How to decide on a cash-back bank card

Bank cards can typically present alternatives to rack up journey rewards like airline miles or resort factors. But when simplicity and a strong return on spending are your high priorities, you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable with a cash-back bank card.

Earlier than you begin purchasing for a brand new card, although, it’s a good suggestion to consider what you need in a cash-back card and which one is one of the best match for you. Listed below are 4 issues to think about.

Analysis the incomes charges

Not all cash-back playing cards work the identical, and it’s vital to know which strategy you wish to take with the way you earn rewards. There are three predominant methods cash-back bank cards construction their rewards applications:


With tiered and rotating rewards, you’ll have a greater probability to maximise your money again with sure bonus classes. However in lots of instances, most of your purchases will internet you the bottom rewards price, and also you’ll have to hold observe of the completely different bonus classes.

On the flip facet, flat-rate rewards playing cards may give you a constant incomes price on your whole spending, however they lack the pliability to maximise your rewards in a few of your high spending classes.

Assessment your finances

To find out which card will likely be most rewarding for you, you may have to know the place you spend most of your cash. Then, you’ll be able to select a card that rewards these purchases probably the most.

For instance, when you have an enormous household and spend so much on groceries, a tiered rewards card with outsized incomes on grocery purchases, such because the Blue Money Most well-liked Card from American Categorical, needs to be in your radar. Equally, for those who spend a variety of your finances on leisure and eating out, you may profit from a card that earns bonus cash-back in these classes, just like the Capital One SavorOne Money Rewards Credit score Card.

Crunch the numbers to see which card presents one of the best rewards based mostly in your month-to-month spending. SAM EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES

Nonetheless, for those who discover that your spending habits are extra unfold out or for those who spend probably the most on a class that does not earn bonus rewards, you may be higher off with a flat-rate rewards card. With the Citi Double Money Card, as an example, it gained’t matter what your spending seems to be like since you’re getting 2% money again on all the pieces (so long as you might be paying off your stability).

Associated: TPG’s 10 commandments of bank card rewards

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Consider the welcome provide and annual charge

Money-back bank cards are extra than simply their incomes charges. Lots of them additionally provide sign-up bonuses, introductory 0% annual proportion price (APR) promotions (which let you make purchases or switch balances and pay them off over a set interval, interest-free) and different perks that may add worth to your expertise. As you examine cash-back bank cards, take into consideration different advantages which can be a superb match for what you need.

When you’ve got an enormous buy arising, as an example, you might wish to search for a card with a sign-up bonus or a 0% APR introductory provide. Some playing cards, such because the Chase Freedom Flex and the Blue Money On a regular basis® Card from American Categorical, provide each, making them wonderful selections for a big expense.


You’ll additionally wish to think about whether or not the cardboard costs an annual charge — fortuitously, many don’t — and the way that may have an effect on your rewards incomes energy. For instance, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Money Rewards Credit score Card earns 1.5% money again on all purchases however costs a $39 annual charge. This implies you’d have to spend at the least $2,600 yearly simply to interrupt even on the annual charge.

The Chase Freedom Limitless, alternatively, additionally earns 1.5% again on all purchases however does not have an annual charge, permitting you to earn with out having to fret about offsetting a yearly price.

Think about having a number of bank cards

There’s no cash-back bank card that’s greatest for everybody, and even when one card offers you extra worth than one other, the easiest way to maximise your rewards is to make use of a number of playing cards for various spending classes.

If you happen to’re open to it, having multiple cash-back card may be a good way to maximise your rewards. ISABELLE RAPHAEL/THE POINTS GUY

For instance, you might go for the Blue Money Most well-liked for groceries and fuel because of its larger incomes charges on these classes, the Chase Freedom Flex for journey, eating, drugstores and its rotating classes, and the Citi Double Money Card for all the pieces else (as a result of it offers you a flat 2% money again).

This strategy might take some getting used to, and also you’ll have to hold observe of your due dates and balances to keep away from curiosity and late charges. Nonetheless, it’s a good way to profit from your each day bills.

Backside line

The greatest cash-back bank cards provide versatile rewards and the prospect to rack up a variety of worth in your on a regular basis spending. Whereas choosing the right cash-back card can really feel daunting, you’ll be able to simply slim down your listing of choices utilizing the following tips to decide on the appropriate card (or playing cards) for you.

Extra reporting by Emily Thompson.

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