8 Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2016

Cash 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.

Best Cash Back Cards

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!

Featured Offer: The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ card offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase. No need to keep track of rotating categories. It also comes with a 0% APR introductory rate for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. It gives no cardmembers a $150 bonus when they charge just $500 to the card in the first 3 months of card members. And it has no annual fee. Learn more here.

 1. Citi® Double Cash Card

Earn up to 2% cash back–1% on purchases + 1% when you pay for the purchase

This is the card I carry and use every day. You’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase and another 1% when you pay for the purchase. The card offers an excellent 0% introductory APR and all with no annual fee.

Bonus: None.

Cash Back Rewards: 1% cash back when you buy plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time

Fees: No annual fee.

Credit Needed: Excellent credit.

Introductory APR: 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months.

Bottom Line: An excellent cash back credit card without the need to fuss over rotating categories. You can get more details on this card here.

2. Discover it® – Cashback Match™ with No Annual Fee Review

5% cash back on select categories of purchases that change each quarter; 1% back on all other purchases; double cash back for the first year

Discover itThe Discover it® – Cashback Match™ with No Annual Fee Review 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: Discover will double all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers).

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 12 months on purchases and 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, no annual fee, and double cash back the first year are icing on the cake.

3. Chase Freedom® Card

1% cashback plus 5% on rotating categories; $150 cash bonus; no annual fee

Chase FreedomThis is another card I’ve carried for a long time. The Chase Freedom card offers 1% cash back on purchases. In addition, you can earn 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in select categories.

Bonus: Earn a $150 cash bonus when you charge at least $500 to the card in the first three months of card membership.

Cashback Rewards: 1% on purchases and 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter in select categories.

Fees: There is no annual fee.

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

Bottom Line: The Chase Freedom® is a top rated cash back card that offers a rich 0% introductory rate, a $150 cash bonus, and no annual fee.

4. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

2x miles on all purchases + 5% bonus every time miles are redeemed for statement credit

Barclaycard Arrival PlusThe 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 5% bonus when you redeem miles for a travel statement credit. In those instances, the card pays a whopping 2.1%.

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.

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.

5. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Earn 1.5% on all purchases + a one-time cash bonus. No annual fee

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.

6. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Earn up to 6% cash back + a $150 cash bonus

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers one of the highest cash back rewards available of up to 6% and a signup cash bonus. There is an annual fee.

Bonus: Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn Cash Back: 6% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% U.S. gas stations & select U.S. dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.

Fees: $75

Credit Needed: Excellent credit required.

Introductory APR: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate.

Bottom Line: An excellent cash back card that is well worth the annual fee. You can get more details on this card here.

7. Discover it® for Students-New! Good Grades Rewards

5% cash back in categories that change each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The only student card to make the list, the Discover it® for Students-New! Good Grades Rewards pays 5% cash back in select categories each quarter up to a maximum purchase amount plus 1% on all other purchases.  There is no annual fee, and rewards can be used to pay for purchases at Amazon.

Bonus: Earn $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn 5% on rotating categories up to the quarterly maximum; 1% on all other purchases.

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: A top rated offer for students.

8. Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card

A great everyday card with 2% cash back rewards on every single purchase and flexible redemption options.

One of very few 2% cash back earners, the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card enables its users to rack up points on everything they Fidelity Rewards Visaspend, regardless of the category. No need to remember to sign up for monthly categories or remember gas percentages versus groceries– you’ll earn 2% back whether you buy plane tickets or toilet paper. Depending on your goals, the redemption options are flexible: you have the choice to redeem reward points like a standard card (travel, merchandise, gift cards, or statement credit) OR deposit cash back funds directly into your Fidelity accounts. Getting 2% back on your monthly expenses and then automatically depositing those earnings into your child’s 529 Plan is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, for example.

Bonus: This card is enabled for Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. Cardmembers also have access to the 24-hour Visa Signature Concierge, for booking travel, concerts, and more.

Cash Back Rewards: Earn 2% cash back on every purchase you make, without worrying about categories. Accumulated cash back can then be deposited directly into as many as 5 of your existing Fidelity account(s), including brokerage, Cash Management, Fidelity-managed 529 College Savings Plan, or retirement accounts. If you meet your contribution limits for the year or would rather use your rewards elsewhere, you can opt for points instead, redeemable for travel, merchandise, gift cards, or a statement credit. Points never cap or expire.

Fees: No annual fee.

Introductory APR: No introductory APR is offered.

Bottom Line: An excellent card for everyday use with predictable rewards and flexible redemption options. Its balance transfer and foreign transaction fees make it less beneficial for world travelers, but is great for all of your domestic expenses.

Published or Updated: June 10, 2016
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!

    • Ray says:

      Two problems with the Pen Fed card:

      1. They no longer pay one-to-one on your points. A $50 gift card used to cost 5000 points. Now it costs 5880 points. No notification to the customers, they just devalued our points because they could. Do you really want to do business with such a dishonest bunch of people?

      2. They charge the customers to send statements! If you want a bill, you have to PAY for it! I, for one, remember to pay my bills because I receive them in the mail. Because Penfed stopped sending the bill, I always forget to pay it. It seems to me that issuing a bill is part of the credit card business. To charge the customer for the PRIVILEGE of receiving a bill is unbelievable!

  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.

  15. Lori says:

    Mr. Berger,

    I read your article titled, “The 8 Best Cash Back Credit Cards – June 2015”, and wanted to take a minute to write to you.

    As an official spokesperson at U.S. Bank, we were thrilled to see the U.S. bank Business Edge Cash Rewards Card on the list. However, I wanted to make you aware that we do offer an annual bonus feature of 25% based on the prior year’s Cash Rewards, up to $250 (if the account is open, current and otherwise in good standing following the Cash Rewards Enrollment Anniversary Date).

    Furthermore, the rewards never expire and there’s no limit on what can be earned. Please visit http://www.usbankedge.com additional information or let me know if you have questions. Thanks.

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