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Best 2% cash rewards credit cards

Feb. 07, 2022
10 min read
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Cash-back credit cards have received quite the hype over the past two years. With many people changing their travel habits, individuals have started to prefer padding their wallets with cash instead of points. Up until a few years ago, the average cash-back card offered 1% to 1.5% cash back — nothing worth writing home about, but some return nonetheless.

Now, there are actually several cards that will give you a whopping 2% cash back on every single purchase you make — with hardly any effort.

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With these fixed 2% cash-back credit cards, there's no need to pay attention to category bonuses, activate an increased earning rate or even select a category of your choice. The 2% cash back is yours, regardless of the purchase you make. It's truly as simple as it looks. Best of all, these cards have no — or extremely high — caps to the amount of cash back you can earn.

Related: Best cash-back credit cards

Overview of the best 2% cash rewards credit cards

The information for the Synchrony Premier World Mastercard, Wells Fargo Active Cash, and PayPal Cashback Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuers.

Best 2% cash-back credit cards in 2022

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the easiest credit cards available. With 2% cash back — 1% when you make a purchase, plus 1% when you pay that purchase off — your rewards are very simple every time you swipe it. Whether you prefer cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit or even a check in the mail, the options are extremely flexible.

Best of all, if at a future time you decide that you'd prefer to redeem your cash-back rewards for travel instead, you'll have that opportunity as well — if you pair this card with a premium Citi ThankYou product, such as the Citi Premier® Card. Currently, you can covert your cash back to ThankYou Rewards points, and then having the premium card allows you to transfer your points to a partner hotel or airline partner.

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However, starting March 28, this card will earn ThankYou points instead of direct cash back. The ThankYou points earned can still be redeemed for cash back or combined with a premium Citi ThankYou Rewards credit card for better travel opportunities. Just note that you must have the premium card in order to enable those high-value transfers in the ThankYou Rewards program.

Related: Even more rewarding starting in March: A review of the Citi Double Cash card

While this card has a $0 annual fee, the card doesn't offer many perks in the way of purchase or travel protection. It's not an ideal card for international travel due to its 3% foreign transaction fee.

Official application link: Citi Double Cash Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is one of the few unlimited 2% cash rewards cards with no annual fee that also comes with a welcome bonus. With this card, you'll earn a $200 cash reward bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.

Additionally, the card offers cellphone protection that covers against theft or damage, as long as you pay for your entire bill with the card. With this benefit, you'll be covered up to $600 per claim (with a $25 deductible), though you are capped at two claims per 12-month period.

You'll get your 2% cash rewards in the form of a statement credit, which makes it incredibly easy to receive your rewards. There's also no cap to the amount of cash back you can receive.

Official application link: Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Synchrony Premier World Mastercard

(Photo by The Points Guy)

While the Synchrony Premier World Mastercard isn't talked about often, it's a top choice when it comes to earning cash back. You'll earn 2% cash back on every purchase you make — with no caps — applied as a statement credit automatically.

Even though the card doesn't offer a sign-up bonus, cardmembers will get some lucrative benefits, despite it being a card with no annual fee. Since the card is a World Mastercard, you'll receive cellphone protection, Lyft credits, Hello Fresh credits and a DoorDash membership.

With the cellphone protection, you're covered up to $600 per claim (with a $50 deductible), up to two claims per year and $1,000 in yearly coverage. The DoorDash membership will give you three free months of membership to DoorDash's subscription service. Additionally, you'll receive 5% back (to use toward a future order) on every Hello Fresh order and a $5 credit per month for every month you take three Lyft rides.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Although this card requires slightly more effort to set up, it's still pretty easy to earn an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase you make. To apply for the card, you're required to have a PayPal account — but fortunately, setting up an account only takes a few extra minutes and is free.

Related: Cash-back bliss: A review of the PayPal Cashback Mastercard

Then, to receive your cash back, you have two options: You can deposit the money into your PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account, or it can go into a bank account or debit card linked to your PayPal account. While this requires you to actually cash out the money earned, you can redeem your cash at any time that works for you without any minimum amount required.

Similar to many other cards with no annual fee, there aren't too many additional perks for cardmembers. It's not a card to use internationally due to the 3% foreign transaction fee.

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

If you have a decent amount of spending coming up and are looking for a small-business card, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus may be the right option for you. While earning 2% cash back on all purchases is one reason to get the card, the current sign-up bonus makes it even more enticing. Right now, the card is offering up to $1,000 cash back. You'll earn $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first six months of account opening.

This is a huge offer to jump-start your company's cash reserves.

Related: Improved bonus on a solid business card: Capital One Spark Cash Plus review

While the card may initially be appealing due to its large sign-up bonus, you'll want to make sure the continuous benefits outweigh the $150 annual fee in subsequent years. If they do, you'll enjoy benefits like no foreign transaction fees, roadside assistance*, extended warranty protection* and free employee cards. Additionally, if you spend $200,000 or more on the card annually, you'll receive a $200 cash bonus, which will offset the $150 annual fee. *Benefits only available to accounts approved for the Visa Signature card. Terms apply.

Official application link: Capital One Spark Cash Plus

American Express Blue Business Cash Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Another business credit card where you'll earn 2% cash back is the American Express Blue Business Cash Card. This card is also extremely straightforward, but your increased earnings are capped at $50,000 per calendar year (then 1%). Redeeming your cash back is incredibly easy, as you'll receive the money earned automatically as a monthly statement credit. If you have a small business that spends less than the cap threshold annually, this may be a preferred card due to the $0 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Related: Double the cash back with no annual fee: Review of the American Express Blue Business Cash Card

The card also has a welcome offer where you'll receive a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your card in your first three months.

Official application link: American Express Blue Business Cash Card

Honorable mentions

In addition to the list above, there are a few other credit cards that will also earn you 2% cash back. However, they are not as simple. From being required to join a credit union to being an iPhone user, there are more caveats to these cards, so they won't work for the masses. If you're looking for another option, though, these cards will also earn you 2% back with a little bit of effort:

  • Apple Card.
  • The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card.
  • SoFi Credit Card.
  • Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card.
  • PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card.

The information for the cards listed in this section has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

If you want simplicity in your life, then a 2% cash-back credit card may be the way to go. While other credit cards offer more rewards on specific category purchases, they may require you to juggle multiple cards in your wallet at once while being on top of which card to use for every single purchase you make. Knowing you'll always receive 2% cash back may be an easier and more appealing option for you.

For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash Card, click here.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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