3 no-hassle cash back credit cards

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In a Nutshell

Earning cash back for your purchases doesn’t have to be complicated. Cash back credit cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited® come without complex spending categories and annual fees.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: Citi® Double Cash Card

With the right cash back credit cards, earning cash rewards for your purchases can be simple and easy.

There’s a reason cash back credit cards are so popular: They make it easy to earn money for your everyday purchases.

At least, some of them do. Some cards may restrict accelerated cash back earnings to certain categories — like gas or groceries — or cap those earnings at a certain dollar amount each quarter.

The thing is, not everyone is willing to weed through lists of changing category restrictions and spending limits to find a card that fits our needs. Some of us just want a simple, no-hassle cash back credit card that doesn’t make our head spin.

If that sounds like you, start by considering these three options. Each comes with no annual fee, no category restrictions and no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn.

At a glance: The best no-hassle cash back credit cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited® 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Citi® Double Cash Card 2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% as you pay off purchases
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 1.5% cash back on every purchase

1.5% cash back on every purchase: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

From our partner

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

How simple is it?

Very simple. This no-frills cash back credit card earns 1.5% cash back on every single purchase.

Better yet, there’s no limit on your cash back earnings and no minimum amount required to redeem your cash back.

What to watch out for

If you’re looking to transfer high-interest debt to a single credit card by balance transfer,  Chase Freedom Unlimited® may not be the best choice.

You’ll be charged an intro balance transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5) if you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open. After that, you’ll be charged a 5% (minimum $5) fee for balance transfers.

And even though it offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, the variable APR jumps up to 16.49% - 25.24% after that.

This card also has a foreign transaction fee of 3%, so it’s not the best option for the international traveler.

How to use it

You’ll earn unlimited cash back at a flat rate — 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Just be sure to keep your budget in mind.

Bola Onada Sokunbi, Certified Financial Education Instructor and Founder/CEO of Clever Girl Finance, offers a word of caution for cash back card users.

“Resist the temptation to overspend just to get a cash back reward,” she says.

Sokunbi advises trying to plan your spending according to your budget.

“This way,” she says, “you know exactly how much you can afford to spend in order to pay your balance off in full [and on time] each month.”

2% cash back on purchases: Citi® Double Cash Card

From our partner

Citi® Double Cash Card

From cardholders in the last year

How simple is it?

Pretty simple in practice, but the way you earn cash back can be a little confusing.

With Citi® Double Cash Card , you’ll have not one but two chances to earn cash back — 1% when you make purchases, and another 1% when you pay off those purchases. That gives you an incentive to pay off your balance sooner, which is a good financial habit to build.

What to watch out for

Citi® Double Cash Card offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers.

The intro period stretches for 18 months, after which the variable APR converts to 15.49% – 25.49%.

That’s a longer intro period than both Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, but you’ll have to pay a 3% (minimum $5) fee for each balance transfer.

Also, balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening.

Keep in mind, the 0% intro APR only applies to balance transfers, meaning that all of your purchases will still be subject to a variable APR of 15.49% – 25.49% right away.

Citi® Double Cash Card also has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it isn’t ideal for spending abroad.

How to use it

The sooner you pay off your account balance, the sooner you’ll see your rewards.

You’ll receive your additional 1% cash back as you pay off your purchases as long as you pay the minimum amount due each month.

But, as with any credit card, paying more than just the minimum due is the best approach.

“Pay your balance in full and on time each month […] or you could end up paying dearly for it by the way of interest fees later on,” Sokunbi says.

1.5% cash back on every purchase: Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

From our partner
See Details, Rates & Fees

How simple is it?

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card  rivals Chase Freedom Unlimited® in terms of sheer, beautiful simplicity.

You’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no spending categories to keep track of.

Better yet, this is the only card of the trio with no foreign transaction fees, making it a hassle-free cash back option even when you’re traveling abroad.

What to watch out for

This card offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, but only for 15 months (it then jumps to a 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR).

You’ll want to watch out for a balance transfer fee of 3% for any balance transfers made within the first 15 months. There’s no balance transfer fee for transfers made after the first 15 months — which is unfortunately after the intro balance transfer APR ends.

How to use it

This card comes with a nice sign-up bonus: You’ll earn $150 if you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Just be sure you don’t stretch your budget too much to qualify for that bonus.

And while you may want to use another cash back card to earn more for everyday purchases at home, international travelers should consider using this card while abroad, since there are no foreign transaction fees.

Read our full review of this card

Bottom line

Cash back credit cards can be a great tool to help you earn some extra cash with minimal effort. Who wouldn’t want to earn cash back for doing something they already do nearly every day?

With that said, choosing the right cash back card matters. Some cash back cards come with complicated spending categories and restrictions.

These can still offer great value, but they may make earning rewards feel like too much of a hassle.

If tracking rewards doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, try to find a cash back card that comes with no earning limits or category restrictions. Most of the time, these cards will also come with no annual fee.

If you’re someone looking for simplicity, we recommend a flat-rate cash back card like Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Citi® Double Cash Card or Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This cash back trio lets you skip the hassle and just focus on earning your rewards.