3 Credit Cards That Pay 2% Cash Back on All Purchases

The holy grail of cash back rewards cards are those that pay two percent on all purchases. We’re not talking about rotating categories, like the 5% cards. And we aren’t talking about rewards that are capped (5% rotating category cards cap the rewards you can earn). We are talking about true 2% cash back credit card offers.

I use just such a card virtually every day, but I knew that there were others. So I did some research, and my findings are below. One key thing to keep in mind is that with all cards that pay two percent cash back, points or miles, there is always a catch. As an example, the card I use (listed first below) pays 2%, but only if you use the rewards for travel.

With that said, here’s the list:

Capital One VentureCard #1: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is my primary credit card. I also use the business card version, called the Capital One Spark card. With these cards you earn 2 points for every $1 spent. If you use the points for travel, they are worth $0.01 each, making the card a true two percent card. If, however, you use the points for anything other than travel, the points are worth half that. My family and I travel enough to use all of our points on travel.

The beauty of this card is how you use the points. We book travel through various services (Priceline, Kayak, directly with airlines) and pay with our Venture card. Once the charges hit our account, we just log into Capital One and redeem points to pay for the travel. Capital One lists those charges that qualify as travel, and paying for them with points is as easy as selecting a check box. We’ve paid for everything from airfare and hotels to car rentals and even subway fare.

Card #2: The Fidelity Rewards American Express Credit Card is actually three different cards, each of which pays 2% cash back. So what’s the catch? The rewards are deposited into your Fidelity account, which is required to get the card. The difference between each card is the type of account. You have a choice between a retirement account, a 529 account, and a taxable investment account. And you can actually split the rewards to be deposited in multiple accounts.

Fidelity Rewards American Express 2% Credit Cards

Card #3: This card actually pays 2.2% when you redeem for travel as you get a 10% bonus. Any guesses which card pays so much? Hint: It was named the credit card ‘Best for Travel Rewards’ by Money Magazine.

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

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  • Named 'Best for Travel Rewards' Money Magazine, October 2013
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 15.99% or 19.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer — a $49 annual value!

If you know of other cards that pay as much or more in rewards on all purchases, leave a comment below.

Published or Updated: October 19, 2013
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.


  1. TheGooch says:

    cash back by definition means that the card pays you in money that you can use for any purposes , the same as cash in a checking account. You can save or spend it as you wish. none of these cards do that. So the title of this article is completely rubbish .

    • Rob Berger says:

      I use the Venture card and use the miles to reduce my statement balance dollar for dollar. I guess they could send me a check that I could then use to pay off the card, but I don’t see any practical difference.

  2. The new GM card pays back 5% on the first $5K in purchases, then 2% on everything after that, no annual fee. If you’re going to buy a new GM car, it’s a great deal, otherwise not so much.

    • Rob Berger says:

      Nick, the catch there is you have to use the rewards to buy a GM vehicle. But as you say, if that’s your plan, it can be a good deal. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Nancy Kurtz says:

    I have been using the Capitol one Venture card for two years and still don’t have enough points to buy an airline ticket. I was not clear on how you redeem the points once you booked your ticket. I thought that you had to have enough points to pay for the ticket. Do you redeem for cash?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Nancy, you redeem the miles after you’ve booked your travel using the Venture card. You do have to have enough miles to pay for the entire charge. But keep in mind that you can use the miles for any travel charges, including hotel and car rentals.

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