CNBC analyzed 25 of the top cash back credit cards. They looked at the amount of savings the average user would get over a five-year period. They decided that Chase Freedom was the best overall cashback credit card, delivering a savings of $1,900 over the course of five years.
How they evaluated the top dogs
CNBC tore these cards apart to figure out which ones delivered the most savings. They analyzed each company for annual fees, bonuses, introductory and secondary APR, balance transfer fees, late fees, recommended credit score, redemption options, foreign transaction fees, and customer reviews.
They focused on the five-year returns to prevent sign-up bonuses from affecting the results too heavily.
Why Chase Freedom came out on top
Chase Freedom landed the top position because of the many spending categories that come with high rewards. Cable, internet, cell phone, and gas station purchases made with Google, Samsung, Chase, and Apple Pay all earn you five percent cash back in the first fiscal quarter.
In the second quarter, you can earn five percent cash back on groceries again when you shop with PayPal and Chase Pay. You can earn up to $300 per year if you hit the $1,500 combined purchase limit each quarter.
Watch out for variable APR
It’s not all roses and puppy dogs with Chase Freedom. You need to keep an eye on its variable APR. Failing to pay off your balance each month results in high interest rates. The debt can stack up fast. The introductory APR is zero percent on purchases and transfers for the first 15 months. After 15 months, the variable APR kicks in, which varies between 16.49 and 25.24 percent based on your credit score.
Stay on top of your payments, and you’ll rake in the benefits with Chase Freedom. There is a five percent return on the first $1,500 of purchases in qualifying categories and a one percent return on all other purchases. This can save you a decent chunk of change — $1,900 to be exact.