Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Best for people who want the same cash-back rate on every purchase

  • 2% cash back on all purchases

  • $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months

  • No annual fee

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

With unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card gives you the opportunity to shop across categories — groceries, gas, school supplies, plane tickets — without having to ask yourself how much cash you’re earning per category.

A $200 welcome bonus for new cardholders who spend $1,000 in the first three months sweetens the deal, and 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers gives you the option to carry a short-term balance without accruing interest charges.

Pros

  • Industry-leading flat rate cash back rewards
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Cons

  • No opportunity to earn bonus category cash back rewards

Want one more reason to consider the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card? If you pay your monthly phone bill with your Wells Fargo card, you’ll get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible). Not all credit cards offer this kind of benefit, so keep that in mind as you’re deciding where to apply.

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Citi Double Cash Card

Best for people who pay off their balances in full

  • 1% cash back on all purchases, plus an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months

  • No annual fee

Since the Citi Double Cash Card offers unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases plus an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases, you have the potential to earn as many rewards with the Citi Double Cash as you would with the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card — provided, of course, that you pay off your balances.

Pros

  • Industry-leading flat rate cash back rewards
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months

Cons

  • No welcome bonus
  • No opportunity to earn bonus category cash back rewards
  • Must pay off card in full to maximize rewards

Responsible credit users may want to consider combining the Citi Double Cash with a bonus category cash-back credit card, such as the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card, which offers 3% cash back at supermarkets (for the first $6,000 in purchases per year). Use the AmEx Blue Cash Everyday card when you go grocery shopping, use your Citi Double Cash card on all other purchases and pay off both statements in full every month.

  • 2% cash back on all purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage Members

  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

  • $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days

  • No annual fee

  • Promotional balance transfer offer

There are a lot of good reasons to use credit unions — and PenFed Credit Union members can add the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card to their list.

This card offers PenFed Honors Advantage Members an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, giving you the opportunity to earn an industry-leading flat-rate cash back percentage on everything you buy.

Plus, you’ll earn a $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days — and if you want to transfer a balance to your Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card, you may be able to take advantage of a promotional offer.

Pros

  • Industry-leading flat-rate cash back rewards
  • No annual fee
  • Promotional balance transfer offer

Cons

  • 2% cash back offer only available to PenFed Honors Advantage Members

What if you aren’t a PenFed Honors Advantage Member? Non-members earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase — which is still a great cash-back rate. If you want to bump your cash-back rewards up to the full 2%, you can open and maintain a PenFed checking account. Military members (including active duty, reserve, honorably discharged and retired) automatically receive 2% cash back after completing their application.1

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American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

Best for people who want grocery rewards without an annual fee

  • 3% cash back at grocery stores (for the first $6,000 in purchases per year)

  • $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months

  • 2% cash back on gas

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • $250 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first six months

  • No annual fee

  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months

With the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card, you’ll earn 3% cash back on the first $6,000 in supermarket purchases per year, as well as 2% cash back on gas.

All other purchases earn 1% cash back, and new cardholders who spend $2,000 in the first six months can receive a $250 statement credit. Plus, you get 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months — giving you plenty of time to pay off all of those grocery runs.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months

Cons

  • High spending requirement to earn welcome bonus

While the Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card offers decent rewards on grocery store purchases, you can get higher cash back percentages on your grocery trips if you upgrade to the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card. Is it worth it to skip the annual fee and earn less cash back on every purchase? That’s up to you to decide.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

Best for people who want to maximize their grocery rewards

  • 6% cash back at grocery stores (for the first $6,000 in purchases per year)

  • 6% cash back on select streaming subscriptions

  • 3% cash back at gas stations and on transit

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • $350 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months

  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

  • $0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months

With the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, you’ll earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in supermarket purchases per year, as well as 6% cash back on select streaming subscriptions — both of which are industry-leading rates that you’re unlikely to find with other cash-back credit cards.

Plus, you’ll earn 3% cash back not just at gas stations, but also on transit — giving you many more reward-earning opportunities than you might get with the AmEx Blue Cash Everyday Card. You’ll pay a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), but cardholders who earn the $350 welcome bonus will have canceled out their annual fee costs for the next four years.

Pros

  • Industry-leading rewards on groceries
  • Industry-leading rewards on subscriptions
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months

Cons

  • High spending requirement to earn welcome bonus

Want one more reason to consider the American Express Blue Cash Preferred? Right now, cardholders can receive up to $120 annually in Equinox+ statement credits. Get your groceries, get your workout in and earn your rewards.

Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card

Best for people who want to earn cash back on dining and entertainment (including streaming services)

  • 4% cash back at restaurants, entertainment and select streaming services

  • 3% cash back at grocery stores

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months

  • $95 annual fee

Whether you’re going out or staying in, the Capital One Savor Rewards Card is ready to help you have a good time. With unlimited 4% cash back on restaurants (including takeout and delivery) as well as entertainment and select streaming services, you can earn rewards while enjoying yourself — and if you decide you want to cook your own dinner for a change, you’ll get 3% cash back at grocery stores.

Pros

  • Industry-leading rewards on restaurants and entertainment

Cons

  • High spending requirement to earn welcome bonus

If the $95 annual fee is too much for you right now, consider the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card instead. This no-annual-fee card offers unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, select streaming services and grocery stores, and could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Discover it Cash Back Credit Card

Best for people who want unlimited welcome bonus potential

  • 5% cash back on bonus categories that rotate quarterly (for up to $1,500 in combined bonus category purchases per quarter)

  • $1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Discover will match all cash you earn during your first year as a cardholder, with no limit

  • No annual fee

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

The Discover it Cash Back Credit Card is one of a small number of cash-back cards that offers industry-leading rewards on spending categories that rotate every quarter. While Discover’s Cashback Calendar changes every year, cardholders can expect to see popular spending categories such as gas stations, gym memberships and Amazon.com.

If you like the idea of earning 5% cash back on different bonus categories throughout the year, the card could be a good match — especially because Discover’s Cashback Match automatically matches all the cash you earn during the first year as a cardholder. This gives you unlimited welcome bonus potential with no minimum spending requirement.

Pros

  • Unlimited welcome bonus potential
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Cons

  • Must activate 5% rewards every quarter
  • Can only earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in combined bonus category purchases per quarter

If you like the idea of Discover’s Cashback Match but are less interested in the rotating cash back categories, you might want to consider the Discover it Chrome Card — which happens to be the next card on our list.

Discover it Chrome Card

Best for people who want the benefits of Discover without rotating category rewards

  • 2% cash back on restaurants and gas (for up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter)

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Discover will match all cash you earn during your first year as a cardholder, with no limit

  • No annual fee

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

If you are looking for a Discover cash-back card that offers the same set of bonus cash back categories throughout the year, take a look at the Discover it Chrome Card. This card offers 2% cash back on restaurants and gas, for up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter — and, just like the Discover it Cash Back Card, Discover will match all of the cash you earn during your first year as a cardholder.

Discover’s Cashback Match is one of the best welcome bonuses in the industry, but that isn’t the only benefit you’ll get from having a Discover card in your wallet. Not only is Discover accepted at more than 99% of retailers nationwide, but you can also redeem your Discover cash back for statement credits, gift cards, Amazon.com and PayPal purchases and more.

Pros

  • Unlimited welcome bonus potential
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Cons

  • Can only earn 2% cash back on the first $1,000 in combined restaurant and gas purchases per quarter

You may also want to consider the Discover it Miles card, which we recently highlighted on our list of top travel credit cards. Like the Discover it Cash Back and Discover it Chrome cards, the Discover it Miles card also matches all of the rewards you earn during your first year as a cardholder.

Chase Freedom Flex

Best for people who want to earn cash back on travel

  • 5% cash back on bonus categories that rotate quarterly (for up to $1,500 in combined bonus category purchases per quarter)

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months

  • 5% cash back on the first $6,000 in gas purchases made during your first year as a cardholder

  • No annual fee

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

There are a lot of reasons to love the Chase Freedom Flex, but we’ll start with the 5% cash back.

As a cardholder, you not only earn 5% cash back on bonus categories that rotate every quarter, but you’ll also have the opportunity to earn 5% cash back on all travel bookings made through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus, new cardholders earn 5% cash back on the first $6,000 in gas purchases made during their first year with the card. That’s a benefit worth as much as $300.

In addition to all of the 5% cash-back opportunities, you’ll also earn 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases — and a bonus $200 after spending $500 in your first three months as a new cardholder. That’s a lot of cash-back potential, especially for a no-annual-fee credit card.

Pros

  • Industry-leading rewards on travel bookings
  • Opportunity to earn 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories, travel and gas
  • Low spending requirement to earn welcome bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Cons

  • Must activate 5% rewards every quarter
  • Can only earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in combined bonus category purchases per quarter

Like the Discover it Cash Back card, the Chase Freedom Flex focuses its rotating bonuses on popular spending categories, such as grocery stores and Amazon.com. If you’re trying to decide between the two cards, keep in mind that you can always apply for both — just remember to activate your bonus categories every quarter to ensure you earn your 5% cash back.

WebBank Petal2 Visa Card

Best for people who want to build credit while earning rewards

  • 1% cash back on every purchase, with the potential to increase up to 1.5% when you pay on time

  • 2% to 10% bonus cash back at select merchants

  • No annual fee

The Petal2 Visa is designed for people who have less-than-excellent credit, giving you the opportunity to earn cash-back rewards on every purchase while proving that you can use credit responsibly.

While the Petal2 Visa doesn’t offer a lot in terms of flat-rate cash-back rewards, you do have the opportunity to earn as much as 10% bonus cash back when you shop with select merchants. Plus, you can increase your cash-back rewards to as much as 1.5% when you pay your credit card bill on time — which will also help you build a better credit score.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Designed to build credit

Cons

  • No welcome bonus

Not sure whether your credit is good enough to qualify? The WebBank Petal2 Visa Card uses alternate methods of evaluating creditworthiness, including your income and your spending history — and you can always request to be preapproved before you apply.

SoFi Credit Card

Best for people who want to invest their cash-back rewards

  • 2% cash back on all purchases, with the opportunity to earn 3% cash back for 365 days and a cash bonus worth as much as $300

  • Make 12 consecutive on-time payments, and SoFi will lower your APR by 1%

  • No annual fee

How do you plan on redeeming your cash-back rewards? Some people automatically turn their rewards into statement credits or redeem them for online purchases, but the SoFi Credit Card lets you turn your cash-back rewards into investment opportunities.

With SoFi, not only will you earn industry-leading 2% cash back on all purchases, but you also have the option to redeem your rewards toward SoFi loan payments, a SoFi savings account or a SoFi investment account. You can even invest your SoFi rewards in cryptocurrency.

Want even more cash back? Set up direct deposit with SoFi Checking and Savings to earn 3% cash back for a year. You’ll also get a cash bonus worth as much as $300 depending on how much money is direct-deposited into your account during the first three months.

Pros

  • Industry leading flat-rate cash-back rewards
  • No annual fee
  • Year-long welcome bonus with no minimum spending requirement

Cons

  • To get the full value of your rewards, you must redeem your cash back toward SoFi loan repayment, savings or investing

It’s worth noting that the full value of your cash-back rewards only applies if you redeem your rewards toward SoFi loan repayment, savings or investing. If you want to redeem your rewards for a statement credit, you’ll only get half the value of your eligible rewards.

Should I get a cash-back credit card?

It’s always a good idea to have a cash-back credit card in your wallet — but which cash-back rewards card is right for you?

Ask yourself whether you want the same flat-rate cash back on every purchase, or whether you’re interested in taking advantage of bonus category cash-back rewards. You may also want to compare credit card welcome bonuses — and ask yourself whether you spend enough money every month to qualify for the bonus cash back rewards.

Once you’ve gotten used to your new cash-back credit card, you may want to apply for another cash-back card that offers even more earning opportunities — or you may want to pair your cash-back card with a travel or airline card that offers not only rewards but also additional benefits like free checked bags.

No matter what you choose, make sure you get the most out of your new credit card by earning your bonuses, redeeming your rewards and paying your bills on time.

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MoneyWise has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyWise and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

1 To qualify for the PenFed Honors Advantage Program you must 1) be in an active military service status, a member of the Reserves or National Guard, an honorably discharged U.S. Military Veteran or retired from such service OR 2) the member must be the primary owner on both the credit card and checking accounts of any existing open PenFed product, excluding PenCheck Limited accounts, or open a new Access America Checking or Free Checking account with PenFed. Members with a qualifying Free Checking account must also 1) maintain a minimum $500 daily balance OR 2) set up monthly direct deposits of $500 or more in order to maintain Honors Advantage Eligibility. A minimum balance or direct deposit is not required to maintain a Free Checking account.

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About the Author

Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker

Freelance Contributor

Nicole Dieker has been writing about personal finance for over a decade. Her work has been published in Bankrate, CreditCards.com, Haven Life, Lifehacker, Vox and more. Dieker also spent five years as a writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money.

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