Best Cash Back Credit Cards January 2023

Looking for the card that pays the most cash back? These lenders may pay hundreds of dollars, with minimum hassle.

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Rates checked as of January 3, 2023.

Have you looked at the perks offered by rewards credit cards and decided that you want cold, hard cash? You’re hardly alone. In a survey from personal-finance site WalletHub (opens in new tab), 79% of people said they are most interested in earning cash back credit card rewards, a significantly higher percentage than those who prefer rewards points or miles.

To help you in your search, we have compiled a list of great cards that provide cash back on every purchase (or reward you with points that you can easily trade for cash at a strong value).

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For each card, we’ve calculated a typical annual rebate based on spending patterns in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey and assuming $25,000 spent on the card annually (unless otherwise noted). For cards that do not waive their annual fee the first year, we’ve subtracted the annual fee from the cash value of the annual rebate.


For our cash back card methodology, we calculate a typical annual rebate assuming $25,000 spent on the card annually (unless otherwise noted). For cards that do not waive their annual fee the first year, we subtract the annual fee from the cash value of the annual rebate. Interest rates, fees, rewards and other terms listed in this article are subject to change. Before you apply for a credit card, check its current terms and conditions with the issuer.

Best Cards for Flat-Rate Cash Back

These cards provide simple and strong cash back rewards on all spending. They are best for consumers that do not concentrate their spending in just a few areas.

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Farmers Insurance Federal Credit Union Crystal Visa (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $850 in the first year

The first year you have this card, you’ll rake in cash back at a rate of 3% on every purchase, with no annual fee.  

  • Interest rate: 0% for six months, then 12.99% to 18%
  • Annual fee: $99, waived the first year
  • Top rewards rate: 3% back on every purchase the first year, and 2.5% back on all spending from the second year on; the amount of spending that exceeds $10,000 each month does not earn rewards
  • Redemption: You collect rewards in the form of points, and they’re worth a penny each for a bank account deposit or statement credit ($50 minimum redemption)
  • Membership: Anyone can become a member of Farmers Insurance FCU by joining the American Consumer Council and depositing $5 into a savings account
  • Sign-up bonus: $100 back if you spend $5,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: $750 the first year; $526 from the second year on

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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (opens in new tab) 

Typically rewards $700 in the first year 

This card provides 2% cash rewards on all purchases, making it a great card to slip into your wallet if you prefer simple, straightforward rewards.

  • Interest rate: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 2% back on everything you buy
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months
  • Redemption: Statement credit, cash at the ATM with a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card (in $20 increments), gift cards ($25 increments), or a credit to a qualifying Wells Fargo credit card, checking account or mortgage
  • Other benefits: Up to $600 per claim of protection for your cell phone against damage or theft if you pay your monthly wireless bill with the card
  • Typical annual rebate: $500

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Citi® Double Cash Card (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $500 in the first year

Get 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay the bill, for a total of 2% on everything you buy.

  • APR: 18.24% to 28.24% variable
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: A total 2% back on all spending - 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% when you pay 
  • Redemption: Rewards come in the form of Citi ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for a statement credit, check or direct deposit into a bank account; or exchange points for gift cards, travel and other options through the ThankYou program, but point values vary for those redemptions
  • Sign-up bonus: Citi recently ended the sign-up bonus
  • Typical annual rebate: $500

Best Cards for Cash Back in Rotating Categories

Earn top rewards in categories that may change each month or quarter. These cards are a good fit for people who can keep track of and plan their charges in categories like online shopping, streaming, and travel.

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U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $730 in the first year

This card may prove lucrative if you spend significant bucks on your wireless plan, utilities, or TV and internet services.

  • Interest rate: 0% for 15 months, then 18.74% to 28.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 5% back in two categories you choose each quarter; the options include wireless plans, utilities, and TV and internet services
  • Other rewards: 5% back on reservations booked through U.S. Bank's travel center, and 2% on one category of choice among three options: grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations and electric-vehicle charging stations
  • Redemption: Redeem cash back as a statement credit, a deposit into a U.S. Bank checking or savings account, or a U.S. Bank prepaid debit card; cash back expires after three years
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $1,000 in the first 120 days
  • Typical annual rebate: $530

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Chase Freedom Flex℠ (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $668 in the first year

A great card for people who can keep track of complicated rewards.

  • Interest rate:  0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 18.74% - 27.49%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 5% back up to $1,500 for combined purchases in bonus categories that you activate 
  • Other rewards: 5% back on travel purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, 3% back on restaurant and drugstore purchases, and 1% back on all other spending; varying rates of cash back on Lyft, certain delivery services, movie theater passes and other subscription services
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $500 in the first three months; 5% back on gas station purchases on the first $6,000 spent in the first year
  • Redemption: Cash back rewards are redeemed as statement balances or to accounts; travel rewards are tracked as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can redeem at a rate of 1 cent each for cash back, travel bookings or gift cards
  • Typical annual rebate: $468

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Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $591 in the first year

This card is especially appealing for those who have significant balances in Bank of America deposit and investment accounts. 

  • Interest rate: 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR will apply
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 3% back in a category you can change each month (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases); choose from gas, online shopping, restaurants, travel, drugstores, or home improvement and furnishings
  • Other rewards: 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases); and through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards (opens in new tab) program, you can get a bonus as high as 75% on card rewards that you earn, depending on your account balances
  • Redemption: Redeem your cash back as a statement credit, deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or credit to an eligible Merrill cash management account
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Typical annual rebate: $391

Best Cashback Credit Cards for Savers

You get the best value with these cards if you stash rewards in a bank or investment account. 

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TD Double Up Visa (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $600 in the first year

If you’re a TD Bank customer, consider the Double Up card, which provides a total of 2% cash back on all spending when you redeem rewards into an eligible TD deposit account.

  • Interest rate: 18.74% to 28.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 2% back on all spending when you deposit rewards into an eligible TD Bank deposit account
  • Sign-up bonus: $100 back if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Redemption: Each purchase you make earns one point per dollar. When you redeem points into your TD account, they are worth a penny each, and TD deposits an additional 1 cent into your account for each point redeemed, producing a 2% return on card spending
  • Typical annual rebate: $500

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Upromise Mastercard (opens in new tab) 

Typically rewards $382 in the first year

Saving for college? Each purchase you make earns 1.529% cash back if you link your Upromise Program account to a 529 college-savings plan.

  • Interest rate: 18.74% to 28.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 1.529% back on every purchase if you deposit rewards into a 529 college-savings plan
  • Redemption: Upromise automatically transfers cash back to your 529 plan monthly if your rewards balance meets a required minimum. 
  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Typical annual rebate: $382
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Fidelity Rewards Visa (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $500 in the first year, or more for certain Fidelity customers

This card is a perennial winner for the 2% rewards rate that Fidelity Investments customers can earn on every dollar spent.

  • Interest rate: 18.24%
  • Top rewards rate: 2% back on every purchase when you deposit rewards into an eligible Fidelity account
  • Other rewards: For Fidelity Wealth Management clients, cash-back rates are higher: 2.25% for those with at least $250,000, on up to 3% for those with $2 million or more
  • Annual fee: None
  • Redemption: You can divide rewards among up to five accounts—including a brokerage account, cash management account, 529 college-savings plan, retirement account, donor-advised fund, Fidelity Go robo-adviser account and health savings account
  • Typical annual rebate: $500

Best Cash Back Cards for Gas and Grocery Spending

These cards offer ample cash back on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores or both.

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (opens in new tab) 

Typically rewards $867 in the first year

This card offers an unrivaled 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in supermarket spending each year then 1%.

  • Interest rate: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 18.24% to 29.24  (See Rates and Fees)
  • Annual fee: $95, $0 introductory annual fee (See Rates and Fees)
  • Top rewards rate: 6% back on up to $6,000 in annual supermarket spending and on select streaming services, then 1% 
  • Other rewards: 3% back at gas stations and on transit, and 1% back on other spending
  • Redemption: Redeem cash back as a statement credit 
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months
  • Typical annual rebate: $567 (Terms Apply)

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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $648 in the first year

5% cash back automatically in whichever of 10 categories you spend the most each month up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Grocery-store and gas-station spending are among the qualifying categories.

  • Interest rate: 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 18.24% - 28.24
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 5% back in whichever of 10 categories you spend the most each month up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter
  • Redemption: Earn rewards as Citi ThankYou points, which you can trade for a statement credit, direct deposit or check; you can also trade points for other rewards
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $1,500 in the first six months
  • Typical annual rebate: $448
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Abound Credit Union Platinum Visa (opens in new tab)

Typically rewards $406 in the first year

This card can help you save on gas, offering 5% cash back on fuel purchases paid at the pump plus 5% back in quarterly rotating categories. It also boasts a lower APR than many competitors.

  • Interest rate: 13.25%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 5% back on gas purchases as well as in categories that change each quarter
  • Redemption: Cashback is automatically credited to your monthly statement
  • Membership: Anyone nationwide can become a member of Abound CU by joining the nonprofit organization USA Cares (no fee), paying a one-time, $10 membership fee to the credit union and depositing $5 into a savings account
  • Typical annual rebate: $406

Pros and Cons of Cash Back Cards

Pros

  • Cashback cards are easy to understand and use. When it comes to simplicity and clarity, cashback cards are second to none among rewards cards. Cashback is expressed as a percentage of the amount you spend, so you know the exact value of your rewards. With travel-rewards cards and other cards that provide points or airline miles for each dollar spent, the value per point or mile may vary depending on which redemption you choose.
  • They put cash in your pocket. Cashback is hard to beat if you want extra money to spend. You can often redeem cash-back rewards for a bank-account deposit, check or statement credit that reduces your credit card account balance. Or, as with some of our best cash-back cards for savers, you may even be able to put the cashback in an investment account.
  • You get good rewards on everyday spending. With a cashback card, you may get a healthy flat rate of about 2% back on everything you buy, or you may earn as much as 5% or 6% back on staples such as gas and groceries. Travel rewards cards tend to offer the highest rates on purchases of flights, hotels, dining out and other spending that usually falls into the non-essential category.

Cons of Cashback Cards:

  • They don’t always offer the highest payback. If you prefer to get the maximum possible value out of the rewards you earn with a credit card, a cashback card may not be for you. With travel-rewards cards, sometimes you can earn outstanding rewards rates by putting in some legwork. With a card that pays out airline miles, for example, you may squeeze out extra value by combing through flight schedules to find the best redemption rates.
  • Sign-up bonuses are smaller. Travel-rewards cards are known for offering hefty initial bonuses to draw in customers. Premium travel card Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, recently provided 60,000 bonus points–worth $900 in travel redemptions–to new cardholders who spent at least $4,000 on the card in the first three months. Many cash-back cards offer initial bonuses, but their values typically aren’t as high overall.
  • Interest rates are high and variable. As with other rewards cards, the annual percentage rate on a cash-back card is usually stiff. Average card rates run close to 20%, and some cards charge maximum rates closer to 30%. Plus, most cards have a variable interest rate tied to an index–often the prime rate. When the Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates, the APR on your credit card increases, too.

Who Should Use Cash Back Cards?

A cash-back card may be right for you if…

  • You pay off your balance in full each month. For a disciplined spender, a cash-back card can be a powerful tool, allowing you to collect hundreds of dollars per year in rewards. But if you carry a balance on the card from month to month, the interest that you pay on the balance will likely erase the advantage of cashback rewards. Cashback cards are best suited to those who pay off their balance monthly and owe no interest.
  • You like to keep it simple. With a cashback card, you typically don’t have to think much about redemption values. As long as you redeem rewards for cashback, you should get the advertised percentage payback.
  • You prefer to use a single card. Some cashback cards, including our winners for flat-rate cash back, provide 2% or more on every purchase. If you’d rather not carry several rewards cards in your wallet – which involves keeping track of which one provides the best rewards at each merchant you visit–choose a great flat-rate card instead.
  • You spend a lot on budget staples. If essentials such as groceries and gas eat a big part of your budget, you may get the most bang for your buck from a cashback card that provides top rebates in those categories.

Which Cash Back Card Is Best for You?

You have a lot of great options among cash-back credit cards. As you narrow down the selection, take stock of the following:

  • In what categories do you spend the most money? Take a look at your spending patterns to see where your cash typically flows, and match your top spending categories to a cash-back card that supplies bountiful rewards in those areas.
  • Should you pay an annual fee? Reviewing your budget will also help you determine whether the amount of cash back you may earn with a card would overcome the annual fee if it has one. If you don’t think you’ll gain enough in rewards to outweigh the fee, consider a no-fee card instead.
  • Can you keep up with rotating categories? Some cards offer the top rebate in a category that adjusts each quarter, or they allow you to select the top-earning category each quarter or month. That can be a lucrative strategy, but you’ll have to remember which types of purchases provide the best rewards at a given time. Plus, you may have to activate the maximum-rebate category each quarter to earn the heightened cash back. If you’d rather not make the effort to keep it all straight, a simpler cash-back card may be the best choice.
  • Can you meet the initial bonus spending requirement? If a card offers a sign-up bonus, check how much you need to spend to earn it. You’ll typically need to spend at least a few hundred dollars — and often $1,000 or more — within a few months of opening the card to get an extra helping of cash back.
  • Do you want to finance a large purchase interest-free? Several cards provide an initial period during which purchases (and balance transfers, in some cases) for new card members aren’t subject to interest — often, it lasts 12 months or more. If you’re thinking of making a large purchase, check whether the card offers a 0% window. To avoid interest charges, make a plan to pay off your balance before the 0% offer ends.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included in the post.


Other Best Buy Credit Cards

Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.