Best Cash Back Credit Card

As of February 2020


If your credit score is good enough (690-850), apply when ready. There are no bonuses and no annual fees so there are no sign-up incentives offered at any point.


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what we like

  • 2.0% cash back on all purchases (1.0% on the purchase date + 1.0% on the date you pay off the balance)
  • No annual fee
  • Well designed online platform and mobile app
  • Free access to your credit score through their online portal
  • Great customer service

keep in mind

  • Very high foreign transaction fees (3%). Do NOT use this card internationally. Make sure you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card if you travel abroad
  • Unlike the Apple card which transfers cash back to you daily, you need to manually credit your built up cash back to you in the form of a statement credit or check
  • Punitive fees and charges if you do not pay your card in full each month or take cash advances


Our motto at the JOAT is to keep it simple. That applies for all products and especially credit cards. Unless you travel frequently and have access to a card that gets you consistent upgrades, we have found that it’s not worth the mental hassle to keep track of points/miles for your default spending card.  Just take the cash.


As a rule of thumb, a good credit card will offer you about 1.5% back of rewards value. A great credit card will offer you 2.0%. An exceptional credit card will offer you over 2.0% of value. File the Citi double cash card under a great credit card. Its main benefit is that it offers the equivalent of 2.0% cash back on any and all purchases, with no limit and no annual fees. That makes it our go-to credit card for all purchases made outside of restaurants, travel or Amazon.


It’s exceedingly rare to find a card which offers 2.0% cash back carte blanche. The new Apple Card with Goldman Sachs, while packed with a lot of modern functionality (which likely represents the future of credit cards), came close but only offers 1.0% on all spending and 2.0% on all purchases made using Apple Pay. We are huge fans of Apple Pay in general, but you can just use your Citi card with Apple Pay and get the same amount cash back. Apple had a chance to completely decimate the credit card game if they were willing to go just a little bit higher on their rewards (something like 2.0% for all purchases and 2.5% for Apple Pay), but they instead decided to hold back and bet that enough Apple fanboys would adopt the card anyways.


Unless/until Apple beefs up their rewards program, we will sleep easy at night using the Citi Double Cash Card as our go-to.

Sizing Tips & FAQs

How do I redeem my cash back?

The online portal makes it easy enough. You can check your live cash balance when you log on and you have the option to apply it towards a statement credit, direct deposit, a check or to buy a gift card.


Should I buy gift cards with my balance?

No. There is no added benefit. Just take the cash as a statement credit and spend it where you want to.


Is there an annual fee?



Are there foreign transaction fees?

Yes. 3% fees. Do not use this card abroad if you are traveling. We highly recommend using the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card instead.


Should I get this card even if I don’t think I’ll be able to pay it off every month?

It has a 0% APR for 18 months, but afterwards the APR spikes to 15.49%-25.49%. Any interest you pay will quickly wipe out the 2% cash back benefits of owning this card.


Disclaimer: Applying for a credit card can impact your credit score. If you want to talk to us about your specific circumstances, drop us an email and we can talk it through one-on-one.

Have another question?

Related Products & Links

Apple Card

While this likely represents the future of mobile banking/payments, it’s not really juicy enough as it currently stands to displace the Citi Cash Back Card. Aside from offering you 3% back on all Apple and iTunes purchases, you can achieve the same level of rewards from the Citi Card without having to use Apple Pay. We will keep a close eye on this card for updates should Apple decide to expand their rewards offering down the road.


Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card

Essentially a clone of the Citi Cash Back Card. Offers 2% cash back with no annual fees. It’s just a different ecosystem with a slightly worse user interface. Either card works well. If you have accounts open with Fidelity already, it likely makes sense to just apply for that card as it is.


Chase Freedom

This is Chase’s answer to a no fee cash back credit card. It offers 1% back on all purchases and up to an additional 4% back on rotation categories throughout the year (like grocery stores, drug stores and gas stations). It’s worth noting that the bonus category cash back is limited to $1,500 maximum in spending. Moreover, you need to go through the process of “activating” these reward categories each quarter. Why would you do this to yourself for such minimal reward? Just keep it simple.

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