Top 5 Cash Back Credit Cards of 2015

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Top 5 Cash Back Credit Cards of 2015

Among rewards credit cards, cash back cards are the most popular. Instead of offering bonuses that can only be redeemed for airline miles or hotel stays, cash back cards reward you for your purchases with actual cash that, for the most part, can be used however you like.

An important factor in determining which cards are the best cash back credit cards is how much cash is received per dollar spent, and whether it is possible to earn enough cash back to compensate for the cost of carrying the credit card. Keep in mind that in order to maximize your earning potential on any reward card, it is recommended that you pay your balance in full each month in order to avoid paying interest on purchases.

If you consistently carry balances on your credit cards, you should instead consider a credit card with a low APR, rather than a card which earns rewards. However, if you believe that you’d benefit most from a cash back credit card, there are 5 cards that stand out above the rest.

1) Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom® Card from Chase

The standout Chase Freedom® is a favorite among internet readers, writers and editors alike. It earns 5% cash back on everyday spending in rotating, quarterly categories, like gas, Amazon.com, restaurants and groceries, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. Plus, you’ll get 1% cash back on all other purchases. Here’s the bonus category list for 2015:

  • Q1 (January 1 – March 31): Grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks stores
  • Q2 (April 1 – June 30): Restaurants
  • Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations
  • Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.com

Plus, you’ll get a sign-up bonus to sweeten the deal: Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. We love the Chase Freedom® for its high rewards on key spending categories, but it also comes with a great 0% APR deal: 0% for 15 Months on purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99%-22.99% (Variable).  No matter what you’re looking for in a card, the Chase Freedom® delivers.  Following are some more details from their official website which may help.

REWARDS OVER 2 YEARS Total Per Year
Sign up value $100 $50
Rewards from spending $576 $288
Annual Fee $0 $0
Annual Rewards $676 $338

With great rewards and more, Chase Freedom® is a well-rounded credit card for consumers with good to excellent credit. It’s also one of the most popular credit cards.

Look Out For

This card features a 3% foreign transaction fee, a 3% or $5 balance transfer fee and a high penalty APR that can be triggered by missed or late payments. It’s important to stay within your budget while aiming for that $100 cash back bonus.

2) Bank Americard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

 

The Bank AmeriCard Cash Rewards credit card is a great cash back credit card if you have accounts with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch and do not want to bother with rotating categories. This card rewards you for everyday purchases, and provides a bonus if you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch Cash Management account.

What to Like

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card offers 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores for the first $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. You can add 1% cash back on all other purchases, a$100 initial spending bonus after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days, 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles on qualifying transfers to those perks.

REWARDS OVER 2 YEARS Total Per Year
Sign up value $100 $50
Rewards from spending $576 $288
Annual Fee $0 $0
Annual Rewards $676 $338

Look Out For

You’ll pay a $10 or 3% (whichever is greater) fee on any balance transfer, as well as a 3% fee on foreign transactions. If you’re late on a payment, you could be subject to a high penalty APR that may overshadow any rewards earnings.

3) Discover it® – Double Cash Back your first year

Discover it®

The Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year offers a killer package of 5% cash back in bonus categories and an annual fee of $0, plus perks that are typically only found on high-fee cards. You’ll earn 5% cash back in categories that change every quarter, up to $1,500 spent, plus an unlimited 1% elsewhere. You also receive purchase and return protection at no cost, plus a break on interest for a period of time: 0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 10.99% – 22.99% Variable.

And when it comes to fees, the $0 annual fee is just the beginning. There are no foreign transaction fees — key if you go abroad — and your first late payment fee is waived. So get excited: 5% is the new black.

REWARDS OVER 2 YEARS Total Per Year
Sign up value $0 $0
Rewards from spending $672 $336
Annual Fee $0 $0
Annual Rewards $672 $336

Discover it® – Double Cash Back your first year is a good choice for consumers searching for a quality credit card that offers both low interest rates and cash back rewards.

Look Out For

This card features a 3% balance transfer fee. Revolving rewards categories also mean that you’ll have to pay attention to get the most out of your rewards card.

4) Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Although the American Express Preferred card (a Money Crashers partner) is similar to the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, there are several significant differences that also make it an equally competitive cash back credit card. There is an annual fee for the Preferred version, but – depending on your spending habits – it may provide larger rewards than the standard no-annual fee rewards cards. This, along with a program that rewards spending on everyday purchases, establishes the American Express Blue Cash Preferred as one of the best cash back credit cards available.

REWARDS OVER 2 YEARS Total Per Year
Sign up value $150 $75
Rewards from spending $768 $384
Annual Fee ($150) ($75)
Annual Rewards $768 $384

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great choice for consumers with good to excellent credit who are looking for attractive cash back rates.

What to Like

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express pays out 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back everywhere else. Cardholders can also earn a $150 bonus for $1,000 spent in the first three months, all with no rotating categories. There’s also a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

4) Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

There is something to be said for simplicity, which is why the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card is one of the best cash back cards available – especially if you outspend the caps that other cash back credit cards offer. Purchases earn a flat 1.5% cash back, which can be redeemed for any amount as an account credit, check, or gift card. There also no limits to the amount of cash back that can be earned on eligible purchases, so regardless of which category of purchase you make – or whether you spend entirely within one category for a few months – you always earn 1.5% cash back. Additionally, since you can redeem any time you like, you don’t have to wait until you have a certain amount built up.

REWARDS OVER 2 YEARS Total Per Year
Sign up value $0 $0
Rewards from spending $648 $324
Annual Fee ($78) ($39)
Annual Rewards $570 $285
With Capital One® cash rewards, there’s no limit to how much you can earn and no minimum requirement on how much cash back you can redeem. Also, your cash rewards don’t expire and can come as a check, account credit, or gift card.
Final Words on Cash Back Credit Card Choices:

It is important to consider everything involved with cash back credit cards – often, you are able to redeem for merchandise and gift cards at a higher rate than the actual cash back. Consider the purchases you make and will make in the future when determining whether you can maximize a card with rotating categories or fixed categories, or a card that just offers a flat cash back amount on any purchase you make. And to get the most of any rewards credit card, be sure that you are able to at least pay it off in full most of the time – otherwise, you will have a difficult time getting your money’s worth.

What is your experience with cash back credit cards?