Cashback credit cards are a convenient and simple way to earn rewards for your purchases and consumer behavior, without some convoluted reward system. If you use your credit cards regularly at the gas pump or grocery store, then you would probably benefit greatly from exploring cash back credit card options.
It can be hard to know where to start if you do not know much about how this stuff works though. So we put together this guide on the best cashback credit cards of 2021. These cards were picked for their cashback reward systems, rates, and other benefits.
Table of Contents
- Best Cashback Credit Cards
- How Does a Cashback Credit Card Work?
- How to Choose a Cash Back Rewards Card
Best Cashback Credit Cards
- Best Overall Cashback Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Best for Groceries: AmEx Blue Cash Everyday
- Most Versatile: US Bank Cash Visa Signature Card
- Best for Amazon Shopping: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited – Best Overall Cashback Card
With a name like Freedom, what would you expect but a card with a flexible cash back rewards system, high flat rate, and bonus spending categories? The Chase Freedom Unlimited card comes with a high 1.5% flat rate and good bonsu spending categories, including 3% for dining, 3% for drugstores, and 5% on all travel. The card also has no annual fee, a $200 new member bonus, and a special 0% intro APR period for 15 months.
This card also comes with a bonus redemption threshold if you spend more than $500 in the first three months. That is one of the best bonus thresholds out of the cards we could find. The flat spending rate of 1.5% is a bit lower than some other cards, but the high rates for select spending categories more than make up for the slightly smaller flat rate.
You can redeem your Chase Freedom points as a statement credit on your monthly bill or as a direct deposit into a bank account. The threshold for claiming rewards is $25 (2,500 points). It also offers a decent length 15 month 0% APR intro period and there is no annual fee for the card.
- Great intro APR period
- High rates for spending categories
- Low bonus threshold
- High limits
- High APR
- High credit requirements
AmEx Blue Cash Everyday – Best for Groceries
The AmEx Blue Cash Everyday card combines a high credit limit with a flat 1% cashback rewards system on all purchases. Special categories for this care include 3% for supermarket purchases and 2% for gas stations and select department stores. This car also comes with a very unique sign up bonus: You get 20% off purchase from Amazon up to $150 for the first 6 months of the card. Thus, the AmEx Blue Cash Everyday is a really good card if you like to shop online.
The card also has a forgiving payment structure where you can split purchases of $100 or more into monthly payments with a fixed percentage fee. The cash back rewards system is easy to access and you can start redeeming rewards with a direct deposit or statement balance credit when you have $25. The card has no annual fee and there is a generous 15 month 0% APR intro period.
The 3% on supermarkets up to $6,000 is a great reason to choose this card if you spend a lot on groceries and gasoline. You can also get up to $100 back when you spend more than $2,000 in the first 6 months.
- 20% off Amazon for first 6 months
- High grocery store rate
- 15 month 0% APR period
- $0 annual fee
- High bonus threshold of $2,000
- Not as good for retail purchase
US Bank Cash Visa Signature Card – Most Versatile
The US Bank Cash Visa Signature Card stands out for one major reason: You can pick up to two spending categories to get a large 5% cash back rebate for the first $2,000. You also get 2% cashback on everyday purchases like gas and groceries, as well as 1% cashback on all other purchases. The US Bank card also provides a $150 bonus after the first $500 of eligible purchase, a very low threshold for cash back bonuses.
You also get a 0% APR period for the first 12 billing cycles; lower than some of the other cards that we have looked at but fairly decent nonetheless. The card has no annual fee and you can redeem your cash anytime online through US Bank’s website or mobile app. You can get your rebates as a credit on a monthly statement or a direct deposit to a US Bank Account.
Overall, this card is the most versatile one we have covered because you can choose the spending categories for the highest rebate.
- Choose two categories for spending rebates
- Lots of bonus categories
- No annual fees
- $500 bonus rewards threshold
- Only 12 month 0% APR period
- Bonus categories you can choose are different each quarter
- 3% foreign transaction fees
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card – Best for Amazon Shopping
This card is basically a necessity for anyone who shops a lot on Amazon. The Amazon Visa Signature Rewards card gives a flat 1% rate on all eligible purchases and an excellent 5% rate on both Amazon and Whole foods purchases. Considering that you can buy almost anything on Amazon, that is a pretty sweet deal. The 2% rebate on gas stations, drugstores, and restaurants is a nice touch as well. Amazon will also throw in a free $100 gift card when you sign up and get approved for a card.
Unfortunately, the card does not offer an 0% intro APR period but you can start redeeming points at values as low as 2000 ($20). There is also no annual fee and you can get accepted even if your credit is not absolutely stellar. Very few other cards have an Amazon bonus this high so it’s definitely worth checking out.
You are obviously given the option to use your cash rewards as Amazon credit. Amazon makes it easy as you can just apply points directly from the checkout page on your Amazon account. You can also get those rewards as a direct deposit, even though Amazon doesn’t really mention this option.
- Great for shopping at Amazon and Whole Foods
- 2% cashback on everyday purchase
- $100 Amazon gift card on approval
- Relatively low credit requirements
- No 0% intro APR period
- Not good for non-Prime members
How Does a Cashback Credit Card Work?
Cash back credit cards give cardholders special rebates when they buy things using the card. Cash back rewards are often literally cash rewards, but can also include some kind of point system or airline miles. With a cash back rewards card, you get a small percentage back of every purchase you make.
For example, say you have a credit card that says 1% cashback on all purchases. If you paid $10 for something with the card, you would get $1 in cash (approximately, there are a couple other details). Some cashback cards will give increased rewards for certain types of purchases, such as 5% cash back for groceries or gasoline.
Once you build up cash rewards, you can claim them. The way you claim cash rewards differs depending on your card but most will give you a statement credit, direct deposit, or paper check in the mail. Some points systems will let you redeem values for cash, gift cards, discounts and other rewards. The details are different for every cashback credit card, so make sure you read the fine print and know how the rewards system works.
How to Choose a Cash Back Rewards Card
Here are some simple guidelines for picking a cash back rewards card.
- Cash rewards. Make sure that you are looking for cards with actual cash rewards. Some cards might only offer airline miles or points. Actual cash rewards are the least hassle and the most versatile types of cashback rewards systems.
- Flat rate. Try to find a card that has a flat cashback rate, preferably 1%-2%. Variable rates can be a hassle to deal with and there is a lack of consistency. If you have a flat rate, you can easily figure out how much you get back for each purchase.
- Category rates. Also, if there is some category that you like to spend frequently on, you can try to find a card that will give cash back for that category of purchases. For example, cards might give bonus rates for groceries or retail stores.
- Sign up bonuses. Keep an eye out for any signup bonuses as well. For example, some cards will give a promotional 0% interest rate for a few months. Or, a new card could give you a boosted cash back rate for the first 6 months. Taking advantage of these bonuses lets you get the most out of your card.
Cash back rewards are a great option if you like to use credit cards and want to make them work for you. Cashback rewards are a very convenient way of rewarding your consumer behavior. However, make sure that you understand all the specifics about how rewards work.