Ipsos Highlights American’s Shift to Cash Back Rewards

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When it comes to credit card rewards, cash back is king. New data from Ipsos is highlighting the appeal of cash back credit cards as businesses and consumers continue to feel the pinch of rising inflation. Here is everything you need to know about the latest insights into the U.S. economy and how Americans are trying to cope.

Ipsos Study Highlights Consumers’ Inflation Concerns

Though inflation is not at the peak levels it reached in earlier months, it’s still higher than many are comfortable with. A new study from multinational market research and consulting firm, Ipsos, is highlighting the struggles faced by millions of Americans as the holiday season approaches.

The findings indicate that a majority of Americans are continuing to feel the pinch everywhere as prices remain high, from gas to groceries to electric bills. According to the research, roughly one in three Americans reports being unable to afford basics like gas and food. 60% of respondents say they put something back on the shelf because it was too expensive, while around 25% have gotten a past-due notice for a bill they couldn’t pay.

The Ipsos study also shows that most consumers still believe prices are rising, leading to worries about the affordability of the fast-approaching holiday season – a critical time of the year for retail, travel, hospitality, and other industries.

Cash Back Is Still King

To help offset the pain of inflation, many consumers are turning to a simple credit card perk—cash back rewards. New data from Chase Bank highlights a shift towards this reward category:

  • 45% of all Ultimate Rewards points redeemed by Chase branded cardmembers (across Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink cards) in 2023 were for cash back.
  • In the past 12 months, these Chase cardmembers redeemed 429 billion Ultimate Rewards points for cash back worth more than $4 billion.
  • Cash back is the most common point-redemption category (compared to travel, gift cards, and other categories such as transferring points).

The trend towards cash back isn’t exclusively consumer-driven, either. More small businesses are turning to cash back to shore up finances and keep costs down. According to Chase, over 40% of redemptions with Chase Ink business cards are for cash back.

But why cash back?

Cash back rewards are extremely versatile thanks to a large number of redemption options available. Unlike other reward types, such as travel miles or points, cash back can be used for almost any expense. While options may vary depending on the bank and card issuer, cash back applies to the following:

Statement credit Check Gift cards
Direct deposit Merchandise Travel

Even better, there is likely a cash back card that fits your spending profile and rewards goals. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the varied categories in which top cash back cards earn rewards:

Groceries Gas Dining
Entertainment Streaming Travel
Transit/Commuting Store Crypto

It is this flexibility that allows consumers to address the rising costs of goods and services due to inflation.

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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