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The Best Cash Back Card

If I had a dollar for the question that’s often asked of me, “what credit card should I get” I’d be a rich, rich man.

Before I tell you what the best credit card is, I must lay down the disclaimer that the “best card” depends on several factors and they are personalized to you. You must ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want travel rewards or cash back?
  • What’s my credit score?
  • Which categories do I spend the most on (groceries, gas, restaurants, travel, etc)?
  • Would I consider an annual fee for a large sign-up bonus?
  • What are my goals (e.g. travel more, cash back, perks)?

There are so many choices to choose from when choosing a credit card and a points or miles credit card really involves knowing what are your specific travel goals are. However, with a cash back card, it’s a bit easier since you’re earning cash back and not a type of mile or point. There is one card that I often recommend to beginners who are simply interested in earning cash back and it’s the Discover it® – Cashback Match.

There are numerous reasons why this card is at the top of my list for earning cash back:

Chances At Approval

The Discover it is one of the easier credit cards to get approved for even when you have a thin credit history or lower credit score. While I love the Chase Freedom for beginners, Discover is typically an easier approval bank than Chase.

What credit score is needed for the Discover it? 

It’s impossible to give a specific credit score range needed for approval for any credit cards since so many factors come into play, such as payment history, credit history, credit utilization ratio,  your relationship with Discover, etc. You can check here for an idea of the scores needed for most credit card issuers.

No Annual Fee

Fees scare people and many times, it’s a mistake to not apply for a card because of an annual fee. With lucrative sign-up bonuses on many credit cards, the rewards outweigh the annual fee, at least for the first year as the cardholder. However, the Discover it does not come with a sign-up bonus or an annual fee so the hugely rewarding card is a keeper long-term.


This is the primary reason why this card is so high up on my list. The Discover it offers cash back on rotating quarterly categories. What does that mean?

It means every quarter, you’ll be able to earn 5% back on certain categories. Only a couple of categories will be active at a time but the categories usually consist of gas, restaurants, movies, home improvement stores, and Amazon, to name a few.

You’ll just have to remember two things about these categories:

  1. You always have to remember to register for each quarter and activate your 5X earnings (only takes a few seconds)
  2. You can only earn 5X up to a maximum of $1,500 spent each quarter

I personally think that 5x per $1 on a no annual fee credit card is awesome but there’s something that makes the Discover it even more appealing.

What really makes this card so appealing is that after the first cardmember year, your cash back earnings are doubled. This is insanely lucrative!  Say you max out at $1500 ($1500 x 5X = 7,500 or $75) on the bonus categories for each quarter, you would earn $75 cash back each quarter for a total of $300 for the year. Since Discover matches your cash back in the first year, you’d be getting back $600!  This only applies for the first year but no other purely cash back card has this earning potential.

Discover Deals

You can take your cash back earnings to the next level by taking advantage of Discover Deals. This is a portal where you can do all of your online shopping and earn additional cash back. For example, you might be able to earn 5% at Walmart or Kohls or 15% back at Under Armour. It’s really not difficult to find good deals on those purchases and it’s a great way to supplement your rewards earned.

Redeem Any Amount Of Cash Back, Whenever

Some cash back cards set a minimum amount needed to redeem your cash back earnings, not the Discover it. With the Discover it, you can redeem your cash back at any amount, at any time, making it very simple to take advantage of your rewards. Best of all, the cash back earned never expires so you don’t feel the pressure to use it or lose it.

The Forgiveable Issuer

Another reason why I recommend the Discover it cash back card to newbies is because Discover is the most forgiving credit card issuer with late payments. Some cards will spike up your APR when you make a late payment but Discover doesn’t. In fact, Discover doesn’t even apply a late payment fee for your first late payment. There are also no fees for charging over your credit limit.

Some Other Benefits I love

  • No foreign transaction fees so great for travel abroad
  • Freeze your account if your card is lost or stolen so no fraudulent charges can be made
  • Free monthly FICO score (stay on top of your credit score)
  • U.S.-based customer service which picks up call right away (no waiting)


The Discover it® – Cashback Match is a favorite cash back card for many, not just beginners. If you’re looking for a strong cash back credit card with no annual fee and lucrative first year earning, this card is a no-brainer and one that should be in your wallet.

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