Best 2% Cash Back Credit Cards for All Purchases

This post may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission. Please read my disclosure for more info
Buying Online with Credit Card
Photo Credit: Karolina Kaboompics

Receiving points and miles has always been a popular way to earn rewards for using a credit card. But some people prefer to get cold hard cash instead. A recent Motley Fool Ascent survey found that 56% of respondents had a cash back credit card.

Credit card companies have long competed to one-up each other to offer credit cards with the most cash back to entice people to use their cards.

Gone are the days when a 1% rewards card makes any news. A card offering a flat 1.5% cash back on your purchases is now just acceptable when credit card companies offer cards with 2% cash back or more.

A 2 percent credit card can be a good all-purpose card to keep in your wallet for places that don’t fall into a spending category eligible for higher reward rates. These can include doctor’s offices, the mechanic, home repair services, and online purchases.

Here are the top 2% cash back credit cards that offer a 2% or higher rate on everyday purchases without the hassle of keeping track of categories or promotional periods.

Credit CardCash Back %Annual Fee
Wells Fargo Active Cash Credit CardWells Fargo Active Cash2%$0Read more
Citi Double Cash CardCiti Double Cash2%$0Read more
Alliant Cashback Visa Signature CardAlliant Cashback Visa Signature1.5 – 2.5%$0Read more
Apple Cash CardApple Card1 – 3%$0Read more
PayPal Cashback MastercardPaypal Cashback Mastercard2 – 3%$0Read more
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature CardFidelity Rewards Visa Signature2%$0Read more
Bread Cashback AmEx Credit CardBread Cashback American Express2%$0Read more
SoFi Unlimited Credit CardSoFi Unlimited 2%2 – 3.3%$0Read more

Wells Fargo Active Cash

Best for: Bonus offer

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: Unlimited 2% cash back on purchases

Sign-up Bonus: $200 welcome bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months

Interest Rate: 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% APR after a 0% introductory rate for 15 months

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
Wells Fargo Active Cash Credit Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is one of several cards that offer unlimited 2% cash back for all purchases. What sets it apart from other cards is the additional benefit of an easy-to-attain $200 signup bonus for spending $500 within the first three months of becoming a cardholder. New members also get 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

Besides common Visa Signature benefits such as auto rental collision damage coverage, travel emergency assistance, 24/7 roadside dispatch, and 24/7 concierge service, card members also get up to $600 in cell phone protection for damage or theft with just a $25 deductible when the cell phone bill is paid with the Wells Fargo Active Cash card.

Wells Fargo offers four ways to redeem your 2% cash back rewards. You can redeem as a statement credit, withdraw as cash at a Wells Fargo ATM using the bank’s debit or ATM card, for gift cards at popular merchants, and as a credit on a Wells Fargo mortgage or loan.

Citi Double Cash

Best for: Balance transfers

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: 2% cash back paid out at 1% for every dollar spent and 1% for every dollar paid off

Sign-up Bonus: Get $200 cash back when you make $1,500 in purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

Interest Rate: 19.24% to 29.24% variable APR with 0% intro rate for 18 months on balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash has been around for a while. It is a 2% cash back credit card with a twist – you get 1% cash back when you make a purchase. You will earn another 1% cash back when you pay off the purchase, making it 2% cash back.

For people who travel domestically, there is also a limited-time offer of 5% cash back for hotel and car rentals booked through the Citi Travel portal through 12/31/2024. However, the 3% foreign transaction fee keeps this card from being on the top of the list for international travel.

The Citi Double Cash currently has a $200 cash back signup bonus when you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. There is also a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. New card members only pay a balance transfer fee of 3% for the first four months. The balance transfer fee increases to 5% after four months.

You can redeem your cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, check, or gift card.

Citi is also one of the few issuers that allows creating virtual credit cards for fraud prevention. This feature makes it an excellent 2% cash back credit card for online purchases.

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature

Best for: Super-high cash back

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: Earn up to 2.5% cash back for up to $10,000 in purchases each month. Then 1.5% on all other purchases afterward

Sign-up Bonus: None

Interest Rate: 17.24% to 27.24% APR

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card offers the highest cash back rate of any rewards card at 2.5%.

However, there are a few stipulations to get that sky-high rate. You are limited to 2.5% cash back on the first $10,000 of qualifying purchases each month. Once you exceed that, you will receive unlimited 1.5% cash back for all other purchases. For most people, they will rarely hit the $10,000 monthly cap.

To qualify for the top cash back rate, you need to open an Alliant High-Rate Checking account and opt-in to receive electronic statements, make at least one electronic deposit each month, and maintain an average daily balance of $1,000.

There are no monthly maintenance, minimum balance, or service fees for the High-Rate checking account as long as you opt-in to receive eStatements. With one electronic deposit a month, you will also qualify to earn 0.25% interest on the balance in the checking account.

The Visa Signature benefits for the Alliant Cashback card include no foreign transaction fees, identity theft reimbursement for up to $5,000, travel accident insurance, 90 days of purchase security for damage and theft from the date of purchase, auto rental collision damage coverage, 24/7 roadside assistance, and up to an extra year of extended warranty protection.

Apple Card

Best for: Apple Pay users

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: 3% cash back on purchases at Apple and select merchants, 2% for purchases on Apple Pay, and 1% when using the titanium card in stores or your virtual card online

Sign-up Bonus: None

Interest Rate: 19.24% to 29.49% variable APR depending on creditworthiness

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Apple Cash Card

Customers who hate carrying plastic and prefer to pay via Apple Pay will appreciate the Apple Card. The Apple Card offers three tiers of cash back rewards:

  • 3% cash back on Apple purchases and at select merchants that include Mobil, Panera Bread, Uber and Uber Eats, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, Exxon, Nike, and T-Mobile
  • 2% cash back on all purchases when you use the Apple Card with Apple Pay
  • 1% cash back when you use the physical Apple Card

Your cash back on the Apple Card is earned as Daily Cash, a form of rewards currency that is credited to your account every day. Daily Cash can be redeemed in the following ways:

  • Automatically deposited onto your Apple Cash card on the Wallet app
  • Deposited into an Apple Savings account where it will earn interest
  • As a statement credit toward the Apple Card’s balance

The Apple Card has no fees, including annual, over-the-limit, foreign transactions, and late fees.

Applying for a card also does not impact your credit score. Only when you decide to accept the card after your application is approved will it result in a hard inquiry.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard

Best for: Paypal checkout at retailers

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: Unlimited 2% cash back on purchases and 3% cash back on purchases made through PayPal

Sign-up Bonus: None

Interest Rate: 20.24%, 29.24%, or 32.24% depending on your creditworthiness

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
PayPal Cashback Mastercard

Do you already have a PayPal account or are willing to sign up for a free account? Then one card you should consider applying for is the PayPal Cashback Mastercard. Issued by Synchrony Bank, the PayPal Cashback card earns 2% cash back for purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted, which is just about everywhere.  

What is appealing about this credit card is when you check out using PayPal with your PayPal Mastercard as your funding source, you get a 3% cash back rewards rate. Merchants that accept PayPal for payment include Nike, Airbnb, American Airlines, Best Buy, eBay, Etsy, Groupon, Netflix, Target, Walmart, and more.

There is no annual fee with this card. You can redeem your rewards to your PayPal Balance account, bank account, or debit card linked to your PayPal account.

People with fair credit scores may be happy to know that there is no impact on your credit score if you apply and your application is declined. So it doesn’t hurt to try applying. There will be a hard credit inquiry only when your application is approved.

Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature

Best for: Fidelity customers

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: Unlimited 2% cash back earnings with no restrictions or caps

Sign-up Bonus: None available

Interest Rate: 19.24%

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card

People who are Fidelity customers can boost their savings by applying for the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card. This card pays an unlimited 2% cash back on purchases with no restrictions. There are also no annual fees, foreign transaction fees, spending caps, or reward expirations to worry about.

To get the full 2 points for every dollar spent, you need to deposit your rewards into an eligible Fidelity account. Qualifying accounts include:

  • Fidelity brokerage account
  • Fidelity Cash Management Account
  • 529 College Savings Plan
  • Retirement account (Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, Rollover IRA)
  • Fidelity Go account
  • Fidelity Charitable Giving Account
  • Fidelity HSA

You can redeem for other rewards such as travel, merchandise, gift cards, or statement credit, but the redemption value will be lower.

The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card makes sense for people who are already Fidelity customers and want to save and invest their cash back rewards easily. If you want to use your rewards to lower the cost of your purchases, you should look for another card that allows redeeming for a statement credit.

Bread Cashback American Express Credit Card

Best for: AmEx option and benefits

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: 2% unlimited cash back on everyday purchases

Sign-up Bonus: None

Interest Rate: Variable purchase APR of 20.74%, 31.24%, or 35.24% based on credit

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Bread Cashback AmEx Credit Card Vertical

The Bread Cashback card is a credit card issued by Comenity Capital Bank on the American Express network. This unlimited 2% cash back credit card has no annual fees, foreign transaction fees, or categories to manage.

Rewards can be redeemed without needing to wait to hit a minimum amount. However, rewards can only be redeemed as a statement credit or a direct deposit to a checking or savings account. A phone call to Customer Care is needed to request a direct deposit.

The Bread Cashback benefits from American Express include car rental loss and damage coverage; purchase protection for theft and damage for 90 days from purchase up to $1,000 per loss and $50,000 per year; ID theft protection; emergency assistance while traveling; discounts from Amex Offers; and up to 20% in savings or a free appetizer at participating restaurants with Resy.

SoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card

Best for: SoFi customers

Annual Fee: $0

Cash Back: Earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards on all purchases. You get 3% cash back for trips booked through SoFi Travel. There is an additional 10% boost on your cash back percentage with a direct deposit

Sign-up Bonus: None

Interest Rate: Variable APR for purchases is 20.245 to 29.99%

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
SoFi Unlimited Credit Card

As the name implies, you can earn unlimited 2% cash back on all your purchases with the SoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card. You also get 3% cash back when you book trips on the SoFi Travel Portal operated by Expedia.

The cash back is earned as SoFi Rewards Points at 2 points for each $1 dollar spent. Options to redeem the points include to your SoFi Credit Card account as a statement credit, or into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money account, SoFi Active Invest account, or to pay down your SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance balances.

As a Mastercard World Elite card, you get additional perks such as $1,000 of complimentary cell phone insurance coverage; ID theft protection; free ShopRunner membership for complimentary two-day shipping and returns at dozens of top online stores; two months of free delivery with Instacart+; $5 credit each month for Lyft; 24/7 travel concierge services; and discounts on hotels, flights, and car rentals.

When you open a SoFi Checking account and set up direct deposit, you can also get a 10% boost on your cash back rewards. This increases the cash back percentages to 2.2% for everyday purchases and 3.3% for SoFi Travel purchases.

Closing $ense: Are Cash Back Credit Cards Worth It

Yes, but only if you pay off your credit cards monthly and do not carry a balance. It is a dumb idea to have a 2% cash back credit card that pays a paltry couple of percentages while paying upward of 20% in credit card interest. The math doesn’t add up.

When carrying a balance, instead of looking for a card with the most cash back, you should consider using a card with the lowest interest rate. Or do a balance transfer to a credit card with an intro 0% APR and pay no interest while focusing on getting out of credit card debt.

If you are spending money for things such as gas for your car, your cell phone bill, or buying groceries, you might as well earn some cash back while doing it.

However, resist the temptation to spend more than you would have otherwise. Earning bonuses and rewards, even when it is cash doesn’t make sense if you are spending money you wouldn’t have spent otherwise.

Do you know of other good 2% cash back credit cards not on this list? Post a comment below for recommendation.

Leave a Comment

Feel free to leave a reply with any comments, suggestions, updates, or corrections to this article below. If you haven't made a comment here before, your comment will show up after it goes through the moderation queue. Thanks!