4 of the Most-Improved Credit Card Cash Back Offers of 2017

The competition for customers is growing and credit card companies have beefed up their cash-back offers in response. See the most generous new offers.

Many credit card issuers kicked off 2017 by launching attractive bread-and-butter rewards programs, which some experts say is part of an effort to steal market share and attract more middle-class cardholders.

Among the offers being rolled out or already available are 10% cash back on restaurant purchases and an offer of limitless cash rewards as part of a pilot credit card being tested by USAA.

“There’s a battle for dominance,” said David Robertson, publisher of the Nilson Report, which predicted this trend. “Credit card issuers are trying to create maximum loyalty.”

According to Robertson, the credit card market recently emerged from a period of escalating offers among premium cards. The focus has now trickled down.

Beverly Harzog, credit card expert and author of “The Debt Escape Plan,” said another driver of the current trend is credit card issuers trying to make rewards programs more straightforward for middle-class users who don’t necessarily have time to sign up for and pursue a variety of rewards deals.

Cash back cards are getting simpler and are breaking into categories that work for specific customers,” Harzog said.

This creates an intriguing landscape of credit card offers. Here are some of the best new middle-class offers identified by experts. And remember: It’s a good idea to know your credit score to have any idea of whether you’ll qualify before applying for a card. You can check two of your scores free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

New Offers From American Express

American Express recently announced a limited offer for the Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday cards.

Both cards now reward new members with 10% cash back on U.S. restaurant purchases made within the first six months of sign-up, up to $200. In addition, new card members receive a welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within their first three months. For the Blue Cash Preferred card, the bonus is $150 and for the Blue Cash Everyday card, it is $100.

USAA’s Limitless Cash Back Rewards Visa Signature

The USAA Limitless Cash Back Rewards Visa Signature earns 2.5% on all purchases. What’s more, there’s no cap on the cash back rewards.

As long as cardholders maintain a $1,000 monthly direct deposit in a USAA checking account, they continue to earn 2.5% cash back. If that deposit minimum is not met, the cash back reward drops to 1.5% on purchases.

The downside of this card is that it has not been officially launched yet. It’s being pilot-tested, USAA spokeswoman Gloria Manzano said.

“If we determine this potential new product can help us serve our members better, we’ll make (it) available to all of our members as soon as possible,” Manzano said.

The card is available to those living in more than two dozen states where it’s being tested.

Premier Dining Rewards From Capital One

Capital One introduced its Premier Dining Rewards card last week.

The card offers an enhanced cash back earn rate in categories the company says consumers are spending more on.

Perhaps putting it in competition with USAA, the card’s rewards include unlimited 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 2% cash back on grocery store spending and 1% on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited (read our review here) is promoting a reward for those who spend $500 in the first three months after sign-up.

For those who meet the spending threshold, the card gives $150 cash back. While the offer has been around since 2016, Kerri Moriarty, of Boston-based Cinch Financial, said it’s still worth noting.

“The fact that you can get $150 cash back within the first 90 days for spending just $500 is an aggressive offer,” said Moriarty. “Other cards typically require $1,000 or more of spending before getting that cash back. It shows that they’re really trying to attract customers and steal them away from other cards.”

Image: NicolasMcComber

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Everyday From American Express, Blue Cash Preferred From American Express and Chase Freedom Unlimted cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. 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).

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5 Seriously Simple Cash Back Credit Cards

These simple cash back credit cards are a good fit for folks who don't like to think too long or hard about what rewards cards are in their wallet.

Keeping track of the rewards you earn with credit cards can be a real headache. Some cards offer different cash back amounts for different categories of spending. Some cards offer bonus cash back on categories that change every quarter. Unless you have the time to keep track of everything, well, then, the struggle can be real.

If you don’t want to spend too much time thinking about what rewards credit card is best to use each time you swipe, a flat-rate cash back credit card might be just what you need. These cards offer straightforward rewards programs that net you the same amount of cash-back every time you make a purchase. (Just be aware: These cards tend to require good credit, so if you’re in the market for one, you’ll want to check your scores before you apply. You can do so by viewing your free credit report snapshot, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.)

Here are our picks for the best flat-rate cash back credit cards.

1. Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash card is one of the leading cash back cards on the market today. You have the chance to earn up to 2% back on every purchase you make. You earn 1% when you actually make the purchases, and another 1% when you pay it off. This card also comes with a lengthy 18-month introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) on balance transfers. Once the introductory period is complete, the APR will change to the standard purchase APR of 13.49% to 23.49%, depending on your creditworthiness. The card carries no annual fee. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

The Citi Double Cash card also comes with Citi Price Reward. With this program, you can record your purchases and Citi will look for a lower price within the first 60 days. If they find one, you will receive the difference back to your account — up to $500 back per item and $2,500 per year. If you want more details about the Citi Double Cash Card, check out our full review here.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

One of the most recent additions to the Chase credit card line-up is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. With this card, you’ll receive an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. You’ll also receive a bonus of $150 after you spend $500 in the first three months. When you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the same three-month period, you can receive an additional $25 bonus.

This card includes an introductory 0% APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. After that, the APR will change to a variable 15.49% to 24.24%. This card has no annual fee.

3. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

When you use the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, you will receive 1.5% back on any purchases that you make. Plus, there is no limit on the amount of rewards you can receive and they never expire as long as your account stays open. When you become a cardholder, you can receive a $100 bonus if you spend $500 within your first three months. In addition to having no annual fee, you can also receive an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 9 months. After that, the APR will become a variable 13.49% to 23.49%.

4. Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard

With the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard, you will receive an unlimited 1.5% cash back on any purchases made. When you sign up, you will receive a $100 bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days. Each time you redeem your rewards, you will receive a 5% bonus available on the next redemption. If you are looking to make a balance transfer, you will receive an introductory 0% APR for 15 months. Afterwards, the APR will change to a variable 15.24%, 20.24% or 25.24%. There is no annual fee with this card.

5. Capital One Spark Cash for Business

The last card that made our list is for small business owners. With this card, you will earn 2% back on every business purchase you make. You also have the opportunity to receive a $500 cash bonus after spending $4,500 in the first three months. You will be able to add employee cards at no additional costs and their spending will add to your reward total. Your purchase APR will be a variable 17.49%. There is no annual fee the first year, and then each subsequent year, it will be $59.

At publishing time, the Citi Double Cash, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards, BarclayCard CashForward World MasterCard and Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for 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.

Image: pixelfit

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