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Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card: Are there easier 2% cash back options?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Banks are able to give customers credit card rewards thanks to interchange fees. Typically, banks charge merchants a two percent interchange fee for the convenience of swiping a credit card. Then the banks incentivize customers to apply for and use a card by offering some of that interchange fee in the form of a reward.

Knowing this, we often caution people to be wary of cash back rewards over two percent. So when you see a deal for 5% cash back – your bogus radar should go off. Sure, you might receive 5% for a quarter, but there is often lots of red tape, earning limits and categories that don’t even apply to your spending habits. If you aren’t doing home improvement work, how often are you really going to Home Depot?

How it works

The Fidelity Rewards Signature Visa offers 2% cash back on all purchases with no limits and no annual fee anywhere Visa is accepted (which includes Costco).

But there is a catch: you have to have a Fidelity account if you want the full 2% back.

The cash back goes into an eligible Fidelity account, which could be a brokerage account, a cash management account, a retirement account or a Fidelity-managed 529 account, and you can set up the account to automatically deposit the rewards each month you reach 5,000 points worth of rewards (the minimum you can redeem).

Any other way of using your rewards like statement credit, gift cards, or travel won’t guarantee you the full 2% rewards rate that depositing rewards into your Fidelity account offers.

The good news is you don’t need any money at all to open the account. Fidelity’s ‘cash management‘ account is basically a no fee checking account where your cash back rewards can be deposited, though you’ll get better rates from a good online savings account.

How it stacks up

Citi® Double Cash Card

The Fidelity Card receives the highest amount of cash back available without strings and rotating categories. The only other card currently offering similar cash back is the Citi Double Cash Card, though if you have heavy spending in certain categories there are other rewards cards that can earn you more.

People have various strategies for their credit cards, so see if your style is below and whether this card is right for you.

  • One is enough: If you’re overwhelmed at the prospect of having too many credit cards in your wallet, then this credit card is hard to be beat. You won’t consistently earn higher than 2% cash back with any other card.
  • Bonus game: If you’re a rewards seeker dedicated to finding the best sign-on bonus, then this card is going to disappoint you. There is no bonus to sign up, though a prior version of the card that was an American Express offered $50 if you spend $500 in the first 60 days.
  • Bring on the categories: Some people actually like gaming the category system to maximize their spending habits. Perhaps you carry one card for gas, another for groceries and a third for travel. Odds are all these cards only get 1% cash back in non-category spending, so you might as well add Fidelity Investment Rewards to your line-up for all other purchases.

When Fidelity would lose to Citi Double Cash back:

  • You have to have a Fidelity account for 2%: This may be a deal breaker for some people who don’t want to take the time to set up a new account. You could simply set up a cash management account and then consistently transfer your cash back over to another bank account, but that also takes an extra step.
  • This is managed by US Bank: While Apple Pay and other modern features are available, US Bank isn’t known for having the best online interface for customers. Citi isn’t perfect either, but If all you want is 2% back and have no loyalty to Fidelity, you might prefer the Citi website and Citi Double Cash.
  • Stricter approval: Fidelity has historically considered total assets under management in their underwriting, so if you’re not already a Fidelity customer, you may not see the same credit line you could receive from Citi. Additionally, US Bank pulls your scores from two lesser known credit bureaus (SageStream, formerly known as IDA, and Advance Resolution Services, “ARS”) which may have a different history for you than the major bureaus. Citi typically uses one of the major bureaus that’s easy to keep track of. Our sense is you’ll  likely be rejected with a credit score under 700, but you could have a chance with Citi.

When Fidelity beats Citi Double Cash:

  • Costco acceptance: If you’re a Costco member, the Fidelity card is a Visa, which is the official payment at Costco as of April, 2016. This is one of the best choices if you’re a Costco shopper looking for rewards.
  • Automatic redemption: You can link your Fidelity account so that every month that you rewards balance reaches 5,000 points or more ($50 in rewards), the rewards are automatically deposited.

Fine Print

As with all financial products, you need to pay close attention to the fine print. We do like that this card offers 2% cash back with no hoops to jump through and no rotating categories. There is also no annual fee and foreign transactions have a 1% fee.

However, there are a few things to look out for.

  1. You have to be a Fidelity customer or open a Fidelity account in order to be eligible for this card.
  2. The interest rate for cash advances is much higher than that for purchases, but you really shouldn’t be using this card if you’re carrying a balance
  3. Your credit line might be based in part on investable assets – so if you don’t have anything invested with Fidelity, you may receive a lower credit line.
  4. Don’t expect 2% forever: Fidelity is committed for now to 2% based on its recent switch from American Express to Visa, but we wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years the cash back level is reduced or just reduced for those without assets under management. But right now, it’s a good deal. You can always search for another 2% cash back card, if and when Fidelity changes the rules.

In conclusion

We’re fans of this card for offering 2% cash back, but it may not be the best fit for you unless you’re an existing Fidelity customer. Those with 401(k)s, IRAs or other accounts already linked to Fidelity could help fund their futures with this cash back card.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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QuicksilverOne Review: Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back for Average Credit

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

For people with “average” or “fair” credit, Capital One offers QuicksilverOne Rewards. Every credit card issuer has a different definition of what “average” or “fair” credit means. Generally speaking, it means a FICO score between 580 and 669.

The QuicksilverOne Rewards card gives you an unlimited 1.5% cash back, which is a pretty sweet opportunity for consumers with less-than-perfect credit.

Just beware of the two catches: There’s a $39 annual fee and a high purchase APR.

QuicksilverOne® Rewards from Capital One

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

QuicksilverOne® Rewards from Capital One

Annual fee
$39 For First Year
$39 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
up to 1.5%
APR
24.99%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit

Average

QuicksilverOne Card Overview

The QuicksilverOne Rewards program is low maintenance.

Unlike other programs with revolving categories and spending caps, this card doesn’t hold you to either. You will earn 1.5% cash back every time you swipe.

You can redeem cash back at any time for a check, account credit, or gift card. Cash back you earn never expires.

What We Like About This Card

No fuss.

We like that the cash back program terms are uncomplicated. There are no preset bonus categories that you have to adapt your spending to each month. You can also redeem cash back at any time without having to wait for the balance to reach a certain threshold.

Low credit score requirement.

The QuicksilverOne is one of the only cash back rewards cards around town for average credit. If you’re having trouble getting approved elsewhere, this is a card you need to seriously consider.

What We Don’t Like About This Card

The annual fee.

Since this card costs $39 per year, you need to spend at least $2,600 per year (or $217 per month) for the cash back to break even with the fee. Ideally, you’ll want to spend more than just the bare minimum for the rewards card to be worthwhile.

High APR.

This is a high interest rate. Avoid carrying a balance at all costs if you choose this card.

Who This Card Is Best For

Again, the QuicksilverOne is our top unlimited cash back pick for consumers who have trouble getting approved for other cash back cards.

According to Capital One, you may qualify for this card if:

  • You have defaulted on a loan in the past five years
  • You have limited credit history
  • You have had your own credit card or other credit for less than three years (this may include students, people new to the U.S., or authorized users on someone else’s credit card)

Keep in mind, these are just guidelines to give you a general sense of whether you’ll qualify. Your income, debt, and other credit limits are also factors used to make a decision.

Capital One has a nice feature where you can get preapproved online for offers without a hard credit inquiry. See if you prequalify for the QuicksilverOne card here.

Keep an eye out for the Quicksilver alternative while checking offers as well.

Quicksilver Rewards is the “big brother” of the QuicksilverOne card. It has no annual fee, and it’s for people with excellent credit. There’s no harm in checking to see if you prequalify for the Quicksilver card.

Is the QuicksilverOne card good for rebuilding credit?

Despite the lenient qualifying criteria, the QuicksilverOne card is not our top recommendation if you’re rebuilding credit, because of the annual fee.

Your focus should be keeping your credit utilization very low when rebuilding credit. You shouldn’t worry about having to earn enough cash back each month to cover a card’s annual fee.

Try a no-fee secured card like the Capital One Secured MasterCard or the Discover it Secured Credit Card instead.

QuicksilverOne Credit Card Benefits

QuicksilverOne offers:

  • Travel accident insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Travel insurance for death or loss of limbs. You can call in for help if your car breaks down.
  • Auto rental insurance. Insurance covers rental damage from collision or theft.
  • Extended warranty. Purchases made on your card will get an extended warranty.
  • Price protection. You can get reimbursed the difference if you find items you purchased on sale within 60 days.
  • Fraud coverage. Covered by $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen.

Alternatives to the QuicksilverOne

QuicksilverOne doesn’t have much competition since it’s the best card for consumers with average credit. The following no-fee cash back cards officially require good to excellent credit but allow you to prequalify without a hard inquiry.

1.5% cash back, no fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited<sup>®</sup>

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

-

APR

15.99%-24.74%

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card gives you an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending without category restrictions or caps. What’s great about Chase is it’s another credit card issuer that lets you prequalify for offers without a hard pull. Check out offers you may prequalify for here.

You can redeem cash back from your Chase Freedom Unlimited card at any time, and cash back never expires as long as you keep your account open. At times there is an intro APR deal or cash back bonus offer that add benefits to this card, and ongoing rates are sometimes lower than what you’d see on the QuicksilverOne.

Double cash back, no fee

Citi® Double Cash Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

-

APR

14.49%-24.49%

Variable

The Citi Double Cash card is another good choice for low-maintenance cash back rewards. It gives double cash back on all purchases. You earn 1% cash back when you spend on the card and another 1% cash back when you pay off the bill.

This is a card that members report qualifying for with a credit score in the high 600s. Citi lets you shop for prequalified offers on the website as well. If you’re interested in this card, see if you can get prequalified here. In addition, there are changing intro APR deals for this card that allow you to save interest early on, and ongoing interest rates are sometimes lower than with the QuicksilverOne.

Bottom Line

The QuicksilverOne Rewards is a good rewards card for those with average credit. If you have had difficulty being approved for other higher cash back rewards cards, you may be approved for the QuicksilverOne Rewards, which offers unlimited 1.5% cash back. Be aware that this card comes with an annual fee and high APR, so make sure to do your research and see if this card is right for you.

FAQ

You should not keep a balance on this credit card to benefit from the cash back. The high APR is a large amount of interest to be paying on purchases. If the interest charges you experience on this card coupled with the annual fee surpass the cash back you earn, this card is pointless.

No. You’re free and clear to spend money on anything, and it’ll earn 1.5% cash back. This is the beauty of an unlimited cash back card. However, cash advances and balance transfers will not qualify for cash back.

No, cash back does not expire as long as your account remains open.

You can, but not with average credit. The QuicksilverOne card is the best unlimited cash back card there is specifically targeting people with fair credit. Another option you have is working to improve your credit first before applying for a credit card to qualify for a card that gives you more cash back.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Won’t impact your credit score

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Building Credit, Credit Cards, Earning Cashback

The Discover it Secured Card wins: No fee, Free FICO and up to 2% cash back

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Discover it Secured Credit Card Review

Updated August 1, 2017

Discover offers the Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee for people who are looking to build credit and establish good credit history. Secured credit cards are an excellent way to build your credit with responsible use. With this product, Discover has created one of the best secured cards on the market. You do need to make a security deposit of $200 or more to establish your credit line (up to the amount that Discover can approve). If you are unable to afford the $200 deposit, you should consider the Capital One Secured MasterCard, which only requires a $49 deposit. But if you can afford the $200 deposit, this card is clearly one of the best no fee secured credit cards available.

Learn More

Key Product Features

Here are the key product features:

No annual fee: There is no annual fee on this card. You do need to make a security deposit of at least $200. If you want a bigger limit, you will have to make a bigger deposit.

Automatic monthly reviews starting at 8 months: After just eight months, Discover will start monthly automatic reviews of your account to see if you can be transitioned to an account with no security deposit. With an 8-month review, Discover has one of the best upgrade policies in the market.

Earn cash back: Most secured credit cards do not offer any rewards. With Discover it, you have the opportunity to earn cash back while earning rewards. You can earn 2% at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 of combined purchases each quarter). Plus, get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Earning cash back is not the primary reason to select a secured credit card, but it is a nice option to have available.

Free FICO Credit Score: Discover will provide you with a copy of your official FICO credit score. If you use a secured credit card properly, you should expect to see your score increase over time. And by providing your FICO score for free, you will be able to watch your improvement.

Monitor Your Social Security Number: Discover will monitor your Social Security Number and alert you if they find your Social Security Number on any of thousands of risky websites. Activate for FREE. This is a great feature that will help alert you of possible fraud.

You can learn more and apply by clicking on the link below:

LearnMore

How to Use a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is an excellent way to build or rebuild your credit history. In order to gain the most number of points in the shortest amount of time, you need to have a strategy. We recommend the following strategy (and describe how it helped someone build an excellent score in one year here):

  1. Avoid spending more than 10% – 15% of your available credit limit. Yes, that means if your credit limit is only $200, you should not spend more than $20 – $30 a month. Utilization is a very important part of your credit score. To calculate utilization, divide your statement balance by your available credit. People with the best credit scores have utilization well below 20%. Because you want to build an excellent credit score, you should keep your utilization low.
  2. Pay your statement balance on time and in full every month. To ensure your payments are made on time every month, you should consider automating the monthly payments. At the Discover website, you can sign up to have your monthly payment debited automatically from your checking account.
  3. Just continue to repeat Step #1 and Step #2. Your credit score should improve over time, which will help you qualify for a standard credit card.

If you have less than perfect credit and need to borrow money, you should consider shopping for a personal loan.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

According to disclosures on the Discover website, you are eligible to apply if:

  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • You have a Social Security Number.
  • You have an address in the United States.
  • You have a bank account in the United States. Note: You will need to provide your routing number and account number when you apply. If your account is overdrawn, it is highly unlikely that you will be approved.

Your credit history will be reviewed, and not all applications will be approved. The card is best for those with no credit, or scores of 670 or less.

The Application Process

You can apply online and Discover usually provides a decision instantly. You will need to make your security deposit as part of the application, which is why Discover asks for the routing number and account number of your bank.

Please remember that when you apply for the secured credit card, you will have an inquiry on your credit report just like an application for a normal credit card.

Alternate Secured Credit Cards

Discover it has one of the strongest offerings in the market. However, it might not be right for everyone. Here are some other good options.

If you cannot afford the $200 minimum deposit, you should consider the Capital One Secured MasterCard. There is no annual fee and a minimum deposit of $49. You will also be able to receive your FICO score for free. Capital One is known for accepting people with more adverse credit histories. So, if you are rejected by Discover, you might want to consider trying Capital One instead.

Capital One Secured MasterCard

Go to site

You should also consider a secured credit card from your local credit union. MagnifyMoney has a list of some of the best no fee secured credit cards offered by credit unions here.

Build Your Score, Not Your Balance

Secured credit cards are a great way to build your credit score. And, with this product, Discover has created an excellent tool. Just make sure you don’t use your credit card to build a balance and borrow money. Keep your balance well below 20% of your available credit, and pay your statement balance on time and in full every month. If you do that, you should start to see real improvement in your score.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards, Earning Cashback, Reviews

Ally CashBack Credit Card Review: Is it Worthwhile if You Don’t Bank with Ally?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Last year, Ally Bank rolled out the Ally CashBack Credit Card with a rewards program that offers 2% cash back on gas and groceries with no cap.

In addition to the cash back you earn from spending, Ally gives you a special 10% Ally Deposit Bonus when you deposit cash back earned into an eligible Ally Bank account.

Ally CashBack Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Ally Financial’s secure website

Ally CashBack Credit Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
2% on certain categories, 1% on everything else
APR
13.99%-23.99%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

The Ally CashBack Credit Card Offer

1. Earn up to 2.2% cash back at gas stations and grocery stores.

Factoring in the 10% Ally Deposit Bonus, you have the potential to earn a total of 2.2% cash back in the gas and groceries category.

You have to deposit cash back earned into a qualifying account to get the 10% bonus. Qualifying accounts include:

  • Ally Money Market accounts
  • Non-IRA Online Savings accounts
  • Interest Checking accounts

Fine print alert: Discount stores, superstores, and warehouses are not included in the groceries category. Stores like Target, Walmart, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club specifically may be off limits for 2% cash back.

Ally Bank qualifies your purchases for cash back using merchant codes. You can call up a store directly to see if it has a merchant code within one of these eligible 2% cash back categories:

  • Grocery
  • Bakery
  • Dairy
  • Service stations
  • Automated fuel dispensers
  • Fuel dealers

2. Earn up to 1.1% cash back on all other purchases.

Purchases outside of groceries and gas earn 1% cash back. You can earn a total of 1.1% if you add in the 10% Ally Deposit Bonus.

3. Earn an introductory incentive.

There’s an introductory bonus of $100 if you spend $500 within the first three months of having this card.

How to Redeem Cash Back

You can redeem cash back in two ways. As mentioned, you get the extra 10% bonus if you deposit cash back into an eligible Ally Bank account.

The second option is redeeming cash back for statement credit. You need to build a balance of at least $25 before you can redeem cash back.

What We Like About the Ally CashBack Credit Card

You guessed it — we think the most attractive feature of the Ally CashBack Credit Card is the 10% Ally Deposit Bonus. We also like that this card has no spending cap for the 2% categories.

Other benefits are that there’s no annual fee and the interest rate range is reasonable.

The card even has a 0% APR introductory deal on balance transfers, although the 4% balance transfer fee is something to consider before moving your money.

The Ally CashBack Credit Card Fine Print

One of the major drawbacks of this card is the merchant code restrictions.

Don’t get us wrong — the Ally CashBack Credit Card isn’t the only cash back rewards program that uses merchant codes to qualify purchases. Pretty much every niche category card has some fine print related to what you will and will not earn bonus cash back on.

Before shopping at a warehouse or specialty food store with this card (or any category card for that matter), double-check the merchant code to see if the purchase will be eligible for 2%.

One more spot where the Ally CashBack Credit Card has fine print is the program termination policy. If your account is canceled for any reason, by you or Ally Bank, you forfeit the cash back balance. Ally Bank also reserves the right to change terms or cancel the cash back program. If this occurs, you may give up your balance.

To avoid losing out on money, keep the card in good standing and cash out whenever you hit the $25 mark just in case Ally Bank should change terms in the future.

Who the Ally CashBack Credit Card Is For

This card is best suited for current Ally Bank customers, but even people who bank with Ally should explore other options.

For non-Ally Bank customers, the 2.2% on gas and groceries is not worth opening two new accounts (the credit card account and a qualifying savings or checking account) to earn maximum cash back.

There are too many other category cards to consider ahead of this one that can give you more than 2.2% on gas and groceries.

There are even a few cards that offer you 2%+ cash back on all spending with no pesky category restrictions to keep up with.

We’ll share two alternatives with you in the next section.

But first, here’s an example to give you an idea of how much you can earn with the Ally CashBack Credit Card:

Say you spend $4,000 per year on groceries and $2,000 on gas. You can earn up to $132 in cash back for the year. (This includes the 10% Ally Deposit Bonus.)

Keep this scenario in mind because we’ll reference it next when reviewing a competitor.

For eligibility criteria, Ally Bank doesn’t get specific about the type of credit history or score you need to get approved.

However, some applicants have reported getting declined because of too many recent inquiries or new accounts. These are factors to be mindful of that could hurt your chances of getting approved.

Cash Back Alternatives

We have a list of the top cash back cards for all categories in this post. Here are two alternative cards from that roundup to take a look at:

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is one of our top picks for gas and grocery shopping rewards. This card gives you a huge 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in spending a year) and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. You get 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card has a $95 annual fee.

Back to our example scenario from above:

If you spend $4,000 annually on groceries and $2,000 annually on gas, you earn $300 in total cash back from the Amex Blue Cash Preferred. Subtract the $95 annual fee, and you still net $205 in cash back. Remember — the Ally CashBack Credit Card only gives you up to $132 in this same spending scenario. The moral of the story is, rewards cards that have an annual fee can still outperform cards with no annual fee. So don’t let a fee deter you from reviewing an offer.

Alliant Visa Signature

If you do most of your shopping at wholesale stores or you prefer a non-category card, the Alliant Visa Signature card is another option we recommend. The Alliant Visa Signature card gives you an unlimited 3% cash back for the first year with no fee. After the first year, you earn 2.5% cash back on all purchases with a $59 annual fee. If your spending is all over the map, an unlimited cash back card like the Alliant Visa Signature can give you more flexibility than the Ally CashBack Credit Card.

Rewards Cards: Frequently Asked Questions

No, Ally cash back does not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. There is no limit to the amount of cash back rewards that may be earned.

Anything over 1.5% cashback is a good deal. There are some cards that offer more — as much as 5 or 6% cash back on purchases. But sometimes those offers are too good to be true. Banks don’t like to lose money, and will pepper the fine print with all sorts of limitations. For example, they may offer 5% cash back on only purchases at certain types of retailers and only for certain periods of time. And those categories may change every quarter, which can make it hard to keep track.

Don’t let those cash back promises pressure you into spending more than you can afford. If you don’t pay your statement balance in full each month, you could get slapped with sky high interest charges. That would totally negate any benefit you might get from earning cash back. Cash back cards are only valuable if you can pay your bill in full and capture the entirety of your cash back rewards.

It depends on the card. Some cards allow you redeem cash back dollar for dollar as a statement credit, which can help lower your total balance. Just keep in mind that applying cash back to your card statement does not count as a monthly payment. Other cards will increase the value of your cash back if you spend on certain categories, like travel. Review your terms carefully to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Find the card that fits your day-to-day spending needs best, beyond the flashy sign-up bonus offers and cash back promises. Pay your bill in full each month (spend only what you can afford to pay off).

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards, Earning Cashback, Reviews

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Review: 2.5% Unlimited Cash Back

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Few credit cards offer unlimited 2.5% cash back on all spending without caps or complicated category restrictions. Alliant Credit Union recently rolled out its Cashback Visa Signature Card, which may very well be the “holy grail” of unlimited cash back cards.

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card gives cardholders 3% cash back the first year and 2.5% back subsequent years. This card does have an annual fee, but the fee is waived for the first 12 months.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Alliant CU’s secure website

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$59 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
Unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards
APR
11.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

How the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card works

Alliant Credit Union is an online credit union that anyone can join. If you don’t meet the standard credit union qualifying criteria (being a relative of a member or working for a select organization), you can join by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success.

If you choose to apply for this card, be sure to swipe it as much as possible during the first year to make the most of the free 3% cash back. This is a great deal.

The annual fee after the first year is $59. Aside from the annual fee, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card has extra costs within the card terms that are pretty typical of any credit card.

Most notably, there’s a 3% balance transfer fee and no foreign transaction fee.

Redeeming Your Cash Back

You can redeem cash back earned through statement credit when your cash back balance reaches $25. Cash back expires after five years. Cash back also expires if your credit card account is closed voluntarily or involuntarily.

Who This Credit Card Is Best For

We highly recommend the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card if you hate keeping up with revolving category cards. Category rules can be a pain. This card makes earning cash back painless.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes using category cards (airline, grocery, gas, etc.), this card also partners nicely with others. Keep it in your wallet to maximize rewards in areas that your category cards don’t cover.

Alliant Credit Union has very lenient member-qualifying criteria, so non-members can join today. If you already have an Alliant Credit Union card, call credit card services to request an upgrade.

Cardholders report that you can get approved with a score in the high 600s, although credit card services states qualification is based on more than just your credit score.

For example, you may qualify for this card with less-than-perfect credit if your income is high. Since this is a Visa Signature card, credit limits are higher than traditional cards, and that requires having enough income to support a good-sized limit.

What we like about the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card

We like this card a lot because it’s one of few credit cards that give you 2% cash back without a long list of rules on what you can and can’t buy.

Until now, the Citi Double Cash card has been our top recommendation for no-fuss 2% cash back on all spending. However, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card is giving the Citi Double Cash card some stiff competition.

The 3% cash back without an annual fee the first year is very hard to beat. And if you spend at least $1,000 per month on the card after year one, 2.5% cash back with the annual fee still outperforms the Citi Double Cash card.

We’ll discuss why the magic number for spending is $1,000 in our credit card comparison below.

What we don’t like about the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card

There’s not too much to discuss that’s negative about this card. The one thing to be mindful of is that it does not have an interest-free intro deal on new purchases or balance transfers.

This means you shouldn’t take out this card intending to go on a crazy shopping spree or to finance big life events like a wedding, relocating, or traveling unless there’s a repayment plan in the strategy.

You’ll get a great deal of cash back from large purchases the first 12 months, but you need to pay off the balance promptly to avoid many interest charges.

Three Alternative 2%+ Cash Back Credit Cards

We started out this post mentioning that there aren’t too many unlimited 2%+ cash back cards available, so let’s dive into the three main alternatives:

  • Citi Double Cash
  • Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature
  • USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature

Citi Double Cash

The Citi Double Cash card is usually our “go-to” pick for unlimited 2% cash back with no category restrictions.

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card clearly has the Citi Double Cash card beat in the first year. Things get a little less clear-cut when the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card starts costing $59 annually.

As mentioned, when taking the fee into consideration, you need to spend over $1,000 per month on the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card to earn more from it than the Citi Double Cash card.

Here’s the calculation breakdown:

  • Citi Double Cash: $12,000 (spent) x 2% (cash back) = $240
  • Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card: $12,000 (spent) x 2.5% = $300 – $59 (fee) = $241

The more you spend beyond $12,000 per year, the more the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card outperforms the Citi Double Cash card.

Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature

The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card is another 2% cash back option with no fee, but this card comes with conditions. You can only earn 2% cash back when you direct deposit rewards into a Fidelity Investment account.

This is still a decent deal for Fidelity Investment customers. If you plan to spend less than $12,000 per year on your rewards card, consider this one or the Citi Double Cash card.

USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature

Lastly, the Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card from USAA offers an unlimited 2.5% cash back with no annual fee. This card also has restrictions.

You have to keep a certain amount of cash in a connected USAA checking account to qualify for 2.5% cash back. Plus, the card is only made available to select USAA members who live in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

In comparison to these cards, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card is a rare bird with its over 2%+ cash back program and very limited fine print.

Rewards Cards: Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the Alliant cash back rewards expire after 5 years, and you also forfeit your unused rewards if you close your account. It’s important to note that cash back doesn’t expire exactly 5 years from the date you earn it. Cash back rewards expire on a rolling, annual basis; cash back earned in a calendar year will expire on the December cycle date of the fourth calendar year in which it was earned. For example, any unredeemed cash back earned in 2017 will expire on the December cycle date in 2021.

Anything over 1.5% cashback is a good deal. There are some cards that offer more — as much as 5 or 6% cash back on purchases. But sometimes those offers are too good to be true. Banks don’t like to lose money, and will pepper the fine print with all sorts of limitations. For example, they may offer 5% cash back on only purchases at certain types of retailers and only for certain periods of time. And those categories may change every quarter, which can make it hard to keep track.

Don’t let those cash back promises pressure you into spending more than you can afford. If you don’t pay your statement balance in full each month, you could get slapped with sky high interest charges. That would totally negate any benefit you might get from earning cash back. Cash back cards are only valuable if you can pay your bill in full and capture the entirety of your cash back rewards.

It depends on the card. Some cards allow you redeem cash back dollar for dollar as a statement credit, which can help lower your total balance. Just keep in mind that applying cash back to your card statement does not count as a monthly payment. Other cards will increase the value of your cash back if you spend on certain categories, like travel. Review your terms carefully to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Find the card that fits your day-to-day spending needs best, beyond the flashy sign-up bonus offers and cash back promises. Pay your bill in full each month (spend only what you can afford to pay off).

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Chase Freedom Review: Is 5% Easy?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

If you’re on the hunt for a new rewards card, you’ve probably come across the Chase Freedom card during your search. The Chase Freedom card offers 1% cash back on all purchases and the opportunity to earn additional cash back if you spend money within revolving quarterly bonus categories.

Chase Freedom<sup>®</sup>

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase’s secure website

Chase Freedom®

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
5% on certain categories, 1% on everything else
APR
15.99%-24.74%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

How to Earn Cash Back with the Chase Freedom Card

You automatically earn 1% cash back on all purchases as soon as you start using the card.

Every quarter, Chase introduces bonus categories where you can earn 5% cash back. In order to earn 5%, you need to activate the bonus category every quarter. If you don’t activate, you will only earn at the 1% cash back rate. You can only earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spending every quarter.

Here are the current 5% bonus categories for 2017:

October – December

Walmart and Department Stores

How to Activate the Quarterly 5% Cash Back Categories

Now that you know the type of spending that will earn you 5% cash back, let’s touch on how it all works.

To earn 5% cash back each quarter, you must activate the quarterly bonus categories before the deadline. The activation deadline appears on the cash back calendar.

There are six easy ways to activate. Just choose the one that’s best for you.

  1. Online – Once you are a Chase Freedom cardholder, you can activate online at the Ultimate Rewards portal.
  2. Text message – Sign up for Chase Freedom 5% text reminders at online. You’ll get a text reminding you when it’s time to activate.
  3. Email – You can also sign up for email reminders from Chase.
  4. Phone – Call the number on the back of your card to let one of the specialists activate your 5% cash back.
  5. Chase location – Visit any Chase Bank and see a personal banker.
  6. ATM – Chase checking customers can activate their 5% cash back with one click via the ATM while making a cash withdrawal.

The base 1% cash back will always apply first to purchases on your statement. Each quarter you activate, spending that qualifies for an extra 4% cash back will appear in a separate section broken down by category.

What we like about the card

Up to 5% cash back if you are on top of things.

It’s hard to beat 5% back on spending you’re already doing, and if you pay attention and enroll in the categories every quarter, you can earn up to $300 in cash back a year compared to the base 1% cash back you earn on all purchases.

A good selection of 5% categories.

Chase comes up with fresh categories that sometimes include tie-ins with big retailers like Amazon so it’s not hard to find a way to earn 5% on your spending throughout the year.

You can pair it up with other Chase rewards.

If you have another card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can combine the rewards you earn from the Freedom with your other Ultimate Rewards points anytime.

What we don’t like about the card

Need to enroll manually.

There’s no automatic enrollment in the 5% categories, so you need to remember to take care of that every quarter. Chase lets you sign up for alerts so it’s not hard to get reminded, and you can enroll right from your phone. This is a card for maximizers, not people who want to set it and forget it.

A cap on 5% earning.

You only earn 5% back on up to $1,500 worth of spending in the designated categories each quarter. That’s $1,500 total across all the categories, not $1,500 for each category.

Right off the bat, you can probably tell a card with changing quarterly categories like the Chase Freedom card isn’t for the passive cash back rewards earner. There’s a lot involved here.

You need to activate the 5% cash back bonus each quarter. The cash back categories can change each year. And you must be a mindful spender who remembers when to swipe the Chase Freedom card to earn 5% back.

There’s a fair amount of fine print that dictates what will and won’t qualify for 5% cash back. As the new categories roll out, you’ll want to pay close attention to the type of purchases that are eligible.

A noticeable category from 2016 that’s not yet on the 2017 calendar is wholesale clubs. The category may be included later, but it’s a notable exclusion that may impact wholesale club shoppers who previously relied on the Chase Freedom card for cash back on that spending.

How Much Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Worth?

The Chase Freedom card is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, so the Ultimate Rewards portal is where you go to manage and redeem points. Cash back earned from the Chase Freedom card is tracked in Ultimate Rewards points – $1 in cash back equals 100 points.

When you redeem points for rewards, for the most part, 100 points also equals $1 (and 1 point equals $0.01).

The true value of points earned varies slightly. Here’s the breakdown:

Statement credit or cash deposit redemption: 100 points = $1

Gift card redemption: 100 points = $1

Travel redemption: 100 points = $1; you can use a combination of points and your credit card for bookings

Amazon product redemption: Below is a sample conversion, but it’s subject to change

If you do choose the Chase Freedom card, make sure to redeem your points in a way that you’ll get the most value. Choosing Amazon products may not be the way to go.

Combine with a Chase Sapphire Credit Card

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, you can combine your Freedom Ultimate Rewards points with your Sapphire Ultimate Rewards points. That means you would have all of the redemption opportunities associated with the popular Sapphire cards, including the ability to transfer your points to frequent flier programs like United and Southwest.

How to Qualify for the Chase Freedom Card

You need to have good or excellent credit in order to be approved for the credit card. In addition to having a good credit score, Chase will consider your employment status and income to ensure that you would be able to afford any new debt.

Overview of Card Benefits

For benefits and protections, the Chase Freedom card offers:

  • Zero liability protection means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information. This is a fairly common credit card benefit.
  • Chip-enabled card. Just one warning: this is a chip and signature card (and not a chip and pin card). While that should be fine for all of your spending in America, it might make using the card overseas a bit more difficult when only chip-and-pin is accepted.
  • Purchase protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Price protection provides that if a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $500 per item, $2,500 per year.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver means you can decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.

Alternatives to Chase Freedom

How does Chase Freedom stack up versus the competition? It really depends upon how you use your card. 5% cash back is one of the highest rates on the market, but you need to activate and spend in that category to earn rewards. Otherwise you would be earning a not very exciting 1%.

We will now compare Chase Freedom to three other types of cash back credit cards:

  • Discover it – a credit card that offers rich cash back rewards
  • Flat rate cash back credit cards, where you can earn 2%
  • Bonus category cards

Discover it Cashback Match

There are a lot of similarities between Discover it and Chase Freedom. Both cards have no annual fee and pay a base cash back rate of 1%. Both cards offer 5% cash back in rotating categories. Both cards require you to opt in to the 5% cash back categories and cap the 5% cash back to the first $1,500 of spend. But there are two areas where these cards are different.

The first big difference is the intro bonus. With Chase Freedom, you can earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Discover, on the other hand, will match all of the cash back that you earned during the first year – at the end of your first year as a new cardmember. There is no cap to the sign-on bonus. If you are a big spender (especially in the bonus categories), you would earn much more during Year 1 with Discover. Here is a comparison of first year earnings:

  • You spend $1,000 a month in 1% categories
  • You spend $500 a month in 5% categories
  • The sign-on bonus at Chase would be $150
  • The sign-on bonus at Discover, at the end of the first year, would be $420

While you get the intro bonus much quicker at Chase – for big spenders, it pays to wait until the end of Year 1 at Discover.

The second big difference is the categories. Each quarter Discover and Chase announce their bonus categories, and they can be different. At Discover, the 5% category until September 2017 is restaurants.

If you are a big spender, the Discover it first year bonus makes it a good choice. If you are constantly looking for good deals, having both cards in your wallet to take advantage of the bonus categories might be a good choice.

Flat Rate Cash Back Cards

If opting into bonus categories every month sounds painful, you might want to consider a card that pays a flat rate on all of your spending. Whereas Chase Freedom offers a combination of 5% on bonus categories and 1% on everything else – you can get 2% flat cash back with some credit cards.

Citi Double Cash

Citi Double Cash pays 1% cash back as you spend and 1% cash back as you pay your bill. If you pay your statement balance in full every month and claim the cash back as a check or deposit into your checking account, you can earn double cash back.

Alliant Cashback Visa

Another new option is from Alliant, a credit union that anyone can join. With the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card, you can earn 3% cash back during the first year (with no annual fee) and then 2.5% cash back thereafter. Just be warned: after the first year, there is a $59 annual fee. If you spend more than $1,000 a month on the card, the Alliant card will be a better deal than Citi Double Cash.

Bonus Category Cash Back Credit Cards

If you spend a lot of money in a single category every month, you might want to consider a credit card that pays a higher rate on just that category. For example, if you spend a lot of money on gas, you can find a card that pays 5% cash back on gas. If groceries are your biggest expense, you can find a card with 6% on groceries. You can find the best cash back credit cards by category here.

Who the card is best for

Cash back credit cards are great ways to put a little extra money in your pocket. Just remember to pay the statement balance in full and on time every month. Interest and late fees can quickly eat away at the cash back that you earn.

Chase Freedom is a good choice for people who are willing to opt in to the bonus categories each quarter and actually spend a lot of money in the bonus categories. If you don’t take advantage of the generous 5% bonus categories, you will be left with a card paying only 1%, which is not very exciting.

Rewards Cards: Frequently Asked Questions

The Ultimate Rewards points you earn from the Freedom don’t expire as long as you keep the account open. If you close your account, you will forfeit your points, though if you keep another Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards open you can transfer your points to that account before you close your Freedom, and keep them alive.

Credit card companies rely on merchant codes provided by payment networks to determine the category of a purchase. Some stores might have a merchant code that doesn’t fit what you might think the purchase will be. For example, buying groceries at a Walmart isn’t a grocery purchase because Walmart doesn’t code itself as a grocery store. There’s no way to know for sure in advance what category a merchant falls under, so be aware of that before relying on the cash back for a category from a merchant you haven’t shopped at before.

Don’t let those cash back promises pressure you into spending more than you can afford. If you don’t pay your statement balance in full each month, you could get slapped with sky-high interest charges. That would totally negate any benefit you might get from earning cash back. Cash back cards are only valuable if you can pay your bill in full and capture the entirety of your cash back rewards.

It depends on the card. Some cards allow you redeem cash back dollar for dollar as a statement credit, which can help lower your total balance. Just keep in mind that applying cash back to your card statement does not count as a monthly payment. Other cards will increase the value of your cash back if you spend on certain categories, like travel. Review your terms carefully to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Find the card that fits your day-to-day spending needs best, beyond the flashy sign-up bonus offers and cash back promises. Pay your bill in full each month (spend only what you can afford to pay off).

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback

Citi Double Cash Review: Twice The Cash, No Limits

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Citi Double Cash offers the highest no-fee flat-rate cash back credit card on the market. If you pay your balance in full and on time every month, you can earn up to double cash back on everything you spend. You earn 1% cash back when you spend, and then 1% cash back when you pay. If you pay your statement balance in full and deposit the cash back into your checking account, you will have earned a nice 2%.

There is no cap on the cash back you can earn, and there are no rotating categories or requirements to opt into every quarter. If you are looking to earn a lot of cash back without a lot of work, this card could be right for you.

Citi® Double Cash Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Citi® Double Cash Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
1% when you buy, 1% when you pay
APR
14.49%-24.49%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

How the Citi Double Cash Card works

To get double cash back, you must emulate the habits of the savviest credit card holders: use your card, and pay it off in full each month. Do anything else, and you won’t get the full benefit of the double cash back reward.

With the Citi Double Cash Card, you receive your first 1% when you purchase something, but Citi holds onto the second 1% cash back reward until you pay them back. So you get 1% cash back for every dollar you spend, and another 1% cash back for each dollar you pay off on your balance — on time — each month.

To get the maximum double cash back quickly, you should pay off your entire balance. However, as long as you pay the minimum each month, you’ll eventually receive the double cash back, although you’ll pay a lot more than 1% in interest each month.

How to redeem cash back with Citi

When your balance reaches $25, you can choose to redeem your cash reward through a gift card, check, direct deposit, or statement credit to your Citi account. Beware: if you redeem with a statement credit, you won’t get exactly double cash back, but just shy of it depending on the size of the reward.

If you redeem via gift card, you’ll select from retail, restaurant, entertainment, and electronic gift cards in Citi’s gift card marketplace. Choosing the direct deposit option will allow you to transfer your cash back directly to your bank account whether it’s a Citi account or not. If you redeem via check, you should receive a paper check at the address you have on file in 7 to 10 business days.

You can also redeem with a statement credit, but you might notice you don’t get quite double cash back. Since a $25 credit on your statement reduces the amount you’d need to pay back by some amount, you technically get a little less than 2% cash back.

For example, if you redeem $1,000 in cash back for the year, you’ll be shorted about $10 if you redeem your rewards with a statement credit. Assuming you paid off your balance each month, your cash back is reduced to about 1.98%. If you don’t want to miss out on that gap, redeem via check or direct deposit. Also, remember Citi does not count a statement credit as a payment, so you still need to make at least your minimum monthly payment by the due date or you’ll be charged a late fee.

For more details on how to get your cash back, check out this article, where we show you step-by-step how to redeem your cash back with Citi.

Disclaimer: Your rewards will expire if you don’t use your card for 12 months, so be sure to swipe at lease once a year, or redeem your cash before it expires.

How to qualify for the Citi Double Cash Card

Borrowers with good or excellent credit scores are likely to get approved for the Citi Double Cash Card. That means you can still get approved with a few marks on your credit report. That’s unusual as rewards cards with a 0% introductory balance transfer offer like the Citi Double Cash Card are rare for those who lack excellent credit.

Overview of card benefits

The Citi Double Cash Card offers the following benefits and protections to cardholders:

  • No penalty for your first missed payment. Citi won’t charge you a late fee on a first missed payment. This benefit forgives those who usually pay on time, but may miss a payment by accident. Careful, you WILL be charged a fee if you miss a second payment.
  • Citi Private Pass. Citi customers get special access to purchase presale tickets and VIP packages to events such as concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and complimentary movie screenings.
  • Citi Price Rewind. If you notice a price drop on the big-ticket item you just bought, Citi may have already refunded you the difference. Citi Price Rewind will look for a lower price on any registered items you purchase for 60 days. If the system finds a lower price, you may be refunded the difference.
  • Chip-enabled card. Just one warning: this is a chip and signature card (and not a chip and pin card). While that should be fine for all of your spending in America, it might make using the card overseas a bit more difficult when only chip-and-pin is accepted.
  • Citi Concierge. Citi Concierge sets you up with trained experts to help you plan your travel, shopping, dining, entertainment, and other parts of your next trip.
  • Protection against interrupted trips. If your travel plans are interrupted for some reason, Citi will reimburse you for part of your hassle. The bank will reimburse any nonrefundable travel expenses such as change fees if you paid for the ticket with your Citi Double Cash Card.
  • Car rental and collision insurance. You can skip paying extra for the rental company’s collision loss and damage insurance if you use your Citi Double Cash Card. Citi will cover you against any theft or damage done to the rental as long as you used your Citi card to pay for it.
  • Zero liability protection. You won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information. This is a fairly common credit card benefit.
  • Purchase protection covers repairs or refunds for your new purchases in case of damage or theft within 120 days of your making the purchase.
  • Lost wallet service. If you happen to lose your wallet and everything in it, take some comfort in knowing your Citi card, at least, will be replaced within 24 hours. Citi can also give you emergency cash up to your available cash advance limit to help out between losing your card and receiving a new one.

Why we like the Citi Double Cash Card

It has the highest no-fee flat rate reward in the market.

The clearest advantage of the Citi Double Cash Card is that it offers the highest flat rate cash rewards program without an annual fee on the market. The card’s double cash back feature can be a valuable feature for those known to make most everyday purchases on a credit card, and pay the card balance off each month.

The flat rate on all purchases keeps earning rewards simple.

If you like things simple, the card’s flat rate on everything will make keeping up with rewards a breeze. You’ll earn 1% on everything you buy, so there won’t be any need for you to fumble through a stack of credit cards for a specific cash back card at the grocery store. It also eliminates stressing over when or by how much rewards categories might change on your current go-to card each quarter.

It’s a good balance transfer card, too.

The card’s 18-month introductory 0% balance transfer offer makes it a good choice for those seeking to consolidate debt, too. The cash back rewards won’t apply to your balance transfer, but you’ll get 18 billing cycles to pay off the balance interest-free before the card’s higher ongoing interest rate kicks in.

It comes with other great cardholder benefits.

The Citi Double Cash Card’s other benefits aren’t bad either. The card also grants you free access to view your Equifax FICO® Score, and the Citi Price Rewind benefit automatically reimburses you the difference on purchases made with your card if the price changes within 60 days.

What to watch out for with the Citi Double Cash Card

You have to pay off your balance in full to reap the full reward.

You could pay the minimum each month and eventually see you’ve redeemed your cash back. However, the reward really only benefits you if you pay your balance in full each month. If you don’t, the full interest you’ll be charged on your purchases will eclipse the double cash back benefit.

It charges a 3% balance transfer fee.

Although the balance transfer isn’t the main perk the card has, it’s important to note Citi charges you a 3% fee to transfer your balance. Granted, the charge isn’t much compared to the 16% on average you’d be charged in interest on your balance each month if you don’t transfer, but there are many, no-fee balance transfer alternatives (like the Discover it or Chase Slate cards) you could qualify for instead.

You get charged 3% to use it overseas.

You’ll pay to use this card overseas, and the fee isn’t worth it if you can avoid doing so. The 3% foreign transaction fee you’ll be charged to swipe makes the potential double cash back you’d receive on the purchase trivial.

It doesn’t come with a sign-on bonus.

With the Citi Double Cash Card, you won’t get a sign-on bonus like you’d get with other competing cash back cards like Fidelity’s Rewards Visa Signature ($100) or the Capital One Quicksilver card. It’s not a huge pitfall among the card’s best-in-class cash back offer and other perks, but it’s something to consider when weighing your options.

Your rewards will eventually expire.

Take care to redeem your cash back before you stop using the card! If you don’t earn cash back on rewards with your Citi Double Cash Card for 12 months, your rewards will expire. If you plan to stop using the card — maybe you accepted the offer for a specific purchase, or simply for the balance transfer offer — make sure to redeem your cash back before adding it to your credit card graveyard.

Alternatives to the Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card has the highest no-fee flat rate cash back reward on the market, but it might not be the best cash back card for you, depending on your spending habits.

Cards that only earn cash back in certain categories, for example, may work better for you. You might find you spend most of your income in a category such as groceries or gas, so you’d earn a greater reward with a card that earns cash back only in specific spending categories or enjoy keeping up with rotating categories.

Next we compare how the Citi Double Cash Card compares to four other cash back credit cards:

  • Fidelity’s Rewards Visa Signature – the other 2% cash back credit card
  • Alliant Cashback Visa Signature – the 2.5%-3% cash back credit card with a fee
  • Chase Freedom — the rotating category alternative
  • Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express — the bonus category alternative

Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature

Fidelity’s Rewards Visa Signature card earns cardholders 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee. The card is best for existing Fidelity customers, as the funds you earn must be deposited into a Fidelity account.

Borrowers with “good” credit need not apply for this card. Your credit score has to be above 700 to get approved for a line of credit with the Fidelity Visa. Even then, you may be disappointed if you’re not a big Fidelity customer as Fidelity bases its credit limits on the total amount of assets it’s managing on your behalf.

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature

If you don’t mind paying an annual fee, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card could be a viable alternative to the Citi Double Cash Card.

Alliant’s Cashback Visa Signature card offers an unlimited 3% on all purchases in the first year and 2.5% cash back on all purchases in the years following. You’ll also forgo a foreign transaction fee if you use the card overseas. The catch is, cardholders pay a $59 annual fee to hold the card. Only those with excellent credit and high income will qualify for this rewards offer.

Chase Freedom — the rotating category alternative

With Chase Freedom, you’ll automatically earn 1% back on all purchases, 5% on purchases you make in the categories you’ve activated. The card also offers a $150 signing bonus when you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months the account is open.

The Chase Freedom card rotates rewards categories each quarter, so you’ll need to look out for changes and opt in to the quarter’s categories before you can start earning rewards in them. You also won’t be charged interest on purchases or balance transfers made in the first 15 months. You can also earn a $25 bonus when you add an authorized user and make your first purchase within the first three months.

If you qualify for the Citi Double Cash Back Card, you have a good chance of qualifying for Chase Freedom, too. Borrowers with good or excellent credit scores have the best shot at getting approved for the Chase Freedom card.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express — the bonus category alternative

With a card like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you’ll earn a larger amount of cash back in certain categories. The card awards holders 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 worth of spending. You also get 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. So, if your household spends big on gas and groceries, the rewards you’d earn with a card like the Blue Cash Preferred Card will likely be greater that what you could earn with the Citi Double Cash Card.

Try using this tool to figure out which cash back card has the best ongoing program for your needs. Fill in how much you tend to spend each month in each spending category, and the system will generate recommendations based on your spending habits.

Who benefits the most from the Citi Double Cash Card

Overall, cash back cards can be a great way to put some extra money in your pocket, as long as you remember to pay your statement balance in full each month. Interest and late fees can eclipse your cash back earnings pretty quickly.

The Citi Double Cash Card is best for borrowers with good or excellent credit, who make everyday purchases with a credit card and have great payment habits. The double cash back feature is great if you already have the discipline to pay your statement balances off in full each month, and it’s the only way the card’s reward offer is valuable. If you don’t think you can consistently pay off your card each month, it’s best to get the habit set in stone before trying a rewards credit card.

If you’ve never had a rewards card, the Citi Double Cash Card’s simple terms and flat rate cash back rewards make for a great starter rewards card and — so long as you pay your balance off each month — it can be a great way to earn extra pocket change without going into debt.

Citi Double Cash Card FAQs

You’ll get up to double cash back on all of your purchases, which is the logic behind advertising the card as “Double Cash” and not “2% Cash.” You’ll earn your first 1% on all purchases, then another 1% when you pay off the purchase, but if you choose to redeem your cash back via statement credit on your account, you’re technically getting just shy of 2% cash back.

Yes, the cash back on the Citi Double Cash expires if you haven’t used your card for 12 months.

Anything over 1.5% cash back is a good deal. There are some cards that offer more — as much as 5% or 6% cash back on purchases. But sometimes those offers are too good to be true. Banks don’t like to lose money and will pepper the fine print with all sorts of limitations. For example, they may offer 5% cash back on only purchases at certain types of retailers and only for certain periods of time. And those categories may change every quarter, which can make it hard to keep track.

Don’t let those cash back promises pressure you into spending more than you can afford. If you don’t pay your statement balance in full each month, you could get slapped with sky-high interest charges. That would totally negate any benefit you might get from earning cash back. Cash back cards are only valuable if you can pay your bill in full and capture the entirety of your cash back rewards.

It depends on the card. Some cards allow you to redeem cash back dollar for dollar as a statement credit, which can help lower your total balance. Just keep in mind that applying cash back to your card statement does not count as a monthly payment. Other cards will increase the value of your cash back if you spend on certain categories, like travel. Review your terms carefully to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Find the card that fits your day-to-day spending needs best, beyond the flashy sign-up bonus offers and cash back promises. Pay your bill in full each month (spend only what you can afford to pay off).

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at brittney@magnifymoney.com

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The Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Every Category – 3% and More in 2017

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

One of the easiest ways to maximize the value you get for your money is by using a cash back rewards card with no annual fee. We’ve compiled a list of our top recommendations for the most popular categories from our database of over 2,000 credit cards. You can also use our calculator to see which cards earn the most based on your spending habits, or check out our list of the top rewards for every category, from drugstores to home improvement.

Up to 5% Cash Back

Chase Freedom®

Annual Fee
$0
Cash Back Rate
Up to 5%
APR
15.74%-24.49%
Credit required
Good Credit OK

Good Credit OK

  • Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it’s automatic
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74%-24.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every three months
  • Cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

A great way to maximize your cash back rewards is with rotating cash back cards. These cards offer very high cash back levels — 5% — but in specific categories that change each quarter.

This makes it hard to predict whether the card will be good for you or not (unless you have a crystal ball), but they have no annual fee, and you can get a clue as to what they might offer by looking at past categories. Watch out, though most cards require you to manually opt in for the extra bonus each quarter, but you can sign up for alerts.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • $150 intro bonus.If you spend $500 or more within your first three months, Chase will give you an extra $150 in cash back rewards. Earn another $25 within those three months if you add an authorized user who makes a purchase with their card too.
  • 5% cash back categories.Earn 5% cash back on rotating purchases each quarter, up to $1,500. After you hit that cap, you’ll continue to earn cash back at the normal rate of 1%, along with everything else. That means you can earn up to $300 per year just from the bonus categories alone if you spend up to the cap each quarter. Previous categories have included things like grocery stores, drugstores, and gas stations.
  • Combine with travel rewards.The Freedom card earns cash back that you can combine with Chase Ultimate Rewards points anytime. So if you have another Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred that earns Ultimate Rewards, you can add to the points you’re already earning from your Sapphire account with no additional annual fee.

Cons Cons

  • Limits on bonus categories.You can earn great bonus rewards with this card. The only catch is that you’ll earn the bonus rewards rate on up to $1,500 of purchases each quarter — after that, you’ll earn cash back at the normal 1% rate.
  • A deadline to activate 5% categories.You’ll have a new deadline each quarter to manually activate your bonus rewards category, and the deadline varies, but in the past has been about two weeks before the quarter that the category earns 5% ends. So if you activate it after the quarter has started but before the deadline has passed, you’ll still earn 5% cash back for all category purchases — back for all category purchases — including those you’ve already made. If you fail to activate by the deadline, you’ll only earn 1% cash back for all purchases – including those you’ve already made. If you fail to activate by the deadline, you’ll only earn 1% cash back for all purchases.
  • $20 minimum redemption limits.You can only redeem points for cash back in the form of statement credits, gift cards, direct deposit, or redemption through Chase for products and services starting at $20.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom card is for those who are looking for unlimited cash back rewards and high bonus categories. Just be aware of some of the limitations of the Chase Freedom card — namely, the $20 minimum redemption option and the activation deadlines. If you can steer clear of those, this would be a great card for people looking for a good intro bonus and ways to earn up to 5% cash back every quarter.

Also Consider Also Consider

Discover it® Cashback Match™

This card also earns up to 5% in rotating categories each quarter, and they’re often pretty close to what the Freedom card offers. Discover will give you a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. So you could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™.

If you’re willing to wait a year for the match, you’ll generally come out ahead of the Freedom card if you spend more than $1,500 a month. The Discover it® card also gives you more value for gift card rewards, letting you get a $25 gift card with $20 worth of rewards.

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Big Intro Bonus Cash

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Annual Fee
$0
Cash Back Rate
1.5%
APR
13.74% – 25.74%
Credit required
Good Credit OK

Good Credit OK

There are a lot of ways you can maximize your cash back rewards, and one of the best is to go for an intro bonus card. Before you sign up for an intro bonus though, make sure you look at a few details.

You don’t get the intro bonus automatically; you usually need to spend a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time first. Take a look and make sure you’re able to meet the spending requirements, otherwise it’s a wasted opportunity.

Also consider the annual fee — it can be tempting to sign up for the intro bonus, but if you end up shelving the card later and not using it, you could end up paying more than you earned. On the whole though, these cards are great ways to earn extra cash.

Pros Pros

  • $200 intro bonus. You’ll earn a great $200 cash back bonus as long as you’re able to spend $1,000 within the first three months. You’ll earn another flat 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases (including the $1,000 you spent to get the intro bonus), and 1.8% in your first year on Android PayTM or Apple Pay® mobile wallet net purchases.
  • Cellphone protection. If you charge your monthly cellphone bill to the card, you can get protection to cover damage or theft to your phone, up to $600 per incident, and $1,200 per year with a $25 deductible. You don’t even need to buy your phone with the card to get the protection, just pay your monthly bill with the card.
  • Rewards don’t expire. As long as you keep your account open, your rewards don’t expire.

Cons Cons

  • $20 minimum redemption. You can’t redeem cash back unless you have at least $20 worth of rewards in your account. That’s not a big deal up front, since you can quickly earn over $200 in cash back. But once you’ve used up those rewards, you’ll need to spend over $1,300 on the card to earn another $20 in rewards.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee. The 3% foreign transaction fee beats out the 1.5% cash back rewards rate, so make sure to leave this card at home if you travel abroad.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers a good intro rewards bonus, without a lot of catches. While the ongoing 1.5% cash back isn’t the greatest, with no annual fee it’s worth keeping around for the extra cellphone protection if you pay your phone bill with the card each month.

Also Consider Also Consider

Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®

This card also offers a $200 bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first three months of holding the card. The catch is the rewards on this card expire if you don’t use your card for six months. And you need to have at least $50 worth of rewards to redeem for cash back. That’s not a problem if you’ve earned the $50 intro bonus, but it’s easy to leave rewards on the table after the first $200.

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Double Unlimited Cash Back

Citi Double Cash

Juggling a lot of bonus categories in your head can get confusing, especially if you don’t have a fine-tuned system down. If you want something easier to use, a flat rate cash back card might be better for you. Sure, you might not earn as much, but you’ll still consistently earn more than if you use no cash back credit card at all.

Annual Fee
$0
Cash Back Rate
1% + 1%
APR
14.24% – 24.24%
Credit required
Good Credit OK

Good Credit OK

  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.24%-24.24% based on your creditworthiness
  • Click “Apply Now” to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn up to 2% double cash back. Earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and get another 1% cash back when you pay it off with no limits. This works out to an effective cash back rate of 2% total — that’s twice as high as the 1% flat rate of most other cards that tempt you with flashy bonus categories. And it can earn you even more than 1.5% cash back cards that are popular. There are no categories to worry about — every purchase can earn you double cash when you pay it off. If you spend and pay off $1,000 a month on the card, you could earn $240 in cash back each year.
  • No annual fee. You won’t pay any annual fees to keep this card. You won’t pay any interest charges either as long as you pay your full balance off by the time your monthly bill is due.

Cons Cons

  • $25 minimum redemption limits. You can redeem cash rewards in the form of a check, a statement credit, or direct deposit (as long as you’ve made at least two payments from this account) — as long as you have at least $25 in accumulated cash back rewards. You can also redeem your cash rewards in the form of gift cards, but only in pre-set denominations from their online selection.
  • You can lose your rewards. Be careful: if you don’t use your Citi Double Cash card to make any new purchases for 12 months, you’ll lose your cash rewards balance. To avoid this, mark your card anniversary date on your calendar and make sure to use it at least once a year before that date. You can also lose your rewards if you close your account, so make sure to redeem them first.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card would be great for people who don’t spend a ton of money on their credit cards, yet still want to take advantage of a good cash back card. It’s great for casual use because it carries no annual fee — just make sure you do use it at least once per year to avoid losing all of your cash back rewards. When it comes time to close your card, keep an eye on your balance. You can lose up to $24.99 if you don’t meet the minimum redemption limit required to redeem your rewards before you close the card.

Also Consider Also Consider

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature

If you’re a big spender and willing to pay an annual fee of $59, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card earns a big 2.5% unlimited cash back on every purchase. And it earns 3% cash back in the first year. You can come out ahead of the Double Cash card even with the annual fee if you spend over $1,000 a month. Alliant is a credit union anyone can join when you apply, but this card requires excellent credit, and Alliant is targeted the card to people capable of spending $50,000 or more in a year on the card.

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OK for Fair Credit

QuicksilverOne Rewards® from Capital One

Annual Fee
$39
Cash Back Rate
1.5%
APR
24.99% variable APR
Credit required
Fair Credit OK

Fair Credit OK

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day with no changing categories.
  • Redeem your cashback for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • Get your FICO® credit score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • Get access to a higher credit line with Credit Steps after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.
  • Enjoy unlimited access to your credit score and tools to help you monitor your credit profile with CreditWise.

Just because your credit isn’t top-notch doesn’t mean you’re not eligible for great cash back rewards cards. You can use this card for two things: earn fantastic cash back rewards and build up your credit responsibly.

As long as you pay off your credit card on time each month, you’ll boost your credit score in the long run. Over time you’ll even be eligible for some of the better rewards cards as well.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Free FICO score.
    You’ll be able to easily keep track of your credit score as you work to improve it. Keeping this card open indefinitely will help build your credit score, along with other good credit-building habits.
  • 1.5% cashback bonus.
    You can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and all categories. Cash rewards are convenient and can be redeemed for any amount at anytime and they never expire.

Cons Cons

  • $39 annual fee.
    This card comes with a yearly $39 fee, but you receive the added rewards and benefits of unlimited 1.5% cash back, security monitoring, insurance benefits and more. However, you may be able to find a better card that has no fee by checking if you’re prequalified for a card. Several banks offer a chance to see if you’ll be approved without hurting your credit score. Unlike most cards, the fee is not waived in the first year, meaning you’ll have to pay to use this card upon receiving it. You’ll need to spend at least $2,600 ($217 per month) to earn enough cash back rewards to pay for the card itself each year. To net a cashback of $50 you need to spend $5,933 in a year ($494 per month).
  • APR above 20%.
    This card has a high APR above 20% which can counteract the potential 1.5% cash back rewards if you don’t pay your statement in full each month. If you delay payments you will end up paying interest and up to a $35 late payment fee, therefore lowering your credit score and getting into debt.
Bottom Line

Bottom line

This is a great card for credit building because you can get unlimited 1.5% cash back, and you’ll get a free FICO score to monitor your progress. Knowing your FICO score — and whether it’s good enough to qualify for the best rates — can save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a big loan like a mortgage. Remember, this card is only good if you pay each statement in full and if you spend at least $2,600 a year ($217 per month) to earn enough cash back to offset the annual fee. This is a good entry point for people with less-than-perfect credit to get in on the cash back rewards game; just be cautious that it doesn’t tempt you into debt and lower your credit score even further. Before applying for this card, check if you’re prequalified for a card with no fee and better rewards.

Also Consider Also Consider

Discover It® Secured Card

If you have bad credit or are still building credit, the Discover it® Secured Card gives you up to 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, you get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. And after eight months, you’ll get automatic monthly reviews to transition you to an account with no security deposit, and you could eventually get a card that earns up to 5% cash back.

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6% Grocery Bonus Cash

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Annual Fee
$95
Cash Back Rate
Up to 6%
APR
13.99% – 24.99% Variable
Credit required
Good Credit OK

Good Credit OK

  • Everyday cash back: 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 3% at US gas stations and select US department stores; 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 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. You can only earn cash back on eligible purchases.
  • $95 annual fee. 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.99%-24.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms apply.

If you have a big family (or even just a big husband like me), you know how expensive grocery bills can be. If you spend time meticulously clipping coupons, you can up your game even further by using cash back rewards cards that offer higher bonus categories for groceries.

Would you say no to a 6% off coupon for your entire grocery purchase?

Just make sure to keep an eye out for the annual fee, especially if you’re a single person and don’t spend hordes of cash on groceries each month. Make sure you’ll at least be able to cover the cost of the annual fee with your cash back rewards, otherwise the card will end up costing you more than it’s worth.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • $150 intro bonus.Earn $150 in cash back rewards if you spend at least $1,000 within your first three months. That’s the equivalent of getting credit for spending $15,000 on non-bonus-category purchases — but for free!
  • Up to 6% cash back.You’ll earn a total of 6% cash back at supermarkets, up to $6,000 in purchases per year. You’ll also earn 3% cash back at gas stations and certain department stores. Everything else (and any supermarket purchases over $6,000 in a year) will earn cash back rewards at a rate of 1%. That means you can earn up to $360 per year from supermarket purchases alone if you spend up to the $6,000 threshold for the 6% cash back level. If you also spend $400 per month on gas, that’s another $144 in cash back per year.

Cons Cons

  • $25 redemption limits.You can redeem your rewards only in $25 increments, and only for statement credits.
  • You can lose your points.If you close your card, you’ll lose any points you have accumulated because of the restrictive redemption limits. So, before you close your card, do the following: calculate how many $25 increments’ worth of rewards you have, charge up to that amount, and redeem your rewards as a statement credit. This means that you will forfeit some rewards when you close the card.
  • $95 annual fee. This card comes with a hefty fee — $95 per year. Unlike most cards, it’s also not waived in the first year, meaning you’ll have to pay to use this card right out of the gate. You’d need to spend at least $1,584 ($132 per month) in supermarket purchases, $4,750 ($396 per month) in gas/department store purchases, or $9,500 ($792 per month) in other purchases to earn enough cash back rewards to pay for the card itself each year.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card comes with a lot of fantastic features, such as a high intro bonus and the highest percentage cash back rewards for any bonus category we’ve seen (6% on supermarket purchases). But you’ll pay a price for those benefits (literally) — you can only redeem rewards under certain conditions and in certain amounts.

You can’t opt for a check or direct deposit of any amount into your bank account, for example — you can only redeem your rewards as a statement credit in $25 increments. It’d also be good to keep an eye on your spending levels and whether this card would even make sense for you to get — otherwise, it could turn into more of a money sink than it’s worth. You’d need to make $1,584 in supermarket purchases, $4,750 in gas/department store purchases, or $9,500 in other purchases to earn enough cash back rewards to pay for the card itself each year.

Also Consider Also Consider

Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card

If you don’t want to pay an annual fee, this card offers 3% cash back on grocery purchases up to $6,000 worth every year. It also gets 2% cash back on gas purchases. Anyone can join Consumers Credit Union, and you don’t need to be a current member to apply. If you don’t want to deal with a credit union, the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card offers up to 3% cash back at supermarkets as well.

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3% Dining Bonus Cash

Capital One Premier Dining Rewards

Annual Fee
$0
Cash Back Rate
Up to 3%
APR
15.24% -24.24%
Credit required
Excellent OK

Excellent OK

  • One-time $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within three months of approval
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases
  • 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
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Whether you’re a true foodie or just like getting takeout for dinner at the end of a long day, why not get paid for your efforts? Dining out can be a big budget buster, but you can lessen the burden just a bit with this card.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn up to 3% cash back.Earn 3% cash back on dining purchases, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else. It’s a food lovers’ dream card!
  • No annual fee. This card is basically free to use. If you pay off your bill in full by the due date, you’ll also never be charged interest, meaning that you actually get paid to use this card.
  • $100 Intro bonus.If you spend $500 within the first three months of getting this card, they’ll throw in an extra $100 bonus.

Cons Cons

  • You can lose your rewards. Rewards never expire, but make sure to redeem any rewards in the form of a statement credit or check before you close your account. If you don’t, you’ll lose all of your points.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Foodies, rejoice! This card is totally free (as long as you pay your balance in full each month), and yet it offers crazy high rewards on food, whether you choose to get it from a restaurant or from a grocery store. This card doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles for other things like balance transfers, 0% intro periods, low APRs, or the like, meaning that this card should strictly be used for its reward-earning potential and nothing else. Luckily, though, it doesn’t carry a foreign transaction fee, so bring this card with you on your next vacation abroad.

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5% Gas Bonus Cash

Fort Knox FCU Platinum Visa

Annual Fee
$0
Cash Back Rate
Up to 5%
APR
10%
Credit required
Good OK

Good OK

  • 5% cash back rebates on gas purchases
  • 1% cash back rebates on all retail purchases
  • No balance transfer fee or annual fee
  • Credit limit up to $25,000 for qualifying members
  • Interest rates as low as 10% APR
  • Low monthly payments

Unless you’ve got a shiny cherry-red sports car in the middle of the country’s open roads, you probably don’t like driving too much. It takes up a lot of time, stress, and, more importantly, money. You can put a few dollars back in your pocket each time you fill up your gas tank with this card, however.

Now all you have to worry about is whether or not to put those extra dollars toward your vacation fund to relax from all the stressful driving.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn up to 5% unlimited cash back.This card offers a whopping 5% cash back on gas purchases, with no limit on your cash back potential. This could lead to huge savings each year if you spend a lot on gas. You can also earn 1% cash back on retail purchases.
  • No annual fee. This card comes with fantastic rewards, but what’s even more amazing is that it doesn’t charge an annual fee. The AMEX Blue Cash Preferred card, by contrast, charges $95 per year for offering similar reward levels, but for groceries instead.
  • Low interest rate.Depending on your credit score, you could get an interest rate as low as 10% APR. That’s about 5 points less than most other big-name cards.
  • Automatic redemptions. Any time you make a purchase that generates cash back, it’ll automatically be applied to your balance. For example, if you make a $100 gas purchase, you’ll automatically get a $5 rebate applied to your credit card statement.

Cons Cons

  • 1% foreign transaction fee. If you travel abroad, the 1% foreign transaction fee will essentially negate any cash rewards you earn on regular purchases. You’ll still come out ahead for gas purchases — you’ll just earn a net of 4% rather than 5%. If you still want to earn cash back rewards while traveling overseas, consider another card.
  • Retail purchases can be tricky to decipher.You won’t earn cash back rewards for purchases made at restaurants, auto repair shops, airlines, etc. Rather, you’ll only earn 1% cash back on “retail” purchases, which are determined using specific merchant codes. Unless you have a list of which merchant codes earn rewards and ask each business what merchant code they use, or look up its code ahead of time, it can be impossible to know whether you’ll earn cash back rewards at a particular location or not.
  • You’ll need to join Fort Knox FCU. You don’t have to be a member to apply for this card. If you are approved, however, you will need to join Fort Knox FCU.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Rather than operating as a de facto savings plan as you accumulate cash rewards like most credit cards, this card gives you automatic rebates off purchases each month. This isn’t too different from how coupons operate — you make a purchase, apply the rebate, and your bill is lowered as a result. This can be a pro or a con, depending on how you use your cash back rewards: as a forced savings account or just to make things cheaper. Any way you slice it, though, a 5% cash back rebate on gas is a fantastic rate, especially since this card doesn’t charge an annual fee. It’d be a great card for any motorist to keep in their wallet.

Also Consider Also Consider

Sam’s Club MasterCard®

You can earn 5% cash back on gas up to $6,000 worth each year with this card. And there are no catches with earning cash back at other places as with the Fort Knox card. You also get 3% cash back on dining and travel.

There’s no annual fee, but you need to pay for a Sam’s Club membership, which costs $45 a year. If you’re a Costco member, the Costco Anywhere Visa earns 4% cash back on gas up to $7,000 worth a year.

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2% on Business Spending

Capital One Spark Cash

Annual Fee
$0 the first year, then $59
Cash Back Rate
2%
APR
17.74% variable APR
Credit required
Excellent OK

Excellent OK

  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within three months of approval
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • Rewards don’t expire, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount, any time
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spending

Being in business can be tough. The reason most businesses fail is because of cash flow issues. You might not be able to earn enough to fully support your business with a cash back rewards card, but it can ease the burden just a little bit. By investing in more things that’ll help your business, you can boost your chances of long-term success even more.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • $500 intro bonus.You’ll earn a fantastic $500 bonus for your business if you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months. That’s more than twice the highest intro bonus for most personal credit cards.
  • 2% cash back.You’ll earn a sweet 2% cash back on all purchases. You can redeem them at any time as a check or a statement credit, and you can even set up recurring automatic redemptions when certain thresholds are met or at certain times of the year.
  • Free employee cards.If your business has employees, you can provide them with employee business cards so they can make the purchases you need to keep your business running. Any purchases your employees make will also earn 2% cash back.

Cons Cons

  • You can lose your rewards if you close the card. Make sure to redeem your cash back rewards before you close the card, otherwise you will lose them all. Luckily, this is the only way that you can actually lose your rewards.
  • Annual fee. You won’t pay any annual fee in your first year, but after that, watch out: this card will cost you $59 per year after that. You’ll need to spend at least $2,950 per year thereafter to earn enough cash back to at least pay the annual fee.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers great cash back earning potential for businesses that spend at least a moderate amount each year. If your business doesn’t make at least $2,950 in purchases each year, this card may be one to skip because it’ll end up costing you to keep, and there are no-annual-fee alternatives out there like the Capital One Spark Cash Select business card.

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What’s the best way to choose a cash back rewards card?

Choosing a good cash back rewards card can take a little bit of time and consideration, but luckily it’s not rocket science. The basic measuring stick you can use to compare different cash back credit cards is one simple number: your spending in a certain category.

The best basic strategy is to get one good unlimited cash back card like the Citi Double Cash, a good up to 5% rotating categories card like the Chase Freedom, and then a card that has a bonus in your biggest spending category like groceries. With no annual fee for most cards, there’s a lot to gain if you have good credit.
You can use MagnifyMoney’s cash back comparison calculator to quickly sift through some of the major cash back categories, like gas, groceries, or dining out. Simply plug in your monthly spending, and it’ll pop out the best rewards card for you.

For other categories you can still do this exercise: simply find out what the cash back rewards rate is and multiply it by your spending in that category. For example, if you spend $1,000 per year on tacos and you were able to find a taco cash back rewards card (wouldn’t that be amazing?) at 2%, you would earn $20 cash back each year.

Once you know how much cash back you can earn in a year with a cash back card, there are a few other considerations. Would you earn enough cash back to offset the cost of the card? For example, if the taco cash back card had an annual fee of $95 per year, you’d lose $75 per year overall.

Also watch out for minimum redemption levels. Sometimes you can only redeem cash back rewards in certain increments. If you could only redeem cash back from your taco card in $100 increments, for example, it’s going to take you five years before you even see any earnings.
Finally, consider if you’re willing to do the work needed to juggle multiple cash back rewards cards. A taco cash back card may be nice, sure, but you’re more likely to spend more money on bigger categories like groceries each year (hopefully). It would be more worth your time to take out a few cards for these major categories, and then a few smaller ones for minor categories, but that does require more juggling to remember program details.

What other cards can I get if I want to maximize absolutely everything?

You aren’t just limited to the cash back cards we’ve outlined above. There are a lot of other cash back credit cards offering bonus categories in all kinds of obscure areas. Here’s a comprehensive list from our database if you’re an uber-cash-back hacker:

You’ll find three flavors of cash back rewards, in the order of hassle factor:

  • Unlimited cash back – This is the simplest form. You usually won’t find the very highest 5%+ rewards this way, but we’ve found some great cards that get you 3% or more in some popular categories.
  • Cash back with limits – This is where a card limits the cash back you earn by putting a cap on the spending that earns the cash back in the specific category, on a combination of categories, or the card as a whole.
  • Quarterly rotating categories – These are the cards with the big headline 5% rates. Don’t be fooled. While you can earn the 5% rate, you may have to opt in to categories each quarter manually and be hit with caps on how much you can earn.

Advertising Services

With limits

3%: SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express – up to $25,000 in purchases in bonus categories

Airfare

Unlimited

With limits

  • 3% – Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Quarterly category in 2017

  • 5%: Nusenda Cash Rewards – October-December – up to $1,500. Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union (formerly the New Mexico Educators Credit Union) by becoming a member of the La Montanita Food Co-op.

Amazon.com

Unlimited

5% Quarterly Category in 2017

  • 5%: Discover it – up to $1,500 – dates to be determined

Bookstores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ – up to $2,000/quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Car Rentals

Unlimited

With limits

Cellphone

With limits

Cable / Satellite / Landline Phone / Internet

Clothing Stores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ – up to $2,000/quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Commuting, Taxis

Unlimited

Quarterly category in 2017

Department Stores

Unlimited

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ – up to $2,000/quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Quarterly category in 2017

  • 5%: Citi Dividend – October–December – up to $300 total cash back on card (no longer open to new applicants)

Discount Stores

  • 3%: Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Drugstores

With limits

Education

Quarterly category in 2017

  • 5%: Nusenda Cash RewardsJuly-September – up to $1,500. Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union (formerly the New Mexico Educators Credit Union) by becoming a member of the La Montanita Food Co-op.

Electronics

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ up to $2,000/quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Quarterly category in 2017

  • 5%: (Best Buy only) Citi Dividend – October – December – up to $300 total cash back on card (no longer open to new applicants)

Furniture

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ up to $2,000/quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Quarterly Category in 2017

  • 5%: Citi Dividend – January – March – up to $300 total cash back on card (no longer open to new applicants)

Gas

Unlimited

With limits

Quarterly category in 2017

Grocery Stores

Unlimited

With limits

Quarterly category in 2017

Gyms

With Limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ up to $2,000/quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Home Improvement

No limits

With limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Quarterly category in 2017

  • 5%: Nusenda Cash Rewards – April–June – up to $1,500
  • 5%: (Home Depot only) Citi Dividend – January – March – up to $300 total cash back on card (no longer open to new applicants)
  • 5%: Discover it – up to $1,500 – July – September

Hotels

Unlimited

With limits

Quarterly category in 2017

  • 5% – New Mexico Educators Cash Rewards – October-December– up to $1,500
  • 5%: (Hilton Hotels only) Citi Dividend – July – September – up to $300 total cash back on card (no longer open to new applicants)

Movie Theaters

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ – up to $2,000/quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Quarterly category in 2017

Office Supply Stores

With limits

Online Retail

Unlimited

Restaurants

Unlimited

With Limits

Quarterly category in 2017

Shipping

Sports

With limits

Target

Unlimited

Trains, Cruises, Other Vacation

Unlimited

With limits

Utilities

  • 3%: Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Walmart

  • 3%: Huntington Voice – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Warehouse Clubs

  • 2%: Costco Anywhere Visa – at Costco warehouse clubs
  • 2%: InFirst Credit Union Visa Rewards – no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10, using discount code INFIRST

What’s the most effective way to keep track of multiple credit cards?

Keeping multiple cards open can be a great way to maximize your cash back rewards as long as you follow the steps in the previous question (i.e., make sure you earn enough each year to pay for any annual fees, and understand minimum redemption levels). It can be confusing if you’re not prepared, but as long as you have a system in place ahead of time it’ll be a snap.
Keep a list somewhere of the following details for each of your cards:

  • Date applied for
  • Annual fee
  • What happens to rewards when you close the card?
  • Minimum redemption levels
  • Do rewards expire?
  • Rotating bonus categories, or constant?
  • What are the current bonus categories, if they rotate?

This will help you stay organized. Each year you’ll be charged the annual fee (if you have one) on your credit card anniversary. If you find that you’re not spending enough money in those specific categories to pay for the annual fee, you have until that date to cancel the card before incurring the annual fee.

You’ll also want to keep track of what happens when you close the card. Do you lose your rewards? Are they paid out? Making sure you know what’ll happen will help you avoid losing any rewards when it comes time to close the card.

Knowing the minimum redemption levels can help you be prepared ahead of time so you know when you’re ready to redeem your rewards. Keeping track of rewards expirations will also help you to avoid losing them, especially if you’re waiting to build them up to meet a minimum redemption level.

The whole reason of going through the hassle of opening multiple cards is so you can maximize your rewards, so keeping tabs on which cards offer what kinds of rewards is crucial. If you have trouble remembering which cards are for what categories when you’re out and about, stick a little Post-it note with a reminder of which categories it’s used for right on the card.

Some cards offer rotating rewards categories that you have to manually opt in for, like the Discover It. If you have trouble remembering to opt in, set a reminder for yourself on your phone, to-do list, calendar, or carrier pigeon —whatever works best for you.

How do I redeem my cash back rewards?

You can redeem your cash back rewards in a few different ways. One of the most common is simply to receive statement credits, where the credit card company will literally put your cash back rewards in your credit card account to offset any purchases you’ve made.

Another common way to receive cash back rewards is through a physical check that the credit card company mails to you. Sometimes, credit card companies will even allow you to redeem your cash back rewards for gift cards or charity donations, too.

One thing that can be confusing is how cash back rewards are calculated. Some cards say up front that you’ll earn X% back, but other cards operate on a points basis where certain purchases are worth different amounts of points. Points are commonly worth 1 cent each, so if you racked up 1,000 points in cash back rewards, for example, that would be equivalent to $10.00 cash back (simply move the decimal place two spots to the left).

Before you apply for a cash back reward card it’s important to read through and fully understand the details of how that specific card operates. Some cards have minimum redemption rates, for example, and if you’re not prepared for them it can be quite some time before you actually earn anything back.

How can I avoid losing my cash back rewards?

There are a few ways that you can lose your cash back rewards, depending on the stipulations in your credit card agreement.
If you pay late, you may forfeit some of your cash back rewards. Sometimes companies will put an expiration date on any cash back rewards. If you’re holding out for a big jackpot and you’re not aware of these expiration dates, you can lose everything.

You can also sometimes lose your rewards if you close the card with an active rewards balance. When you call the company to close your account, they’ll likely go over your remaining rewards with you and offer to help you redeem them, but they are not obligated to do so.

That’s why it’s important to read the fine print of any card you apply for — these surely won’t be the details that the credit card company is listing in bright shiny letters at the top of their offers. By taking a few minutes to scan through the fine print and look for any details on “rewards expiration, forfeiture of cash back rewards,” or similar language, you can potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars in cash back rewards.

What happens if I keep a rolling balance on my credit card?

It’s best to avoid keeping a balance on your credit card if at all possible. You won’t earn cash back on any interest payments you make. That means every time you pay interest, you’re directly eating into the cost of your cash back rewards, and it can even be more expensive than if you had just paid cash.

An 18% interest rate will beat out a 2% cash back rewards level any day.

How can I avoid keeping a rolling balance on my card?

It’s easy for your spending to get out of control, but it’s also easy to keep it in check if you adopt good spending practices with your credit cards.

It can be tempting to spend more than you normally would have if you know you’re earning cash back rewards. If you pretend like you’re spending cash and not earning cash back rewards, though, it can help you spend like you normally would have.

Another rule is to not spend more than you could pay off today. People sometimes get into trouble when they view credit cards as short-term loans, but something always happens and that’s when the vicious cycle of a rolling balance starts. It’s better to only charge what you can afford to pay off today, even if that means spending less.

Finally, pay off your balance at least once per month. If you do this when the balance is due, you’ll also avoid interest charges, making your cash back rewards essentially free minus the annual fee (if your card has one).

You’ll have enough money to pay it off in full as long as you follow the above rule: don’t charge anything you can’t afford to buy in cash today. Sometimes the sticker shock can be a bit overwhelming even if you have the cash to pay it all off (I spent how much?). To minimize the shock, you can pay it off biweekly, weekly, or even daily if you’re truly serious about keeping your spending in check.

These are the best cash back credit cards of 2017

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Best Rewards Credit Cards: Double miles, 5% cash, and more

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Rewards Credit Cards Illustration

Looking for a rewards credit card to earn cash or travel from the spending you’re already doing? There are hundreds of rewards cards out there, and we’ve combed through our database to hand pick the very best rewards credit cards, most with no annual fee.

If you’re just looking for one card to earn cash rewards, your best bet is to use our calculator to get a personalized recommendation based on your spending habits. Otherwise, read on for our top picks. This guide will help you understand whether you are ready to earn rewards, and whether earning cash back or miles for travel rewards is your best bet.

1. Cash back rewards credit cards

Start here: No annual fee, 2x cash

The most important recommendation we can make is to start with either the Citi Double Cash or Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature in your wallet.

Both earn double cash on everything you purchase and pay off with no limits, and no annual fee.

If you prefer MasterCard or have less than perfect credit, go with the Double Cash. If you prefer Visa or plan to use the card abroad, go with the Fidelity (it has a low 1% foreign transaction fee).

If your credit is fair or you have no credit history, then consider one of these options with a slightly lower cash back rate.

Once you have one of these base cards, you can look at our other favorite cards to earn 3%, or even 5% on some of your other spending. You can scroll down this page to see our top picks, or go to our full directory of dozens of cards that earn 3% or better cash back in many categories.

 

Citi Double Cash Card

Easy double cash rewards

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash card offers easy double cash rewards with no annual fee.

You get 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay your bill, so it’s easy to earn double cash on everything you buy with the card.

And since there’s no annual fee, you don’t have to miss out on the seductive 5% cash back you sometimes see on other cards. Just keep the Citi Double Cash in your wallet for most of your spending, and if you have a card that earns 5% in special categories, just use it for that spending, so you can really rack up the cash rewards.

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  • Earning cash back is simple – there are no special categories or limits
  • There is a fee on foreign transactions, so only use this card for purchases in the U.S.

Tip: You need to earn or use rewards at least once every 12 months, or else your rewards will expire.

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Alliant Visa

2.5% cash back with an annual fee

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

If you’re willing to pay a $59 annual fee, this card offers a big 2.5% unlimited cash back on everything you spend. Alliant is a credit union anyone can join online and you don’t need to be a member to apply. There’s also a special 3% cash back rate for your first year, with no annual fee either. If you travel abroad there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about. So is the fee worth it? Basically, if you spend more than $1,000 a month on the card, you’ll earn more than the annual fee in cash back compared to the Citi Double Cash.

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  • Good disclosure: they tell you what they need to know
  • Simple introductory bonus
  • Impossible to know your interest rate until you apply

Tip: Be aware this card is only for people who are eligible for high credit limits, so it’s harder to get than the Citi Double Cash. You’ll need excellent credit and a good income to qualify.

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Up to 5% rewards with a little effort

Once you have a double cash rewards card in your wallet, you’re ready to start considering cards that earn 5% cash back in special categories. If you’re really serious about earning the most cash from your spending, you can get all of these rotating category cards and leverage the fact they earn 5% in different categories. Then, use your base double cash rewards card for everything else.

All of these cards have a limit on how much cash back you can earn at 5%, so you’ll want to pay attention to that, and some of them require you to enroll each quarter to activate your 5% cash back, so if you miss the deadline you’ll earn just 1%.

Our pick for small spenders & travelers

Chase Freedom Card

With Chase Freedom you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

If you spend the full $1,500 in bonus categories each quarter all year long, you could earn $300 cash back a year from your bonus category spending.

A good introductory bonus for small spenders. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. That’s like earning 30% cash back on your first $500 in purchases with the card and gets you off to a fast start.

Boost your travel rewards. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card for travel rewards, you can combine your points with those from the Chase Freedom, letting you turn your Chase Freedom points into real airline miles with Ultimate Rewards partners like United MileagePlus and Southwest Rapid Rewards, which can make your points worth even more.

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  • There’s a nice, simple sign on bonus
  • You have to enroll every quarter to earn 5% in bonus categories
  • There are late payment and cash advance fees.

Tip: You generally have about 2 and a half months during the quarter to activate your 5%. For example, for January – March 2016, you can activate by March 14, and still get the 5% in your bonus category spending for the whole quarter, even if you made purchases in the category before you activated.

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Best 5% cash for bigger spenders

Discover it® – Cashback Match™

The Discover It and Chase Freedom are pretty similar when it comes to rewards, but if you spend more than about $1,000 a month, the Discover It is your better bet if you’re looking to choose just one.

Double cash back better for big spenders. As an introductory offer for new cardmembers, Discover will give you a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned during your first year (new cardmembers only). So big spenders get more out of this than the introductory offer on the Chase Freedom.

Plenty of 5% categories. Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, Amazon.com, restaurants, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. All other purchases get 1% cash back.

From July until September of 2017, the bonus category is restaurants.

If you spend the full $1,500 in bonus categories each quarter all year long, you could earn $300 cash back a year from your bonus category spending.

 

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  • There’s a nice, simple sign on bonus
  • You have to enroll every quarter to earn 5% in bonus categories
  • There are late payment and cash advance fees.

Tip: One gotcha about the Discover It is that you only get the 5% in bonus categories for spending you do after you activate your bonus each quarter. For example, for the January – March 5% categories, if you activate on February 15, only spending from February 15 to the end of March will qualify, even if you made purchases in a 5% category before then.

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Platinum Rewards Card By Nusenda CU

Best 5% with no enrollment hassle

Platinum Rewards Card By Nusenda CU

If you want 5% in rotating categories each quarter without having to enroll each quarter, consider the NUSENDA Credit Union’s Platinum Cash Rewards card.

Automatic 5% categories. You’re automatically eligible for 5% cash rewards each quarter, up to $1,500 worth of spending across the categories each quarter. Currently that’s typically a $1,500 per quarter maximum, like the Chase Freedom. But the categories where you can earn 5% are a bit broader.

For 2017 the 5% cashback bonus categories include:

  • January – March: Groceries and Gas
  • April – June: Restaurants, Movies, and Home Improvement
  • July – September: Gas and Education
  • October – December: Restaurants, Hotels, Airfare

The introductory bonus is the weakest of the bunch, and offers 2% on all your purchases for the first 90 days. You’d have to spend $15,000 in 90 days to beat the Chase Freedom’s $150 offer.

 

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  • No need to enroll every quarter to earn 5% in bonus categories
  • You need to join a credit union, though anyone can join NUSENDA

Tip: When you apply, you’ll be asked where you live or work to determine your eligibility to join NUSENDA Credit Union. If you don’t live in one of the New Mexico counties listed on the application, just enter the company you work for, and they’ll call you to offer you a non profit organization you can join for a small one time fee to be eligible.

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Cash back for frequent diners

What’s better than 2% cash rewards? 3%.

While you can get 5% cash back on dining some quarters with the 5% foursome cards above, to get consistently good cash back on dining all the time, read on.

You can also check out our full list of the best cards for dining cash back.

Chase AARP Visa Card

Best unlimited dining cash back rewards

Chase AARP Visa Card

You don’t need to be over 55 to be a member of AARP, and in fact you don’t have to be a member of AARP to get this card.

If offers unlimited 3% cash back rewards on purchases at restaurants and 3% cash back rewards on purchases at gas stations, along with 1% cash back rewards on all other purchases.

You can learn more about the card (including the most recent product specifics) at AARP.org.

The information related to AARP Visa credit card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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  • There’s no annual fee.
  • There is no limit to the cash back rewards you can earn.
  • There are late payment fees.

Tip: You get your choice of cash rewards via direct deposit or a statement credit.

Grocery cash rewards

Groceries are one of the most popular spending categories, and you can check out our full list of the best cards for grocery cash back.

But if you’re out to earn the most possible cash back from your grocery shopping, here is our pick:

Best grocery cash back for heavy shoppers

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the card that can earn the most straight cash from supermarket purchases, at 6%, but there are two big hoops to deal with.

  1. There’s a cap of $6,000 a year in supermarket spending that earns 6%, so you can get a maximum of $360 a year in rewards at the 6% rate.
  2. There’s a $95 annual fee. So, this is really offering 4.4% cash back on supermarket spending if you spend the full $6,000 a year at supermarkets and take the annual fee out of your rewards.

So the rule is this: if you spend about $300 – $800 a month at supermarkets, consider this card. Otherwise, get 3% back at supermarkets with no annual fee with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express or Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card (anyone can join their credit union).

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  • The biggest supermarket cash back rate.
  • There is a $95 annual fee and a cap on the supermarket cash rewards you can earn at 6%.

Tip: If you shop at big box stores like Walmart or Target, those aren’t considered supermarkets, even when you’re buying groceries, and spending there won’t earn the grocery cash back bonus.

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Cash rewards for less than perfect credit

If you’re credit’s not perfect, but you’re now able to pay your cards in full each month, you won’t yet qualify for the very best cash rewards, but you can do well with no annual fee.

Best cash rewards for rebuilding credit

Discover It® Secured Card – No Annual Fee

If you have little or no credit history, or are rebuilding credit, the Discover It Secured Card is the best way to do it while earning rewards.

You can earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter). Plus, get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. There is no annual fee. A security deposit of $200 or more will establish your credit line (up to the amount that Discover can approve). There are automatic monthly reviews starting at 8 months to see if you can be transitioned to an account with no security deposit.

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  • No annual fee.
  • The Regular APR is 23.99% variable.

Tip: You will get your official FICO credit score for free with this card. Watch it closely, because the goal of a secured card is to graduate to an unsecured card as quickly as possible.

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2. Travel Rewards Cards

Real airline miles

If you’re serious about travel, you want points that give you the option to turn them into real airline miles. Yes, there are ‘no hassle’ cards out there that promise to avoid the rules and traps of airline miles, but you’ll often pay more in points if you use those cards, especially if you’re flying on expensive international flights.

Amex Everyday

Best real airline miles with no annual fee

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card earns Amex Membership Rewards® Points.

With Membership Rewards® Points, you can turn your points into real airline miles with several frequent flier programs, including Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue True Blue, Virgin America Elevate, and British Airways Avios.

If you fly Delta and use SkyMiles this is a no brainer way to build on the SkyMiles you already have without a fee. Real airline miles are the best way to get expensive international flights and you can check here to see if focusing on convertible points that can turn into real airline miles is a good plan for you.

Even better, if you don’t want to deal with airline miles, you have the flexibility to use your points for travel on almost any airline. Just book your flight via the American Express website and pay for it with points.

 

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  • No annual fee.
  • There are late fees and a wide range of APRs you may be charged depending on your credit profile.
  • You get 2x points per dollar at US supermarkets (up to $6,000), and a 20% bonus on all of your spending each statement period when you use your card to make 20 or more purchase in any category.

Tip: Some people find the Chase Sapphire Preferred we mention below (which has an annual fee) has more useful travel partners, because it lets you transfer points to both United MileagePlus and Southwest Rapid Rewards.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best for serious travel rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Serious travel rewards are all about being able to earn points you can transfer into real airline miles or hotel points with several travel partners, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s roster of partners is one of the most useful round. It’s why so many travel enthusiasts love this card.

Transfer to real airline miles and hotel points. You can transfer your points into you accounts with United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, and more anytime you want. Between United and Southwest you’re covered for getting around in the U.S. or just about anywhere in the world at attractive point prices. And as you learn more about travel rewards you can take advantage of other partners like Singapore KrisFlyer and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

A fallback for when mile seats aren’t available. You always have the option to book flights directly via Chase on most airlines without the restrictions of frequent flier programs. Every 10,000 points is worth $125 in flights, hotels, or rental cars booked via the Chase website.

A big introductory bonus. The Sapphire Preferred comes with a big introductory bonus offer that can earn you award travel fast.

2x points on dining and travel. You get double points on all dining and travel purchases you make, even cab rides, fast food, and subway tickets.

Check to see if trying to convertible points that can turn into real airline miles makes sense for your habits, but if it does, this is a great card to get started earning big travel value fast.

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  • There are no foreign transaction fees.
  • There is a $95 annual fee, after a $0 introductory fee the first year.

Tip: For a real powerhouse combo, pair this up with a no annual fee Chase Freedom. The points you earn from the Chase Freedom can be added to those from your Sapphire Preferred, letting you take advantage of the fact the Freedom earns 5x points in special bonus categories.

And if you really want to turbocharge rewards, but can deal with a higher annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3x points on travel and dining.

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Points that work like cash for travel

If you don’t want to put in the work to get the extra value real airline miles can offer, but like rewards for travel, consider a card that earns points that work like cash. With these cards you just pay for your flight or hotel with the card, and then use points to get statement credit.

 

Venture Rewards Credit Card

Best for not messing with miles

Venture® Rewards Credit Card

If you’re a big traveler, the action is with real airline miles. But if you don’t want to keep track of rules, and still want great rewards for travel, the Venture® Rewards Credit Card is one of the biggest earners available.

Pay for travel, get it reimbursed. Instead of using an airline mile program, with the Venture® Rewards Credit Card you just pay for travel with your card, then use your Venture® miles to get it reimbursed on your statement. 10,000 miles is worth $100 toward any travel.

2x miles on everything. Everything you buy with the card earns 2x miles, so you can earn up to twice as fast as many airline cards.

A big introductory bonus. The Venture® Rewards Credit Card comes with a big introductory bonus offer that can save you hundreds on your next trip.

 

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  • There are no foreign transaction fees.
  • There is a $59 annual fee, after a $0 introductory fee the first year.

Tip: You can’t mix and match Venture® miles with any regular airline miles you already have. Venture® miles are simply like cash you can use to pay for travel charged to your card.

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Bank of America Travel Rewards

Best for savers with no fee

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

This card has a pretty basic 1.5x points per dollar on everything you spend, and you can use those points to cover any travel purchase. There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

$50,000+ in Bank of America accounts = big earning. Where it gets interesting is if you have $50,000 or more in retirement, savings, checking, or other account balances with Bank of America. That qualifies you for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program which lets you earn 2.25x – 2.6x points per dollar with no limits.

That’s because Platinum and Platinum Honors level members of Preferred Rewards get a 50% – 75% bonus on all the points earned with many Bank of America credit cards, including the Travel Rewards card.

You can rollover any of your 401k or IRA accounts to a Merrill Edge account with no maintenance fees, so you don’t need a huge checking or savings account balance to get this benefit.

No other card offers so much straight cash for travel earning potential off your spending across any category.

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  • There are no foreign transaction fees.
  • You need a big balance in Bank of America accounts to get the most out of the card.

Tip: Bank of America cards have the option to request a PIN that you can use for foreign purchases at places that don’t accept a signature.

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3. Learn more

Are you ready to earn rewards with a credit card?

Rewards credit cards can be great, and earn you hundreds of dollars a year in savings, but they are still credit cards, with all the dangers that come with them.

 

Answer these questions

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you’re not ready for a rewards credit card.

  • Are you unsure if you’ll be able to pay your balance in full every single month?
  • Do you plan to do a balance transfer to your card?
  • Do you sometimes make late payments?
  • Do you tend to max out your current credit limit, even if you pay it off?

 

Even if you can safely say ‘no’ to the questions, be aware that the lure of rewards can cause you to spend more than you otherwise would.

 

Credit card companies make money every time you spend on the card, so they want you to spend more. And the more you spend, the greater the chance you spend more than you can afford, which makes them even more money in interest payments.

 

How rewards work

This video explains how rewards work, and why banks offer them.

Cash back or miles for travel?

We don’t think most people should be messing with travel rewards.

Cash rewards cards are more generous than ever and choosing our favorite cash rewards cards will earn you 2% or better on your spending, which is hard to beat even with travel rewards.

You’ll get rewards you can use anywhere – to pay down bills, give a gift, or whatever you want – all with the same good value.

Travel rewards require extra effort, and they tend to penalize you if you use your rewards for something besides travel.

If you already travel twice a year or more, then travel rewards can sometimes offer you more rewards than straight cash back and you should read on.

We’ll cover cash back for travel, real airline miles, and a newer development, convertible points that can turn into real airline miles, but give you more flexibility.

 

Cash back for travel

Cards with cash rewards let you book travel with any airline or hotel, any time.

You don’t have to think about award rules or restrictions, but you get less value for your points if you try to use them for rewards that don’t involve travel, but you’re usually better off just earning straight cash rewards via a card like the Citi Double Cash.

Best for: People who want to keep it simple (but a regular cash rewards card Is usually better)

Pros

You can use the rewards for any travel. You can pay for travel with your card and use points to get credit back. No worrying about airline award seats or

There are lots of special category bonuses. If you’re really into maximizing things, cash rewards have the biggest array of extra points you can earn from special categories like grocery, gas, or dining spending. We keep a full list of them here.

Usually no annual fee. Cash rewards cards mostly have no annual fee to worry about.

Cons

They don’t have the biggest intro bonuses. The very biggest introductory offers are typically reserved for cards that earn airline miles or other travel rewards.

Expensive tickets aren’t as good a deal. If you spend a lot and can earn a lot of airline miles, you can save a lot on tickets that are expensive in cash, like big international trips or first class tickets.

 

Real airline miles

These are cards that earn miles directly into your account with one airline, like a Delta SkyMiles American Express. They’re usually not the fastest way to earn miles, but they often come with other benefits like a free checked bag.

Our rule of thumb is you should only consider airline miles if you typically spend $2,000 or more in a month on a credit card, so you can earn enough miles for an award in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise, stick with a cash back rewards card.

But spending $2,000 a month isn’t the only factor. You should also be able to answer YES to at least one of these three questions:

  1. Do you have 5,000 or more existing airline miles?
  1. Are you planning to fly in business or first class?
  1. Do you want to go to expensive destinations like Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, or Australia?

If you can answer YES to one of them, then airline miles are a good choice for getting the most out of your card spending.

Pros

They can get you luxurious flights. If you’re really flexible with dates and times, a good chunk of real airline miles can get you flights that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars in cash.

You can build on miles you earn from flying.

If you fly more than a few times a year, this can be really lucrative since the miles you earn from your credit card get to build on the ones you already have, getting you to an award ticket a lot faster than spending on a card that just earns regular cash rewards.

They have big intro bonuses

Often, the most generous deals that offer you a bonus to open a new account are on cards that offer travel rewards, rather than regular cash rewards. That’s because travel rewards are more restricted, and not appealing to everyone.

Cons

If you don’t have a big balance, they can be hard to use. To get the most out of airline miles, you really need to pay attention to things like what airline partners you can use with which miles, where to search for award seats, and how many miles is a ‘good’ price to pay.

They can expire. Many airline miles expire after a year or so if you leave your account dormant. It’s easy to avoid it by earning or spending just one mile, but a lot of people forget and end up losing their miles, so unless you’re willing to make them a habit, stay away from regular airline miles.

You need a lot of them to get a good value award. Here’s how much you can expect to pay for flights with miles:

  • 25,000 – 50,000 miles: domestic roundtrip ticket in Economy class (typical value: $300 – $1,000)
  • 50,000 – 100,000 miles: domestic roundtrip ticket in First Class (typical value: $500 – $1,500)
  • 60,000 – 100,000 miles: international roundtrip ticket in Economy Class (typical value: $800 – $1,500)
  • 100,000 – 200,000 miles: international roundtrip ticket in Business Class (typical value: $2,500 – $5,000)

That’s a lot of miles. And if you’re just sticking to one credit card, don’t fly much, and

They have annual fees. Most cards that can earn you real airline miles carry a hefty annual fee, which isn’t worth it if you don’t travel much.

You’re locked into one program. Miles you earn via a traditional airline miles card are stuck in that one program, so if the airline suddenly raises prices or changes rules you’re stuck. Instead, consider convertible points (below) which we prefer over plain airline miles.

 

Convertible points

These are the newest kind of rewards on the block, and cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred earn points you can convert into real airline miles with certain airlines anytime.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred will let you convert points into miles with United MileagePlus and Southwest RapidRewards, so you’re not locked into just one airline program.

Best for: People who want to take advantage of real airline miles, but want extra flexibility

Pros

You get all the advantages of airline miles. With convertible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards®, you can turn your points into real airline miles with several airline programs at any time. The catch is once you turn points into real airline miles, you can’t convert them back.

You’re not stuck with one airline. Convertible points cards let you turn points into real airline miles with several participating airlines, so you have even more options than a traditional airline miles card.

You get some of the cash rewards benefits. Points from convertible points cards can be used for a lot of things besides travel, like gift cards, merchandise, and sometimes statement credit, though your points tend to go much further using them for travel.

Cons

Cash rewards aren’t as generous. If you don’t have a need for airline miles at all, don’t go for a convertible points card. Stick to a straight up cash rewards card and your points will stretch further. Convertible points cards tend to be less generous for straight cash rewards because they use the savings there to help fund the cost of being able to convert your points into real airline miles.

There are usually annual fees. You’ll generally have to pay an annual fee to get a card that earns convertible points. The Amex Everyday® credit card is a notable exception. So again, only use these cards if you can answer “yes” to the 3 questions you should ask before earning airline miles with a credit card.

 

Questions and Answers

With most cash rewards credit cards, your rewards won’t expire as long as you keep your account open. But some like the Citi Double Cash require you to either earn or use rewards at least once every so often. For the Citi Double Cash that’s once every 12 months.

With cash rewards, you may lose all of your unused rewards if you close your account, so make sure you use them before closing. With travel rewards, miles you hold in an airline program aren’t affected if you close your credit card account, but they will be subject to whatever expiration rule the airline has.

No – you can earn rewards, even if you pay off your entire balance each month before it’s due.

Most cash rewards cards have no annual fee. But if you have an annual fee card, and don’t want to pay the fee, you can sometimes ask your bank to ‘downgrade’ you to a version with no fee. It might earn fewer rewards, but you can avoid the hassle of closing your account altogether.

Many cards won’t give you the rewards from your spending in months where you are late on your payment, so always make your payments on time with a rewards card.

Usually mortgage servicers and other loan providers don’t accept credit card payments. Some companies will make payments on your behalf with a credit card, but you’ll be charged a fee, and often that fee is more than the rewards are worth.

Most cards don’t offer rewards for ‘cash equivalent’ transactions like using a cash advance. Some will offer you rewards for completing a balance transfer, but you’re likely to get hit with fees or a less favorable deal than if you use a good card designed for balance transfers..

If you have cash rewards, just send the cash to whomever you want. If you have travel rewards, many cards will let you combine your points with your spouse or domestic partner. Otherwise, you can just book tickets for someone else using your points if you want to make a gift. Airline miles usually can’t be shared with other people unless you want to pay a fee.

You shouldn’t be carrying a balance month to month on rewards cards, because the interest rates on them is sometimes higher than on cards with no rewards. But if you do end up carrying a balance over from one month to another, your rewards won’t disappear as long a you make your payment on time.

5% cards are designed to catch people who aren’t paying attention. So if your card has an enrollment requirement to earn 5% each quarter, and you miss it, you’ll be out of luck for earning 5%.

Yes, many cash rewards cards offer rewards in the form of statement credit, and that reduces the balance you need to pay on your account.

Some cards require you keep your account open for a certain number of months, or else you will lose any sign on bonus you earned. It’s usually best to keep a card open for about a year or more.

Usually authorized users earn rewards in the same account as the primary user.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Is the Amazon Rewards Visa Card or Amazon Prime Store Card Better for Your Amazon Purchases?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Review - Amazon Rewards Visa Card or Amazon Prime Store

For loyal Amazon shoppers, a credit card that will give you money back for spending only makes sense. There are now three options:

  • New: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (from Chase) – 5% back, and our top choice
  • Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card (also from Chase) – 3% back
  • Amazon Prime Store Card (from Synchrony, can only be used at Amazon) – 5% back

The good news: if you are an Amazon Prime member, it is easy to get 5% cash back from all of your Amazon spending all year long. And if you spend a lot of money at Amazon, the savings can be significant.

Note: The information related to the Amazon Prime and Rewards Visa Credit Cards has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

5% at Amazon: The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card 

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card
With this credit card, you get 5% back at Amazon.com with an eligible Prime membership.

You also earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores. And you will earn 1% back on everything else.

There is no annual fee, no earning caps and no foreign transaction fees.

How the points work

When you use your card, you will actually be earning points.

You would earn 5 points for every $1 you spend at Amazon.com, 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores and 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.

You can choose to redeem those points at Amazon (during checkout) or through Chase.

When you check out at Amazon, you will see your point balance and would be able to apply those points to your purchase. Every 100 points = $1.

But you can also redeem those points through Chase and get cash back, gift cards or travel. If you want cash back or gift cards, the value is the same as using the points at Amazon to shop. Every 100 points = $1.

There is also a lucrative sign-on bonus of $70. You will receive a $70 Amazon.com gift card instantly upon approval. Unlike many other sign-on bonuses, you do not have to spend a certain amount of money in order to get the offer.

If you are already enjoying the benefits of Amazon Prime, this card is an obvious choice.

But if you are thinking about Amazon Prime, this card is a great way to try it out.

If you spend $99 for Amazon Prime membership and then apply for this card, you will immediately get $70 of it back in the form of an Amazon gift card. You can learn more about the card at Amazon.

3% at Amazon: Amazon Rewards Visa Card

Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card from Chase Bank
You can also get 2% back at gas stations, drugstores and restaurants. On other purchases you get 1% back. So everything is the same as the Prime Rewards card, except you earn only 3% at Amazon instead of 5%.

Just like the Prime Rewards credit card, cash back is tracked with a point system. 1 point equals $0.01. For example, if you spend $100 on Amazon.com, you’ll get $3 in cash back, which equals 300 points. You can trade in points for statement credit, travel or gift cards. Points never expire unless your account is closed and there’s no rewards cap.

The card doesn’t have an introductory deal. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid transferring a balance to a card you want to use for rewards. This card has an exceptionally high balance transfer fee (5%) and no introductory deal; two major red flags for a balance transfer.

For a sign on bonus, the card gives a $50 Amazon.com gift card loaded to your Amazon.com account once your application goes through. The Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card has no annual fee and you can learn more here.

5% at Amazon: Amazon Prime Store Card

Amazon Prime Store Card
The card can be used on Amazon.com and on other merchant sites that have the Amazon Prime Store Card option activated for payment. However, the card can’t be used to buy digital newspapers and magazines, games or software downloads on Amazon.com.

You can redeem cash back for statement credit until instructed otherwise. In the fine print, Amazon reserves the right to change the cash back program into a rewards program where you redeem points for products instead.

If you end your Amazon Prime Membership, your Amazon Prime Store Card will become a regular Amazon Store Card that doesn’t earn 5% cash back. There’s no annual fee on the card, but Prime membership does cost $99 per year.

Pros and Cons

Amazon.com Rewards Visa Cards

Pro: Multiple bonus categories. Sure, you shop on Amazon.com, but you probably shop elsewhere too. With this card you’ll get an extra bonus for shopping online plus cash back in other areas that fulfill everyday needs like filling up your gas tank. You also have flexibility to redeem cash back in multiple ways.

Pro: No annual fee. Earning cash back from each category is free, no annual fee.

Pro: A sign on bonus. When you get approved you’ll get either a $70 (Prime Rewards) or $50 (Rewards) gift card right away you can use to shop.

Pro: 3% or 5% cash back when you pay for Amazon Prime Membership. Amazon Prime Membership comes with free two-day shipping and unlimited TV and movie screening with Prime Video. What devoted Amazon shopper doesn’t want that? An added benefit with this card is double-dipping. You get the Prime perks and cash back for paying for them.

Pro: High cash back for Prime members. If you’re a Prime member, you can get 5% cash back. You likely won’t be able to beat that rate.

Con: No intro APR. Since most credit cards have some type of introductory interest rate, a card that doesn’t have one stands out. You’ll need to pay off the balance each month starting from the very beginning to benefit from rewards earned.

Con: Tougher approval. You may need better credit to get these cards from Chase than the Amazon Store Card from Synchrony, which has a much higher interest rate.

Amazon Prime Store Card

Pro: 5% cash back. This is a huge amount of cash back for faithful Amazon shoppers. You’ll get rewarded handsomely for spending. And the redemption process is easy; your cash back is used for statement credit. One thing to keep in mind is it may take up to two billing cycles for the money to appear on your account.

Pro: Easier approval. This is a store card limited to Amazon purchases, so you might find it easier to get approved for this card with less than perfect credit.

Pro: No annual fee. The Amazon Prime Store Card doesn’t have an annual fee.

Con: A very high APR for everyone: This card charges a 26.24% APR for everyone, regardless of credit score. Yes, even an 850 FICO would still get you a horrible 26.24% interest rate. Never borrow with this card.

Con: Fine print. The fact that you can’t use this card for software downloads on Amazon sticks out as a negative. Amazon sells software downloads including TurboTax, QuickBooks and Norton Security. These products aren’t cheap and purchases you would want to get 5% cash back on.

Con: Requires Amazon Prime Membership. To use this card you have to be an Amazon Prime Member so in some respects there is a fee involved even though it’s not an annual fee specifically for the card. Amazon Prime Membership costs $99 per year. If you’re not already a member and want to become one for the card, you must spend enough to pay for membership.

Con: Exclusive to Amazon. A gift and a curse. You’ll have to follow up with another card for cash back on other things like groceries, gas, dining or travel.

Other Cards for Amazon Spending

Chase Freedom is another excellent option.

With the Freedom, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. In the past, Amazon has been included as one of the 5% categories, typically around the holidays. 

You’ll get 5% back in categories like gas stations, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.

From July until September 2017, the bonus categories are restaurants and movie theaters.

All other purchases get an unlimited 1% cash back. You can redeem cash back for gifts cards, travel, experiences, statement credits and deposits to an account.

Which Card Should You Choose?

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa is a good one to consider if you already have an Amazon Prime account. It’s not worth getting an Amazon Prime account just to get this card unless you plan on spending big in the future on the site. If you spend moderately throughout the year, the basic Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card is a better choice between the two. You’ll get rewarded for more diverse spending in addition to your online shopping.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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