The best cashback debit and credit cards (May 2024)

Earn as much as 5% back when you spend from the likes of American Express, Chase and Barclaycard.

Pretty much every time I spend money I am earning money. Ok, only a little bit but it all adds up. Don’t roll your eyes. It really does. The way I do this is through a cashback credit or debit card, or more accurately, through a couple of these cards.

Rates aren’t as good as they were a few years ago, and there are fewer cashback cards available, but even if you’re only getting 0.25% I think it’s worth having one or two in your wallet. Fortunately, it’s possible to get as much as 1.25% – and more on top with introductory offers.

Cashback debit card vs credit card

In most instances the best option is the one that pays the best rate. And if you’re worried about managing a credit card it makes sense to use a debit card more.

However, there are reasons why I think it’s worth having a cashback credit card either as well or instead.

Primarily they’re handy if you are buying something that costs more than £100 and want the added consumer protection that comes with credit cards. They can also be useful abroad when hiring a car or when a hotel needs a holding deposit (though you’ll want to ensure it’s fee-free).

Points vs Cashback

There are two types of credit card which earn you money as you spend. Cashback credit cards pay you back in cold, hard cash. Well, it’s usually credit to your card, but you get to spend that as you want. 

Reward cards are slightly different as you get points, which are usually then transferred into vouchers at the linked retailer.

There are more reward and points based credit cards than ones offering actual cash, and in some cases they’re better paying. But there are some useful benefits of choosing a cashback card.

First, you can use the money you make however you wish, without being tied into spending vouchers as specific stores or airlines. Second, there’s no redemption threshold which is something you often see on reward cards (e.g. you need to earn 500 points to get a £5 voucher).

Andy’s cashback credit card rules

Below you’ll be able to read more about the best cashback credit cards. But first, a really important rule if you are using a cashback credit card.

Always pay off the balance in full every month

There’s no point using a cashback credit card if you’re going to get charged interest on your purchase. So make sure you set up a Direct Debit to clear the full balance.

If you can’t afford to do that, then a credit card probably isn’t your best option except for emergencies. I’ve written more about clearing credit card debts, so do read that.

It’s also worth doing an “eligibility check” before you apply if you can. This gives you a sense of whether you’ll be accepted, though not a guarantee.

Read more about these credit card rules here.

Best cashback debit cards

There are a handful of debit cards which offer money back on your spending. I’m not a fan of Zlitch, and I’ve not included cards which offer money back from time to time on a changing list of retailers.

Chase Bank

There’s only really one debit card that offers cashback that I’d go for and it’s Chase Bank. You’ll get 1% back on most of your purchases. Check out our full review here.

What you can earn:

  • 1% on most purchases (capped at £15 a month)

Fees, details and how to apply:

Santander Edge

You can also earn money back at supermarkets and some commuting costs (petrol, trains, buses etc) via the Santander Edge debit card. Personally I wouldn’t bother as it you won’t earn on other spending. Check out my full review here.

What you can earn:

  • 1% on supermarket and travel costs (capped at £10 a month)

Fees, details and how to apply:

Best Amex cashback credit cards

Most American Express cards will earn you points (more on these here), but there are two cards which will pay actual cash to your account.

American Express (Amex) Cashback Credit Card

Up to 1.25% back

Great for the highest cashback rates

This card will earn you 0.75% for every £1 you spent, increasing to 1.25% once your annual spend goes over £10,000.

You’ll get paid in cash rather than points for spending on this card, giving you the flexibility to use the money saved through it how you want. It’s credited to your card around your 12-month anniversary.

Though this card comes with a £25 fee, you’re able to get £20 (at the time of writing) extra back through applying for the card via cashback site Quidco.

The welcome bonus is 5% on the first £2,500 spent in the first three months, making it better than the Gold option if you don’t think you’ll spend £3,000 in that time.

What you can earn:

Fees, details and how to apply:

American Express (Amex) Cashback Everyday Credit Card

£100 bonus and up to 1% back

Good for lower spenders

Very similar to the Amex Cashback card except you get lower rates in exchange for no card fee. This could be a better option if you are likely to spend less than £5,000 a year on the card.

What you can earn:

  • 5% for the first three months (up to £2,000 spend) – worth up £100
  • 0.5% after on spend up to £10,000 – worth up to £50
  • 1% on spend over £10,000 – no cap

Fees, details and how to apply:

Read more about other American Express cashback credit cards here.

Visa cashback credit cards

There’s only one card of note issued by Visa, but it’s a good option to add to your wallet thanks to fee-free spending overseas.

Barclaycard Rewards

0.25% back

Great for regular travellers

There are a couple of benefits to this Barclaycard. First, you will earn the cashback and pay no fees on transactions abroad as well as in the UK.

Second it’s a Visa rather than Mastercard. That shouldn’t really matter, but in the past I’ve been to countries where for some reason only Visa worked.

What you can earn:

  • 0.25% on every £1 spent
  • No fees for using abroad
  • No cap on annual cashback you can earn

Fees, details and how to apply:

Mastercard cashback credit cards

Santander Edge credit card

Up to 2% back

Anyone with a Santander current account can apply for this card, which pays 2% back in year one and reduces to 1% in year two onwards.

However, there’s a £15 cap on how much you can earn each month, and a £3 monthly fee will eat into those earnings. Here’s our full analysis.

What you can earn:

  • 2% for the first year
  • 1% after

Fees, details and how to apply:

Natwest or RBS Reward credit card

Up to 1% back

If you have a Natwest or RBS Reward current account then this card is fee-free (otherwise best avoided), You’ll earn 1% back at the supermarket and 0.25% back elsewhere.

Personally, I don’t see the point as you can get 1% back at the supermarket with the Chase debit card or Amex Nectar AND other retailers.

What you can earn:

  • 1% on supermarket spending
  • 0.25% on spending elsewhere

Fees, details and how to apply:

Lloyds or Halifax cashback credit card

Up to 0.5% back

This card, available from either Lloyds or Halifax sounds good with a top rate of 0.5% – beating all the non-Amex cashback cards (though not reward cards). However you need to spend £4,000 a calendar year where you will earn 0.25% before you’ll get the increased return.

If you are using Chase or an Amex for most of your spending it means you’ll probably not spend £4,000 in a year. Full review here.

What you can earn:

  • 0.25% on the first £4,000 spent each year
  • 0.5% on spending above this

Fees, details and how to apply:

26 thoughts on “The best cashback debit and credit cards (May 2024)

  1. Algbra offers a debit card that gets you 1.5% cashback on all transactions made through Google Pay or Apple Pay. The payout can be a bit slow but it does come through!

  2. Pingback: The best travel debit and credit cards – getofficialalpilean
  3. Pingback: Amex fee refund change: what it means for you – getofficialalpilean
  4. Hi Andy

    I’m wondering why the Co-op members credit card never gets mentioned. Has 0.3% cashback on all spend so better than Barclaycard (without free oversea spend though). I’m thinking of opening one due to more ethical credentials, but don’t see it mentioned much.

  5. Hi Andy, Halifax and Lloyds don’t have the cashback credit card. Do you think the natwest platinium is a good alternative to this cards? I do spread my spending on several supermarkets, but most of them I use gift card websites (4-7% savings). It would be great to have another saving on top of those ones.

    1. what are gift card websites? thx

  6. TopCashBack with the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card is just a £5 bonus now, I’m afraid! Still going to give it a try:-)

  7. Hi Andy,
    Thank you for your useful articles. Amex is not working with Curve so I am looking for an all-round non-Amex credit card. Given that I’ve just opened Chase, cashback may not be the most important feature to me in a credit card. What is your thoughts on Santander all in on credit card?

  8. Yucando Navarrete May 12, 2021 at 9:44 am

    I was looking forward for your May update regarding credit cards. Fantastic as always!
    I’m curious about knowing your thoughts in regards to NatWest reward credit card ?

    1. Thanks Yucando! I’ll take a proper look. It could be that with the Amex Platinum cuts it’s a good all-rounder if you go to multiple supermarkets, or ones that don’t offer their own card.

  9. Re John Lewis and M&S cards: Can I pay them back in store at a till or do I have to do a direct debt? Just because it would be easier for me to go into the store and pay these cards back at a till in cash.

    1. M&S cards can be paid in stores (when open). John Lewis is via bank transfer, DD or cheque

  10. Sadly, Tandem is now closed. They have given their 3 months’ notice earlier this month and will cancel their card by Nov 2020.

    1. Yes, I ditched my card earlier this year when they started charging a fee. But it’s a shame their leaving the market.

  11. Re John Lewis Partnership Credit Card
    Just received a letter stating that the cashback is going to be ‘updated’.
    You will get 5 points with a £4 purchase at JLP and Waitrose – where you are getting 1 point for a £1 spend at the moment -, but spend in other shops is going down to 1 point for a £4 purchase. Not such a good deal any more then. This will come into effect on 4 September.

    1. Thanks Dorit, really useful to know. I’ll update the guide. Andy

  12. Yes with John Lewis you used to get a quite generous number of café vouchers for free tea or coffee and cake. Now it tends to be just one or two vouchers, and that about every four to five months it seems to me. Though of course that is suspended at the moment with Coronavirus lock down.

    I think they have also tightened up on the credit period that you could wait for before paying the bill.

    Also fully agree with paying the bill every month. Interest can certainly add up if you spend say five or six hundred pounds on the card for some capital item, and you pay it off over two or three instalments. Need to watch that.

  13. Hi Andy,
    I used your referral link and the voucher did not process so I emailed Tandem and they require your name and email before the voucher can be processed

  14. How is a tandem card better than a partnership card?
    If I spend £100 at Waitrose/John Lewis with a partnership card 1 get £1 cashback
    If I spend £100 at Waitrose /John Lewis with a tandem card I get 50p cashback

    Everywhere else they are exactly the same 0.5% cashback.

    As for using the card abroad there are no fees for using the card but you still have to pay 18.0% to get 0.5% cashback.

    Or am I missing something?

    1. Hi Richard. It’s Amex that I think is better to use at John Lewis and Waitrose as you can also get the 1% or more at lots of other places. The Tandem is my back up for those that don’t use Amex. And as long as you pay off the balance you won’t get charged any interest. If you can’t clear the balance then best to avoid credit cards in all cases but emergency (or section 75 protection).

  15. Forget cashback.Much better is to take out a succession of longterm 0% interest cards -pay only the minimum each month (by direct debit) and transfer the balances to 0% balance transfer cards that charge no transfer fee when the interest free period nears its end.Keep the amount owing in an instant access account earning 1.5% Marcus for example and the interest you earn will soon dwarf any cashback or reward scheme.I have been doing this for around three years and now have roughly £15000 “debt” earning £200+ pa. On an annual credit card spend of around £5000 that equates to an ongoing discount of around 4%

  16. With the American Express (Amex) Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card you must make purchases of at least £3000 / year “to be eligible to receive your cashback”!
    I’ll struggle to do this – recently tried to use it to pay for car insurance – not accepted of course, same story for heating oil.

    1. Hi Eric, oh that’s a shame. £3,000 a year works out as £58 a week. You should be able to use an Amex at the supermarket and most major petrol stations, which hopefully would account for the bulk of it.

      1. Can we use to pay our rent, mobile monthly charge, iCloud, and restaurants and supermarkets?
        We don’t get any fee for doing that with this one right?

        1. If the merchant accepts the card then you won’t face any extra charges (the main exception is if the transaction is treated as a cash advance e.g. if used to buy currency or at an ATM). Most landlords won’t accept credit or debit cards though.

  17. Hi Andy, Tandem say they need to know the email address used to set up your card to verify the £10 Amazon voucher referral. Can you help?


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