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Sure, you can get a credit card that gives you free gas or airline miles. But these cards show you the money.

2 minute read

Reward cards operate on a simple concept: They pay for your loyalty. That could mean points for free nights at major hotel chains, free flights on major airlines, and even coupons for L.L. Bean clothes.

But some of us prefer to count pennies instead of points. We’re talking straight-up best cashback credit cards. Most offer a fixed rate of cash back on all purchases, while the best toss in bonus cash back – by shopping at select retailers or at certain categories of merchants that change every quarter. The worst will charge you an annual fee.

Which one is right for you? It all depends on how you spend…

1. Capital One Quicksilver Rewards

The perks: Unlike the cards below, this one comes with only one simple offer: 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. But that’s the highest flat rate of return you can get right now with a consumer credit card.

Annual fee: None. And no foreign transaction fees (so you can use it outside the United States without additional costs).

Bottom line: If you buy a little bit of everything, or if you travel overseas, this is the simplest and most lucrative way to ring up savings.

2. Chase Freedom

The perks: 1 percent cash back on all purchases and 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 of eligible spending each quarter from select merchants. You can also use Chase’s innovative Blueprint program at no additional cost. Blueprint gives cardholders the chance to avoid interest charges by paying off some purchases in full while carrying a balance on others.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: That 5 percent cash back on select purchases can add up to hundreds of dollars of cash back each year – if you patronize those retailers. If you buy a lot of gifts or shop for a family, you might be able to hit that mark.

3. Chase Sapphire

The basics: Earn one point per dollar spent on most purchases and double points at restaurants. Each point can be redeemed for one cent in cash back or for a variety of travel, merchandise, or gift card options. Like Freedom cardholders, Sapphire customers can also use Chase’s Blueprint program.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: A great card for those who eat out frequently and want flexible rewards.

4. American Express Blue Cash Everyday

The basics: 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, plus 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. Then there’s the typical 1 percent cash back on other purchases.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: These bonus categories are calculated to provide the maximum cash back for families. If you max out the 3 percent cash back at supermarkets, that’s worth $180 in cash back by itself.

5. Bank of America Cash Rewards

The basics: 1 percent cash back on purchases, with 2 percent at grocery stores and 3 percent on gasoline for the first $1,500 in combined grocery store and gas purchases each quarter.

Annual fee: None.

Bottom line: Another card offering bonus cash back that’s centered around common household purchases. Also great for those who already have a checking or savings account with Bank of America, since you can manage all accounts from its online portal.

Every Wednesday, researches the nation’s best credit card offers and shares the results in plain English. Unlike other sites, we don’t get paid to recommend any card. Please note that perks and fees can change on a moment’s notice and without warning. Got a credit card question? Email

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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

I'm one of the country's leading experts on credit cards and have been regularly syndicated by mainstream outlets such as MSN Money and Yahoo! Finance. I live in Denver, Colorado with my wife and two daughters, and we love to travel. We often fly first-class, not because I'm rich, but because I know how to acquire credit card miles in the most efficient way. Keep reading, and I'll teach you, too.

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