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If you've used a rewards credit card, you know the drill: After you buy something with the card, points appear in your account. You can then redeem those points for a plane ticket, a gift card, or some other prize. A cash rewards credit card is similar in that it rewards you for making purchases, except that the rewards are in dollars, not points, and can be redeemed for cash back.

What Is a Cash Rewards Credit Card?

A cash back or cash rewards credit card gives you cash rewards for spending. The reward is usually a percentage of the amount you spend. Therefore, if a card offers 1 percent cash back, spending $4,500 over the course of a year would give you a reward of $45. Typically, you can choose to either apply your cash reward toward your statement or to transfer it to a checking or savings account.

Know Your Rewards

There are four different kinds of credit card cash rewards:

  • Flat-Rate Rewards: With flat-rate rewards, you get the same percentage back regardless of the amount that you spend. It doesn't matter if you spend $1 or $1,000 — the rewards percentage is always the same.
  • Tiered Rewards: A tiered rewards program offers different levels of rewards depending on how much you spend or other criteria. For example, you might earn 1 percent cash back when you spend under $2,000 in a quarter or 1.5 percent cash back once you've spent more than $2,000. Some rewards cards offer special tiers to existing bank customers based on their relationship. The Key Cashback credit card gives 2 percent cash back on all purchases with no limits to clients who have qualifying checking or savings accounts with Key.1
  • Category Rewards: Some rewards cards offer different levels of cash back for different spending categories. For example, a car might give 3 percent back on spending at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores, but only 1 percent back on all other purchases.
  • Bonus Rewards: A cash back bonus is usually offered as a perk for signing up for a card. After using the card for a certain period of time or spending a minimum amount of money, you get a one-time cash reward.

Why Use a Cash Rewards Card?

A cash back card gives you a reward that's always valuable. Not everyone needs airline points or other credit card rewards, but everyone can use money. With a cash back card, you can spend your rewards on whatever you'd like. For example, if you're saving to make a large purchase further down the line or hoping to add more to your rainy day fund, you can redeem your rewards into your savings account. Plus, cash rewards are easy to keep track of and redeem. Just log in to your credit card account to check what percentage you're getting back, see how much cash back you've earned, and decide how you'd like to redeem it.

Before choosing a credit card, compare your options. For many people, the convenience and flexibility of a cash rewards card makes it a great choice.

1

To be eligible for the 2% cash back, you must have a KeyBank checking account, excluding a health savings account, with $1,000 in aggregate deposits per month, excluding transfers from another KeyBank account, and a KeyBank savings or investment account with a minimum daily balance of $1,000. If you do not meet either of the criteria above after 1 month of your account opening, you will earn 1.5% cashback on all eligible purchases. We will determine whether you have met the bank and save criteria on the last Monday of each calendar month, based on your deposit and balance activity over the thirty (30) days prior to the immediately preceding Saturday. If you have not met the bank and save criteria, your rate for the following calendar month will be 1.5%.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on www.Key.com, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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