[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]
You don’t have to be a big spender to earn big cash back rewards. Even if you rarely spring for any unnecessary extravagances, the right credit card can put money back in your pocket. The key is finding a card that rewards your responsible spending and helps you avoid unnecessary costs.
Here are our four favorite cash back credit cards for frugal spenders.
Rewards: 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual US supermarket purchases; 2% cash back at US gas stations and participating department stores; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:$100 bonus cash back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases, then variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Thrifty spenders can use this card to earn cash back on necessities.
For Frugal Spenders: This card earns great cash back rates on staples like gas, food, and clothes, so you can earn back a lot of cash even if you buy only the necessities. Plus, you can avoid interest for 12 months.
Drawbacks: If you don’t spend a lot at gas stations, supermarkets, or department stores, you may want to keep looking.
Rewards: 1% cash back on purchases and an additional 1% upon payment.
APR:0% APR for 18 months on purchases, as well as balance transfers completed within the first four months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR.
Why We Picked It: This card rewards those who habitually pay off their balance in full.
For Frugal Spenders: Cardholders earn 2% cash back on purchases once they’re paid off, so this card is valuable to those who religiously pay down their balance. You can also get 0% APR on purchases avoid interest for 18 months.
Drawbacks: If you tend to carry a balance, you won’t see as much value in this card.
Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:$150 bonus cash back if you spend $500 in the first three months.
APR:0% APR for nine months, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: This card earns a solid cash back rate on all purchases, and the spending requirement for the sign-up bonus is reasonable.
For Frugal Spenders: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back, with no special requirements or restrictions. Plus, the $150 cash back bonus has a low spending threshold of $500 in the first three months. Purchases are interest-free for nine months.
Drawbacks: You have to jump through a few more hoops to access higher cash rates.
Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of purchases in rotating quarterly bonus categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:Match of all cash back earned in the first year.
APR:0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: The first-year cash back match is impressive, and savvy deal hunters can earn cash in a variety of categories.
For Frugal Spenders: This card earns 5% cash back on bonus categories that rotate every quarter, so if you tend to shop around for great deals, you can use this card to earn more cash back. Discover will match all cash back earned in the first year, which boosts the initial value of the card. Purchases and balance transfers get 0% APR for 14 months.
Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track bonus categories, you might be better off with a more straightforward card.
How to Choose a Cash Back Card for Frugal Spending
To get the best cash back value for your thrifty spending, choose a card that rewards how you spend. For example, if gas is your largest monthly expense, try to find a card with the best cash back rates at gas stations. If you tend to spend at a variety of merchants, a card with a flat cash back rate on all purchases might be best.
Interest rates and fees can quickly diminish the value of your cash back, so look for cards with competitive interest rates and low fees. Reject cards with annual fees altogether, as there are plenty of cards without them.
Remember that a cash back card is most valuable when you pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest.
What Credit Is Required for a Cash Back Card?
Cash back cards usually require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, check your credit score to make sure you have a good shot at approval. You can check your credit report absolutely free at Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, Citi Double Cash Card, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Discover it – Cashback Match are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.