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In a world temporarily restricted by COVID-19 shutdowns and travel limitations, rewards credit cards that offer airline miles and hotel points or reward you for dining out have lost some of their appeal. Travel plans have been put on hold, and many Americans are watching their budgets. If you're one of them, you might prefer a cash back rewards card that offers a way to earn money on purchases you make every day. Here are some of the best cash back rewards credit card offers out there right now.
Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
3% cash back on Dining & Drugstores
1.5% cash back on All Other Purchases
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card seems to have been designed for the way we live now: staying home, ordering lots of takeout and stocking up on groceries. (About the only thing it's lacking is a free Netflix account.) This card offers a base 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases. Plus, the card is contactless, so you don't have to touch a potentially germ-laden PIN pad.
The 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months will be useful if you're furloughed, laid off or just watching your spending. (After that initial period ends, your APR will climb to 14.99% to 23.74% variable, depending on your credit.) You'll also get a $200 bonus for making $500 in purchases in the first 3 months with the card. There's no minimum required to start redeeming your cash back rewards, and rewards never expire. In addition to getting cash back, you can redeem rewards on Amazon or, when you're ready to travel again, through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
If you activate by December 31st, 2021, Chase also throws in three free months of DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service, which provides unlimited deliveries with no delivery fee on eligible orders over $12.
Other nifty extras: Use the card to make a purchase and get 120 days of purchase protection against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim, as well as extended warranty protection that adds another year to eligible warranties of three years or less.
Best for Flexible Rewards: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
With most rotating rewards cards, the issuer chooses the cash back category each quarter. With the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, you're in control. Each month, you can select a category in which to earn 3% cash back—gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings. Keep the same category all year, or change it every month—the choice is yours.
You'll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on all other purchases. Spend $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days, and you'll earn $200 bonus cash back.
Cash back isn't all this card has to offer. The 0% introductory APR for both purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 billing cycles lets you save on interest. After the intro period ends, you'll pay a variable interest rate of 13.99% to 23.99%. Balance transfers must be made in the first 60 days to qualify for the introductory rate. If you make a balance transfer, you'll pay a fee of 3% of the transfer amount or $10, whichever is greater.
One catch: Your 3% and 2% cash back rewards are limited to the first $2,500 in combined choice category, grocery store and wholesale club purchases each quarter. That's a pretty low ceiling; a family of four could easily spend that much on groceries alone. But once you pass the $2,500 milestone, all your purchases earn 1% unlimited cash back.
If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you could earn even more—25% to 75% additional cash back on every purchase. That means the 3% choice category could earn up to 5.25%, the 2% grocery store and wholesale club category could go up to 3.5%, and the 1% for all other purchases could go up to 1.75%. Preferred Rewards is free if you have a qualifying Bank of America personal checking account and a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in your Bank of America and/or Merrill investment accounts.
Is a Cash Back Card for You?
Cash back credit cards typically require good to excellent credit. Before applying, check your credit score to find out if it's high enough to qualify for the cards with the most generous rewards. If not, checking your credit report to ensure all your information is accurate and up to date, and taking steps to improve your credit score can help you get approved for the cash back card you want.
When choosing a cash back credit card, make sure you understand how rewards work and look for a card whose rewards fit your lifestyle and spending patterns.
In today's uncertain times, one thing is for sure: You can always use cash. This may be the time to put aside credit cards that earn airline miles or hotel points for a card that offers rewards you can use right now.
All information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards has been collected independently by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.