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Compare 5% cashback credit cards

Earn $5 back per $100 on rotating quarterly categories.

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Our pick for 5% cashback: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Up to 5%

Cash back

  • Up to 5% cashback and an impressive 1.5% base cashback rate
  • 15 months of intro APR on purchases
  • No annual fee
Apply now

With a few exceptions, a 5% cashback credit card is one of the most rewarding types of cards you can add to your wallet. The main caveat: There are no cashback rewards cards that earn 5% on all purchases, so you’ll need to adjust your spending based on the card’s rotating quarterly categories. Since the cards also have specified spending caps, you’ll only get the 5% cashback rate on up to a designated amount. That’s why the best way to maximize your cash back is to pair this card with a steadier cashback card, like a 1.5% or 3% cashback card.

Compare 5% cashback credit cards

Below are cards that earn 5% back in at least one category. You’ll generally need good or excellent credit to qualify for a card with such strong rewards.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $300. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
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How to choose 5% cashback credit cards

This type of card usually offers 5% cash back on rotating categories every three months, though the categories they earn, spending caps, and cash back they earn on other purchases often vary greatly between cards. Here’s how you can make the choice that best suits your needs:

  • Review your average spending. Many 5% cashback credit cards have a spending cap in place for each quarter. You can earn back up to a certain dollar amount before you start to earn just 1% back on those rotating categories. To make the most of a 5% cashback credit card, you’ll want to make sure you actually spend enough to reach that cap and make the card worth your while.
  • Check the card’s categories. If possible, review the card’s rotating categories ahead of time. This can help you map out a spending plan to meet the cap each quarter. Many providers include multiple spending categories that earn 5% back each rotation to help you avoid a “dud” quarter.
  • Consider the card’s rewards program. Some 5% cashback credit cards earn points that can transfer to travel partners or gain value when redeemed through a different card from the same provider. If you’re looking to squeeze as much value as possible out of your credit card spending, consider a rewards program that allows for this flexibility, such as Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Consider whether you value flexibility. With the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, you get to choose which categories earn 5% and 2% back each quarter.

Should I get a 5% cashback credit card?

To give you an idea of whether a 5% cashback credit card fits your spending lifestyle, here’s a breakdown of what you might earn in several categories assuming an average level of spending each quarter of the year (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4).

For this example, we’ll assume we’re spending with the Chase Freedom Flex’s 2020 categories — each quarter is made up of three months. This table also excludes the Chase Freedom Flex’s signup bonus on grocery spending.

Q1 (Jan-Mar)Q2 (Apr-Jun)Q3 (July-Sept)Q4 (Oct-Dec)
Groceries ($1,500 in spending each quarter)$15.00$75Up to $75 if done at Whole Foods$15.00
Gas ($750 in spending each quarter)$37.50$7.50$7.50$7.50
Dining ($690 in spending each quarter)$6.90$6.90$6.90$6.90
Streaming ($120 in spending each quarter)$1.20$6$1.20$1.20
Total$60.60$95.40$90.60$30.60

Total earned annually: $277.20

Now here’s the same level of spending each quarter when performed with the Citi Double Cash, which earns a maximum of 2% cash back on all purchases.

Q1Q2Q3Q4
Groceries ($1,500 in spending each quarter)$30$30$30$30
Gas ($750 in spending each quarter)$15$15$15$15
Dining ($690 in spending each quarter)$13.80$13.80$13.80$13.80
Streaming ($120 in spending each quarter)$2.40$2.40$2.40$2.40
Total$61.20$61.20$61.20$61.20

Total earned annually: $244.80
As you can see, the Citi Double Cash earns a steady and reliable cash back value each month. But in eligible quarters, the Chase Freedom Flex can net a much greater value if you push the spending cap to the max.

5% cashback credit card pairings

The rotating cashback structure of a 5% cashback credit card means that it naturally pairs well with a card that can earn accelerated rewards in a steadier fashion. A 1.5% flat rate cashback card or 3% cashback card can fill in the gaps present in the 5% card’s rotating categories.

In fact, you can combine all three types of cards to ensure you’re always earning more than 1% cashback on a given purchase. This is called a card “trifecta” and is most popular with rewards programs that can easily transfer points across the cards you own. The Chase Trifecta and Amex Trifecta are both great examples of how lucrative this kind of setup can be for your wallet. Here’s a look at the two major earning players in the Chase Trifecta, the Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠ logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
If you're looking to earn 5% cash back on as many rotating categories as possible, then the Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card is a terrific choice. You earn high cash back on rotating categories every three months you activate, which often include gas, groceries and wholesale clubs. Furthermore, the card offers a decent signup bonus, long intro APR period on purchases, and if you make a late payment — you only incur a fee instead of a penalty APR.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases on quarterly rotating categories when you activate, including gas, groceries, wholesale clubs, digital wallet payments and more. Also, earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3% at restaurants, and 3% on drugstore purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Spend $500 on purchases during your first 3 months of card membership and earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Intro APR period. Enjoy a 0% intro APR period on purchases for the first 15 months following your account opening. After that, a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies.
  • No penalty APR.
    For late or returned payments, you'll only pay a fee of up to $39. With other cards, you could incur a penalty APR of up to 31% variable, which can last indefinitely.No annual fee. Earn all the cash back you can without paying an annual fee.
  • Reward activation required. You'll need to activate your rewards categories each quarter to earn 5% back. Otherwise, you'll earn just 1% on those purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
Similar to the Chase Freedom Flex, you earn 5% cashback on a variety of categories. But with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you get something more — an unlimited 1.5% cashback on all purchases aside from the 5% and 3% categories. This is a rare benefit in tiered cashback credit cards. What's more, you get to earn a solid signup bonus, and you get to save money on interest with a long 0% intro APR period on purchases.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% back on travel purchased via the Chase Ultimate Rewards and 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022. Purchases made at drugstores and restaurants, including delivery and takeout earn 3% back. Earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Earn a $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months.
  • Intro APR period. Get 15 months of 0% intro APR period on purchases. A variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies thereafter.
  • No intro balance transfer APR. This card only possesses a 0% intro purchase APR, so you'll need to look to other options if you need a balance transfer.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases

5% cashback credit card alternatives

Though 5% cashback credit cards are among the highest earners on the market, not every consumer will necessarily perform the type of spending needed to maximize this value. If you don’t want to monitor new categories each quarter, a 3% cashback credit card can offer you a similar level of accelerated earnings in a specific category that won’t change throughout the year.

However, 3% cashback credit cards usually share the earning caps present on 5% cashback credit cards. If you’d rather not worry about categories or spending caps, a flat-rate 2% or 1.5% cashback credit card is your best bet. Like the name suggests, these cards earn a flat-rate on all purchases, all year round with no limits.

Bottom line

Finding a card that offers 5% cash back is a good perk to have. However, there are sometimes categories you have to manage and caps on the amount of cash back you can earn. If you’re not sure if any of these cards would be a good choice, take a look at other cashback credit cards and compare your options until you find the right card for your needs.

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