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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 random 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.
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 this article 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 All Eligible Purchases
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 $1,000 at redemption and unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on all 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.
- Early Spend Bonus: When you spend at least $20,000 on eligible purchases within the first 12 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus miles – worth $1,000 when redeemed for travel. Or, earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
- Earning Rewards: All eligible purchases earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent, with no bonus categories or restrictions.
- 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. Other redemption options include cash back and gift cards, but travel is the best value.
- 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 the application fee for one of two travel preclearance memberships: 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 sign-up bonus worth $200 during the first 3 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.
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 for 15 months from your account opening date.
- 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.
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 multi-merchant 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 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 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 rates and fees page.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. See rates and fees page.
- Other Perks: Enjoy exclusive discounts with popular merchants through Amex Offers (enrollment required).
These everyday spending credit cards are equal opportunity. Their rewards programs don’t discriminate by spending category or transaction type. To them, every dollar 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, like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express — which earns eye-popping returns on purchases at U.S. gas station and U.S. grocery stores.
Indeed, it’s a smart move to keep a category-focused card like Blue Cash Preferred 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.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.