If your spending doesn’t fall into the usual bonus categories (gas, dining, groceries), you want a card that offers a high return on all purchases. There are plenty that offer 1.5 percent cash back. But what if you want more? Some cards are now even breaking the 2 percent ceiling. But you may find that they have a few more strings attached.
Which cards give you 2 percent cash back? (or a 2 percent rebate?)
Over the past decade or so, there have been a very small handful. Unfortunately some of them are no longer available. For example, the popular Schwab 2 percent cash back card was discontinued for new applicants in 2010 (and then in 2011 existing cardholders were switched over). HSBC used to have the “weekend card” that gave 2 percent but only on Saturday and Sunday… that too was discontinued. Fortunately there are still a few 2 percent cards that are going strong if you know where to look.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – As with the Arrival, this isn’t a true “cash-back” card because if you redeem for cash, the value will be lower (so you will not be getting 2 percent on your spending). However, if you spend your rewards on travel, it’s like earning 2 percent on all your spending.
The card gives 2 miles per dollar spent. Those miles can be redeemed to offset travel purchases you make with the credit card, at a rate of 1 mile for a 1-cent credit toward the travel purchases.
This card has no foreign transaction fees. To learn more and to see the current promotional offer check out my Capital One Venture Rewards credit card review.
Fidelity Visa Signature – Unfortunately you can’t apply for this unless you have a Fidelity account. It’s a 2 percent cash-back credit card and the rewards are deposited into your Fidelity account (cash management account, brokerage account, IRA, etc.). While the 2 percent Schwab card is no longer in existence, this one from Fidelity is now the best no-annual-fee brokerage-affiliated card on the market, as you get 2 percent on all eligible purchases for no annual fee.
Barclaycard Arrival+ ($89 annual fee) – With this card, you earn two “miles” per dollar that you can redeem at a value of 1 cent each toward statement credits against travel purchases. If you redeem That amounts to 2 percent back. You also get a 5 percent redemption bonus every time you cash in your rewards, meaning that you’re *technically* getting a 2.1 percent return on your spending. To get this full value, however, you MUST redeem against a travel expense. If you redeem against a non-travel expense, your redemption value gets cut in half.
PayPal Cashback MasterCard – This card (which launches June 2017) earns 2 percent cash back, which you can redeem into your PayPal account. Once it’s in your PayPal account balance, you can redeem it into your banking account or for PayPal purchases. See our review of this product.
Alliant Visa Signature card ($59 annual fee) – This card breaks the 2 percent cash-back barrier by offering 3 percent back on all purchases the first year and 2.5 percent back after Year 1. Read more about it here.
USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature – This no-annual-fee card offers 2.5 percent cash back on all purchases, with one catch: You must make a direct deposit of $1,000 or more into a USAA checking account once per month. Otherwise, you earn 1.5 percent back. Check out our review.
Honorable Mention: Citi Double Cash – We’re calling this one an honorable mention because, technically, you don’t earn 2 percent back right away. Instead, you get 1 percent back when you make the purchase and then another 1 percent when you pay it off.
This review was written or last updated June 2017.