3 Good Cash Back Credit Cards That I Use

Updated on September 30, 2017
Matt G. profile image

Matt is a professional painter sharing house-painting tips, related product reviews, and his experience in the trade.

Why Use A Cash Rebate Credit Card?

The only credit cards I use are cards that reward cash back on purchases. I hate credit cards, but I also think it's stupid not to take advantage of earning money back on every day items you're purchasing anyway. I charge practically all of my monthly expenses, excluding my mortgage payment, on a cash back card. Little by little, the rebates add up, amounting to roughly $50 per month. While that might not sound like a ton of money, I have an extra $600 at the end of the year to play with.

In order to get the most out of these cards, you must exercise discipline with your spending. That means not spending extra just to get bigger rebates, as well as making sure you pay the statement balance in full, on time, to avoid paying interest or late fees. I have never paid a penny in interest on any of the cards I use. I should note, you do typically need to have a good credit score to get approved, but these are three good cash back credit cards that work well for me.

Citibank Double Cash Credit Card

The Citibank Double Cash card is what I use for the majority of my purchases. Citi rewards 2% cash back on all purchases year round, without rotating categories like Discover. So unless my Discover card is offering a better rate of 5% at the time, on the particular item I'm purchasing, I use my Citi card.

The rebate is processed at the end of your billing cycle and posts to your account monthly. You have the option of direct depositing the cash into your checking account, applying it to your balance, or requesting a check in the mail. What I do is let the rebate balance accumulate month to month before cashing out.

In addition to earning money back, you also get zero percent on balance transfers, not purchases, for eighteen months. There is no annual fee. As long as you pay your statement balance on time, there is zero cost.

Discover It Rewards

Discover It gives you a nice return of 5% cash back on rotating categories that change each quarter. The four rotating categories are gas and wholesale clubs, home improvement stores, restaurants, and Amazon and Target. I rarely dine at restaurants, or shop Amazon much, but when the gas rebate kicks in, I charge all of my fuel on this card to get the 5% back. Some simple planning in advance of your purchase can really pay off.

Like the Double Cash card, there is no annual fee with Discover It. But unlike Citi, you get zero percent on purchases and balance transfers for the first fourteen months, which gives you the freedom to pay any amount you want towards your balance at zero expense.

This card also has a matching perk for new members that provides additional cash at the end of the year. After the first twelve billing cycles, purchases are matched and added to your rebate balance. Rewards can either be applied to your charge balance or direct deposited into your bank account.

Discover is great, but only if you take advantage of the 5% category, making sure the store you're shopping at is eligible, otherwise the card only rewards 1%.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

The main advantage of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is the nice bonus you get if you meet the minimum purchase requirement. If you know you will definitely spend at least $500 in the first three months of opening your account, using this card for the $150 bonus alone is a no-brainer. That is exactly what I did for my new TV purchase.

You also get rewarded an additional $25 bonus when you add an authorized user to your account in those first three months. Chase won't inspect the validity of the authorized user added to your account. You could literally add your dog as an authorized user and you will still get the $25 bonus. In total, you get $175 in bonuses simply for signing up and buying what you were planning to buy anyway.

Beyond the sign-up bonus, there is zero percent on purchases for the first fifteen months. The rebate percentage for Chase Unlimited is 1.5% of every purchase. You can direct deposit the cash into a separate bank account or apply it to your balance.

Choosing the Best Cash Rewards Credit Card

Your choice depends entirely on your shopping habits and where you shop. The cards that work well for me might not be as beneficial to someone else. If you travel a lot, choosing a card with travel rewards and points could be a better option.

Most importantly, using these cards wisely is key to reaping the most rewards without spending a dime. Not paying your statement balance, or sending late payments, will incur fees and interest that eat up your rebates. Additionally, a good credit score is needed for approval, typically at least 650.

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