You can find credit cards that earn increased rewards in categories like dining, drugstores, travel, groceries, or gas. But what about everywhere else? Holding a 2% cash back credit card or a card that earns two points everywhere gives you a good default option to use when you can’t earn more cash back or points. With a handful of good 2% cash back credit cards on the market, there is rarely ever a reason to settle for less than 2% rewards on your purchases.
Here are our top picks among the available 2% cash back credit cards.
Overview of the best 2% rewards cards
These cards are our picks for the best 2% rewards cards. There are many options with no annual fee, but the cards included on this list with annual fees offer something extra that might justify the annual fee in your case.
|Card||2% rewards||Other rewards and benefits|
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Annual fee: $0
|2% cash rewards on every purchase.||Cell phone protection.|
Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Annual fee: $0
|2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay.|
Rewards are earned as ThankYou points.
Blue Business Cash™ Card
Annual fee: $0
|2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, 1% thereafter.||Extended warranty.|
Spark 2% Cash Plus
Annual fee: $150
|2% cash back on every purchase, everywhere, with no limits or category restrictions.||5% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.|
Bread Cashback™ American Express® Credit Card
Annual fee: $0
|Earn 2% unlimited cash back on purchases when you use your Bread Cashback Card. No rewards caps, opt-ins or categories to manage.||Purchase protection.|
ID theft insurance.
How does a card make this list?
There aren’t many cards on this list, and that is a deliberate choice. To make this list, a card needs to offer 2% rewards that can be redeemed as cash back on all purchases, with no hoops to jump through. That means no additional accounts needed.
Cards like the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card and PayPal Cash Back Mastercard require you to hold. And the Apple Card, despite advertising 2% cash back everywhere, only offers 2% cash back on purchases you make using Apple Pay, making it much more restrictive than the cards on this list.
Ideally, a 2% cash back card would have no annual fee, but we made an exception for small business cards. Small business owners with limited spending have an option for a no-annual-fee card, but those who spend more can opt for the Spark 2% Cash Plus card, which carries an annual fee.
The best 2% cash back credit cards
Here are some more details on our picks for the best 2% cash back credit cards.
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: 2% with cell phone protection
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers simple, unlimited 2% cash back with no annual fee. This alone puts this card in a small group of similar cards.
You’ll earn 2% cash back on every purchase with the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. The only catch is that you must redeem your rewards on $25 increments by phone or online. You can also redeem your rewards in $20 increments at a Wells Fargo ATM when you have a checking or savings account with a Wells Fargo ATM or debit card.
But what makes the card stand above the rest is that it offers up to $600 of cell phone protection. Cell phone protection covers damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card. And the deductible for this benefit is only $25. This feature is uncommon on cards without an annual fee. While the coverage amount is lower, the deductible is one of the lowest among any card that offers this benefit.
Get the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Welcome bonus
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Our take on the welcome bonus: Getting $200 after spending $500 within 3 months makes this welcome bonus one of the easiest cash back welcome bonuses to get.
The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.
Annual fee: $0.
Rewards: 2% cash back on purchases.
Benefits: Cell phone protection, secondary auto rental collision damage waiver
Citi Double Cash: 2% as ThankYou Points
The Citi Double Cash is the credit card that brought 2% cash back rewards into the mainstream. The card earns 1% cash back when you make any purchase, plus 1% additional cash back as you pay for your purchases. The Double Cash carries no annual fee.
The card’s 2% rewards are earned as ThankYou Points. If you hold a premium ThankYou Point-earning credit card like the Citi Premier, you can transfer your ThankYou points to travel partners. Points transfers are one way to get more than 1 cent of value out of each of your points. Additionally, if you hold the Citi Rewards+, the first 100,000 points you redeem in a year will trigger the 10% point refund benefit, getting you 10,000 points back.
Unfortunately, the card offers no notable benefits beyond its cash back earnings. You will earn generous cash rewards on all purchases, but you won’t get any additional perks. Citi removed additional benefits like auto rental collision damage waiver or cell phone protection from this card.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card – 2% back on $50,000 of purchases for business owners
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is a good choice for small business owners looking for a card that earns 2% cash back with no annual fee.
When you use the Blue Business Cash, you will earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 of purchases each year, then 1%. Cash back is automatically credited to your statement in the month in which you receive it.
You’ll get a handful of benefits with the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, including extended warranty, purchase protection, and secondary car rental loss and damage insurance. As an Amex card, you’ll also get access to Amex Offers, card offers that can give you a substantial discounts at specialty merchants.
Learn more and apply for the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card. The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card does not currently offer a welcome bonus.
Capital One Spark Cash Plus – Unlimited 2% for small business owners
For small business owners who spend a lot and want unlimited 2% cash back rewards, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus offers 2% cash back. Stacked against a business card that earns 1.5% everywhere, you’ll come out ahead if you spend more than $30,000 annually. The card’s annual fee is $150.
You’ll get unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase with no minimums and no limits. If you purchase travel through Capital One Travel, you’ll also get 5% cash back on any hotels and car rentals you book through the bank’s portal.
The card comes with a number of reporting features of interest to small business owners, plus an extended warranty benefit that can extend the warranty of items you purchase using your card by up to an additional year.
Learn more and apply for the Capital One Spark Cash Plus. Earn a one-time cash bonus of $1,200 once you spend $30,000 in the first 3 months.
The Bread Cashback™ American Express® Credit Card – 2% with Amex perks and no foreign transaction fee
The Bread Cashback American Express Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on purchases when you use your card. The card carries no annual fee.
Bread is a fin-tech company that offers a credit cards, loans and savings products to consumers. As of publication, they offered over 160 credit cards, mostly through cobranded partnerships with retailers and sports teams. The Bread Cashback American Express Card is issued by Comenity Capital Bank.
Two perks that make the Bread Cashback Amex a top choice worth considering: No foreign transaction fees and Amex offers. If you travel abroad, paying an extra 3% on top of every purchase is an unnecessary expense that you can avoid by carrying the Bread Cashback Amex card. Amex Offers are another unique perk that can save you hundreds of dollars or more every year, depending on your spending patterns. You must be targeted for and enroll in each Amex offer, but they can be a great way to save money on things you might be buying anyway. Amex Offers frequently include rebates of 20% or more at specialty merchants, hotel brands and service providers. Sometimes Amex Offers include bonuses simply for using your card.
Learn more and apply for the Bread Cashback American Express Credit Card.
This card currently offers no welcome bonus for new customers.
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Other 2% cash back credit cards
There are several other 2% rewards cards available that didn’t make our top picks. Some of these cards earn points that can’t be easily converted into cash back. Many cards require you to hold a deposit or investment account in addition to the credit card. Others require you to use Apple Pay for your purchases. And sometimes these other cards simply didn’t offer something as compelling as our top picks.
Here are the other cards we considered. Some of these may make sense for you. For most people, our top picks above will provide more value.
The Apple Card offers 2% when you use Apple Pay to pay for purchases, plus 3% back at a handful of partner merchants, including Apple. If you’re an iPhone user and always use Apple Pay, you can get 2% back on nearly all your purchases using the Apple Card.
Synchrony Premier World Mastercard
The Synchrony Premier World Mastercard offers 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee, but offers no real benefits or perks beyond the cash back rewards. Sure, the card advertises a monthly $5 Lyft credit, but that credit requires you to take three rides within a month and is available to anyone with any World or World Elite Mastercard.
Evergreen by FBNO
First National Bank of Omaha offers 2% cash back rewards on every purchase, everywhere on the Evergreen by FBNO Credit Card. The card has no annual fee, but it also carries a foreign transaction fee and no notable benefits other than its 2% cash back rewards.
PenFed Cash Rewards
The PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card offers 2% cash back for PenFed Honors Advantage members. To become an Honors Advantage Member, you must either maintain a PenFed checking account or be an active, reserve, honorably discharged or retired member of the military. The PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card carries no annual fee.
Capital One Venture X Rewards and Capital One Venture Rewards
The Venture Rewards and Venture X cards from Capital One offer 2 Capital One miles on general purchases, but there is a catch. You can redeem your miles for cash back credits to offset travel purchases at 1 cent/mile. But if you just want a cash back award with no offsetting travel purchase, you’ll redeem your miles for only half a cent each. Both cards offer perks to frequent travelers, so if this is you, consider these two cards. The Venture Rewards card has a $95 annual fee. The Venture X Rewards card has a $395 annual fee.
PayPal Cashback Mastercard
The PayPal Cashback Mastercard offers 3% cash back on PayPal purchases and 2% on all other purchases, but requires you to have a PayPal account. The PayPal Cashback card has no annual fee.
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card
The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card offers 2% cash back rewards when you deposit your rewards into an eligible Fidelity account. Earning 2% rewards with this card requires you to have a Fidelity brokerage, IRA, HSA, 529, charitable giving account or cash management account. There is no annual fee charged for the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card.
Discover It Cash Back Credit Card
The Discover It Cash Back Credit Card gives new cardmembers an unlimited cash back match on all cash back rewards earned at the end of their first year. This makes the card’s 1% rewards effectively 2% in the first year. Additionally, the card offers 5% cash back rewards in spending categories that change quarterly. The Discover It Cash Back Card carries no annual fee.
TD Double Up Credit Card
The TD Double Up Credit Card offers 1% cash back on purchases. To earn an additional 1% cash back when you redeem your rewards, you must redeem them into an eligible TD Bank deposit account. The TD Double Up charges no annual fee.
Frequently asked questions
There are many 2% cash back credit cards available with no annual fee. Some of these options include the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and the Citi Double Cash. Several no annual fee options are on our list.
You can’t get 5% cash back on everything, but you can come close with a 5% cash back strategy. There are cards that offer 2% rewards on all of your purchases with no annual fee.