Best Cash Back Credit Cards of October 2020

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With great rewards come great responsibility. At NextAdvisor, we believe eliminating high-interest debt balances and building healthy credit habits are essential prerequisites to enjoying the perks of a rewards credit card.

Even the best cash back rewards won’t outweigh the cost of revolving debt on a card earning double-digit interest. What’s more, you may risk rejection from issuers, who often reserve approval for applicants with the best credit scores, especially in today’s economic environment. Before seeking the best cash back rewards for your wallet, make sure you’re prepared to use your new card responsibly. Establish a great credit score alongside healthy credit habits like timely payments, paying balances in full, and low credit utilization.

To determine our picks for best cash back credit cards, NextAdvisor’s editorial team developed a framework to evaluate potential cash back earnings based on national average consumer spending data in broadly representative categories. We applied this framework to each card currently open for applications by every major credit card network and issuer, and divided each into subcategories for more accurate comparison. After potential rewards earnings, we also evaluated each card’s annual fee, first-year vs. ongoing value, bonus offers, and redemption flexibility. Read More.

Introduction

There are plenty of ways to save money on your everyday purchases, but one of the most simple and effective strategies is using a cash back credit card to save on the regular items in your monthly budget.

These cards typically offer a specific cash back return on the purchases you make. Some earn a flat rate every time you swipe your card, while others earn more when you shop specific categories or operate within a rotating schedule of bonus categories. Finding the cash back offering that best suits your spending habits can save you at least $200 per year on average, and some even upwards of $550, according to NextAdvisor’s analysis.

“Cash back cards are a great way to get money back from purchases you would have made anyway,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst for CreditCards.com. “Cash back is universal, it’s straightforward and it’s simple.” 

And while that was true before the pandemic, it’s even more important now, he says. “Because most people aren’t traveling much — if at all — and many household budgets are strained by the impacts of the virus, cash back has become even more popular.”

But remember, cash back cards are still high-interest credit cards. Current average credit card interest rates hover above 14%, which is well above any available cash back offers. Rewards earnings will only add value to your wallet if you pay your statement balance in full and on time each month, without accruing interest.

To determine our list of the best cash back credit cards, we chose cards that would add the most value for the average American based on consumer spending data for four everyday categories: dining, groceries, gas, and entertainment.

We chose one overall best cash back card, and then divided our top picks into subcategories based on their rewards structure. We also broke down a few options for more specific spending types below our initial list. 

This list was created independently of any partner affiliations, and reflects the opinions of our editorial staff, based on the criteria outlined below. Where partnerships do exist, links to those cards may result in us earning a commission if you click.

Our Picks for The Best Cash Back Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NextAdvisor’s Pick
Good for Overall Value
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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Citi® Double Cash Card
Good for Earning Over Time
Citi® Double Cash Card
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Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus™ World Mastercard®
Good for Simplicity
Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus™ World Mastercard®
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Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Good for Dining and Entertainment
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Good for Groceries and Gas
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Good for Flexibility
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
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Discover it® Cash Back
Good for Revolving Rewards
Discover it® Cash Back
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Flat Cash Back Rewards

Flat cash back rewards cards offer a simple value proposition: there are no varying bonus structures or categories to track. Instead, you’ll earn a fixed cash back return on every eligible purchase you make with the card. 

For most people, flat cash back is the type of cash back card we believe can offer the most value on everyday spending. Our picks in this category are not only the most competitive when it comes to cash back value, but also excel in an essential benefit of cash back rewards: simplicity. 

Among flat cash back cards on the market, you’ll find several offering 1.5% cash back on every purchase, often with a $150 welcome bonus. While this is a great value, the cards we chose go above and beyond that standard. If you’re looking for a flat cash back card, a 1.5% return should be the minimum requirement.

As long as you pay your balances in full monthly, these flat cash back cards will bring the best overall value without requiring much forethought into your cash back strategy. Along with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll find flexible redemption options, no spending caps, and no annual fees among each of our top flat cash back cards.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NextAdvisor’s Pick
Good for Overall Value

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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Rewards rate:

Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.99% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

Chase Freedom Unlimited is the ultimate flexible rewards card. It checks all of our boxes for a great cash back credit card, and can make a great entry point for beginners looking to enter the rewards game. 

This card makes the most of everyday rewards through its combination of flat and tiered cash back rewards. To begin, you’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, without having to track categories or activate rewards. But you can also earn a boosted 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants (including most takeout and delivery), and 3% at drugstores. Within your first year of account opening, you can also qualify for a $200 bonus after spending $500 within the first three months, and boost your earnings at grocery stores to 5%.

Why we chose this card

While some other cards on our list did marginally outpace the Freedom Unlimited’s ongoing rewards value, this card’s simplicity and universality, combined with its unbeatable first-year rewards, set it apart.

And helping lift Freedom Unlimited even further over the top are the additional benefits you’ll get from Chase, designed with the 2020 everyday spender in mind. These include 5% cash back on qualifying Lyft rides through March 2022, and complimentary DashPass access from DoorDash for 3 months followed by 9 months of DashPass membership for 50% off (activate by 12/31/21).

Value and redemption

First-year rewards value: $606.99

Subsequent annual rewards value: $250.75

Rewards values are calculated by the NextAdvisor team. Updated October 2020.

You can redeem your rewards for cash back at any time without the need to meet a minimum rewards balance, and you can even maximize rewards further by transferring them to a Chase Sapphire card offering increased redemption values.

Citi® Double Cash Card
Good for Earning Over Time

Citi® Double Cash Card

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Rewards rate:

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

  • Intro bonus: No current offer
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 740-850 (Excellent)

Overview

Not only does the no annual fee Citi Double Cash Card* offer lasting annual return on your spending, but it has built-in incentive to pay your balances in full each month. 

This card offers 2% cash back on every purchase you make, but you’ll earn just 1% back as you make each purchase and the other 1% only after you pay it off. That means if you carry a balance month-to-month, you’re not going to get the full value from this card.

Why we chose this card

If you can pay your statement balances in full, you’ll earn 2% back on every purchase, which is one of the highest rewards percentages you’ll find on the market today. There is no welcome or first-year bonus, so the Citi Double Cash is best for its long-term value.

Value and redemption

First-year rewards value: $265.16

Subsequent annual rewards value: $265.16

Rewards values are calculated by the NextAdvisor team. Updated October 2020.

You can redeem your cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, check, or choose to convert cash back earned to Citi ThankYou® points.

Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus™ World Mastercard®
Good for Simplicity

Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus™ World Mastercard®

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Rewards rate:

1.8% cash back on everything you buy, with no limit on how much you can earn.

  • Intro bonus: No current offer
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 740-850 (Excellent)

Overview

Citizens Bank’s Cash Back Plus World Mastercard* is might fly under-the-radar compared to other cards on our list, but it offers great value for any spender with unlimited 1.8% cash back on every purchase you make.

Why we chose this card

This card is a hassle-free solution for straightforward earnings. While it offers no welcome bonus, the Cash Back Plus charges no annual fee and offers high value no matter where your monthly spending is focused.

Value and redemption

First-year rewards value: $238.64

Subsequent annual rewards value: $238.64

Rewards values are calculated by the NextAdvisor team. Updated October 2020.

Tiered Cash Back Category Rewards

Perhaps the most common type of cash back credit card is one that offers tiered rewards in standard bonus categories. While these cards don’t provide the same simplicity of flat cash back, they can be lucrative for the average spender. Bonus categories typically range between 2-4% cash back and may or may not cap bonus earn after a certain amount each year.

Tiered categories most commonly include dining, groceries, and gas, which align with the average spending we surveyed. But more issuers are beginning to diversify with everyday categories such as streaming services, entertainment, department stores, and more. Before applying for a tiered category card, look into your own regular spending habits and past bank statements to determine the categories that will best maximize your spending.

Among the cards we evaluated in this category, we found an annual rewards value of about $245 to be standard using average consumer data. Our picks include those that go above and beyond that minimum, but it’s important to remember this is an average; dollar value will fluctuate based on how much you spend each year. When choosing a tiered rewards card, we recommend seeking cards that offer more than 2% cash back in multiple categories that fit within your regular spending.

Our picks in this category include cards with the best value for average spenders in everyday categories, the most flexibility in earning and redeeming cash back rewards, and the greatest ongoing value beyond an initial bonus or introductory offer.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Good for Dining and Entertainment

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment. Earn 2% at grocery stores. Earn 1% on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

The overall value of Capital One’s SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card* is tough to beat among tiered cash back cards. You’ll earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else for no annual fee, plus a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening.

The SavorOne is the little sister of the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card*; with the Savor, dining and entertainment cash back is boosted to 4% and the welcome bonus is $300 (after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening), but you’ll also pay a $95 annual fee.

Why we chose this card

We chose the SavorOne for our list rather than the Savor because, while you won’t earn as much the first year, we believe the SavorOne has more long-term value and will appeal to consumers who are turned off by an annual fee.

For the average American, we found the Savor’s first-year value to equal $582.77, followed by $282.77 in subsequent years. If you spend heavily in these categories, the Savor may be a better option for you. But using our averages, it’ll take most cardholders just three years to make up the difference with the SavorOne and outpace its value when accounting for the annual fee. If you’re seeking lasting rewards value, we believe the SavorOne is the better choice between the two.

Value and redemption

First-year rewards value: $510.92

Subsequent annual rewards value: $310.92

Rewards values are calculated by the NextAdvisor team. Updated October 2020.

You can redeem cash back for any amount in the form of a statement credit or check, or set up automatic redemption to occur periodically.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Good for Groceries and Gas

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Rewards rate:

6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $300
  • Annual fee: Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
  • Regular APR: 13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

In terms of purely monetary rewards value, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is one of the highest-earners on our list, and it’s one of the only cash back cards we believe is worth the $95 annual fee. 

You’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit, and 1% on everything else. While it didn’t factor into our calculations, you’ll also get 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. And the welcome bonus is among the most lucrative on our list, too: for a limited time (offer expires 12/10/20) you can earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 within the first six months of account opening (many welcome bonus windows are limited to three months).

Why we chose this card

For those looking to avoid any annual fees, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is another good option, offering 3% back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then 1%), 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on everything else. But we believe the Blue Cash Preferred is worth the cost of ownership; 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets tops the list on grocery rewards among cash back cards, and can make a huge impact on anyone’s annual budget, especially for families or frequent home chefs.

There are additional perks to having an American Express card that can set the Blue Cash Preferred apart for you, too. Benefits like early access to event ticket sales and generous return protections and purchase dispute resolution policies, among others, can bring even more value.

Value and redemption

First-year rewards value: $697.96

Subsequent annual rewards value: $302.96

Rewards values are calculated by the NextAdvisor team. Updated October 2020.

You can redeem rewards dollars for a statement credit, gift cards, or merchandise after reaching a rewards balance of $25 or more.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Good for Flexibility

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

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Rewards rate:

Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice. Earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) . Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card* stands out because of its flexibility, which is why it earns a spot on our list. Rather than standard categories for every cardholder, this card allows you to choose the categories you prefer. 

You’ll earn 3% cash back in one category of your choice: either gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, plus 2% cash back at grocery stores or wholesale clubs such as Costco (on up to combined $2,500 in purchases each quarter) and 1% back on everything else. For our evaluation, we calculated value based on dining as the 3% category.

Why we chose this card

This card’s value is unique because of the flexibility you have to choose your own rewards. If your spending habits change throughout the year — maybe you spend more on home improvement during the summer months and online shopping over the holidays — it’s easy to maximize each purchase, but you also have to be willing to put in a bit of extra work to track and evaluate your spending.

You can change your 3% choice category monthly or leave it the same month-to-month. The Bank of America Cash Rewards also charges no annual fee and new cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus offer after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening.

Value and redemption

First-year rewards value: $446.40

Subsequent annual rewards value: $246.40

Rewards values are calculated by the NextAdvisor team. Updated October 2020.

You can redeem cash back anytime for any amount in the form of a statement credit, check, or direct deposit, or choose to set up regular automatic redemptions starting at $25 earned.

Rotating Cash Back Category Rewards

Rotating category cards don’t win any points for simplicity — you must keep track of each quarterly category change to make the most out of them —  but if your spending aligns with the available categories, they can offer among the highest rewards rates.

With these cards, you should make sure the cash back rate on rotating categories is at least 5%. Then, consider any lower-earning static rewards categories, issuer perks, and secondary benefits to determine which may work best for you.

Issuers typically reveal upcoming categories in advance, and to earn the bonus cash back on your spending, you must activate the rewards in your account each quarter.

There are two major players in the rotating category card space: Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Discover it Cash Back. We determined the best value based on spending averages using the most recent annual categories available for each card. But it’s important to remember that category fluctuations and subjective spending patterns can make a big difference for different users and even from one year to the next. 

If you’re looking for a rotating rewards card, evaluate how past categories align with your spending. Go through your past bank or credit card statements to see where your spending is focused. Then, compare with each card’s past rotating categories — you can use these links to access Chase and Discover’s annual cash back calendars.

Discover it® Cash Back
Good for Revolving Rewards

Discover it® Cash Back

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Rewards rate:

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

  • Intro bonus: Cashback Match™
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 11.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

Discover it Cash Back* is our pick for the best rotating category cash back card for a few reasons. 

First, it offers great ongoing rewards value for no annual fee. After activating each quarter, you’ll earn 5% on purchases in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter) and 1% on everything else. 

Here are each of the Discover it Cash Back categories for 2020:

  • January – March: Grocery stores, Walgreens, CVS
  • April – June: Gas stations, Uber, Lyft, Wholesale Clubs
  • July – September: Restaurants and Paypal
  • October – December: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com

Why we chose this card

In addition to its rotating rewards, at the end of your first year of membership, Discover also doubles all of your cash back earnings from the entire year. So while you don’t get the quick payout of a traditional cash bonus, you do have the potential to boost your first-year value in a big way.

Another important factor is Discover announces all upcoming categories at the beginning of the year, while Chase typically reveals upcoming quarterly categories a few weeks in advance. We believe this alone adds substantial value to the Discover it Cash Back, because it allows you to better plan your spending strategy to maximize rewards ahead of time, taking the pressure off each quarter.

There are a few drawbacks, though. If you don’t activate your rewards until midway through a quarter, they won’t apply retroactively (Chase Freedom categories will), so you must be proactive. And, while they’re becoming more widely accepted, you may still find merchants unwilling to accept Discover cards, an issue largely avoided by cards on other networks.

Value and redemption

First-year rewards value: $465.78

Subsequent annual rewards value: $232.89

Rewards values are calculated by the NextAdvisor team. Updated October 2020.

Redeem your cash back anytime, and for any amount, in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit, or put it toward purchases when you checkout on Amazon and PayPal.

Rewards Value for the Best Cash Back Cards

Card Card TypeFirst-Year
Rewards Value
Subsequent Annual Rewards Value
Chase Freedom UnlimitedBest Overall$555.11$198.87
Citi Double Cash CardFlat Cash Back Rewards$265.16$265.16
Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MastercardFlat Cash Back Rewards$238.64$238.64
Capital One SavorOne Rewards Credit CardTiered Cash Back Category Rewards$510.92$310.92
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American ExpressTiered Cash Back Category Rewards$697.96$302.96
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit CardTiered Cash Back Category Rewards$446.40$246.40
Discover it Cash BackRotating Cash Back Category Rewards$465.78$232.89

How We Determined the Best Cash Back Credit Cards

The biggest benefit of cash back cards is, obviously, rewards earning potential, so our top picks are based primarily on potential cash back earnings. Our secondary factors include annual fee, first-year vs. ongoing value, bonus offers, and redemption flexibility.

Our Criteria

We started by examining average spending in each of the most common cash back categories: groceries, dining/restaurants, gas, and entertainment. The average American spends $13,258 annually (or $1,104 monthly) across these categories, according to the most recent BLS Consumer Expenditures Report. Of that, she spends $4,464 annually on food at home (groceries), $3,459 on food away from home (restaurants), $2,109 at gas stations, and $3,226 on entertainment.

For each card, we used these averages to calculate earnings on bonus categories. When a card did not offer bonus rewards in one of these categories, we calculated earnings based on a baseline 1% cash-back rate, which is standard across cash back cards.

Some cards on our list do offer cash back rewards in categories beyond these, which are not accounted for. If most of your spending is focused outside of these categories, you may find the most value from a card not included in our list. Always do your own research and evaluate your individual spending habits to find the card that works best for you.

Based on these average spending amounts, we determined the overall annual rewards earnings for each card. For cards that charge an annual fee, we subtracted the fee from the total earnings sum. These averages also qualify cardholders for any spending threshold needed to earn any of the bonus offers from cards on our list. These bonuses are factored into our first-year value sums. 

Because we believe consumers should focus on earning credit card rewards only after they have established good credit and eliminated high-interest debt balances or are working through a debt payoff plan, we do not account for introductory balance transfer and purchase offers. 

We also give less weight to APR, or annual percentage rate, in determining the best cash back cards. This is the true annual cost of carrying a balance, which issuers determine based on your creditworthiness.

Pro Tip

For the cards on our list, APRs range from 11 to 27%, but we believe use of these cards requires responsibly paying balances in full each month without accruing any interest to gain value, so APR did not play into our rankings.

Which Cards We Considered

Using this framework, we examined all cash-back card offers currently available from issuers on each of the four major credit card networks widely accepted in the United States: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. 

For a card to be considered in this category, it must be marketed as a cash back card and earn rewards as percentages of cash back. Cards that earn rewards in points or travel miles were not considered in this category.

In order to make recommendations most relevant for the widest array of consumers, we eliminated cards that were targeted to specific cardholder types, such as student credit cards, secured credit cards, and business credit cards.

Membership Cash Back Cards We Recommend

We eliminated membership cards from our primary list of best cash back credit cards, but there are a few which we believe are worth considering for their high cash back value on everyday purchases.

These require additional steps beyond a simple application, though they’re still attainable for most consumers. You’ll need to become a member of the organization or club, which may include additional steps to join and an annual membership fee separate from the card itself.

These cards can be especially beneficial if you’re already a member, because you’ll take on no extra cost. But they also offer competitive rewards that can increase overall membership value, and may make it worth any added commitment.

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card* offers the highest flat cash back rate of any card on our list, at 2.5% cash back (up to $10,000 each billing cycle). It does charge a $99 annual fee (waived the first year), so this card is best for bigger spenders. To make up the difference between 2.5% cash back with a $99 annual fee compared to a no-annual-fee card that earns a flat 2% (like Citi Double Cash), you’ll need to spend at least $20,000 total annually. 

You can gain Alliant membership if you are a current or retired employee of a business partnered with Alliant, if you live or work in a qualifying community in the Chicago area, if you’re a member of a qualifying organization, or if you become a member of Alliant’s partner charity Foster Care to Success.

Value

Using the same averages we used to calculate other card values on this list, this card’s annual value for a member after accounting for the annual fee is $232.45. If you’re able to meet that $20,000 annual minimum to outweigh the fee compared to other flat rate rewards cards, though, your annual rewards value becomes $401.

The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature* earns an unlimited 2% back on every purchase you make for no annual fee. However, to open this card you must own an eligible Fidelity account. And while you can redeem your rewards for cash, you’ll only get the full 2% by redeeming via deposit into your eligible Fidelity account, such as a brokerage account, retirement account, 529 Plan, or other investment vehicle.

Value

Using the same averages we used to calculate other card values on this list, Fidelity Rewards Visa’s annual value for a member who deposits rewards into their Fidelity account is $265.16. And over time, adding this amount to your investments annually will pay off even more through compounding interest.

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature* offers one of the highest ongoing rewards rates that can potentially apply for nearly all of your everyday spending needs. If you’re an Amazon Prime member ($119 annually), you can earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores; and 1% on everything else.

While this card can have a great payout for loyal Amazon shoppers, you may find cards with more general categories work best for you if most of your spending is done outside of Amazon or Whole Foods.

Value

Using the same averages we used to calculate other card values on this list (and assuming all annual grocery shopping is completed at Whole Foods or through Amazon), this card’s annual value after the membership price is $215.80, but that can vary greatly depending on how much shopping you complete on Amazon outside of these categories.

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi* is a valuable choice for any Costco loyalist. You’ll earn 4% cash back on your first $7,000 (then 1%) in eligible gas purchases annually, including at Costco, plus 3% cash back on restaurant and travel purchases worldwide, 2% on all other purchases at Costco and Costco.com, and 1% on everything else.

There’s no annual fee, but you must be a Costco member to apply, which costs $60 annually for the club’s Gold Star base tier. Instead of redeeming cash back as you go, you’ll receive an annual reward certificate each February billing cycle, which you may bring to a Costco store to redeem for cash or use toward a purchase.

Value

Using the same averages we used to calculate other card values on this list (and assuming all annual grocery shopping is completed at Costco), this card’s annual value for a member paying the Gold Star member fee is $249.67.

More Card Details to Evaluate For Yourself

Determine which factors matter most for you before applying for any new card. Some people may prefer the ease of a no-annual-fee card even if the rewards on a card with an annual fee may be greater. Or, your spending may not align with these national averages or may be heavier in other categories. Review your past several months of spending to best determine where you spend most and which spending categories you should prioritize.

Another thing to consider when applying for a new credit card is your credit score. Because cash back cards are rewards cards, they will generally require a good-to-excellent credit rating for approval. There are cash back cards targeted to consumers with lower credit, but the cards on this list are directed toward those with better credit scores. We recommend focusing on healthy credit habits and building your score to a solid place before seeking out rewards credit cards.

However, depending on your individual situation, you may weigh these factors differently. For example, if you’re concerned about unexpected financial hardship leading to an inability to pay your balance in full each month, a low APR may be an important detail to consider. If you plan to use your cash back card for a large one-time purchase such as new appliances or furniture, a long 0% introductory offer on purchases can help you pay off that purchase over time without accruing interest. Take your entire financial picture and future plans into consideration when choosing a card that’s best for you.

Finally, we recognize the value gained from cash back rewards is subjective and dependent upon where your spending is most concentrated, the secondary benefits the card offers, and your overall financial goals. We encourage anyone seeking cash back rewards to consider their individual financial situation and specific needs before submitting any new card application. 

Amid the current recession, some credit card issuers have begun removing cards from their websites and not accepting new card applications for some card options. Each of our picks is currently available, but this list may change in the future as more cards enter the marketplace or current offers change.

*All information about the Citi® Double Cash Card, Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus™ World Mastercard®, Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, Discover it® Cash Back, Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card, Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, and Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.