According to our analysis of the market, the following cards stand out as objectively the best for certain purposes. The best card for you will depend on your individual situation and spending patterns. Please use the information in this guide to learn about differences between products and help you narrow down your choices.
Best Overall & No Fee Cashback Credit Cards
In our opinion, the following cards offer the best cashback rewards in their respective categories. We have modeled their features to estimate annual rewards, based on average UK household charges of around £1,800 a month. Our calculations incorporate all relevant annual fees, rewards rates, bonuses, etc. Actual results will vary depending on how you use a card.
Overall Cashback: Platinum Cashback Card from American Express
The Platinum Cashback Card by American Express is one of our favourite overall cashback cards not only for the great rewards across all categories but also because it pays out rewards as statement credits. Over the long-term, the card earns 1% or 1.25%, depending on your level of spending. You can also take advantage of the welcome offer of 5% for the first three months (up to £125 cashback). Despite the relatively modest £25 annual fee, we have calculated the Platinum Cashback card can earn the average UK household around £535 over the first two years. Those looking for a simple, flexible, rewarding cashback program won't find an easier card.
Cashback is not earned on cash advances, balance transfers, travellers' cheques, FX transactions, interest, any spending above your credit limit, charges for returned payments, late payment or referral charges and finance charges.
- 1% cashback rate on purchases up to £10,000 per year
- 1.25% cashback rate on purchases over £10,001 per year
- 5% intro cashback rate up to £125 reward
- Amex not accepted everywhere
Best Cashback Card with No Annual Fee: Platinum Cashback Everyday Card from American Express
The Platinum Cashback Everyday card from American Express is a great cashback card for those spending less than £10,000 a year. While it sports lower cashback rates than our top overall pick and its sister card, the Platinum Cashback card, the lack of annual fee makes it a surefire winner for smaller spenders. The Platinum Cashback Everyday card offers long-term cashback rates of 0.5% to 1%. As cashback comes in the form of statement credits, the card is a good choice for those desiring a simple rewards card.
Cashback is not earned on cash advances, balance transfers, travellers' cheques, FX transactions, interest, any spending beyond your credit limit, charges for returned payments, late payment or referral charges and finance charges.
- 0.5% cashback rate on purchases up to £5,000 per year
- 1% cashback rate on purchases over £5,001 per year
- 5% intro cashback rate up to £100 reward, in first three months
- No annual fee
- Amex not accepted everywhere
Best Store Cashback Cards for Food (Dining and Groceries)
If, like many people, you spend a lot of your budget on food you might benefit from a credit card that rewards extra for dining and/or grocery spending. Depending on your particular needs, one of these cards could turn out to be quite rewarding for you.
Best Store Cashback Card for Groceries: Asda Cashback Plus Credit Card
The Asda Cashback Plus Credit Card delivers a 2% cashback rate on Asda spend (i.e., Asda shopping, Asda fuel, Living stores, George.com, etc.) and 0.2% elsewhere. To make up for the £3 per month fee, you'd need to spend £150 a month in-store at Asda. Keep in mind that Asda cashback rewards are paid in the form of Asda vouchers (not statement credits).
- Higher-than-average cashback rate of 2% for in-store grocery spending at Asda
- 0% interest for 6 months on George.com purchases of at least £200
- 10% discount on some Asda Money insurance products
- Lower 0.2% rewards rate out-of-store
- Monthly fee of £3
Best Store Cashback Card for Dining: Costco TrueEarnings American Express Credit Card
The Costco TrueEarnings card is a great find for those who dine out frequently. The card offers a highly unusual 3% cashback rate on restaurant dining, in addition to 2% on travel and 1% on other purchases. The only potential drawback of the TrueEarnings card is that rewards are paid out as a Costco voucher every year. Those who don't live near a Costco may find it impossible to take advantage of the great rewards. That said, the average UK household would save £225 a year with this card. Those who spend more than the average £42.50 a week at restaurants might still find it worthwhile, even if their nearest Costco is a bit of a drive.
- The highest cashback rate for dining
- Earn 3% on dining, 2% on travel and 1% elsewhere
- Rewards give as Costco vouchers (may be a pro...)
- No annual fee
- Amex not accepted everywhere
- Requires Costco membership (and photo on file at Costco)
- Rewards give as Costco vouchers (may be a con...)
- £300 annual cap on general spending rewards, including Costco
Best Cashback Card for Poor Credit: Aqua Rewards Credit Card
The Aqua Rewards Credit Card can provide a great opportunity to those with weak credit histories: earn cashback rewards on your new purchases while working to improve your credit rating. Cardholders can earn 0.5% on all purchases. While this rate is not spectacular relative to others in the market, it is good for those with poor credit ratings.
In order to get the most out of the card, the full balance should be paid off every month, on time. Late payments mean forfeiture of your rewards for the year and carrying a balance will result in large interest payments, quickly wiping out any earned cashback rewards. One final note about the Aqua card application process—those with very poor credit histories might start off with the Aqua Start card. The Aqua Rewards card will be offered to those with slightly stronger credit histories.
- Earn 0.5% on purchases
- No annual fee
- Cashback rewards come as statement credits once a year
- High interest rates mean you should pay off your full balance every month
- Missing a payment or exceeding the credit means you might lose your rewards for the whole year
How Does Cashback Work?
Cashback is the most flexible and easiest-to-use of the rewards systems. Cashback cards return a percentage of your spending made using the card. Often, the percentage varies by spending location or category (e.g., the Asda Cashback Plus card pays 2% on Asda spending and 0.2% on non-Asda spending) or by category (e.g., The Costco TrueEarnings card pays 3% on dining, 2% on travel, and 1% elsewhere). "True" cashback is paid as a statement credit but sometimes cashback is paid to you via store vouchers (e.g., Asda and Costco).
How the Best Cashback Rewards Cards Compare
To compare the cashback credit cards listed above, we calculated the cashback the average UK consumer would earn on each one. First, we gathered data on the average household expenditures across different spending categories (e.g., food, dining, petrol, etc.) based on the "Family Spending, 2015 Edition" report from the Office of National Statistics. We found that the average UK household has about £22,000 of expenses that can be charged to a credit card. After organizing the data into bonus categories, we applied each card's respective cashback rates.
The chart below shows the cards ranked according to these estimated cashback rewards over two years, for the average UK household.
While the Platinum Cashback Card by American Express is the clear winner in terms of annual rewards for the average UK consumer, individuals with different spending patterns may find the highest value on a different card. For example, those who eat out at restaurants regularly or spend a significant amount of their budget on travel may very well extract more cashback rewards from the Costco TrueEarnings card. You need to consider the different features of each card, and how they may benefit you personally.
Summary of Cashback Credit Cards
Below is a summary of our top picks for best cashback programs across different categories.
|Best For...||Card||Issuer||Cashback Type||Quick Overview|
|Overall||Platinum Cashback Card by American Express||American Express||Statement Credits||Earn 1% to 1.25% on all spending, plus a 5% welcome cashback rate|
|No Fee||Platinum Cashback Everyday Card by American Express||American Express||Statement Credits||Earn 0.5% to 1% on all spending, plus a 5% welcome cashback rate|
|Groceries||Asda Cashback Plus Credit Card||Mastercard||Asda Vouchers||Earn 2% on Asda purchases; 0.2% elsewhere|
|Restaurants & Costco||Costco TrueEarnings||American Express||Costco Vouchers||Earn 3% on dining, 2% on travel, 1% elsewhere|
|Poor Credit||Aqua Rewards Credit Card||Mastercard||Statement Credits||Earn 0.5% cashback on purchases while working to improve your credit rating|
How to Choose the Best Cashback Card for You
Choosing the best cashback credit card for you will depend on your individual needs and spending habits. In particular, when looking across the cashback cards you should keep in mind these two factors:
- where you spend your money (e.g., restaurants, a specific grocery store, petrol, etc.)
- the type of cashback you prefer (i.e., store vouchers or statement credits)
Some of the cashback credit cards listed here have no annual fee, so it is feasible to take out more than one card in order to optimize your rewards across different spending categories. Additionally, as many of the cashback cards are issued by American Express, which isn't accepted everywhere, a Mastercard or Visa cashback card may come in handy when your Amex has to stay in your wallet.
Those looking for a simple rewards program should focus on the cashback programs that deliver rewards as statement credits or store vouchers. But while statement credits might be simpler, they are not necessarily better for you. Many people love the idea of heading out to shop with a big voucher in their wallet. It all depends on your personal preferences.