Published on May 27th, 2014 | by William Charles24
5%+ Cash Back Credit Cards
This post contains a list of credit cards that earn 5% or more in cash back, we’ve broken it down into personal & business credit cards.
- 1 Personal Cards
- 2 Business Cards
- 3 Limited Time Cards
- 4 Which 5% Cash Back Card Is Best?
One of the most well known 5% cash back cards, the Discover it has rotating 5% categories. You are required to sign up for these categories each quarter and you’re limited to earning 5% back on the first $1,500 spend in participating categories each quarter (maximum of $75 cash back).
|2018||Gas Stations & Wholesale Clubs||Grocery Stores||Restaurants||Amazon & Wholesale Clubs|
|2017||Gas Stations, Ground Transportation & Wholesale Clubs||Home Improvement & Wholesale Clubs||Restaurants. Some cardholders targeted for Amazon||Amazon and Target|
|2016||Gas and Ground Transportation||Restaurants & Movies||Amazon, Home Improvement||Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Department Stores|
|2015||Gas Stations & Ground Transportation||Summer Spruce Up?||Home Improvement Stores, Department Stores, and Amazon.com||Amazon, department stores, and clothing stores|
|2014||Restaurants and Movies||Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond||Gas stations||Department Stores and Online Shopping|
|2013||Restaurants and Movies||Home Improvement Stores||Gas stations||Online Shopping|
|2012||Gas stations, Movie theaters and Museums||Restaurants and Movies||Gas stations, Movies and Theme parks||Department Stores and Online Shopping|
|2011||Travel and Restaurants||Home and Fashion||Gas, Hotels, Movies and Theme Parks||Restaurants and Fashion|
This card has two main selling points: it comes with a free TransUnion FICO score & the Discover shopping portal typically has higher than normal cash back rates.
Chase is another 5% rotating cash back card, you’re required to sign up for these categories every quarter and earn 5% on the first $1,500 of purchases per quarter in participating categories. They usually offer very similar categories to Discover, which is frustrating for those who have both cards.
|2017||Gas Stations, Local Commuter Transportation||Grocery Stores & Drugstores||Restaurants & Movie Theaters||Walmart & Department Stores|
|2016||Gas and local commuter transportation||Grocery Stores & Wholesale Clubs||Restaurants & Wholesale Clubs||Drugstores, Department Stores & Wholesale Clubs|
|2015||Grocery Stores, Movie Theatres And Starbucks stores||Restaurants, Overstock.com, H&M, Bed Bath & Beyond||Gas stations, Kohl’s||Amazon.com, Audible.com, Zappos.com, Diapers.com|
|2014||Gas stations, Movie Theaters, Starbucks Stores||Restaurants, Lowe’s home improvement stores||Gas stations, Kohl’s||Amazon, Zappos & select department stores|
|2013||Restaurants & Movies||Home improvement stores||Gas stations||Online shopping|
|2012||Gas stations,Amazon.com||Grocery Stores, Movie Theaters||Gas Stations, Restaurants||Hotels, Airlines, Best Buy, Kohls|
|2011||Grocery Stores, Drug Stores||Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Home Furnishings||Gas, Hotels, Airlines||Dining, Department Stores, Movies, Charity|
The main advantage of the Chase Freedom is that you can transfer your cash back into Chase UR points (which can then be transferred to multiple airline or hotel partners) as long as you hold a credit card that offers Chase UR points (Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus).
Chase also offers a relationship bonus where you can earn an additional 10% on all cash back earned (making this card earn 5.5% back) when you also have a Chase checking account opened. Chase regularly has sign up bonuses for these accounts, click here to see if they currently do. The Freedom currently comes with a $100 sign up bonus, but this regularly gets bumped up to $200.
U.S Bank Cash+
This card is unique in the 5% cash back category as it allows you to choose two different cash back categories out of a possible twelve. They are as follows:
- Cell Phone
- Department stores
- Electronic Stores
- Fast food
- Furniture Stores
- Car Rental
- Movie Theaters
- Gym/Fitness Centers
- Sporting Good Stores
These categories sometimes change, you can view an up to date list through the demo found here. You have to choose these categories every quarter (so no setting and forgetting) and it’s limited to the first $2,000 in purchases per quarter (maximum of $100 in cash back).
You also get to choose a 2% cash back category, there are a total of three to choose from: gas stations, grocery stores & drug stores. These 2% categories are fairly worthless as you’re able to get better cash back rates with other cards. All other purchases earn a flat 1% cash back.
This card doesn’t come with a sign up bonus, although it is possible to sign up for a different U.S bank credit card (e.g FlexPerks) which does come with a sign up bonus and then downgrade to this card. I’ve only seen people do this who have held their previous card for 6 months+, so it’s only worth doing this if you’ll earn less than this from the cash+ card.
You do earn a $25 bonus when you redeem more than $100 in a single redemption, but there is a limit on this of one per year.
PenFed Cash Rewards
This card earns 3% on all gas purchases, but it can earn 5% on gas purchases if you have the Plus version of the card. To get this you need to have at least one qualifying product with PenFed.
The Citi Dividend also has rotating categories, but things work a little bit differently. Rather than having a maximum limit of $1,500 in purchases per quarter (max of $75 in cash back per quarter) they instead having a limit of $6,000 per year (max of $300 in cash back per year).
This means if there is a category you spend a lot in, you can take full advantage of it and hit the $300 limit in a single quarter. This gives it a bit more flexibility compared to the other cards with rotating categories and especially useful when there is an opportunity for manufactured spending. It also currently comes with a $100 sign up bonus when you spend $500 within three months.
|2017||Home Depot & Home Furnishing Stores||Drugstores & Fitness Clubs||Airlines and Hilton||Best Buy & Department Stores|
|2016||Drug Stores & Fitness Clubs||Car Rentals & Hilton|
|2015||Macy’s & Home Furnishing Stores||Hilton & Airlines||Best Buy, Department Stores|
One downside to this card is that you have to redeem in multiples of $25.
Fort Knox Credit Union
This card has no annual fee and earns a flat 5% cash back on all gas purchases. It earns 1% on all other purchases. There is no limits on the amount you can earn which makes it perfect if you have a lot of gas spend. It was rated our #1 card for gas purchases.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred
This card doesn’t actually earn 5% in any categories, but it does 1% better and earns 6% on all grocery store purchases. You’re limited to $6,000 in purchases per year ($360 cash back) and it has an annual fee of $75, which makes it actually earn 4.75% cash back if you max it out every year.
Old American Express Blue Cash
This card isn’t directly available on the American Express website, this link should work (non-affiliate). This card earns 5% in the following categories: U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations & select U.S. drugstores and 1% on all other purchases but only after you’ve spent $6,500 in spend. Before that it earns 1% on gas stations/drugstores/supermarkets & 0.5% on all other purchases. It does not have an annual fee, this makes it one of the most powerful cards for manufactured spending.
NMEFCU 5% Cash Back Card
This card earns 5% cash back on rotating categories like the Discover it & Chase Freedom cards on the first $1,500 in purchases in those categories per quarter. Here are what the categories are this year and were in 2014.
|2018||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2017||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2016||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2015||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2014||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
Chase Ink Plus/Ink Bold & Ink Cash
These three cards are business cards offered by Chase, which makes it slightly more difficult but not impossible for individuals to get. These cards earn 5 chase UR points (5% cash for the cash card) on all office supply stores cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services. There is a limit of $50,000 in purchases per year (250,000 points/$2,500 cash).
The Plus/Bold cards currently come with a 60,000 point sign up bonus (usually 50,000 points) after $5,000 in spend they also have a $95 annual fee which is waived for the first year. The Cash card comes with a $300 cash bonus (usually $200).
American Express SimplyCash
This card earns 5% cash back on U.S based office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchase directly from U.S service providers. It also lets you choose your own 3% cash back category out of the following: hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels, car rentals purchased from select car rental companies, U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, and U.S. purchases for shipping. Unlike the Chase business cards there is no annual fee. It’s previously had a sign up bonus of $250, but currently it has no bonus.
Limited Time Cards
The following cards offer 5% cash back, but they only offer it for an introductory period before dropping off.
Wells Fargo Cash Back Card – First Six Months Only
I’m a big fan of the Propel world card offered by Wells Fargo, but their 5% cash back card is quite popular with a lot of people. It offers unlimited 5% cash back on all gas, grocery & drug store purchases. There is a catch though, this is only offered for the first six months. Then it drops to a flat 1% cash back on all purchases.
This card isn’t appealing for the every day consumer due to the 6 month earning limit, but it is appealing to those who do heavy manufactured spending. This was especially the case when you could purchase Vanilla Reloads from CVS.
Citizen’s Bank CashBack Platinum MasterCard – First 90 Days only
This card earns a flat 5% cash back on gas, grocery & drug store purchases. It also earns a massive 10% on all restaurant purchases. Unfortunately all good things come to an end and this is only offered for the first 90 days, it then reverts to earning cash at 1% on all purchases. You must also redeem in increments of $50 which can be frustrating if you’re half way there.
TD Easy Rewards Visa Credit Card – First Six Months Only
This card earns 5% dining, groceries, gas and cable, phone and utility bill payments, but only for the first six months. After that it drops to 1% on all purchases. This card actually earns points which can be redeemed for 1 point = 1 cent for cash or cash equivalents. There is no sign up bonus or annual fee on this card.
Which 5% Cash Back Card Is Best?
This is really going to depend on your spending patterns to determine which categories are the most useful. I’m a fan of the U.S bank card as it allows me to earn 5% on restaurants, I also like the Citi dividend more than the it or Freedom due to it allowing me to hit $300 in rewards in one cycle. Let us know what your favorite 5% cash card is in the comments, also let us know if we missed any.
If you’re not worried about getting cash back, there might be a better card to use. Check out our series “what’s the best card to use when making purchases certain categories” below:
- Drug stores
- Everyday purchases
- Gas stations
- Grocery store
- Office supply stores