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Best Cash Back Credit Card? It Ain’t the Apple Card. Try This No Annual Fee Card Instead

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Best Cash Back Credit Card? It Ain’t the Apple Card. Try This No Annual Fee Card Instead

Jason StaufferBest Cash Back Credit Card? It Ain’t the Apple Card. Try This No Annual Fee Card InsteadMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

INSIDER SECRET: Cash back is a simple and easy to use reward, but earning transferable bank points can be much more rewarding because it gives you the flexibility to take advantage of the best miles and points sweet spots.

After a long wait the Apple card is open for business, and while it has the sleek design you’d expect from an Apple product, it isn’t exactly the best cash-back credit card out there. Not only does the card have no intro bonus, it only earn bonus cash back on Apple purchases or purchases made with Apple Pay. You’ll only earn a piddly 1% back on all other purchases.

If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee credit card that earns cash back, you have all sorts of other options, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Best Cash Back Credit Card Alternatives to the Apple Card

With the Apple card you’ll earn cash back at the following rates:

  • 3% back on Apple purchases made directly with Apple
  • 3% back on Uber and UberEATS purchases
  • 2% back on Apply Pay purchases
  • 1% back on everything else

The Apple Pay bonus category sounds more useful than it is. Apply Pay is only available on a limited number of sites, and to use Apple Pay in a store there needs to be a special contactless card reader. With the Apple card most people will end up only earning 1% cash back on most everyday purchases. On top of that, you need to own a compatible iPhone (must support Apply Pay) with the latest version of iOS installed just to be able to apply for the Apple card.

Compare that to the Capital One SavorOne card which comes with a $150 intro bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, With the SavorOne card, you’ll earn cash back at the following rates:

  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, including restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries, movie theaters, sports promoters, professional and semi-professional live events, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores (supermarkets, meat lockers, freezers, dairy product stores and specialty markets; superstores like Walmart and Target are excluded)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Update: In order to earn 3% back at Uber or UberEATS you need to pay through Apple Pay.

The average person will spend far more in a year on dining, entertainment and grocery stores than at Apple, Uber or with Apple Pay. On top of that, with the Capital One SavorOne’s bonus you’ll start out $150 ahead. While the Apple card earns 2% more on Apple (and Uber) purchases than the Capital One SavorOne card (3% back vs. 1% back), with the Apple card you’d have to spend $7,500 directly with Apple or Uber the first year to make up $150 difference. No thanks.

For more details check out our full Capital One SavorOne credit card review.

Personally, I’ll stick with using my Chase Freedom Unlimited card for most of my everyday purchases. It earn 1.5% cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Normally, the points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited card are worth only 1 cent each, but I can pool the points I earn onto my Chase Sapphire Reserve®. That means they instantly become worth 50% more (1.5 cents each) for travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal. So I’m basically earning 2.25% in travel rewards on every purchase I make with my Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

You could even earn more with the Citi® Double Cash Card, which earns 2% cash back on all purchases (1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when you pay your bill). So you’ve got plenty of better options than the Apple card.

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Featured image by ESB Professional/Shutterstock.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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