What are the best credit cards to use for everyday spending?
Most of your daily purchases qualify as everyday expenses. They’re unremarkable and non-impulsive, and you make them without a second thought. They happen at places like the supermarket, gas station, drugstore, quick-service restaurant, and parking meter.
You also make larger purchases that require more planning and forethought, such as travel reservations, date nights, or supplies for various home improvement projects. But a purchase picked from your credit card statement at random is likelier than not to meet the definition of “everyday.”
For these everyday purchases, you can be rewarded for your spending by using the right cash-back credit cards or travel rewards credit cards. Such cards earn cash back or travel rewards at flat, predictable rates, with no strings attached and no confusing categories or tiers to keep track of.
Best Credit Cards to Use for Everyday Spending
These are the best credit cards to use for everyday purchases — whatever “everyday” means to you. As long as you use these cards wisely, you can turn your commonplace purchases into extra cash, travel, or merchandise.
Up to 2% Cash Back on Purchases When You Pay Your Statement Balance in Full Each Month
For those who have no trouble paying their statement balances in full each month, the Citi Double Cash Card is the best everyday spending credit card on this list. It also happens to be one of the best cash-back credit cards around.
That’s due to an unusually generous rewards program that promises a 2% return on all card charges paid in full by the statement due date, and a redemption menu with few strings other than a $25 minimum redemption threshold.
Enjoying 2% cash back on every purchase, with no bonus categories to worry about, doesn’t get any easier.
- Sign-Up Bonus: There’s currently no sign-up bonus. Check back regularly for the latest offers.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 1% cash back at the time of purchase on all eligible purchases made with your card. Then, earn another 1% cash back on payments against your statement balance, provided you pay at least the required minimum payment each month. If you pay your balance in full each month, you’ll earn a 2% rate of return on spending.
- Redeeming Rewards: You can redeem your accumulated cash-back rewards beginning at the $25 minimum redemption threshold. Redemption options include gift cards, statement credits, bank deposits, and paper checks.
- Introductory APR: Pay no interest (0% APR) on balance transfers for 18 months from account opening. Variable regular APR applies after that.
- Key Fees: There is no annual fee. Foreign-denominated transactions cost 3% of the transaction amount.
- Other Perks: The complimentary Citi Entertainment feature promises preferred access to exclusive presales, tickets to sold-out shows, and VIP experiences at thousands of venues each year.
Unlimited 2x Miles on Most Eligible Purchases; 5x Miles on Hotel and Car Rental Purchases Made Through Capital One Travel
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular travel credit cards on the market. With an early spend bonus worth up to $600 at redemption and unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on most eligible purchases, it’s no wonder. Venture Rewards is the best everyday spending card for frequent travelers.
And unlike most premium travel rewards credit cards, it earns an attractive rate of return on all spending — not just favored traveler-friendly categories like airfare and hotel purchases. This makes Venture one of the best rewards cards all around.
- Early Spend Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. That’s worth $600 when redeemed for travel.
- Earning Rewards: Most eligible purchases earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent with no caps or restrictions. Hotel and car rental purchases made through Capital One Travel earn 5 miles per $1 spent.
- Redeeming Rewards: You can redeem for travel in two ways: statement credits against prior travel purchases or direct travel bookings made through Capital One’s online travel portal. Alternatively, you can transfer your accumulated miles to any of Capital One’s 15+ travel partners.
- Introductory APR: None.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $95. There is no foreign transaction fee.
- Other Perks: Get a statement credit up to $100 against Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on Most Eligible Purchases; Transfer Points to Travel Partners With a Chase Travel Card
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on most eligible purchases, with no caps or restrictions on earning potential. The exceptions are quite welcome:
- Unlimited 5% cash back on eligible purchases made through Chase Travel
- Unlimited 3% cash back on eligible drugstore and restaurant purchases (including takeout and eligible delivery)
A two-tier sign-up welcome bonus worth $200 during the first three months and up to $800 during the first year packs an additional punch for new cardholders, who also benefit from a 15-month 0% APR promotion on purchases. (There’s a corresponding balance transfer promotion as well.)
For cardholders with multiple Chase cards, a signature Freedom Unlimited perk is its point transfer program. If you have a premium Chase travel card (Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred) or a premium Chase business card (Chase Ink Business Cash or Chase Ink Business Preferred), you can transfer loyalty currency earned with your Freedom Unlimited card to any of about a dozen travel loyalty partners at a 1-to-1 ratio.
That potentially boosts your points’ value by a factor of two or three, depending on the loyalty partner and eventual redemption method.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn $200 bonus cash when you spend at least $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months your account is open. Plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, not including grocery purchases at Target or Walmart.
- Earning Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on most eligible purchases. Earn unlimited 5% cash back on eligible purchases made through Chase Travel and unlimited 3% cash back on eligible drugstore and restaurant purchases (including takeout and eligible delivery).
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem in any amount for statement credits, bank account deposits, mailed checks, credits against purchases with Amazon and other merchant partners, gift cards, travel, general merchandise, and more.
- Introductory APR: Pay no interest (0% APR) on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from your account opening date (currently 14.99% to 24.74% variable, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors).
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Foreign-denominated transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount.
- Other Perks: Enjoy credit-building tools and perks, including a free credit score each week, with Chase Credit Journey. Other benefits include purchase protection on select purchases and complimentary rental car coverage when you pay for the rental in full with your card.
Earn Up to 5% Cash Back on Eligible Purchases
The Chase Freedom® Flex Credit Card is a Mastercard credit card with a rewards program that’s similar to Chase Freedom Unlimited’s. Like Freedom Unlimited, purchases made on your Freedom Flex card can earn up to 5% cash back.
In addition to the same 3% and 5% categories, Freedom Flex adds one to two quarterly rotating categories: bonus categories that change each quarter and earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in combined purchases during the period. That’s up to $75 in bonus cash back. Just remember to activate your bonus categories each quarter to earn the full rewards rate.
Like Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex allows cardholders to transfer their points to other Chase credit card accounts, including those with redemption bonuses on travel (like Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve). The same great welcome bonus applies here as well. The downside is that the baseline cash rewards rate is lower: just 1% on eligible purchases, compared with 1.5% for Freedom Unlimited.
There’s more. New Chase Freedom Flex cardholders get three free months of DoorDash’s DashPass subscription service for restaurant deliveries, then 50% off membership for nine more months. Open your account and activate a DoorDash DashPass subscription to earn three months of DashPass free and 50% off your membership for the next nine months.
- Sign-Up Bonus: When you make $500 in qualifying purchases within three months of account opening, you’ll earn $200 welcome bonus cash. Plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, excluding grocery purchases at Target or Walmart.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on eligible Chase Travel purchases, unlimited 3% cash back on eligible restaurant and drugstore purchases, and 5% cash back on eligible bonus category purchases (up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter). All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back, including bonus rewards category purchases above the quarterly spending cap.
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem your accumulated rewards for cash, credits against purchases with Amazon and other merchant partners, and much more.
- Introductory APR: There is a 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months. After that, regular variable APR applies, currently 14.99% to 24.74% variable.
- Important Fees: There’s no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
- Other Perks: Enjoy complimentary coverage on eligible purchases through Chase’s Purchase Protection plan (up to $500 per item and $50,000 per account for 120 days against theft, damage, and loss). Plus, through March 2022, earn 5% cash back on qualifying Lyft purchases.
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on All Eligible Purchases; Great Shopping Benefits
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card bears more than a passing resemblance to the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card. Its $200 early spend bonus, unlimited 1.5% cash-back rate, and 15-month 0% APR window on purchases and balance transfers all match Freedom Unlimited.
Quicksilver has some unique shopping benefits too — notably, Capital One Shopping (a multimerchant price scanner in the palm of your hand) and Paribus (which may uncover savings on purchases you’ve already made).
- Early Spend Bonus: Earn a $200 bonus when you spend at least $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months of opening your account.
- Earning Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases made with your card.
- Redeeming Rewards: You can redeem in any amount for statement credits, gift cards, or paper checks. You can also schedule automatic redemptions at the following thresholds: $25, $50, $100, or $200.
- Introductory APR: Pay no interest (0% APR) on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, then variable APR applies.
- Key Fees: There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
- Other Perks: Use Capital One Shopping to automatically scan hundreds of merchants’ inventories for the best possible pricing. Use Paribus to find opportunities to save on completed purchases. Other benefits include extended warranties on select purchases and complimentary rental car coverage when you pay in full with the card.
See our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review for more details. Find out how to apply for this card here.
1.5% Cash Back on All Eligible Purchases
The American Express Cash Magnet Card earns 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases. A welcome offer worth $150 bonus cash and a 15-month 0% APR promotion on purchases and balance transfers combine to make Cash Magnet a worthy competitor to Freedom Unlimited, Quicksilver, and Cash Wise. See this card’s rates and fees page.
Whether you opt for Cash Magnet or stick to one of its competitors may depend on your issuer preference. If you live in an American Express household, the choice is clear.
- Welcome Offer: Earn $150 bonus cash back as a statement credit after you make at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases.
- Redeeming Rewards: You can redeem for statement credits in any amount over $25.
- Introductory APR: Pay no interest (0% APR) on purchases for 15 months, then variable regular APR applies (currently 13.99% to 23.99%). See this card’s rates and fees page.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. See this card’s rates and fees page.
- Other Perks: Enjoy exclusive discounts with popular merchants through Amex Offers (enrollment required).
6% Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets and Select Digital Media Services; 3% at U.S. Gas Stations and Transit Operators (Including Rideshare); 1% On All Other Eligible Purchases
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has one of the best cash-back rewards programs in the business. As a cardholder in good standing, you can earn:
- 6% cash back on all U.S. supermarket transactions, up to a $6,000 annual spending limit (1% back on U.S. supermarket purchases above the $6,000 annual spending limit, with no upper limit)
- 6% cash back on eligible purchases with digital media and streaming providers such as Netflix and HBO
- 3% cash back on purchases at U.S. gas stations and transit operators, including ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft
- 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases, with no limits
Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
Bear in mind that superstores like Walmart and wholesale clubs like Costco are not included in this card’s supermarkets category. Additionally, a $95 annual fee applies after the first year (see the card’s rates and fees page for more).
- Welcome Offer: Earn $300 back after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
- Cash-Back Rate: Earn 6% cash back on select digital media and streaming services like Netflix and HBO. Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 in spending per year, then 1% cash back at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit operators, including rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Finally, earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
- Redemption: You can redeem Reward Dollars for statement credits.
- Introductory APR: Enjoy 0% APR on purchases for 12 months. Following the end of the introductory period, the regular APR is variable (currently 13.99% to 23.99%), depending on prevailing rates and your personal creditworthiness. See this card’s rates and fees page.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95 each year thereafter. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. See this card’s rates and fees page.
These everyday spending credit cards are equal opportunity. To them, nearly every dollar spent has equal value. And that makes them ideal for generalized, everyday spending.
That’s not to say credit cards with more complex rewards programs aren’t useful for everyday spending. If your “everyday” expenses are likely to involve a trip to the supermarket, gas pump, or drugstore, you’d be well-served by a credit card that favors those sorts of purchases, whether it’s a travel card that racks up points on hotel stays or cr rentals, or a general spending card that earns eye-popping returns on purchases at U.S. gas station or U.S. grocery stores.
Indeed, it’s a smart move to keep a category-focused card in your wallet. But for all other purchases, you can always turn to a flat-rate credit card like Chase Freedom Unlimited, Capital One Quicksilver, or American Express Cash Magnet.
For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please visit this rates and fees page.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.