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Highest Cash Back Credit Cards

7 min read
Brendan Harkness By Brendan Harkness Jul 09, 2020 | Updated Jul 29, 2020

Want great rewards? How about simple redemption systems that let you get those rewards quick and easy?

We’ve rounded up the most rewarding cash back credit cards on the market. They offer 5% back or more for certain purchases, a pretty significant discount you can take advantage of over and over again.

5% cash back means you’ll get a minimum 5% return on your spending, usually in the form of a statement credit. Spend $100, get $5 in cash back.

If you want to earn a little back for every purchase you make, these cards should be on your radar.

Insider tip

Cash back cards usually aren’t too complicated, but if you really want to maximize your credit card, there are some ways to boost the value of the cash back rewards you earn in some cases. We’ll show you how.

What’s the Highest Cash Back Credit Card?

Here’s a quick summary of the six cards with the highest cash back rates:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$95
Regular APR13.99–23.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Groceries and gas are necessities. Why not have a card that’s great for both?

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) delivers, offering the best rate you’ll find at U.S. supermarkets along with a competitive rate for gas.

As for the other bonus categories, they’re nothing to sneeze at, either: Transit covers rideshares like Uber and Lyft, and who doesn’t use at least one streaming service? (The list of eligible services is extensive, covering all the usual suspects like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, and then some.)

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back for:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back for:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $250 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Discounts or extra cash back at a changing selection of retailers
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Register with ShopRunner for free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers.
  • Entertainment Access: Exclusive discounts to dining events, concerts, sports, and shows
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Return Protection, Extended Warranty, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 13.99–23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $95
Insider tip

If the Blue Cash Preferred looks good but you don’t spend too much in its categories, consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review). It’s a similar card with no annual fee and lower cash back rates. (Rates & Fees)

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APRSee Terms

The information related to Discover it® Cash Back has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The Discover it® Cash Back (Review) boasts a unique offer that puts it near the top of the cash back pecking order. Like all Discover credit cards, not only will you get handy reward categories for no annual fee — you’ll also get double cash back for every purchase in your first year.

That’s an excellent find on a card that gives you 5% cash back on a changing selection of purchases, which rotates every three months and typically includes everyday expenses like groceries, gas, and dining. Check out the 2020 categories below, with 2019’s for comparison.

After the first-year bonus you’ll end up with an unrivaled 10% cash back! And non-category purchases will cash out at 2% back, on par with the very best flat-rate cash back cards.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate every three months (up to $1,500 spent per quarter; activation required)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: Get double cash back for the first year, provided at the end of the first year
Quarter 2020 Categories 2019 Categories
January – March
  • Grocery Stores
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Grocery Stores
April – June
  • Gas Stations
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Gas Stations
  • Uber
  • Lyft
July – September
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
October – December
  • Amazon.com
  • Target.com
  • Walmart.com
  • Amazon.com
  • Target
  • Walmart.com

Key Features

  • Free FICO credit score: Track your FICO Score 8 over time, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Social Security number alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites.
  • New account and inquiry alerts: Activate alerts to see if any new accounts or credit inquiries appear on your Experian credit report.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
Insider tip

In college? There’s another card made for you in Discover’s lineup, with the same great rewards program: Discover it® Student Cash Back (Review).

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.99% - 23.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it’s automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠

Like the Discover card above, the Chase Freedom® (Review) provides 5% back in categories that switch every three months. In this case you’ll also earn 5% back on grocery stores and Lyft purchases, a timely addition as rideshares become more popular.

5% is a great rate, but here’s a neat trick to get an even better return on your spending. If you also have certain other cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards family, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) or Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review), you can expand your redemption options by transferring your rewards from the Freedom over to that other card, where they can be worth more.

Rather than getting $1 in value for every $1 in cash back, like you normally would, you could get $1.25, $1.50, or even $2.00 or more through point transfers to partner airlines and hotels. That’d boost your cash back equivalent with the Freedom to upwards of 6.25%, 7.5%, or even 10% — not too shabby, but it takes a bit of extra work.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on:
    • Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
    • Grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases; up to $12,000 spent in the first year)
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate every three months (up to $1,500 spent per quarter; activation required)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
Quarter 2020 Categories 2019 Categories
January – March
  • Gas Stations
  • Streaming Services
  • Internet, Cable, Phone Services
  • Gas Stations
  • Tolls
  • Drugstores
April – June
  • Grocery Stores
  • Streaming Services
  • Fitness Club & Gym Memberships
  • Grocery Stores
  • Home Improvement Stores
July – September
  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Gas Stations
  • Streaming Services
October – December TBA
  • Department Stores
  • PayPal
  • Chase Pay

Key Features

  • DoorDash membership: Get a free membership (DashPass) for three months, and a 50% discount for the next nine months; a DashPass provides free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn extra cash back or find discounts with the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers programs.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call your concierge anytime for non-emergency help with reservations, finding gifts, travel plans, and more.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Roadside Dispatch
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$0*
Regular APR13.99% - 23.99%* Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn up to $550 cash back in the first year.
  • $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores.
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
  • No limit on total cash back earned.
  • 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 13.99% – 23.99%
  • No annual fee*
  • Great Offer from U.S. Bank, a 2020 World’s Most Ethical Company® – Ethisphere Institute, February 2020

Sick of credit cards that are always bossing you around, telling you where to shop to get the best rewards?

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card gives you the freedom to pick two (!) 5% cash back categories every three months, out of a healthy selection that includes common expenses like ground transportation along with rare finds like home utilities, department stores, furniture stores, and streaming services.

If you’re the type to plan out big purchases in advance, you can adjust your 5% bonus rewards to fit. This could work especially well with furniture, electronics, and clothing.

Don’t forget about the 2% options: You can choose one “everyday” category to fill out your rewards program. But this rate is on the low end, so you may want to consider a different rewards credit card for that kind of spending.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back in your choice of two categories (up to $2,000 spent per quarter)
  • 2% cash back in your choice of one everyday category
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days after account opening
5% Cash Back Categories
Ground Transportation Fast Food Cell Phone Providers
Department Stores Home Utilities Select Clothing Stores
Electronics Stores Sporting Goods Stores Movie Theaters
Gyms/Fitness Centers Furniture Stores TV, Internet & Streaming Services
2% Cash Back Categories
Gas Stations Grocery Stores Restaurants

Key Features

  • Free credit score: See your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call for personal assistance with travel bookings, dining reservations, business services, and more.
  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: Get perks at select hotels like a $25 food and beverage credit and room upgrades when available.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Security, Extended Warranty, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Roadside Dispatch
  • Purchase APR: 13.99% - 23.99%* Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles on Balance Transfers*, then 13.99% - 23.99%* Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0*

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR15.74% to 23.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Requires active Prime membership
  • Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits or at Amazon.com checkout
  • Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • Earn 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores
  • Earn 1% back on all other purchases
  • Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval

There are a handful of Amazon credit cards, but the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review) is best for your average Amazon aficionado.

Cardholders earn 5% back on every Amazon purchase, which can add up to some great savings alongside the free shipping and deals you can get with Amazon Prime. Whole Foods Market is included at that rate, too (thanks to Amazon buying the grocery chain).

There are some useful 2% categories tagging along as well (drugstores made the list, which you don’t often see). The card is even made with metal, which is a bit more fun than your average plastic card.

You’ll need Amazon Prime to get and use this card; if you don’t have Prime, or if you cancel the subscription, you’ll get the less-impressive Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review). It may not be metal, but it’s still a solid card.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back at:
    • Amazon
    • Whole Foods Market
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
    • Drugstores
  • 1% cash back for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon approval

Key Features

  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: Perks at eligible hotels, including complimentary WiFi, room upgrades when available, a $25 food and beverage credit, and more
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call anytime for non-emergency assistance.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Baggage Delay Insurance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.74% to 23.74% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
Insider tip

There are a couple other Amazon credit cards that can get you 5% cash back at the online mega-retailer (if you have Prime):

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.74% - 20.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee

Don’t fret, small business owners — we’ve got a card for you too.

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (Review) has industry-leading rewards for a no annual fee card, offering 5% back on a pair of typical business expenses, plus Lyft. You’ll have to deal with a $25,000 annual limit on those 5% business categories, however, with a separate $25,000 limit for the 2% categories, and that could feel restrictive.

If you’ll be butting heads with the limits, think about pairing this card with other business reward credit cards, especially flat-rate cards with no spending limits.

Like the Chase Freedom® above, you can get more out of this card by pairing it with certain other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. In this case, you may want to combine the Ink Business Cash with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review), which gives a 25% bonus for travel redemptions and allows point transfers to travel partners. Once again, this could let you reach cash back equivalents upwards of 10% with the Ink Business Cash.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back on up to $25,000 spent per year at:
    • Office supply stores
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% cash back on up to $25,000 spent per year at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $500 cash back for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Free employee cards
  • Chase Offers and Shop through Chase: Earn extra cash back with Shop through Chase or find discounts with Chase Offers.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Roadside Dispatch
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 14.74% - 20.74% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.74% - 20.74% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
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For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

At a glance

The highest cash back credit cards offer 5% or 6% cash back in select categories. Some reward programs have stable bonus categories, while others change throughout the year or let you pick your own. There are even some ways to boost your cash back beyond the typical rates.

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The information related to Discover it® Cash Back has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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