Best Flat-Rate Cash Back Cards

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Updated: June 28, 2024

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Our top pick for the best flat-rate cash back card is the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, thanks to its unlimited 2% cash back, zero annual fee and 0% introductory offer on purchases and transfers.

Our list includes flat-rate cards tailored to your needs or profile, whether you're working to improve your credit score, looking for promising balance transfer terms or prioritizing simplicity in cash rewards. Explore our selections to find a card that aligns with your financial objectives.

Best Overall Flat-Rate Card: Wells Fargo Active Cash

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card stands out as a top contender in our list of best flat-rate cash back cards. Its straightforward 2% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee makes it a simple yet rewarding choice. The 15-month 0% introductory APR period is a bonus for those looking to finance a large purchase or transfer balance. While it does come with a 3% foreign transaction fee, making it less ideal for international use, its overall value for domestic spending remains undeniable.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Credit Card logo for Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
MoneyGeek Rating
5/ of 5

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Best for Fair Credit: QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a solid pick for folks with fair to good credit who want to earn cash back on everyday purchases. You'll get 1.5% back on everything you buy, and there's even a chance to boost your credit line. The card does have a $39 annual fee, but this can be easily offset if you spend at least $2,600 annually. If you're regularly using the card for your everyday purchases, it could be a great way to earn rewards while building your credit.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Credit Card logo for Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
MoneyGeek Rating
3.5/ of 5

On Partner's Website


Annual Fee
$39
Regular APR
29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
580-740 (Fair to Good)

Best Flat-Rate Card With Balance Transfers Offers: Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is our top pick for the best flat-rate card with balance transfer offers. It offers an impressive 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay. Plus, balance transfers are free of interest for 18 months. While it doesn't offer introductory APR on purchases or travel rewards, its simplicity, lack of annual fee and generous cash back structure make it a good choice for straightforward rewards and debt management.

Citi Double Cash® Card
Credit Card logo for Citi Double Cash® Card
MoneyGeek Rating
4.4/ of 5

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
19.24% - 29.24% variable
Recommended Credit
670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Best for BofA Customers: Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards

If you're already a Bank of America customer, you might find value in using the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Card. While the standard cash back rate is 1.5%, Preferred Rewards members can earn at least 1.87% if they have a combined savings and investment account balance of at least $20,000. Higher cash back rates are available when you reach $50,000 and $100,000 in your account balance.

The card also offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, providing an opportunity to save on interest. Additionally, this card has no annual fees, making it a cost-effective choice for cardholders.

Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
Credit Card logo for Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card
MoneyGeek Rating
3.9/ of 5

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
19.24%–29.24% variable
Recommended Credit
670–850 (Good to Excellent)

Best for Students: Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card gets our vote for the best flat-rate cash back card for students. In addition to helping build credit, it features an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual fees. Students who travel abroad will also find the no foreign transaction fee an added bonus. While it may not appeal to those frequently shopping at superstores or wanting introductory APR offers, it’s a strong contender for daily student expenses.

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
Credit Card logo for Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
MoneyGeek Rating
4.6/ of 5

On Partner's Website


Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
(No Credit History)

Best for Small Business Owners: Capital One Spark Select

Small business owners will find value in the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Good Credit. It offers a straightforward 1.5% cash back on all purchases, no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first year. While you don't get the $750 welcome bonus offered by the Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit, this card is more accessible and provides a reliable cash back option for those with good credit.

Capital One Spark Cash Select for Good Credit Card
Credit Card logo for Capital One Spark Cash Select for Good Credit Card

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
21.24%–29.24% variable
Recommended Credit
670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Guide to Cash Back Rewards

Flat-rate cash back cards offer consistent earnings on every purchase, making them a popular choice for many. Comparing them to bonus category cards can help you determine the best fit for your spending habits. Knowing which cards pair well with flat-rate cash back cards can further enhance your rewards strategy.

Flat-Rate vs. Bonus Category Cash Back

Unlike flat-rate cards, a bonus category cash back card offers higher rewards in specific categories like dining, travel or groceries, which can be more rewarding if your spending leans substantially more toward these categories.

Some bonus category cash back cards come with spending caps or limits on higher cash back rates. Once you reach the spending cap in a bonus category, subsequent purchases earn a lower cash back rate.

Can Flat-Rate Cash Back Earn More?

Depending on your spending profile and your card, flat-rate cash back can earn more than bonus category cards. Let’s take a look at these cards:

  1. CapitalOne SavorOne Rewards, a bonus category card, which earns 3% on eligible gas, grocery stores and entertainment purchases
  2. Wells Fargo Active Cash Card that earns 2% unlimited cash back
  3. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards that earns 1.5% cash back

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of how much cash back you can earn from these cards, using our data on spending for an average American household:

Cash Back Comparison
Category
Annual Spending
Cash Back for Capital One SavorOne
Cash Back for Wells Fargo Active Cash
Cash Back for Capital One QuicksilverOne

Groceries

$5,703

$171.09

$114.06

$85.55

Dining

$3,936

$118.08

$78.72

$59.04

Gas

$3,103

$31.03

$62.06

$46.55

Phone, Internet, Cable & Streaming

$2,810

$84.30

$56.20

$42.15

All Others

$14,450

$147.48

$290.80

$218.10

Is a Flat-Rate Card Right for You?

You'll get more value with a flat-rate cash back card if you prefer simplicity and consistency in earning rewards. Use these cards if your spending varies across different categories and you prefer not to track rotating rewards categories or adjust spending habits. However, if you spend heavily in specific areas like travel or dining, you might benefit more from a card offering higher rewards in those categories.

Cards Best Paired With Flat-Rate Cash Back Cards

Due to their earning limitation, flat-rate cash back cards pair well with cards that earn higher rewards in the categories where you spend the most. For instance, if you spend more on gas and groceries, use a card that offers higher cash back on these categories. For all else, use a flat-rate card.

Below are some of the cards you can pair with flat-rate cards to maximize returns:

Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers high cash back rates on rotating and select categories. Using this card, you can earn:

  • 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, like gas stations and select online merchants, for up to $1,500 in total combined purchases each activated quarter
  • 3% cash back on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases
  • 3% on drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Pairing it with a flat-rate cash back card can maximize rewards by covering all purchases outside the rotating categories and specialized bonus areas, ensuring consistent cash back throughout the year.

Credit Card logo for Chase Freedom Flex®
MoneyGeek Rating
3.7/ of 5
Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Preferred From American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives higher rewards on specific categories. By using this card, you get to earn:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%)
  • 3% on U.S. gas stations and transit
  • Cash back on your Blue Cash Preferred card is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.

While this card charges a $95 annual fee starting the second year, spending $133 monthly at supermarkets offsets the fee. Pairing it with a flat-rate cash back card maximizes rewards by covering all other purchases.

Credit Card logo for Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express
MoneyGeek Rating
4.2/ of 5
Rates & Fees
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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

"Whether you value cash back or travel rewards, maximizing any credit card comes down to what you're spending on, along with your ability to avoid interest charges. If you're spending on cards that earn rewards and not paying interest, you're likely playing the credit card rewards game well." Brett Holzhauer, contributing expert for MoneyGeek

How We Rank Flat-Rate Cash Back Cards

MoneyGeek uses a detailed approach to offer clear, data-based recommendations for flat-rate credit cards. Our top considerations when evaluating cash back cards are the effective reward rate, welcome intro offer and annual fee.

  • Effective Reward Rate (50%): Our evaluation primarily focuses on the card's rewards earning potential. The effective reward rate is determined by applying our average consumer spending model and factoring in the card's cash back rates, including any spending limits.
  • Welcome offer (10%): We rate cash back credit cards by considering welcome offers and weighing spending requirements against the value of the rewards received.
  • Annual Fees (10%): Annual fees are evaluated for all cards in our database, and a score of 5 to 1 is assigned, with 5 indicating no annual fees.

Our thorough rating system also considers the following factors in order of importance:

  • Intro Purchase (5%): We reviewed the benefits of introductory purchase APR offers. Cards with longer introductory APRs on purchases get higher scores.
  • Regular APR (5%): We examined the long-term cost of carrying a balance.
  • Recommended Credit (5%): We considered the accessibility of the card based on credit requirements.
  • Issuer Satisfaction (5): This rating is based on J.D. Power's issuer satisfaction study. Higher satisfaction ratings get higher scores.
  • Penalties: (5%): Cards with late payment fees or penalty APRs get lower scores.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees (5%): Foreign transaction fees impact rankings negatively; cards without these fees are preferred for international spending and convenience.

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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