If you are going to have only one credit card in your wallet, many of the contributors at GoodMoneyAdvice agree that a Cash Back card is your best bet. You spend as you normally would in categories you normally purchase in, and receive a benefit each statement cycle. In the crowded credit card landscape, all cash back cards are not worth applying for, which is why we have narrowed the list to the top six for 2019.
As a reminder, cash back credit cards often will give you a greater return on everyday spending categories, such as gas, groceries, or restaurants. There will be others that rotate the categories quarterly, and some that cater to a niche audience. For the purpose of this “Best of” list, we focus on the six cash back credit cards that could best check the boxes for the masses. All of these cards require you to have your credit in good to great standing, so make sure you check your score before applying.
American Express Cash Magnet Card
What Do You Get: The current welcome offer allows you to earn $150 cash back when you make $1,000 or more in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Cash Back: You will earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases. You will be able to redeem the cash back in the form of statement credit once you earn $25.
APR: The introductory APR on the Cash Magnet Card is 0% for the first 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. You must make balance transfers within the first 60 days of account opening.
Why You Should Consider: If you are new to the Amex ecosystem, the Cash Magnet card may be a great opportunity to become accustom to one of the preferred credit card issuers out. Unlimited 1.5% cash back and a nice sign-up bonus, along with no annual fee makes this card attractive. If you travel out of the country, you may want to reconsider using this card, as the foreign transaction fee is 2.7%.
Costco Anywhere Visa (Citi)
The only store branded card to make our list, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card issued by Citi packs a powerful punch and lives up to it’s name.
What Do You Get: You will earn 4% cash back on gas purchases at Costco and other gas stations, up to $7,000 annually (are you spending more than that in gas a year now?). You will earn 3% cashback on travel and restaurant purchases, and 2% on Costco purchases.
Why You Should Consider: If you shop anywhere else, you get 1% cash back. The cash back tiered program is somewhat extensive, however if you are a Costco member who does most of your shopping at their warehouse, this card could reap great benefits. No foreign transaction fee with this card, and you do receive purchase protection for 90 to 120 days on losses caused by theft or damage, along with complimentary rental car insurance, and extended warranties on select purchases.
The most popular cash back card from 2018 drops a few notches, however still is a great option for a daily driver.
What Do You Get: You will earn 1% cash back with no restrictions, and 5% cash back in the quarterly featured rotating categories. For the 3rd quarter of 2019, the featured categories were gas stations and select streaming services.
APR: You will receive 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
Why You Should Consider: This no annual fee card is arguably the most popular in the stable of Chase offerings. Many cardholders start with the Freedom and eventually upgrade to the Freedom Unlimited. The 5% cash back (5 points per every $1 spent) can build up quick, and you can redeem easily for statement credit or deposit into your checking account. The foreign transaction fee for this card is 3%, however you do receive Chase’s purchase protection, which covers all purchases you make on your Chase Freedom card for 120 days, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account against theft, loss, or damage.
Bank of America Cash Rewards Card
One of the most popular cash back cards still ranks high in our annual list.
What Do You Get: You earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement purchases). 2% cash back on grocery store or wholesale club purchases, and 1% cash back anywhere else. You will also earn 3% and 2% cash back respectively on the first $2,500 in combined category purchases per quarter. Confused? Check out their calculator.
APR: You will receive 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, and balance transfers must be made within 60 days of opening.
Why You Should Consider: A direct competitor to the Chase Freedom, Bank of America has refreshed it’s most popular credit card in 2019 after listening to their customers. There is no annual fee, and you receive trip cancellation/interruption insurance, which reimburses you for any issues regarding a trip getting cut short or called off. Much like the Chase Freedom, the Cash Rewards card has a 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. The current offer advertised by Bank of America notes you can receive $200 online cash rewards bonus after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
What Do You Get: The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is one of the best all-purpose cash back cards on the market, as it earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases everywhere, with no rotating categories or caps on spending. You can redeem the cash for statement credit, a deposit into your checking account, or a gift card. The current promotion offered allows you to earn $150 when you make $500 in qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
APR: You will receive 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee
Why You Should Consider: Simple and straightforward, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card is our pick as the best product in Capital One’s stable, and edges out their big bank competitors simply because of no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and straight forward earning.
US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
What Do You Get: The Cash+ Visa Signature is a three-tiered cash back program which offers 5% cash back on purchases in two categories of your choice, up to $2,000 spending per quarter. You will get 2% cash back on an additional third category of your choice. On everything else, you will receive 1% cash back. The current promotion offered allows you to earn $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 in eligible purchase with 3 months of account opening.
APR: 0% APR for the first 12 months on balance transfers, which need to be completed within 60 days of account opening. Traditional APR will fall from 15.74% – 25.24%. There is no annual fee and foreign transaction fee is 2-3%.
Why You Should Consider: If you have excellent credit (720+) with minimal inquiries on your credit report, consider the Cash+ for the freedom to select the categories you spend in most to earn unlimited cash back . You can redeem the cash back for statement credit, deposit into your checking account, or gift cards.