It is pretty awesome to do research on all of the major credit cards and what type offers they can have.

  12. Nancy O'Kelly says:

    I am interested in a card that will not expire rewards after 5 years. Am being squeezed by wells fargo to use or lose points after 5 years.any suggestions? I am leaning toward barclays mc. I have costco am ex and am very happy with their cash back program. Please advise. . .

    • Rob Berger says:

      Nancy, with the Barclaycard MasterCard, your miles never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

  13. Sheryl says:

    Hello All: we have the Barclay Arrival+ MC and are very pleased so far. Personnel on the phone have been pleasant and responsive, and we earn extra points for posting travel stories on their auxiliary site — which is fun to do anyway! Have not yet hit the one-year mark so don’t know how we will feel about that $89 fee. We have always held cards that charge no annual fee, but this one might actually be worth it.

  14. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card is my favorite simply because there’s no rotating/specific categories to follow and earning 1.5% cash back on every purchases every day works for me. The $100 cash bonus makes it even better.

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