NerdWallet’s Best Cash Back Credit Cards, 2015
Looking for a cash back credit card with no annual fee and stellar rewards? Some of the best cards out there pay out in dead presidents. Whether you’re a family man with a family van, a young adult looking for ease and simplicity in a world that offers little of either, a jetsetter or — well — anyone, it doesn’t get much better than a cash-back credit card. We’ll break down the best options for you and explain why we love them.
Best 5% rotating bonus rewards card: Chase Freedom®
The standout Chase Freedom® is a favorite among NerdWallet 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, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M and Overstock.com
- Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations and Kohl’s
- Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com and Diapers.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.
Our favorite for gas and groceries: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
on American Express's
on American Express's
Finally, you receive a signup bonus: Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit. There is a $75 annual fee. The $0 annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a lower rewards rate of 3% on groceries up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1%), 2% on gas and department stores and 1% elsewhere. It also has a lower signup bonus: Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.
Looking only at grocery rewards, if you spend $50 a week or more in that category (a bar the average American easily clears), you’re better off with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. That’s before you account for the higher signup bonus and better gas and department store rewards. This is one of our favorite cards for families. A word of warning, though: Not all merchants accept American Express, so you might want to carry a no-fee Visa or MasterCard as a backup.
Best flat-rate rewards card: Citi®Double Cash Card
Best card for debt payoff and earning rewards on purchases: the Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year
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.