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Cashback credit cards in Australia

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Written By Sean Callery

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Reviewed by Shaun McGowan

Compare credit cards with up to $600 cashback. Cashbacks can be an ongoing or a one-off bonus – we help you decide which will be best for you.

Cashback credit cards in Australia

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Written By Sean Callery

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Reviewed by Shaun McGowan

Compare credit cards with up to $600 cashback. Cashbacks can be an ongoing or a one-off bonus – we help you decide which will be best for you.

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Rates updated 18 June 2024

Should you get a cashback credit card?

Credit cards that offer cashback can be a nice way of getting a more direct benefit from your card. Credit cards more commonly offer indirect benefits like rewards points where it can be difficult to measure the value of what you’re getting.

A card offering cold, hard cashback is in many cases a more straightforward proposition.

That’s the theory anyway. In reality, the cashback almost always comes with strings attached. Cashback also tends to be a one-off offer designed as an incentive to get you to sign up for the card. Once you’ve signed up and got your bonus, the cash only goes in one direction.

For example, only five of the cashback credit cards that Money.com.au analysed (listed above) have the cashback built in as an ongoing feature of the card. All the others (80% of the cards) offer cash back as a one-off incentive.

Deciding if a cashback credit card is worth it for you

A cashback credit card might suit if:

  • You prefer the simplicity of getting cash into your account instead of rewards points.
  • You’ve worked out that cashback is going to be worth more to you than points.
  • You’re aware that the cashback offer may be a one-time sign up bonus.
  • You’ve checked the other T&Cs and the eligibility criteria (e.g. minimum spend) and are confident you’ll easily qualify for the cashback.
  • You pay off your credit card in full every month (otherwise you may want to consider a low rate card).
  • You have compared cards and found a cashback credit card that is overall good value and suits your needs.

A cashback credit card may not suit if:

  • You’ll need to spend more than you otherwise would to qualify for the cashback.
  • You will have a revolving balance on the card. Interest could easily cancel out any cashback you earn.
  • You want a card with ongoing rewards (most cashback cards offer cash as a one-off bonus).
  • You could get better value from a rewards credit card offering points.
  • The card has a high annual fee. The cashback could well be a one off, but the fee won't be.
  • Other aspects of the card mean it’s not great value overall (e.g international credit card fees if you spend overseas regularly).

Expert tip: Rewards credit cards are essentially the same as cashback cards

Brad Kelly, Payment Services

Brad Kelly, Credit Cards Expert

"If you’re earning credit card points, you essentially have a cashback card. That's because rewards points are redeemable for gift cards, which is as good as cash. Some rewards cards will give you sign up points you can redeem for a few hundred dollars worth of gift cards, and then an ongoing points per dollar which you can cash in when you have enough built up."

Brad Kelly, Credit Cards Expert

What kind of cashback credit card is best?

Because of the different ways credit card companies structure their offers, some credit cards advertised as a ‘cashback credit card’ have very little in common with each other.

There are also cards that are not advertised as offering cashback cards, that essentially do offer cashback.

Confused? You needn’t be. To help you decide which cashback credit card (if any) may be best for you, below we explain the different types of cashback credit cards and what they offer.

What kind of cashback credit card is best?

Because of the different ways credit card companies structure their offers, some credit cards advertised as a ‘cashback credit card’ have very little in common with each other.

There are also cards that are not advertised as offering cashback cards, that essentially do offer cashback.

Confused? You needn’t be. To help you decide which cashback credit card (if any) may be best for you, below we explain the different types of cashback credit cards and what they offer.

Credit cards with ongoing cashback

You get a percentage of your spending returned to your card as cashback. The cashback is an ongoing feature of the card so you continue to get money back while you have the card. The cashback you get may be capped at a certain $ amount per year.

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Credit cards with cashback as a sign up offer

The cashback is a one-off bonus and there is usually a minimum spend requirement in order to be eligible. You'll either get all the cash back in one go or it may be paid out in instalments per month if you meet the spend requirement that month.

Credit cards offering credits (gift vouchers)

Some cards offer rewards that are similar to cash. For example, it might be a card offering a credit or voucher to use at a particular chain or retailers, restaurants or travel provider. This is common on higher end credit cards (e.g. American Express cards).

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Credit cards allowing you to convert points for cash

These cards also don’t offer cashback directly. But if you earn rewards points, chances are you’ll be able to convert those points to gift cards or cash credited to your credit card account (e.g. to help pay off your balance or cover the card's annual fee).

How will the cashback actually work on my credit card?

1

Pick a cashback type that suits

Depending on the card, you’ll earn cash either as a sign up bonus, or on an ongoing basis based on how much you spend.

2

Meet the spend requirement

There are usually minimum spend requirements and/or caps on how much you can earn per year in cashback.

3

Watch out for excluded spending

Not all spending on your credit card will count towards earning cashback. The likes of cash withdrawals and paying for credit card interest and fees may be excluded.

4

Cashback is credited to your card

If you meet the spend criteria, the cashback will be credited to your credit card account, either in one amount or monthly as you earn it.

5

You still need to make the minimum repayment

Even if your credit card account is credited with cashback, this usually doesn't count towards the minimum repayment on your account. You will need to pay that yourself separately.

6

Be sure to keep up with your repayments

You may not get any cashback if you are behind on your credit card payments.

Are cashback credit cards more expensive?

Cashback credit cards aren’t necessarily more expensive than other types of cards. In fact, a lot of cashback credit cards are relatively simple products. With credit cards, simple often means cheaper.

Money.com.au’s analysis showed cashback credit cards on average have an annual fee of $109, compared to around $135 on average for all credit cards.

Just remember, if the cashback is a one-off bonus for signing up for the card, this may not ultimately be as valuable as a card offering ongoing rewards. Even if that card has a higher fee.

If you're not a big spender, pay off your balance in full every month and want to minimise fees, a credit card with no annual fee is another option to consider.

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Written by

Sean Callery

Sean Callery is the Editor of Money.com.au. He has over 15 years of international experience. He is qualified with a Certificate IV in Finance and Mortgage Broking (FNS40821) and is compliant to provide general advice in Tier 1 General Insurance (RG 146) products.

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Reviewed by

Shaun McGowan

Shaun McGowan is the founder of Money.com.au. He's determined to help people and businesses pay as little as possible for financial products, through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.

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