Best Everyday Cash-Back Credit Cards of July 2020

We help you choose the best cash-back card for your lifestyle.

We publish unbiased reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payments from advertisers. Learn about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure.

The best cash-back credit cards are designed to let you earn a mini refund on every dollar you spend. We sorted through hundreds to help you choose the best ones for your wallet based on their earnings rates, fees, bonuses, and more.

Best Cash-Back Cards

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®

Best Overall

,

Best for Simple Cash-Back Rewards

,

Best Sign-Up Bonus

Our Rating Among Cash-Back Cards
4.8
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
Current Offer

Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases. 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn an introductory 3% cash back on $10,000 in purchases made during the first 12 months of account opening. 1.5% cash back thereafter.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The HSBC Cash Rewards card features a stellar bonus: You can earn up to $300 if you spend $10,000, and you get a full year to do it. That’s because for one year, you’ll get double cash back (3%, instead of the normal—but still competitive—1.5%) on every purchase, up to that $10,000 limit. It’s just about as no-fuss as it gets, and you don’t have to fret about meeting a spending requirement in just three months like you do with most credit card bonuses.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Superb bonus that doubles the already-solid rewards earning rate on eligible purchases during the first year
    • 0% APR deals give you a full year to pay off purchases and balance transfers
    • Includes cellphone insurance coverage, which is uncommon

    Cons

    • No short-term new cardholder bonus for those seeking a quick stash of cash back
    • Above-average balance transfer fee can chip away at the cost savings of moving large balances to this card
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 1.5% Unlimited Cash Back – on all purchases after the intro period
    • No Annual Fee
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Best for Financing a Large Purchase

,

Best for Balance Transfers

Our Rating Among Cash-Back Cards
4.7
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Current Offer

Get $150 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.49% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash rewards on everyday purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    If you’re looking to pay off a big purchase over time and earn cash back at the same time, it’s hard to do better than this card. You’ll get a full 15 months to pay off any purchases and balance transfers interest-free, and you’ll get 1.5% cash back on each purchase, even after the APR deals end. What’s even better, you can redeem those points for travel or cash, your choice. Plus, if you use your card to make a big purchase of $500 or more within the first three months (or just spend that much overall), you’ll get a $150 bonus.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Unlimited and competitive cash back rewards
    • Decent welcome bonus
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • Cash back can only be redeemed in $20 or $25 increments
    • APR may be well above average after promotional interest rate offers end
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • $150 cash rewards bonus after $500 in spend during the first 3 months.
    • 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases.
    • During the first 12 months from account opening you'll enjoy 1.8% cash back on eligible digital wallet purchases.
    • Pay your monthly cellular bill with your card and get up to $600 worth of coverage on your cell phone (subject to a $25 deductible) against eligible losses.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Best for Boosting Rewards in Different Categories

Our Rating Among Cash-Back Cards
4.7
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months ($200 cash redemption value).

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.49% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, gas stations, rideshares, transit, for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals, as well as popular streaming services. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    If you want flexibility in earning cash back, this no-annual-fee card is perfect for you. The top-earning category covers numerous expenses you may already pay for daily, including gas, dining out or ordering in, streaming services, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. If you spend $1,000 within the first three months, you’ll get a $200 bonus. That’s not the best offer out there, but if you want to make a big purchase to quickly knock out that bonus spending requirement and earn a little extra cash, this card also gives you a year to pay it off interest-free.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Generous rewards rate on many common expenses
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • Longer 0% APR offers on purchases and balance transfers exist
    • Cash back can only be redeemed in $20 or $25 increments
    • If you’ve received the bonus or interest deal before, you may not be eligible again
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – a $200 cash redemption value.
    • Earn 3 points on the following: eating out/ordering in, gas, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, and popular streaming services.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • No limit to points you can earn, and points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
    • Cell phone protection offers insurance against your cell phone from damage or theft.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Best for Businesses

Our Rating Among Cash-Back Cards
4.4
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Current Offer

Earn $500 when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 20.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.
Cash Advance APR (%) 26.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This is a stellar cash-back card for small-business owners who want to easily earn rewards. You’ll get 2% back on every purchase you make, which is one of the best earning rates offered by a business card right now. Redeeming cash back earned with this card is easy, too. You can request a statement credit or check at any time, for any amount, or set up automatic redemptions. New cardholders can also earn a solid $500 bonus for spending $4,500 within three months of opening an account, which is on par with other business card offers these days.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Stellar cash-back earning rate on all purchases, with no limits
    • Redeeming rewards is as easy as earning them

    Cons

    • Annual fee after the first year
    • No chance for more than 2% cash back on any spending category
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn a one-time $500 bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Get unlimited 2% cash rewards.
    • Add employee cards for free and earn all the rewards from their purchases.
    • Get a custom, itemized spending report to simplify planning, budgeting, and taxes.
    • Make purchases outside of the U.S. with zero transaction fees.

Discover it® Secured

Best for Less-Than-Perfect Credit

Our Rating Among Cash-Back Cards
4.2
Discover it® Secured
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Pay deposit in installments No
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This is truly a quality secured card. On top of having no annual fee (a rarity for this type of card), the Discover it Secured offers cash-back rewards on each purchase, and Discover will match your earnings at the end of the first year. There are incentives to improve your credit behavior, too. Eight months after you get the card, Discover will begin reviewing your account for a possible upgrade to the unsecured version.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Ability to earn cash-back rewards while building credit
    • Responsible use can lead to automatic unsecured card upgrade
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cash-back match as a first year bonus

    Cons

    • Low cap on highest rewards earning rate
    • Mediocre maximum credit limit compared to other secured cards
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • No annual fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
    • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
    • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if Discover can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
    • Get 100% U.S.-based customer service and get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO Credit Score.
Find Your Credit Card Match We believe the rate at which you earn rewards, as well as the overall cost of the card, are the most important factors to consider when choosing a rewards card, but we know you might have different priorities. See what suits you best.
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How Do Cash-Back Credit Cards Work?

Cash-back credit cards allow you to earn back a percentage of your eligible purchases. Every time you buy something, your “cash back” will accumulate in your account at the specified earnings rate. So if you have a cash-back card that earns 2% back on all purchases, and you spend $100 per week, you will earn $2 a week, or $8 a month. 

But like any financial product, cash-back credit cards have their advantages and disadvantages:

Pros
  • May have a sign-up bonus

  • Simple rewards that are easy to understand

  • Many cash-back cards don't have annual fees

Cons
  • Limited redemption options

  • Higher APRs than non-rewards cards

  • Some cards cap your earnings

Pros Explained

  • May have a sign-up bonus: Many cash-back cards give you a lump sum of cash if you spend a certain amount on the card within the first three months of card opening. For instance, you might earn $150 for spending $500 in the first 90 days. Some even offer to match your cash-back earnings for the whole first year you have the card.
  • Simple rewards that are easy to understand: With cash-back rewards, pretty much every point you earn is worth a penny in cash. That’s a lot less complicated than many travel rewards credit cards.
  • Most cash-back cards don’t have annual fees: That means you don’t have to make up for a fee you shell out every year. 

Cons Explained

  • Limited redemption options: Most cards don’t let you redeem your points for free flights or hotel nights, which can be worth more than the one-penny-per-point value you get with cash back. 
  • Higher APRs than non-rewards cards: Whenever you’re earning cash back or rewards, expect the interest rate to be slightly higher than what you’d find on a non-rewards card. Ideally, you will pay your bill in full each month and this con won’t be relevant.
  • Some cards cap your earnings: For example, you may earn 3% on grocery purchases, but only for the first $3,000 spent each year. For each dollar you spend over $3,000, you’ll only earn 1%.

What Are the 3 Types of Cash-Back Cards?

  • Flat-rate cash-back cards: These cards offer one earnings rate—for example, 2% cash back—on all purchases. There are no bonus-earning categories to keep up with. 
  • Tiered cash-back cards: These cards let you earn more for certain types of purchases than others. For example, 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 2% on gas, and 1% on other purchases. These cards can be a good way of earning extra if you spend a lot in the bonus categories.
  • Rotating category cash-back cards: These cards earn a higher rate in specific categories that change each quarter. So you might get 5% at department stores one quarter, and 5% on groceries the next. But you have to sign up for the bonus categories each quarter, so these cards require a little extra attention.

Is a Cash-Back Card Right for You?

Cash-back cards are a good fit for most consumers because they offer an easy way to earn rewards on your everyday purchases. If you’re deciding between a cash-back card and a travel rewards card, the answer depends on your spending habits and your goal. However, there’s no rule that says you can’t have both. 

Tip

Even frequent travelers can use cash-back cards as a secondary piece of plastic. Use your travel card for travel purchases and your cash-back card for everything else.

How Much Can You Earn With a Cash-Back Card?

In general, it’s standard for flat-rate cash-back cards to offer 1.5% to 2% back. For tiered cards, the top tier is typically 3% to 4%, but the tier can be up to 6% on cards that charge an annual fee. The percentages you earn step down from there. Rotating-bonus card categories usually top out at 5% back. 

To figure out how much you might earn, think about how much you spend in a particular category and multiply it by the cash-back rate. For instance, if you spend $1,000 a month on groceries and a card offers 3% cash back at supermarkets, you could earn roughly $30 a month.

How Do You Pick a Good Cash-Back Card?

Choosing a good cash-back card often comes down to knowing your personal spending habits and how much attention you want to devote to reward-earning structures. Check out our guide to choosing the best type of cash-back card to learn more.

Important

If you’re considering a cash-back card with an annual fee, calculate how much you could earn with that card annually. You’ll want to not only make up for the fee, but also out-earn what you’d get from a no-annual-fee card. 

Here are some other things to think about when you’re cash-back card shopping:

  • Will I be able to qualify for the card?
  • Does the card have an attractive (and achievable) sign-up bonus?
  • Are there bonus earnings in categories that I routinely spend a lot of money on?
  • Are there any caps on earnings, fees to watch out for, or other drawbacks?

Keep those questions in mind as you decide which credit card to apply for. Again, here is our list of the best cash back credit cards:

Best Everyday Cash-Back Credit Cards
Credit Card Category Annual Fee
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Best Overall $0
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Best for Simple Cash-Back Rewards $0
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Best Sign-Up Bonus $0
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card Best for Financing a Large Purchase $0
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card Best for Balance Transfers $0
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card Best for Boosting Rewards in Different Categories $0
Capital One Spark Cash for Business Best for Businesses $0
Discover it Secured Best for Less-Than-Perfect Credit $0

How Can You Make the Most of Cash-Back Cards?

Other than ensuring you meet the earning requirements for any offered sign-up bonus, and regularly using the card for any bonus category purchases, the main way to optimize cash-back cards is to pay your bill in full each month. If you don’t do this, your interest charges will quickly outweigh any cash back earned.

Tip

If you know you’ll run a balance, you’re better off looking for a low-interest credit card. 

How Do You Redeem Cash Back?

Even with a reward as simple as cash back, there are a few different ways for you to get your payout:  

  • Statement credit: Your earnings will offset charges already made on your card. Some cards will apply earnings automatically or allow you to set redemption triggers, such as redeeming every time your earnings hit $25, or once a quarter. 
  • Check: Some people just want to have the cash. Get your earnings in a check that’s mailed to you. 
  • Bank account transfer: It’s sometimes possible to deposit earnings directly in a checking or savings account.
  • Gift cards: Though this isn’t technically cash, some cards let you redeem your cash back for a variety of gift cards. The value of the gift cards varies—some gift cards are worth more than the value of your cash back, some are worth less, so be sure to check.
  • Pay with points at Amazon: An increasing number of cash-back cards allow you to use points directly at the Amazon.com checkout, to partially or fully pay for your purchase.

Methodology

We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it's our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

Our reviews are always impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

About This List

We reviewed more than 40 cash-back credit cards to find the very best in the category, and these cards made the cut for this list.

What We Score

Cards with high rewards-earning rates, low annual fees, few fees overall, sign-up bonuses, flexible rewards programs, and better benefits receive better scores. For more information about how The Balance evaluates credit cards, see our full credit card review methodology