Which are the best cashback credit cards UK? Earn while you spend (October 2021)

10 min Read Published: 03 Oct 2021

Which are the best cashback cards UKWhat is a cashback credit card?

A cashback credit card, as the name suggests, rewards cardholders by giving them a certain percentage of the spending on the card back. This means, in theory, the more you spend on the card, the more you will receive as a lump sum into your account, either monthly or annually. If you use the card for your day-to-day spending, don't overspend and pay the balance off in full each month so you don't have to pay any interest, a cashback credit card can be a good way of earning a bonus from your normal spending.

Cashback deals have become less generous over recent years and these cards also often charge an annual fee, which means it is important to shop around to find one that offers good value. It's also worth noting there is no guarantee the card you take out will maintain the cashback rate it initially offers. Indeed, many credit card companies, including American Express, have started to cut their cashback rates.

Which are the best cashback credit cards? - October 2021

Below we highlight our current favourite cashback credit cards in the UK. We assess the cards based not only on any introductory cashback offers, but also on the ongoing cashback rate. We also look at other factors, including any annual fee on the card, the APR and any other perks or benefits. 

Card name  APR Annual fee  Cashback rate Cashback on annual spend of £5000
 

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday 

24.5% variable £0 5% (up to £100) in the first three months.

Ongoing rate of 0.5% up to £10,000 per year, 1% over £10,000

£25 (after introductory offer)
 

Santander All in One

23.7% variable £36 0.5% £25
 

Barclaycard Rewards

22.9% variable £0 0.25% £12.50
 

Smile Classic

19.9% variable £0 0.25% £12.50
 

AIB Platinum 

17.0% variable £0 0.5% on spending over 5,000 EUR in a 12 month period 25 EUR

 

List of best UK cashback credit cards

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday 

  • Cashback offer: 5% cashback on purchases (up to £100) in the first three months. From 4 August 2021, the ongoing cashback rate is 0.5% on spending up to £10,000 per year and 1% over £10,000
  • Representative APR: 24.5% variable
  • Annual fee: £0
  • Why we like it: Even though the cashback rate has become less generous - before 4 August, 1% was offered on spend over £5,000 per year - it is still one of the most competitive cards on the market. The bonus with this card compared with others in the Amex stable is there is no annual fee.

 

Santander All in One Credit Card Santander All in One

  • Cashback offer: 0.5% cashback on all purchases, plus up to 15% cashback with certain retailers as part of the Retail Offers scheme
  • Representative APR: 23.7% variable
  • Annual fee: £36
  • Why we like it: With 26 months interest free on balance transfers and 20 months on purchases, as well as no foreign transaction fees on purchases in local currency, there is a lot to like about this card, not just the cashback.

 

Barclaycard Rewards credit card Barclaycard Rewards

  • Cashback offer: 0.25% cashback on purchases
  • Representative APR: 22.9% variable
  • Annual fee: £0
  • Why we like it: As well as the cashback, cardholders are also eligible for Barclaycard Entertainment discounts and priority access to tickets.

 

Smile Classic credit card Smile Classic

  • Cashback offer: 0.25% cashback on purchases
  • Representative APR: 19.9% variable
  • Annual fee: £0
  • Why we like it: Unlike some cards, if you are accepted for this card, you are guaranteed to get the advertised APR

 

AIB Platinum credit card AIB Platinum 

  • Cashback offer: 0.5% on spending over 5,000 EUR in a 12 month period, up to 225 EUR
  • Representative APR: 17.0% variable
  • Annual fee: £0
  • Why we like it: A competitive cashback deal for existing AIB current account holders

When is cashback paid?

Whether you are paid your cashback monthly or annually will depend on the individual card company, so it is worth checking the terms and conditions before you take out the card. The amount due will be based on your total spending on the card, minus any items that have been returned and the money refunded back onto the card.

How to make the most of your cashback credit card

A cashback credit card only really works if you view it as a nice, additional bonus on the spending you would have done anyway. Spending money in order to boost your cashback can quickly lead to overspending and accumulating unnecessary debt. That said, prudent use of a cashback card can be enhanced by:

Using the cashback card for all your daily spending

By opting to use your cashback card for all of your day-to-day spending, including groceries, fuel and online shopping, rather than cash, debit card or alternative credit card, you can maximise the cashback you'll receive.  The added benefit of using your cashback card rather than cash or a debit card is the fact you'll also receive section 75 protection on purchases over £100. For more details on section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, read our explainer.

Add additional cards to your account

Some credit card companies provide complimentary additional cards to your account, which can be used, for example, by your partner or child over the age of 18. All of their spending will be added to your cashback calculation, boosting the total amount you'll receive. Keep in mind you will be responsible for the spending on the card, making the repayments and ensuring all cards on the account stay within the agreed credit limit.

Make a note of bonus days

Some providers will offer days throughout the year where they will increase the cashback rate for a limited period. American Express, for example, has a Shop Small initiative, which encourages cardholders to shop in participating small retailers. This sometimes includes days or weeks where you can earn extra cashback or other rewards. By diarising when these days are going to happen and waiting until then to do your shopping, you can make the most of the cashback offer.

Advantages of cashback credit cards

  • You can earn money as you spend, which is great for essential day-to-day purchases
  • Some cards offer other perks in addition to the cashback, including interest-free periods on balance transfers or purchases
  • As well as cashback, you may be able to access discounts at certain retailers, priority access to tickets for gigs and concerts or discounts on events

Disadvantages of cashback credit cards

  • Cashback cards often attract an annual fee, which offsets some of the cashback you receive
  • These cards can encourage additional spending if you're not careful. If you don't pay it off in full each month, you can quite quickly and easily spiral into debt
  • The cashback deals can be cut and, indeed, this is something that has happened more frequently in recent years

Alternatives to cashback credit cards

If you are loyal to a particular retailer, a rewards credit card may be a better choice for you. They tend to offer points on spending on the card, which can then be redeemed as a voucher. For our top picks of rewards credit cards, read our article "Compare the best cashback and reward credit cards".

In addition to cashback credit cards, there are also dedicated cashback websites, such as TopCashback , which pass on commission from retailers on the spending you do. This can include fashion and homeware, but also mobile phones, home insurance and car hire. You can also opt to raise money for good causes through your spending with sites such as easyfundraising.

Is a cashback credit card right for me?

Cashback credit cards tend to only be available to those with a good credit history, so if you have a chequered financial history and an impaired credit score, you may not be accepted. It's wise to use an online eligibility checker before completing a full application as this will give you a good idea of whether you are likely to be approved for the card, without it leaving a hard footprint on your credit file.

If you are accepted, provided you use the card responsibly and pay the balance off in full each month, cashback credit cards provide an easy way to earn money back on your spending.