Forget airline miles and points: Consumers say cash-back trumps all other credit card incentives. And for those with great credit looking for a new rewards card, you'll be happy to know that card companies are adding more cash-back cards to the mix. In 2011, 43% of credit card rewards offers promoted a cash-back program, up from 27% in 2008.
Bankrate.com recently surveyed 50 cash-back cards from 19 major issuers from Jan. 9-13, 2012, and found that close to half offered a 1% return for every $1 spent. This seems to be the average baseline, but there are some cards that do even better:
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
The cash-back ratio is generally 1%, but get 6% cash back at supermarkets and 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores. There is a $75 annual fee, so you'll have to spend $1,250 a year - or a little more than $100 per month -- at the grocery store or to make up that cost. Or, if you spend $1,000 in the first three months, AmEx will give you $150 cash back - the cost of a 2-year membership.
American Express Blue Cash Every Day
This card is sort of a lighter version of the Blue Cash Preferred Card. You get get 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% everywhere else. There's no annual fee, and you get $100 back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
American Express True Earnings Costco Card
With a Costco membership ($55 a year), you can sign up for this card for free. Earn 3% cash back on annual gasoline purchases (up to $3,000), then 1% after that. Plus, earn 2% cash back for dining out, 2% when you travel and 1% everywhere else, including Costco.
All three of the brokerage's rewards cards - Investment Rewards, Retirement Rewards and 529 College Rewards - offer a 2% return. The cash earned gets deposited in an eligible Fidelity account. The cards carry no annual fee and have no cap on cash rewards.
Visa Platinum With Cash Back from Baxter Credit Union
Earn a 2% cash rebate on purchases at restaurants, grocery stores and automated fuel dispensers, and a 1% cash rebate on all other eligible purchases.
Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards
Get 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations and major grocery stores, 1% cash back on all other purchases. This card has a $39 annual fee.
Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa
Earn 5% cash back in selected quarterly categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Get $200 cash back after $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. No annual fee.