*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Oct 01, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
If you’re tired of dealing with complicated rewards programs and want a simple credit card that earns a consistent rewards rate on all purchases, you should consider a flat-rate cashback card. While credit card rewards can be confusing and may require you to activate bonus categories or set limits on how much you can earn at a certain rate, a flat-rate card does not. A flat-rate card is just that — a card offering a flat, unchanging cash back or rewards rate on all purchases, regardless if you spend on gas, at supermarkets, on travel or anywhere else.
There are a variety of flat-rate cashback cards that can offer as low as 1% or 1 point per dollar spent to as much as 3% cash back on all purchases. It’s generally considered ideal to have a flat-rate card that earns 2% or 2 points per dollar spent, since most rewards cards that offer high rewards rates on select purchases only offer 1% or 1 point on everyday purchases.
For this roundup, we’ve only included cards that earn you at least 2% or 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases, so you can maximize your rewards.
In this article
2.5% Cash back
Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card
The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card offers the highest cashback rate we could find — 2.5% cash back on all purchases (3% in the first year). This rate is unmatched by the remaining cards on this list, but before you get too excited, be aware — there is an annual fee associated with this card at $99, waived the first year. This may be worthwhile for some people since the cashback rate is above average, but it ultimately depends on how much you spend annually.
We did the math and found that if you spend more than $20,000 a year (after your first year of account opening), the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card provides more value than no annual fee flat-rate cashback cards offering 2% cash back.
Note: Since this is a credit union card, you will need to be an existing member or become a member of Alliant Credit Union to receive a card. You don’t have to become a member before you apply, but if approved you will need to qualify for membership or become a member for free by supporting Foster Care to Success (FC2S). Alliant states they will pay $5 on your behalf to FC2S.
Additional benefits: This card comes with a bunch of perks that can come in handy when you travel including roadside assistance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and travel accident coverage. There are also select Visa Signature® perks such as travel accident insurance and concierge services.
2% Cash back
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
When the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer was first introduced in 2014, $0 annual fee cards offering 2% cash back were relatively new. This card helped set a standard for future cashback cards by offering cardholders the ability to earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. This cashback program is a bit different than competing cashback cards, since instead of earning the full 2% cash back when you make a purchase, you have to make a payment towards your balance in order to earn the full 2% cash back. Even if you aren’t able to pay your balance in full each month, you can still earn that 1% as you pay by making at least the minimum payment due on your billing statement.
Additional benefits: This card is a good choice for people looking to get out of debt. There’s an intro 0% for 18 months on balance transfers (after, 15.74%– 25.74% (variable) APR). This is a great length of time for you to pay off transferred debt, but keep in mind there’s a balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers
15.74%– 25.74% (Variable)
- Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
- To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
- Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74%– 25.74% based on your creditworthiness.
- Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.74%– 25.74% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
See additional details for Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. Unlike the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer mentioned above, you receive the full 2% cash back when you make a purchase. This card also has a $0 annual fee, so if the account requirement isn’t a hassle, this is a cashback card with which you can earn a great flat rate.
Additional benefits: This card offers Visa Signature® perks that include a dedicated concierge available to assist with a variety of requests, from booking travel to buying concert tickets. There are also special shopping and travel perks that may include discounts at select merchants and best available rate guarantee at hotels.
PayPal Cashback Mastercard®
The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® offers a solid 2% cash back on every purchase. You do need a PayPal account to open this card, but accounts are free and this card also has a $0 annual fee. This card is particularly helpful for active PayPal users since cash back earned via the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® is deposited into their PayPal balance.
However, if you don’t use PayPal and would prefer your cash back to be deposited into your bank account, this isn’t the best option. Consider the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, as mentioned above.
Additional benefits: If you’re looking for a card that offers price protection, then this one could be a good choice With the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®, if an item you purchase has a lower price within 60 days from purchase date, you may be reimbursed for the difference.
Choose the best consumer cashback card based on your annual spending
Everyone spends a different amount of money each year — therefore, there is no single best flat-rate cashback card. If you’re someone who only spends less than $20,000 a year, the card that’s probably best for you is one with a $0 annual fee and a 2% cashback rate like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, or PayPal Cashback Mastercard®. But, if you spend more than $20,000 a year, then the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card offering 2.5% cash back on all purchases (3% in the first year) is the better option — even with the annual fee of $99, waived the first year.
|Net Cash Back Earned at the End of the Year (after year 1)|
|Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card||Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, PayPal Cashback Mastercard®|
2% Cash back or 2 points per dollar spent
2% Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
Earn a $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Redeem cash back for any amount at any time
- Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
- Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
- Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
- Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
See additional details for Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Unlimited 2x miles per dollar
Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Redeem miles with any airline and any hotel
- Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
- Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Receive up to $100 credit for one Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee
- Fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen
- Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2x miles from their purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
See additional details for Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Capital One offers two business cards that have a great flat-rate rewards program for business spending: the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business and the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. These cards are very similar, but the type of rewards you earn are a bit different — cash back versus miles.
Here’s a breakdown of the rewards you earn with each card:
- Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business: 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business: 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
While the type of rewards you earn differ by card, they can be redeemed in pretty much the same way. With either card, you can redeem cash back or miles for a check, statement credit, gift card, or other option. However, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business states you can also redeem miles to book new travel reservations. This option is not available with the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business.
While these cards do offer great rewards programs, they come with an annual fee — $0 intro for first year; $95 after that. This annual fee is negligible if your business spends more than $10,000 a year, since spending at that rate will allow you to recoup the annual fee (starting after year one) and earn you more cash back than a card with a $0 annual fee and 1% cash back on every purchase like the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business.
See the table below for a breakdown of which card is best for your business, depending on how much you spend annually.
|Cash Back Earned at the End of the Year (after year 1)|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business|
Additional benefits: Both cards offer the same range of perks that include ways for your business to simplify budgeting and taxes (quarterly and year-end summaries, downloadable purchase records), to travel perks (travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, Visa Signature® Luxury Hotel Collection), to shopping discounts, and more.