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Best 5% Cash Back Card: Discover More, Chase Freedom, or Citi Dividend?

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There are three different credit cards out there right now that pay up to 5% cash back rewards, as well as additional $100 cash back signup promotions. And since you’re the type of consumer that manages to pay off your bills each month, all you care about is which credit card can, “Show you the money!”

Chances are, you already have a couple of credit cards, but only as a convenience measure, you’re not actually wearing any credit card debt. You don’t bother with low interest credit cards or balance transfer card offers, since your top three priorities are rewards, rewards, and more rewards. Obviously, a $100 check just for signing up for a credit card is a nice perk, and the lure of 5% cash back certainly doesn’t hurt.

But of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and credit card companies are not in the charity business (quite the contrary), so of course there’s a catch. And each of these three cards has a different set of “gotchas,” so make sure you understand the fine print before you pick one.

None of them have annual fees, but there are 4 main areas in which their rewards programs differ:

Note: The Citi Dividend $100 cash back offer has now expired.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select
Citibank Dividend Platinum Select Credit Card
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Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom - $100 Cash Back Credit Card
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Discover More
Discover More Card - $50 Cashback Bonus Credit Card
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$100 Sign Up Bonus
N/A Must spend $799 in first 3 months Must spend $500 in first 3 months
Limit On 5% Bonuses
Total rewards limited to $300 annually 5% rewards limited to $1,500 in spending for the quarter 5% rewards limited to $300 in spending per period
Rewards Categories, 3Q11
Airlines, Hotels, and Car Rentals Gas, Hotels, and Airlines Gas, Hotels, Movies, and Theme Parks
1% Rewards on Everything Else?
Yes, but total rewards are limited to $300 per year Yes, unlimited Only 0.25% for the first $3,000 you spend each year, then 1% after that

Conclusion

Judging solely from the rewards, the Chase Freedom appears to be the stand-out winner. With no limitations on 1% cash back rewards, and the highest quarterly cap on 5% cash back rewards, it would make a great addition to any rewards card portfolio. Especially if you pair it with a 2% cash back card, you’ll be well on your way to fully maximizing your cash back benefits.