Best cash-back credit cards for February 2022

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Cash-back credit cards let you earn cash rewards on your spending. Some cash-back credit cards offer flat-rate perks, like 1% to 2% cash back on all purchases, while others reward you at higher rates, between 2% and 6%, when you spend money within different categories, such as groceries, gas or even with certain retailers. The best cash-back credit card ultimately depends on your own spending habits and preferences.

When you earn cash back, your rewards usually show up as a statement credit that can be used to pay your bill or be deposited into your bank account. Every time you use your credit card on eligible purchases, you’ll earn real dollars and cents back. It’s that simple. Check out our partner offers for the best cash-back credit cards below. We update this list continuously to make sure you stay informed of the best opportunities available. 

Intro BonusIntro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back!

APR14.99% – 23.74% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR14.99% – 23.74% Variable

Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Penalty APR Up to 29.99%

  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Our Take

Of all the credit cards available on the market, the Chase Freedom Unlimited covers the most bases when it comes to cash-back categories. They cover travel (5% when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards), dining (3%) and drugstores (3%), while covering every other purchase with a blanket 1.5% cash-back rate. And for the first year you have this Chase credit card account, you can earn an additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases, for up to $300. Most welcome-bonuses aren’t offered in the form of additional cash back.

Intro Bonus$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

APR13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
  • Earn automatic 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.

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.

Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR up to 29.99% APR

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
  • Earn automatic 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.

Our Take

Most cards that offer category selection for maximized cash rewards limit these selections to a single quarter. But the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card* allows you to select “online shopping” as an indefinite rewards category where you can earn 3% cash-back rewards. Note that you must manually choose this category via online banking or the mobile banking app, as the default category is “gas.” 

You can also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (earn 3% and 2% cash back on up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The welcome bonus doesn’t hurt, either.

Intro BonusEarn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

APR13.99%-23.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 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

Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months

Balance Transfer Fee N/A

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Penalty APR 29.99% Variable

  • 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

Our Take

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

While there are a lot of other quality gas cards available, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express boasts simplicity with straightforward cash-back rewards and no annual fee for the first year ($95 annually after that). With 3% cash back at US gas stations, it gets one of the highest returns on the market for gas purchases. 

Even for city dwellers and commuters, this card offers great transportation benefits with 3% cash back on transit (trains, buses, parking, rideshare services, taxis, tolls and more). This is a unique offering among gas credit cards. There are plenty more cash-back categories to enjoy with this card, as well. Cash back is received in the form of Rewards Dollars that can be redeemed for a statement credit.

Intro Bonus$300 after you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

APR15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services
  • Earn 3% at grocery stores
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases

Annual Fee$95

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Intro Balance Transfer APRN/A

Balance Transfer Fee None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.

Balance Transfer APR15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services
  • Earn 3% at grocery stores
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases

Our Take

With the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*, you can earn an unlimited 4% cash back on dining and takeout. The $300 welcome bonus (when you spend at least $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening) can essentially cover your annual fee ($95) for the first three years. 

You can even earn more cash-back rewards when you make purchases on entertainment (4%), popular streaming services (4%) and grocery stores (3%). For everything else, a 1% cash-back rate covers you. “Entertainment” is a rare category among cash-back credit cards, but Capital One defines it to include movie theaters, sports promoters (professional and semi-professional live events), theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys.

If you want to avoid the annual fee, or don’t have a very large dining and entertainment budget, you may also want to consider this card’s sibling, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card*, or some of our other best picks for restaurant credit cards.

Intro BonusEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

APR14.99%-24.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5

Balance Transfer APR14.99%-24.99% Variable APR

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Our Take

It doesn’t get simpler than the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card. This card boasts a 2% flat cash rewards rate on purchases — one of the highest flat cash rewards rates on the market. You don’t have to worry which card you’re going to use for which purchase. And while there are other cash rewards credit cards that’ll net you 2%, the sign-on bonus, $0 annual fee and introductory APR make this card stand out among the competition. This is also a great option for an emergency credit card.

FAQs

How do cash-back credit cards work?

Cash-back credit cards offer cardholders rewards on their spending in the form of statement credits or cash. A statement credit is a reduction in the amount due to the credit card company on your monthly bill. Note that rewards are not always available the month you earn them — they are usually applied to your balance by credit card issuers after one or two billing cycles.

The redemption process for cash-back credit cards is either automatic or very simple. Some cards automatically apply cash rewards to your statement balance each month. Others require you to log in and redeem available rewards points for statement credits. Most points don’t expire, but you will lose them if you close the account before redeeming them. 

What types of cash-back credit cards are there?

Cash-back credit cards generally fall into four primary categories: flat-rate, tiered, rotating or choose your own. 

Flat-rate cards offer the same rate for every purchase. Tiered cards offer a different rewards rate for different categories of spending. Rotating category cards offer different rewards each quarter, determined by the card issuer. Choose-your-own category cards allow you to choose your rewards category.

How do you choose a cash-back credit card?

To choose the best cash-back credit card for you, the most important thing is to have a clear idea of how you’re already spending money each month. Once you identify the categories where you have the highest, most consistent spending, use the charts in our list to determine which card will net you the highest return. Consider other features of the cards, too, such as APR, sign-on bonuses and foreign transaction fees — make sure you get something that fits with your lifestyle and spending habits.

Your credit card choice may also be affected by your credit score. Most of the cards we recommend require a good or excellent credit score, which is typically around 670 or higher. If you don’t meet the credit criteria required, there are credit cards available that are specifically for those trying to rebuild credit, like secured credit cards. Alternatively, you can look into the best credit cards for no credit and the best credit cards for bad credit.

How we picked the best cash-back credit cards

We prioritized the cash-back credit cards that reward broad spending categories where Americans tend to spend significant amounts of money, instead of narrow categories like streaming services or “home improvement.” Then we compared reward offerings with potential returns based on typical spending budgets derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 

In the end, we chose five high-value options from the crowded market. Some are no-annual-fee, flat-rate credit cards that earn the same amount on all purchases. Some require you make a certain qualifying purchase to start earning cash-back rewards. Some credit cards offer a sign-up bonus reward as well as cash back. Some are limited to specific spending categories (such as whether it’s a grocery purchase, gas purchase, dining, transit or travel) but have a higher rewards rate, while others charge an annual fee. We then outlined important information for each card, including whether it has a transfer fee, bonus redemption thresholds or introductory APR. We also specified general credit requirements for eligibility (if you find you aren’t eligible for a card that offers cash-back rewards, try a student credit card first). 

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, click here.

*All information about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.



Best cash-back credit cards for February 2022 originally appeared via www.cnet.com