The best cashback credit cards can be a valuable ally to savvy spenders – provided they're used correctly.
By paying for things you needed anyway with your cashback card and then clearing the debt immediately, you can earn yourself a tidy cash boost.
Unfortunately, like reward credit cards, many cashback cards have been cut (or the cashback on offer) has been slashed in recent years.
We’ll now run through the various top cashback cards available on the market.
But before we do, it’s worth stressing that a cashback credit card is not worth getting if you don't clear your debt each month, as the interest rate will more than wipe out any cashback you earn.
If a credit card isn't quite right for you, the good news is there are loads of other ways to get rewarded for your spending. You can read all about them in our ultimate guide to cashback.
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card
With the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card (representative APR 31%), you'll get 5% cashback in the first three months up to a maximum of £125.
The £125 maximum is an increase of the lender's usual £100 cap and is part of a limited-time offer. You'll need to apply for a new card by 9 April to receive the enhanced rate.
After you've reached the £125 maximum or once the three-period has ended, you’ll earn a tiered rate of cashback, depending on how much you spend.
You’ll get 0.5% cashback on any spending of up to £10,000 and 1% cashback on all sums above that.
While the rates on this cashback card are less generous than other Amex offerings, it is at least fee-free.
Note, you need to spend at least £3,000 in a year on the card to ensure your purchases qualify for cashback. This card also gives you access to special offers from a range of companies.
American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card
The American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card also pays 5% cashback in the first three months up to £125, while the APR is 36.7%.
Unlike the Everyday card, this £125 figure is not part of a limited-time deal and is the company's usual offer.
You’ll get 0.75% cashback on any spending of up to £10,000 and 1.25% cashback when you spend over £10,000.
With this card, there is also a £25 annual fee to consider, so it's probably only suitable for those who are able to use it frequently (and clear the debt in full).
Like the Everyday card, this credit card gives you access to special offers from a range of companies.
Santander Edge Credit Card
The Santander Edge Credit Card (representative APR 29.8%) offers 2% on purchases for the first 12 months.
As the amount you can earn is capped at £15 per month, this equates to an impressive £180 per year.
However, there is a monthly fee of £3 to consider.
After 12 months, the rate drops to 1%, which is again capped at £15 per month.
The lender also offers fee-free purchases abroad.
Be aware, the credit card is only available to Santander current accountholders.
You’ll also need to earn at least £10,500 per year to qualify.
Barclaycard Rewards Card
The Barclaycard Rewards card (representative APR 28.9%) offers 0.25% cashback on all spending.
Plus, you could earn up to 15% cashback when you register your card with the bank's Cashback Rewards website and spend at participating retailers.
The card could be a decent option if you plan to use your credit card abroad. You can avoid non-sterling purchase fees as long as you pay in the local currency. This credit card doesn’t charge interest on cash withdrawals overseas if you pay off your balance in full every month.
NatWest/RBS Reward Credit Card
NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland both offer the Reward Credit Card, which is only available to those who earn at least £10,000 a year.
It pays 1% cashback on all spending at supermarkets (0.25% at their petrol stations and everywhere else).
You'll also get at least 1% cashback and potentially up to 15% cashback at MyRewards partner retailers.
This card should always be paired with a NatWest/RBS Reward current account, otherwise, you'll have to pay an annual fee of £24, which makes breaking even difficult. The representative APR is 31%.
Santander All in One Credit Card
The Santander All in One Credit Card offers 0.5% cashback on spending up to a maximum of £10 per month.
It also comes with 0% on balance transfers for 15 months (with no fee), interest-free purchases for 15 months and no foreign transaction fees on purchases overseas.
But it charges for cash withdrawals and the card attracts a £3 monthly fee, meaning you'll need to spend £600 a month on this card to break even.
Also, be aware, you'll need to have an income of at least £10,500 a year to apply.
The representative APR is 29.8%.
Lloyds World Elite Mastercard
When you open an account, the Lloyds World Elite Mastercard (representative APR 22.94% on purchases) will pay you 0.5% cashback on purchases up to £15,000.
Once your total spending has reached £15,000, the rate will increase to 1% until the anniversary of the account opening.
At this stage, the rate will revert to 0.5%, and then return to 1% if your spending again reaches £15,000.
This pattern will repeat each anniversary year of the account opening.
On top of this, Lloyds offers several perks that could appeal to frequent travellers, including access to more than 1,300 airport lounges and the ability to skip security queues at certain airports.
Cardholders also receive access to Mastercard's Priceless experiences, which include VIP tickets to sporting events and exhibitions (a fee will still apply to attend these events).
Be aware, the card has a fairly hefty £15 monthly fee, which you'll need to weigh against the overall benefit of the cashback and other perks you receive.
Making the most of cashback cards
To make the most of your cashback card, put as much of your spending on it as you possibly can but always clear the balance at the end of the month.
Setting up a Direct Debit payment to do this is the easiest way to make sure you don't have to pay any interest charges.
As with any credit card, using it will give you the legal protection offered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Never use these credit cards to withdraw cash. The charges are horrendous, and your withdrawals won't qualify for cashback. Balance transfers also aren't eligible for cashback.
If you'd prefer rewards to cash, a reward credit card may be a better option.