Our pick for

Bonus categories

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now

on Chase's secure website

Bonus value
$150
Annual fee
$0
Recommended credit score
Excellent 720-850
Good 690-719
We like it for
Optimizing cash back Everyday spending No annual fee Cash sign-up bonus

Benefits

This card offers 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories such as gas, groceries, restaurants and wholesale clubs. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The card comes with a cash sign-up bonus that’s fairly easy to reach: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Drawbacks

Bottom line


Our pick for

Everyday spending

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now

on American Express's secure website

Bonus value
$150
Annual fee
$95
Recommended credit score
Excellent 720-850
Good 690-719
We like it for
Household spending High rewards rates Cash sign-up bonus

Benefits

This card’s 6% cash back rate on groceries (up to $6,000 a year in spending) makes it a longtime favorite with the Nerds, as does its unlimited 3% rate at gas stations and department stores. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% back. By buying gift cards at the grocery store and using them at restaurants, retailers and other merchants, you can extend the 6% cash back far beyond just groceries. The sign-up bonus also adds to the appeal — and you may be eligible for an even better offer from American Express. Check out our American Express Pre-Qualified Offers page.

Drawbacks

Bottom line


Our pick for

Average credit

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now

on Capital One's secure website

Bonus value
$0
Annual fee
$39
Recommended credit score
Average 630-689
We like it for
Average credit Simple earnings Simple redemption

Benefits

The flat 1.5% cash back rate is pretty great, especially for people without perfect credit, and there’s no limit on the rewards you can earn. The rate is the same as that paid by the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which is only for people with excellent credit. There are no foreign transaction fees, and Capital One may bump your credit limit up if you make your first five monthly payments on time.

Drawbacks

Bottom line


Our pick for

Flat-rate cash back

Citi®Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Apply Now

on Citibank's secure website

Bonus value
$0
Annual fee
$0
Recommended credit score
Excellent 720-850
Good 690-719
We like it for
Simple earnings Simple redemption Free FICO score Balance transfers

Benefits

This card offers an industry-leading cash back rate on all purchases: You get 1% back on every dollar you spend and another 1% back when you pay off your purchases. Cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit, a gift card or a check in the mail.

Drawbacks

Bottom line


Our methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to win in multiple categories.

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.