Last Updated on 5 May 2021 by Dan
Hello everyone! This article continues our series looking at the best credit cards available in the UK by looking at the fantastic option of the Cashback credit card. This is the option I actually carry myself and think is the most rewarding choice available right now for those in a good financial position.
These have the same notes of caution as the rewards credit cards:
These cards are not for you if you cannot pay these off in full each month, as they tend to attract higher interest payments than other cards.
If you don’t meet either of these two buckets, I recommend having a look at our article on what type of credit cards you should go for and match your profile.
You also generally need to have a good credit history for these cards as restrictions are tighter – you should always complete a free eligibility check on the issuers website before applying so as not to dent your credit history if you get rejected.
How UK Cashback Credit Cards work
A cashback credit card is quite simple really – every time you spend a £ on your credit card, the card issuer gives a small percentage of your spend back to you. Fundamentally, they’re taking some of the fees and charges that would be passed on to the merchant and giving it to you instead.
As a result this is a great way of getting a little something back on spending you’re carrying anyhow. If you simply care about minimising your costs, these are great options – if you’re after something more tangible for your spending you might want to look at our recent article on the best rewards credit cards.
One distinction that needs to be made on the cashback cards is that your cashback is not paid as you go, but rather appears at the end of each membership year. Therefore you may need to go beyond a year to claim it, which might be a concern on the Platinum card below which charges a fee.
In practice American Express only charge for cards on a pro-rata basis so holding it an extra month will cost you a couple of pounds, but won’t rack up any significant fees.
Best UK Cashback Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses
Many of the cards below are American Express, and offer a very significant welcome bonus on signing up. Generally speaking these involve hitting a spending target in the first three months of card ownership, and vary depending on the card you pick.
13.04.21 Update: American Express are offering temporary further boosts to what you receive from a referral signup until the 12th May, so it’s absolutely worth doing via this route.
There are some restrictions, in that you cannot have had an American Express issued card (it’s fine if you’ve had an Amex card from other provider) in the past two years. You can still get the card, just not the signup bonus.
How to get the Best UK American Express signup bonus
The best way to sign up for an American Express card is through their refer a friend/family member scheme, because you’ll get an even larger signup bonus than if you did it direct – plus your friend or family member will get something as well! Please note that the 2 year restriction on receiving a signup bonuses does still apply.
If you have a family or friend with an American Express card that can do this then you should ask them if you can do it via them.
When you click this you’ll see you’ve been recommended for the Platinum Cashback Card which is what I use – but if you just click “view other cards” you can select the one you’re after and will get the extra referral bonus.
What is the best Cashback Credit Card in the UK?
With only two best in class options on offer it’s pretty clear cut – the Platinum Cashback Card is likely to offer the best rewards rate for those spending over £10,000.
For those spending under £10,000 the lack of an annual fee means the Platinum Cashback every day is likely to be more rewarding, as you don’t gain enough extra benefit to offset that cost. More details on both cards are below.
Our pick of the best UK Cashback Credit Cards:
All information is correct as of last update on 05.05.2021. We’ll do our best to keep our information up to date, but details can change all the time so you should double check this yourself.
The Financial Wilderness may also receive a small payout if you make a purchase through a link on this site. It won’t affect the service you receive and we recommend only what we honestly believe to be the best available, not what gives us commission. You can read more about our affiliate policy on our disclaimers page.
Best UK Cashback Credit Card for those spending over £10,000 per year:
American Express Platinum Cashback Card
Representative APR: 27.3% APR Variable
Annual Fee: £25 per year
Signup Bonus: 5% cashback on every £ spent on the card for the first three months, up until the point of racking up £125 of cashback (I.E spending £2,500)
Earnings Rate: 1% cashback on all spending up until £10,000, and 1.25% cashback on spend over £10,000. (However: See important note below on upcoming changes!)
The Wilderness Verdict:
Even when I put this next to some of the best rewards credit cards such as the BA Premium Plus the rewards earnings rate is excellent, at least matching the average 1p per £ value of an Avios point (and not having the rather large card fee that comes with that BA card).
Ok, cashback isn’t as fun as getting a reward, but especially during that initial 6 month period the 5% return gives you a very healthy initial bonus – fundamentally you’re being paid £125 for an amount of spending which is not too difficult to rack up in a six month period, even in present times.
As a result, this is the card I carry and will likely continue to carry unless I’m wowed by a fantastic signup bonus elsewhere in the market, or something else can beat it in terms of the ongoing earnings rate.
Until then, I think this is the best and most rewarding credit card available in the market today.
I’ve listed this card as being best for those earning above £10,000 as that’s where the benefits from the extra bits of cashback exceed the £25 you pay as the card fee. If you’re going to fall beneath this, the Everyday card below is a better shout.
Best UK Cashback Credit Card for those spending under £10,000 per year:
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
Representative APR: 22.2% APR Variable
Annual Fee: None
Signup Bonus: 5% cashback on every £ spent on the card for the first three months, up until the point of racking up £100 of cashback (I.E spending £2,000)
Earnings Rate: 0.5% cashback on all spending up until £5,000, and 1% cashback on spend over £5,000. (However: See important note below on upcoming changes!)
The Wilderness Verdict:
This is to all intents and purposes exactly the same card as the above – with slightly reduced earnings rates but still very rewarding.
The signup bonus remains extremely generous considering this is a free card, and is effectively a free £100.
Where this one is a little more challenging is the ongoing rewards. For big spenders the Platinum card above is a very clear winner – with this one it generally wins but it might be worth considering against some of the benefits of the reward credit cards to consider if it’s right for you.
I do believe that for most people, the saving benefits still outweigh any of the rewards cards and rack up.
Upcoming changes to American Express Cashback Cards:
Unfortunately, American Express has announced some upcoming changes which will reduce the rate of earnings slightly on both cashback credit cards from the 4th August 2021.
In the case of the American Express Platinum Cashback Card, the earnings on the first £10,000 of spend will drop from 1% to 0.75%.
In the case of the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card, the 0.5% cashback will move from applying to the first £10,000 rather than £5,000, before the advanced rate kicks in.
This is unfortunate – whilst in purely financial terms the change doesn’t make a huge financial different, it changes these cards from being best in class to being simply good. We’re not adjusting our review until we see if American Express make further changes elsewhere, and the impressive signup bonus means both these cards are well worth still considering.
Other UK Cashback Credit Card Options:
It’s basically American Express or nothing in this space at the moment. There’s a Barclaycard Rewards one as well, but it offers a pretty paltry 0.25% cashback so I haven’t recommended it here. (It does have the advantage of being a Visa though, so if you’re in an area that doesn’t generally take American Express…)
Other articles in the Credit Card series:
- What type of credit card is best for you?
- The best reward credit cards in the UK
- The best 0% interest credit cards in the UK
- The best credit cards for low scorers in the UK
There’s lots to consider with credit cards, and there’s often no true best option as it simply depends how you’ll use the card. If you have any further questions, please just leave a comment below!