Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2019 – My Top 4

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When I sit down and coach people on how to start getting credit card rewards and points, some ask me the question, “What if I just want some easy cash-back credit cards?”

Some people can’t keep up with having 15+ credit cards like I do and changing their strategies every month. Some just want a simple card or two to use and just keep getting back cash so they can live a little better.

Lucky for them, banks know this and offer some cards that are perfect for this kind of user.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

In this post, I’m going to show some credit cards and why they are good cash back cards. Each card is good for different reasons so we need a way to measure how beneficial they would be to you.

That’s why we can focus on these three factors to decide which card or cards would be best for you.

Earning Rates

Let’s start it out simple. How much cash-back will you earn during your purchases? Some cards have a consistent 1.5 - 2% per purchase.

Some earn you extra cash-back depending on what category the purchase is.

Earning Rates can make cash back cards completely different between everyone. There are cards that offer 5% back on Gas but if you don’t own a car then that card really isn’t worth it to you is it. It’s just case to case.

Ease of Redemption

This can easily be as big of a deal to you as the earning rate.

Do you want to earn points like Chase UR that can be used as cash or towards travel?

Do you want to be able to cash out your points and get it deposited into your account?

Some cards only allow you to use them as statement credits against your credit card. Maybe that’s a negative to you. All just depends on how you want your cash-back to actually come back to you.

Extra Perks or Factors

Most cash-back cards won’t come with lounge access or get you status at hotels, but they can offer other things. Maybe you want purchase protection or delay coverage.

Some have foreign transaction fees meaning if you use them out of the United States, you’ll pay even more.

It can also have annual fees that make having the card less valuable to you.

Things like these can be a positive or a negative and affect your plan on picking the card or not.

Which is the best cash back credit card for you?

Now that we know the three factors that we are basing our recommendations on, we can get to the cards. I set it up like this so that you can easily decide if you want or do not want certain cards.

If you want transferable points that you can use for cash or travel, then you can cancel out certain cards that don’t offer it.

If you don’t purchase much gas like our example earlier, then you can cross that off your list.

So let’s get into it!

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Image

Current Sign-up Bonus: $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from opening the card.

On normal purchases, the Chase Freedom card offers 1% back on all purchases. That doesn’t sound very good. However, there is also 5% rotating categories that change every quarter and you can get 5% back on up to $1500 worth of purchases. 

These categories change from things like gas stations and drugstores to groceries and Amazon purchases. Most of the time there is more than one category so you have more options on how to get the cash back.

Now, the Chase Freedom earns you Chase UR points. If you want you can just have the Freedom and earn 1% cash back that you can put towards a statement credit or deposit into your account.

You can also pair it with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and use it towards travel. This is special because the CSP adds an extra 25% to your points turning a maxed out 7,500 point quarter into 9,375 worth of points instead.

This is a special travel hack and beyond just cash back cards but I thought I should point it out especially because that’s what makes this cash-back card so special.

This card also offers purchase protection and an extended warranty but unfortunately has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

We have an article if you want to learn more about getting approved for your first Chase card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Current Sign-up Bonus: $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from opening the card.

Now, let’s say you want to be part of the Chase family but you don’t want to have to worry about rotating categories and thinking about where to purchase things.

The Freedom Unlimited is for you then.

This card offers 1.5% points on every purchase you make, no matter what you buy. Like the Freedom, this card also gives you Chase UR points so you can use them for travel, as a statement credit, or deposit it into your account.

It has the same extra perks as the Freedom like the purchase protection and extended warranty and has the 3% foreign transaction fee as well.

What some people like to do with these two is have both and use the Freedom Unlimited for all their purchases except the ones that fall under the categories for the regular Freedom card.

That is an easy and almost thoughtless way to maximize your spending without too much brain power into this credit card game.

We have a full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited here. 

Discover It Cash Back

Discover it card

Current Sign-up Bonus: $50 back after just one purchase within the first three months.

You know what’s better than getting 5% back on rotating categories? Getting 10% back.

That’s what you get with the Discover card. Technically, you get that in the first year but it’s still awesome.

Just like the Chase Freedom, this Discover card offers 5% categories each quarter but they also have a promotion that for all new card owners, they match your rewards that you earn in the first year.

This means that your 5% you are earning in rewards turns into 10%. Not only does this happen with the rotating categories but it also happens on the standard earning rate for purchases, making the normal 1% you get 2%.

The Discover doesn’t have transferable points though so you can get the cash back as a statement credit on the card or deposit it into any account you want.

This card also has no foreign transaction fees so could be a great option if you are a consistent traveler outside of the United States.

Citi Double Cash

Citi Double Cash

Current Sign-up Bonus: This card 95% of the time doesn’t have a sign up bonus. You can always check though.

The Citi Double Cash is probably one of the simplest cards for anyone getting started in the credit card rewards game. This card gives you 1% back when you purchase something and 1% back when you pay it off.

So, basically 2% back on all purchases. No categories to pay attention to or hoops to jump through. There is two negatives though.

The first is that there is no sign-up bonus. This is usually a red flag for me because of the 5/24 rule and how the game is right now. If I’m going to sign up for a card, I usually want something substantial within the first three months to make it justifiable.

The second negative is that you can only redeem rewards in $25 or more. That means you also can’t redeem your rewards as a statement credit or a deposit (only into Citi accounts) until you’ve spent $1,250 on the card.

So it has a couple drawbacks but the positive is that it’s a very simple card that you can always use. This can be a valuable card to some depending on their situation.

To Wrap It Up

Cash runs the world. At some point, all these airline miles and hotel points could completely change up the game and make them worthless, but cash will always be the same. It’s simpler and easier to measure how you’re doing in the rewards game.

Hopefully this list of cards has given you some ideas on what you can look for in a cash-back credit card.

Please feel free to use any of the links in this post and sign up for one.

Let us know if you have any of these cards, or are signing up for one because of this post, in the comments down below.

Also if you know anyone else that would benefit from this, feel free to share this post with them to help them out.

If you'd like to learn more about travel hacking and how it allows me to travel in luxury for pennies on the dollar, read our Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking here.