Where can I get cash back on my credit card?
Since cards with rotating bonus categories s have announced their selections for the rest of the year, falls is the perfect time to come up with a rewards strategy. Here are a few tips to consider as you look for ways to rack up as many rewards as you can before 2017 is over:
- Max out your bonus categories if your card offers them. With the card, for example, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on categories that rotate every quarter. By taking note of those categories, you can use your cards strategically and earn more points over time.
- Decide whether you want 5% back in rotating categories or a higher rate across the board. While 5% in certain categories is nice, cards that offer this perk dole out just 1% back on your regular purchases. In that respect, a card that offers a flat 1.5% back on all of your spending might help you earn more over time.
- Sign up for a new card for the signup bonus. Even if you’re already happy with your rewards credit card, it doesn’t hurt to have an additional choice. Most of the cards on this page offer a nice signup bonus for new cardholders.
How do I use my cash back credit card?
Cash back cards offer great rewards potential, but not if you’re constantly paying interest on an outstanding balance. Here are two rules that you should follow to maximize your rewards, avoid accruing interest, and stay focused on your financial goals:
Rule 1: Track your credit spending in real-time
The best way to keep up with your spending is to sign up for online account management with your credit card company. Then use your login and password to check in with your spending at least once per week. Staying on top of your spending this way can benefit you by helping you stay on budget and forcing you to recognize any problem spending areas you may have.
Rule 2: Pay your bill before it is due (or several times per month)
At the very least, you should always pay your credit card off at least once before it is due. Letting your account balance grow over the month without paying it off can cause you to disassociate your spending from actual money you have, whereas paying it off a few times per month causes you to part from your dollars and feel the impact right away.
Research the best cash back credit cards
Use our directory to find the cash back card that benefits you the most:
Sign up Bonus Tier Level
Good Signup Bonus
Great Ongoing Rewards
No Annual Fee
No APR for 12+ Months
The most heavily weighted (and most important) elements of a cash back credit card are introductory APR, sign-up bonus, ongoing rewards, and benefits. Depending on your situation, you might want to be aware of the ongoing APR as well.
There are a number of factors that went into rating each card, including:
- Rewards categories
- Signup bonus
- Intro APR
- Ongoing APR
How does a cash back credit card work?
The best cards have unique structures to their rewards programs. Generally speaking, they offer the highest rewards percentages of any credit cards for specific or rotating categories. Due to the high rewards earning potential, these cards often come with caps on the amount you can earn in some of those categories.
- Cash back credit cards are the best second cards to own.
- Rewards are very high, but have caps.
- Be sure to maximize your categories each quarter or year.
- Minimize your spending in 1% categories.
What type of cash back card do I need?
The best card for you is the one that aligns with your spending habits — not one that changes them. Here are a few best practices to follow when you’re shopping around.
Maximizing each cash back category
Creating a single fixed scenario to judge these cards is next to impossible. Instead, let’s look at each card at a category level to examine the return you could get from the rewards program. The table below shows an overview of the best type of cash back card to get for each of the various purchases you might make.
|Type of purchase||Best cash back card type|
|Groceries||Designated category card|
|Gas (less than $6,000/year)||Rotating category card|
|Gas (more than $6,000/year)||Designated category card|
|Shopping||Rotating category card|
|Dining and entertainment||Rotating category card|
|Variety of purchases||Rotating category card|
|Household purchases||Designated category card|
A real-life spending scenario
Consider this: The is one of the best choices for big-time shoppers because it offers a designated 6% rewards category for U.S. supermarkets (groceries) on up to $6,000 per year. It’s also a top card for U.S gas station purchases, as there is no cap on the 3% you can earn.
If you were to consistently spend $10,000 in purchases per year with the in the card’s two best rewards categories ($6,000 on groceries and $4,000 on gas) without spending anything at the standard 1% rate, your four-year earnings would look something like this:
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
|1 Year||2 Years||3 Years||4 Years|
With a rotating category card — even one that doesn’t have an annual fee — the earning potential is much lower for this spending arrangement because you’d probably only earn high-rate rewards on groceries for one quarter of the year.