The Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2017

We’ve analyzed dozens of cash rewards cards to create this list of the best cash back credit cards. These offers include cash back of up to 6%, double cash back rewards, and cards with cash back bonuses.

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.

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. Discover it® – Cashback Match™

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 it Cashback MatchLearn More

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ 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: Good/Excellent credit.
  • Introductory APR: 0% introductory APR for 14 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.

Learn how to apply here.

2. Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®

1.5% cash back on all purchases + $200 cash bonus + 5% cash bonus on redemptions

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The Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® offers a very generous 1.5% cash back on all purchases with a 5% redemption bonus every time cash back is redeemed.

  • Bonus: First time cardholders will earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card ownership
  • Cash Back Rewards: 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases, no tier limits or spend hurdles to get through + 5% cash redemption bonus
  • Fees: No annual fee to own the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®
  • Credit Needed: Good/Excellent credit.
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months.  After that, the standard APR is 15.99% – 25.99% variable

Bottom Line: A top cash back credit card that doesn’t mess around with cash rewards. 1.575% cash back on all purchases, no exceptions.

3. Capital One® Quicksilver®Cash Rewards Credit Card

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

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The Capital One® Quicksilver®Cash Rewards Credit Card pays a solid 1.5% on all purchases. The card also offers a one-time $150 bonus and a 0% APR introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers, with no annual fee.

  • Bonus: $150 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.

Learn how to apply here.

4. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Earn up to 6% cash back + a $200 statement credit

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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 a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $200 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%),  for the first 6 months 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases (up to $200 back), 3% U.S. gas stations , 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Fees: $95
  • 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.

Learn how to apply here.

5. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Earn 1.5% on every purchase + $200 cash bonus

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa CardLearn More

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card is an excellent choice for an everyday credit card. Here’s a summary:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • No annual fee

In addition, it offers a 0% APR introductory offer on both balance transfers and purchases.

Bottom Line: A good all-purpose card with excellent cash back rewards, a cash bonus, and 0% APR introductory rate.

Learn how to apply here.

6. Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card

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

Fidelity Rewards VisaOne of very few 2% cash back earners, the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card enables its users to rack up points on everything they spend, 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: Get $100 after you spend $1000 in the first 90 days.
  • 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.


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 Fair credit
  • Introductory APR: An excellent card for students. In addition to its reward program, cardholders receive free access to their FICO score.

Bottom Line: A top rated offer for students.

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Cash Back Spending Comparison Table

If you’re having trouble picking the best cash back credit card for your needs, perhaps a few nifty tables will help.  I’ve taken three sets of data from the most recent 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey; all representing what the average household spent:

  • at the grocery store – $4,049
  • at restaurants – $3,154
  • on gasoline – $1,909

Let’s take a look at the six consumer cards on our best cash back credit card list and figure out what each of them would save if you spent the exact amount annually you see above.

Cash Back on Grocery Spending

Card Name
Cash Back % on Groceries
Annual Cash Back on Groceries
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6%
$242.94
Discover it® - Cashback Match™*
2%
$80.98
Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card
2%
$80.98
Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®
1.575%
$63.77
Capital One® Quicksilver®Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5%
$60.74
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
1.5%
$60.74

Cash Back on Restaurant Spending

Card Name
Cash Back % at Restaurants
Annual Cash Back at Groceries
Discover it® - Cashback Match™*
2%
$63.08
Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card
2%
$63.08
Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®
1.575%
$49.68
Capital One® Quicksilver®Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5%
$47.31
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
1.5%
$47.31
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
1%
$31.54

Cash Back on Gas Spending

Card Name
Cash Back % at the Pump
Annual Cash Back on Gas
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
3%
$57.27
Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card
2%
$38.18
Discover it® - Cashback Match™*
2%
$38.18
Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®
1.575%
$30.07
Capital One® Quicksilver®Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5%
$28.64
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
1.5%
$28.64

*Editors Note – Please note that for the tables above, I’ve made the assumption that the Discover it® Cashback Match™ offers a 5% cash back quarterly category for gas, groceries and restaurants every calendar year (which they have for the last 5 years).  I’ve also assumed that quarterly spending is the same across all four quarters.

Lastly, I did not take into consideration the double cash back the Discover it® Cashback Match™ gives cardholders in the first year.  To get an accurate reading on what the average family household would save in the first year, all other cars cash back remains the same, and the Discover it® Cashback Match™ is doubled.

Topics: Credit Cards

20 Responses to “The Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2017”

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 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)

  4. Scoottr

    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!

    • 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Nancy O'Kelly

    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. . .

  10. 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.

  11. 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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