Cash Back FAQ

What is this?

Heart of Cash provides a tool for calculating which credit card will give you the most cash back based on your spending habits - try it now.

What if I can't pay off my card each month?

Paying interest on your balance can easily wipe out your cash back for the whole year. We recommend setting up autopay and paying the full balance every month.

If you can't reliably pay off the whole balance, you should be looking for a low APR card, NOT a high cash back card.

Do you include the annual fee in cash back?

Yes. We think our users care about net cash: how much MORE money will you have if you get the card. This is what will actually have a financial impact. When we subtract the annual fee from the cash back we call it "net cash back".

Is the annual fee worth it?

An annual fee is only worth it if it earns you you MORE than other cards, when you take the annual fee into account.

For instance, consider two cards: a 1% card with no annual fee, and a 2% card with a $95 annual fee. Which should you get?

The answer? It depends on how much you spend. It turns out, if you spend more than $19,000 per year, the 2% card will earn you more money.

Here's the math for our example:

2% of $19000 - $95 fee = $190
1% of $19000 = $190

So they make the same net cash back if you spend $19000 per year, but if you spend less you get less cash back and the annual fee card loses.

Instead of working out the math for your situation, just scroll back up and enter your spending habits. We'll calculate which card earns you the most money.

How do you compare points to dollars?

We assign a value to each point and only display the dollar amounts.

Credit card points can sometimes be redeemed for dollars, usually 1 penny per point. In that case use the redemption value of the points.

How much total cash back can I get?

This depends how much you spend. As an example, a 2% back card on a $14,000 per year credit spend would earn you $280.

It will never be worth it to spend extra money just to get the cash back.

But you are going to spend money on credit cards, and it is a little silly not to get the right card and have an extra few hundred bucks at the end of the year.

What if I don't have great credit?

You'll likely be maxing out at 1% cash back and not getting any signup bonuses. We recommending setting the "Your Credit" filter and choosing your best option. If you don't get that card, try the next one.

Getting a new credit card will increase your credit-to-debt ratio, which is the #1 thing that credit bureaus look at. After signing up for your best card and waiting a few months, check your credit score again. You may be eligible for some of the better cards.

Do you have any rotating category cards?

We don't recommend rotating category cards for several reasons:

  1. You never know if the categories will be something you spend money on. If not, you get nothing for that quarter (or a low 1% cash back which can be beat with other cards).
  2. They require too much effort to manage: you need to remember what the current categorios are, and sometimes the cash back even needs to be "activated" manually.
  3. The cash back is usually capped.

It is better to get a card that consistently gives more cash back on the things that you already spend money on, and without a cap. Scroll up and enter your spending info and we'll tell you which card that is.