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Consumer Reports Best Cash Back Credit Cards 2012

Consumer Reports: Top Picks For Cash Back Cards

The hunt for the perfect cash back credit card can be overwhelming. There are so many choices out there that it's hard to pick the right one that fits your lifestyle. Consumer Reports has made the search easier by doing the research for us. It recently analyzed 53 credit cards to find the best ones to suit people's needs. For those looking for a cash back credit card, these are the top picks based on a family spending $400 a month on gas, $600 on groceries, and $1,000 elsewhere:

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

  • APR rate: The APR rate is zero percent for 12 months, then 17.24 percent, 20.24 percent, or 22.24 percent after that.
  • Sign-up bonus: $150 bonus after spending $1,000 in first three months.
  • Rewards potential: Consumer Reports estimates you can earn up to $770 in 12 months, $1,390 in 24 months, and $2,010 in 36 months
  • Cash back highlights: Six percent back at US supermarkets, three percent back on gas and at department stores, 1 percent back other purchases.
  • Fees: $75 annual fee.
  • To note: There is a no annual fee version called the American Express Blue Cash Everyday, but it pays out lower rewards.

Fidelity Rewards American Express

  • APR rate: The APR rate is 14 percent
  • Sign-up bonus: None.
  • Rewards potential: Consumer Reports estimates you can earn up to $480 in 12 months, $960 in 24 months, and $1,440 in 36 months
  • Cash back highlights: Two percent back on all purchases.
  • Fees: No annual fee.
  • To note: You have to have a Fidelity IRA, brokerage account, or 529 savings plan to qualify.

Read on for another great cash back credit card option.

Capital One Cash Credit Card

  • APR rate: The APR rate is zero percent until August 2013, and 12.9 percent to 20.9 percent after that
  • Sign-up bonus: $100 bonus after spending $500 in first three months
  • Rewards potential: Consumer Reports estimates you can earn up to $460 in 12 months, $820 in 24 months, and $1,180 in 36 months
  • Cash back highlights: One percent back on all purchases, and a 50 percent cash back on the rewards you've earned every year. The 50 percent cash back is equivalent to a 1.5 percent back on all purchases.
  • Fees: No annual fee.
  • To note: There is no foreign-transaction fee.
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