5 Best Cash-Back Cards

Want a great reward card? Now is the time to pick one, says credit expert Erica Sandberg of CreditCards.com. “Card companies really want your business, so they’re finding ways to make their cards as appealing as possible.”

These days you can get big cash back rewards—and also special perks linked to specific interests: travel and discounts at retailers that you may love–like Zappos, Amazon and Starbucks.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. “American Express always has great cards,” says Sandberg. “The cash back amount–6%–is pretty high, and the cash back amount at grocery and supermarkets is pretty good, too.”
Details: $150 bonus after the first $1,000 in purchases within the first three months, 3% cash back at stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores, 6% cash back at stand-alone supermarkets in the first year (1% after that), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $75
Credit requirement: Excellent
LINK: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-cards/blue-cash-preferred-from-american-express.php

Capital One Cash Rewards. “I like this one because it’s pretty easy to spend $500 in three months, and then you’ve got $100 in your pocket,” says Sandberg.

Details:  $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months, a 50% bonus on the cash back you earn every year, 1% cash back on all purchases, and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers until December 2013.
Annual fee: $0
Credit requirement: Excellent
LINK: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-cards/capital-one-cash-22105910.php
LINK: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/apr.asp#axzz2H2RgoXIT

Chase Freedom Visa. “This is helpful if you carry a balance,” says Sandberg. “In addition to the bonuses, you get a 0% APR for 15 months, which is pretty amazing. Who wouldn’t like that?”
Details: $100 bonus after $500 in purchases within the first three months, unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 spent between now and 3/31/13 at gas stations, drugstores and Starbucks (new 5% categories like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com every three months), and 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
Annual fee: $0
Credit requirement: Good to excellent
LINK: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-cards/chase-freedom-visa-100-bonus-cash-back.php

BankAmericard Cash Rewards. “The cash back percentages on purchases are pretty good on this one,” says Sandberg.
Details: $100 cash back bonus after qualifying purchases, 1% cash back on purchases anywhere, 3% cash back on gas and 2% on groceries for the first $1,500 in combined gas and grocery purchases each quarter,  and 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in first 60 days.
Annual fee: $0
Credit requirement: Excellent
LINK: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-cards/bankamericard-cash-rewards-credit-card-22069416.php

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa. “This one is very retailer specific,” says Sandberg. “I love it because I have a shoe fixation and  you get 5% cash back on eligible items at Zappos.”
Details: $100 cash back bonus after $500 in purchases in the first three months, 5% cash back on eligible purchases at Zappos.com, fitness clubs and drugstores through 3/31/13 (enroll for new cash back categories each quarter) , 1% cash back on all other purchases, and 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Annual fee: $0
Credit requirement: Excellent
LINK: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-cards/citi-dividend-platinum-select-visa-card.php

Credit score a hair out of range? Try…
LINK: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0152-how-credit-scores-affect-price-credit-and-insurance

Capital one Cash Rewards for Newcomers. “This one is designed to help people new to the U.S. establish credit and earn cash back, but it’s also good for anyone with fair credit or who just hasn’t established their credit quite yet,” says Sandberg. Features: Get 2% cash back on travel purchases, 1% cash back on all other purchases; regular APR.
Annual fee: $0
Credit requirement: Fair
LINK: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-cards/capital-one-cash-rewards-newcomers.php

Shopping tips:

*Make sure you know what the qualifying standards are before you apply. No point in having your credit score pulled for nothing.
*Take your time browsing. Treat it like buying a car. You wouldn’t pick your car off a flyer that came in the mail. Take a day, do extensive research on what which card would suit you and your family.
*Don’t apply to too many at once. It’ll hurt your credit score. Make your wish list. Then apply, one by one.

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