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Cash back credit cards are a great and easy way to earn extra money just by paying with your credit card. However, determining the best cash back card for your particular spending habits can be an almost impossible task due to the complexity of most card calculations. Extra earnings for common category purchases like gas or groceries, quarterly rotating extra cash-back categories, and annual earnings limits are just a few of the obstacles card issuers throw at you. But rest easy — we've done the heavy lifting to help you figure out exactly which cash back card is best for you.


CUSTOMIZE THE CASH BACK TOTALS TO YOU:

Click the icon below and see the savings of each card based on your specific monthly expenses


Our Review Summary: A summary of the cash back values in our Cash Back Credit Card Analysis appears in the chart below. We used actual user purchase amounts to determine each card's rankings (How we calculated the earnings). To find the best card for your own spending style, fill out the Personalized Cash Back Calculator to the right.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash Back By Year
Year 1*
Year 2*
Total*
Click to Customize
Totals to You
$722
$286
$436

Bottom Line:
Up to 6% cash back on everyday spending; $150 intro bonus; 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$150
$0
$150
Bonus

$722
$361
$361
Reward from spending

$150
$75
$75
Annual Fee

$722
$286
$436
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit
  • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
  • Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card, you can start earning cash back. No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Cash back is earned only on eligible purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

$556
$228
$328

Bottom Line:
Up to 3% cash back on everyday spending; $100 bonus; unlimited cash back; 15-mo 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$100
$0
$100
Bonus

$456
$228
$228
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$556
$228
$328
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
  • Earn Cash Back: 3% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 2% at US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • With the Blue Cash Everyday® Card, you can start earning cash back. No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Cash back is earned only on eligible purchases.
  • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and restrictions apply.

$528
$264
$264

Bottom Line:
1% cash back when you buy PLUS 1% back when you pay = 2x cash back on all purchases; 15-mo 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$528
$264
$264
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$528
$264
$264
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The only card that earns you cash back TWICE on every purchase with:
  • 1% cash back when you buy.
  • Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time.*
  • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • *Additional details can be found on the Citi landing page.

$523
$174
$349

Bottom Line:
Double your cash back at end of 1st year; 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers.

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$523
$174
$349
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$523
$174
$349
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • New! Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically—only for new cardmembers*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more -up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 12 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • New Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.* Plus get 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online.*
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and you're never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • Click "Apply Now". *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other information.

$523
$174
$349

Bottom Line:
Double your cash back at end of 1st year; {introPurchAPR} intro APR on purchases for {introPurchAPRperiod}

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$523
$174
$349
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$523
$174
$349
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • New! Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more -up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online.*
  • New Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.* Plus get 100% U.S.-based service.
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • New! Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically—only for new cardmembers.*
  • Click "Apply Now". *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other information.

$522
$211
$311

Bottom Line:
Combines great cash back rewards with an Introductory APR offer; $100 online-exclusive bonus offer

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$100
$0
$100
Bonus

$422
$211
$211
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$522
$211
$311
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery/gas purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%. Click "Apply Now" to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals

$520
$210
$310

Bottom Line:
Excellent combination of cash back rewards and 0% intro APR; $100 bonus opportunity

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$100
$0
$100
Bonus

$420
$210
$210
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$520
$210
$310
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • Named a Best Card for Cash Back by MONEY® Magazine
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%.
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on every purchase.
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter.
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like Gas stations, Restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open.

$514
$171
$343

Bottom Line:
Double your cash back at end of 1st year; Cash back rewards without registering quarterly; 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$514
$171
$343
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$514
$171
$343
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • New! Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically—only for new cardmembers*
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter—no sign-ups needed.* 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 12 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • New Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.* Plus get 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online.*
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and you're never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • Click "Apply Now". *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other information.

$514
$171
$343

Bottom Line:
Double your cash back at end of 1st year; Cash back rewards without registering quarterly; {introPurchAPR} intro APR on purchases for {introPurchAPRperiod}

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$514
$171
$343
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$514
$171
$343
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • New! Good Grades Rewards: $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.*
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations every quarter—no sign-ups needed.* 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online.*
  • New Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.* Plus get 100% U.S.-based service.
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • New! Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically—only for new cardmembers.*
  • Click "Apply Now". *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other information.

$496
$198
$298

Our Rating:
Bottom Line:
1.5% cash back on all purchases; 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers; $100 bonus opportunity

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$100
$0
$100
Bonus

$396
$198
$198
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$496
$198
$298
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • One-time $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn't expire and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get a 20% Statement Credit on Uber rides purchased with this card through April 2016
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until May 2016; 12.9%-22.9% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until May 2016, a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One® Credit Tracker - a free way to easily monitor your monthly credit score anytime, anywhere

$330
$165
$165

Our Rating:
Bottom Line:
Great choice for students, designed to help build good credit, cash back bonus for paying bill on time

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$330
$165
$165
Reward from spending

$0
$0
$0
Annual Fee

$330
$165
$165
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases, plus a 25% bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time, for a total of 1.25% cash back
  • There's no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards don't expire
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker

$318
$159
$159

Our Rating:
Bottom Line:
Smart pick for those with average credit; 1.5% cash back on all purchases; 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$396
$198
$198
Reward from spending

$78
$39
$39
Annual Fee

$318
$159
$159
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn't expire and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get a 20% Statement Credit on Uber rides purchased with this card through April 2016
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until May 2016; 22.9% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until May 2016
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker

$276
$138
$138

Bottom Line:
No annual fee and a generous cash back rewards program make this a great choice for Costco members & others

Total*
Year 2*
Year 1*
Savings Over 2 years

$0
$0
$0
Bonus

$386
$193
$193
Reward from spending

$110
$55
$55
Annual Fee

$276
$138
$138
Total Cash Back

Card Highlights:

  • Earn cash back: 3% US gas stations up to $4,000 per year in purchases; 2% US restaurants & eligible travel; 1% other purchases. See details.
  • You will receive your cash back annually in the form of a reward coupon.
  • The Two-In-One Card: it's an American Express® Card and Costco membership Card, with no annual fee for Costco members.
  • Maximize your cash back: Add additional Card Members to help get more cash back for you, also with no annual fee for Costco members.
  • Terms and restrictions apply.

We have made our best efforts to ensure the information in this calculator is correct and up-to-date, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. You should always check the terms and conditions of your card on the card issuer's web site before you apply to be certain of the latest terms of each card.

* Due to rounding, the Total Value may not always be the sum of Year 1 and Year 2. The cash back earnings seen here are estimates based on the information provided by both yourself and the each credit card company's terms and conditions. The actual earning may vary if your real-life purchase amounts differ or if the credit card terms and conditions change. You should always check the terms and conditions of your card on the card issuer's web site before you apply to be certain of the latest terms of each card. We made the following assumption in our calculations. Citi Double Cash Card: We assumed a 2% cash back reward based on the user paying off each purchase. All Discover Cards: It was assumed that cash back rewards are doubled at the end of Year 1. Capital One Journey Student Rewards: We included the pay-on-time bonus equal to 25% of the cash back you earn each month.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

How We Calculated the Earnings

We based the cash back earnings of each card in our analysis on actual user data we've collected over the last 15 months. Real-life users of our Cash Back Calculator told us that on a monthly basis they spend $300 on groceries, $180 on gas, $150 on dining out, $25 at department stores and $444 on everything else. We used this spend breakdown to determine the initial cash back card rankings.


After making these assumptions, we used each credit card's earning percentages to calculate how much money the average cardholder could expect to earn annually. We included any cash back bonus offers, deducted any annual fees and kept in mind any earning limitations. Two years worth of calculations were done — one for Year One which includes any extra cash back bonuses the card might offer, and one for Year Two during which time these extra cash back bonuses wouldn't apply. The formulas for each of these are below.

  • Year One Total Cashback = Cashback Earned + Year One Cashback Bonus - Annual Fee
  • Year Two Total Cashback = Cashback Earned - Annual Fee


NextAdvisor Credit Cards Blog Headlines

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Choosing a new credit card can be an undertaking, especially as you weigh the potential benefits offered against each other. While many people focus on credit cards that offer rewards in the form of cash back, travel miles or points to redeem for cash or goods, one benefit you might not realize you can get [...]

BankAmericard Credit Card Extends 0% Balance Transfer APR
Bank of America just extended its BankAmericard Credit Card 0% intro APR on balance transfers from 15 to 18 billing cycles. While you need to transfer your balance within the first 60 days of account open to qualify, this is pretty easily done as most people transfer their balances right when they open a new card. [...]

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card Improves Bonus
Bank of America has just improved the bonus offer on its BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card. For a limited time you will receive 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. According to our Travel Rewards Credit Card Analysis, that's equal to $200 in travel, a pretty nice bonus considering the average person [...]

Customize & Calculate Your Savings

How much do you plan to spend on your card each month?

We calculate Annual Savings by adding up your expected rewards, subtracting all fees and averaging that total savings over a two year period. Recalculate Annual Savings for your specific spending habits by editing the values below.

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How We Calculate Your Annual Savings

To calculate the cashback earnings of each card we used a basic formula, taking into account each card's earning percentages and limitations. We include any cash back bonus offers, deducted any annual fees and kept in mind any earning limitations. Two years worth of calculations are done - one for Year One which includes any extra cash back bonuses the card might offer, and one for Year Two during which time these extra cash back bonuses won't apply.

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Advertiser Disclosure: NextAdvisor.com is a consumer information site that offers free, independent reviews and ratings of online services. We receive advertising revenue from most but not all of the companies whose products and services we review. For credit cards, we review cards from all of the top 10 US issuers by purchase volume (according to Issue 1035 of The Nilson Report, Feb 2014) excluding issuers that require additional accounts to be a cardholder and private label issuers. We may also review cards from other issuers in select cases. We do not review all products in a given category. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.