These are the best UK cashback credit cards for 2021

Jul 20, 2021

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Here at TPG U.K., we love credit cards that earn points and miles. However, we also appreciate that you may just want a simple reward of straight cashback before considering diving into the world of miles and points.

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There are a number of credit cards branded with supermarkets or banks in the U.K. that offer some cashback, but the best cashback options we’ve found are generally issued by American Express.

Related: Should you choose a rewards card or a cashback card?

Best credit cards for cashback in the UK:

In This Post

What is cashback and how do cashback credit cards work?

The word cashback in relation to a credit card is a little misleading, as you don’t receive physical cashback in your hand. Instead, the concept is that you will receive some virtual cashback on every purchase you spend on the card in the form of a discount on your balance payable.

When it comes to cashback credit cards, if a card offers 3% cashback, for example, and you spent £1,000 on the card, you would receive a discount on the amount payable of £30, being 3% of the £1,000. So, your balance payable would only be £970, as you were provided with £30 as “cash” given “back” to you.

Note that you don’t receive an instant discount on the purchase price of items you pay for with a cashback card (i.e. the retailer won’t reduce the price on the spot). Rather, the amount owing at the end of your statement period will be reduced by the cashback offer on your card.

(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)

The Platinum Cashback Credit Card From American Express UK

The Platinum Cashback credit card does have an annual fee of £25, however, it offers a generous introductory cashback offer of 5% on purchases up to £125 total in the first three months of card membership. If you’re able to maximise the welcome bonus offer of 5% back, you can cover the annual fee several times over.

After the first three months, until 3 August 2021, you’ll receive 1% cashback on up to £10,000 in purchases each year, with this rate increasing to 1.25% for total spend over £10,000, which is unlimited.

From 4 August onwards, you’ll receive 0.75% cashback on up to £10,000 in purchases each year, with this rate increasing to 1.25% for total spend over £10,000, which is unlimited.

Say you spend the £2,500 in the first three months and then a further £20,000 over the other nine months of your card membership year, you would receive £350 in total cashback (being £125 + £100 + £125).

That’s an amazing return for a £25 annual fee card. But like other Amex cards, you’ll be hit with a 2.99% foreign transaction fee on international purchases, which is higher than the value of the cashback you would receive (outside of the welcome bonus 5% amount). Keep this fee in mind if you are using this card for foreign purchases.

As you’re earning straight cashback rather than loyalty points, you’ll receive a discount on your balance each month. There’s no hassle in trying to redeem any benefit — it’s automatically done for you.

You can read a full review of this card including its travel benefits and representative example here.

The Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card From American Express UK

Despite its platinum name, the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card is marketed towards those looking for simple cashback rewards combined with no annual fee.

You’ll receive 5% cashback on all purchases (up to £100 in total) made during your first three months after you activate the card. You would need to spend £2,000 in that period to receive the full £100 cashback

After the first three months of card membership (where you’ll earn the 5% cashback discussed above), until 3 August 2021, you’ll then earn:

  • 0.5% cashback for the first £5,000 spent on purchases; and
  • 1.0% cashback after that first £5,000, with no limits.

From 4 August 2021, the 0.5% cashback will be on spend up to £10,000, with the 1.0% cashback on spend above £10,000.

There’s no annual fee, so provided you’re able to spend the full £2,000 in the first three months, you’ll come out £100 in front. There’s a 2.99% foreign transaction fee for any purchases in foreign currencies, which is much higher than the cashback you would receive. Because of that, you may wish to avoid using this when travelling, if possible.

This card also comes with the following perks:

  • You can opt to have free supplementary cards for any close family and friends in order to maximise your cashback.
  • There’s travel accident insurance for up to £150,000 for public transport when you use the card to purchase that transport.
  • Global Assist 24/7 assistance when you are travelling abroad.
  • Purchase and refund protection for eligible items (conditions apply).

You can read a full review of this card including its travel benefits and representative example here.

(Photo by Katleho Seisa / Getty Images)
(Photo by Katleho Seisa/Getty Images)

Bottom line

If you’re in the market for a credit card and cashback is your preferred reward of choice, there are some lucrative products on the market.

The Platinum Cashback cards from Amex could give you some great value — especially if you’re able to maximise their welcome offers.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.