What is The Best Cash Back Credit Card?

By on March 22, 2013

Top Cash Back Credit Cards

When used wisely, cash back credit cards can be a great deal. I mean think about it…you’re getting free money for things you were going to purchase anyway. For those who pay off their entire balance at the end of each month, picking up a cash back rewards card is a no-brainer.

What is the best cash back credit card, then? After doing a little bit of research, I’ve come back with a list of the best cash back cards available today. See below.

The Top Dog – Discover it

Discover it has arguably the best cash back card in existence with the Discover it card. Like most of their competition, this card has $0 annual fees and 0% into APR for 6 months, then a standard variable rate between 12.99% and 21.99% is applied depending on your credit score. But Discover it’s cash back benefits beat its competitors by a landslide. As a cardholder, you can get up to 5% back on different categories on a quarterly basis and 1% unlimited cash back (not points) on all other purchases for online shopping through December 2013 with free and easy sign-up. Did I mention no limits? Solid.

If you’re an online shopper, your rewards can be redeemed at Amazon.com or many other top online retailers (over 8 million merchants accept Discover), which is nice.

Added benefits include: Cashback Concierge (where someone will walk you through all of the rewards available to you as a Discover it cardholder, in order to get the best use out of your card), $0 fees for foreign transactions, lowered payments or rates in instances of job loss, and no late fees on your first late payment.

Discover may not be the most ubiquitous credit card out there, but the enormous cash back benefits to be had with this card (not to mention lower APR after the introductory rate expires) cannot be ignored.

Apply Now - Discover it®

Students Apply Here - Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus

The Runner Up – Chase Freedom

Chase Bank has done it right with the Chase Freedom credit card. With no annual fee and 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, the Freedom card is off to a great start. Then Chase decided to kick it up a notch and offer $100 cash back to cardholders who spend a minimum of $500 within the first three months of card ownership. After that, it’s 1% cash back on most purchases outside of its exclusive bonus program, which offers 5% cash back on purchases from select categories (such as gas or Amazon.com) on a quarterly basis. There are no limits on what you can earn on regular spending points, and these points never expire.

Now for the fine print: after the 0% introductory APR ends (fifteen months after you receive your card), a variable APR of 12.99% to 22.99% is applied. There is also the potential for Chase checking account members to accrue an additional 10% bonus points. For more information, check out Chase’s website.

Apply Now - Chase Freedom

Third Place – Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card

Citi has a truly fantastic offering with their latest rewards card, the Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card. There is no annual fee and 0% intro APR on purchases made within the first twelve months. After that, a variable APR ranging from 12.99% to 22.99% is applied. Citi also offers a version of the card specifically for college students.

As for the cash back rewards program, Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa offers $100 cash back for cardholders who make purchases in excess of $500 within the first three months of owning the card. There is also 5% unlimited cash back when you shop at the 400 retailers partnered with the Citi Bonus Cash Center. Citi also has quarterly categories in which cash back bonuses are applied to purchases made (ie: department stores, hotels, etc.). And everyday purchases that don’t fall into any of the aforementioned categories? You receive 1% cash back.

But this Visa is more than just a rewards card. Along with the cash back program, Citi offers its cardholders purchase and liability protection, insurance for travel plans and rentals, stringent account security, identity theft protection, and best of all: 24/7 customer service.

Apply Now - Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa

Final Word

Cash back credit cards aren’t for everyone. Yes, the 0% introductory APR does eventually expire, but getting cash or points back on your purchases is still more than what you would’ve gotten if you had paid in cash or on a debit card. So, What is the best cash back credit card? It’s ultimately up to where you spend your money and which card suits you best. If you can pay back your credit card in full, you really can use these cards to your advantage.

Kelly Kehoe

About Kelly Kehoe

Kelly Kehoe is a full time college student and personal finance writer. In her free time she competes in speech and debate and writes fiction. Follow Kelly @kellypkehoe or on Google+.

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