This CreditShout guide was last updated on March 23, 2015.
With cash back credit cards you can earn cash back on every day purchases such as groceries, drug store purchases, fuel and even money spent at restaurants. All of these every day purchases add up and by using a cash back credit card you can save hundreds of even thousands of dollars a year.

How do we select the cards below?

1. We look for cards that allow you to earn unlimited cash back.
2. We hate fine print – the cards we feature have solid rewards programs without a lot of strings attached.

Discover it® – 14 Month Balance Transfer

The Discover it card is a completely new cash back credit card. This card is revolutionary (not a term we use lightly) because of it’s powerful rewards program and lack of fees.

With Discover it there is no annual fee, no overlimit fee, no foreign transaction fee, and no pay by phone fee. In addition to this you will not be charged a fee the first time you make a late payment.

The rewards program allows you to earn up to 5% cash back on every purchase with popular spending categories that rotate throughout the year, to compliment your spending. You will also earn up to 1% cash back on all purchases that are outside of these rotating categories – with no caps on the amount of 1% cash back you can earn.

Discover it also allows you to earn up to a 20% cash back with this card by shopping online through ShopDiscover, which is Discover’s online shopping mall. ShopDiscover has hundreds of retailers including Apple (5% cash bonus) and Macys (5% cash bonus).

Last but not least, you can now redeem any cash back you earn with Discover it® for purchases during checkout on and iTunes. In other words, you can now choose to pay for purchases directly with your cash back, instead of having to request a check or statement credit to redeem. This is our favorite feature and we hope to see this implemented on other online shopping sites throughout the year.

Important: To increase your chances of being approved for Discover it, do not do a balance transfer when you apply. Wait and see what credit limit you are given, Discover gives you up to 2 months once you are accepted to do a balance transfer.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card is a great way to earn cash back on just about everything. With this card you can earn 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back on groceries (up to a $1,500 purchase quarterly limit) and 1% cash back on all other purchases you make.

If you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you can also get a 10% bonus on any cash back you earn when redeeming.

Additionally, Bank of America is now offering a $100 cash sign up bonus, after you make $500 in purchases during your first 90 days of cardmembership.

Students: Discover it® for Students

The Discover it for Students has a phenomenal rewards program, in fact it’s identical to the regular version of this card which requires excellent credit. Combined that with no hidden fees and you get the best student card currently on the market.

This card gives college students access to the same rewards program and perks traditionally reserved for people with excellent credit. You don’t get a watered down program like with most student credit cards.

Like this card’s big brother, Discover it for Students has no annual fee, no over-the-limit fee, no fee the first time you pay late and your APR won’t in increased the first time you pay late.

What Makes a Good Cash Back Credit Card?

There are quite a few things to look for when choosing a credit card that will give you the maximum amount of cash back.

1. Find a Card That Compliments Your Daily Spending Habits

The rewards structure for cash back credit cards can vary greatly. Some cards may give you 3% cash back on groceries while others give you 2% cash back on gas. After the credit crunch in 2008 many credit card companies began to restructure their card reward programs, making it important to evaluate your current rewards card.

The key to finding a great cash back credit card is to choose a card that that complements your spending habits. To put it simply – find a card that gives you more cash back for items that you spend the most on each month. For example: If you spend a lot on gas and groceries the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great card because it offers 3% back on gas and 2% back on groceries (with a $1,500 quarterly limit) which is much higher than the 1% back or less offered by most cards. In addition most cash back credit cards will give you 1% back on all other purchases by default.

2. Understand Rotating Rewards vs Standard Rewards

When comparing cash back cards you will find that there are primarily two different kinds rewards programs. Some cash back cards offer a certain set percentage cash back all year round. Others will offer a lower set percentage with a higher bonus percentage on categories that rotate throughout the year.

3. Don’t Sweat The Annual Fee

Many people ask if they should apply for a card that has an annual fee. If you are going to use the card for the majority of your purchases, a card with an annual fee will generally pay for itself in 1 – 2 months. A great example is the TrueEarnings card from American Express. Although the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express doesn’t have a traditional annual fee, it does require that you are a Costco member, which is $50 per year. Even if you’ll never shop at Costco I still recommend becoming a member just to get this card, the amount of money you’ll save with this card over the course of a year (assuming you use it for the majority of your everyday purchases) easily outweighs the $50 annual Costco membership fee.

If you are debating between a card that offers 2% cash back on purchases without an annual fee, or 3% back on purchases with an annual fee of $100 the card with the annual fee is a no-brainer because you are going to earn up to 50% more rewards.

Further Reading on Cash Back Credit Cards:

How to Choose a Cash Back Credit Card
Get The Most From Your Rewards Card
A Complete Guide to Credit Card Terminology