BEST CREDIT CARDSBEST CREDIT CARDSBEST 5% CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS OF APRIL 2024
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Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards of April 2024

Updated: Apr 17, 2024
Paul Soucy
Written by
Lead Assigning Editor
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Paul Soucy
Written by
Lead Assigning Editor
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
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NerdWallet's Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards of April 2024

Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards From Our Partners

Credit card
NerdWallet rating
Annual feeRewards rateIntro offer
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Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Our pick for

Families

Our pick for

Rotating categories + cash bonus

Our pick for

Rotating categories + cash-back match

Our pick for

Targeted spending

Our pick for

Big-box store shopping

Our pick for

Maximum customization

Our pick for

Amazon Prime members

Our pick for

Office expenses

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST 5% CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS

Before applying, confirm details on issuer's website.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our pick for: Families

If your household spends a lot on groceries, gas, transit and streaming, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is for you. The rewards it pays in those categories — particularly at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions — are among the richest of any card. There's a nice welcome offer for new cardholders and an introductory APR period, too. The generous benefits come at a cost, though: Unlike most cash-back cards, this one charges an annual fee. Read our review.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Our pick for: Rotating categories + cash bonus

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers bonus cash back in quarterly categories that you activate, as well as on travel booked through Chase, at restaurants and at drugstores. Category activation can be a hassle, but if your spending matches the categories — and for a lot of people, it will — you can rack up hundreds of dollars a year. There's a fantastic bonus offer for new cardholders and an intro APR offer, too. Read our review.

Discover it® Cash Back

Our pick for: Rotating categories + cash-back match bonus

The Discover it® Cash Back earns bonus cash back in quarterly categories that you activate. In past years, those categories have included common spending areas like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and specific major retailers. Category activation can be a hassle, but if your spending aligns with those categories (and for most households, it probably will), you can rake in serious rewards. You also get the issuer's signature "cash-back match" bonus in your first year. Read our review.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Our pick for: Targeted spending

The Citi Custom Cash® Card offers a lot of value for a $0 annual fee: 5% back automatically in your eligible top spending category on up to $500 spent per billing cycle (1% back on other spending). The list of eligible 5% categories is varied and includes biggies like restaurants, grocery stores and more. And unlike with its competitors, there's no activation schedule or bonus calendar to keep track of. Read our review.

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Big-box store shopping

The U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card is tailor-made for consumers who spend a lot of money at retailers that don't fit into (or are specifically excluded from) the bonus categories offered by other credit cards. The card also offers a higher-than-usual rate on spending outside its bonus categories. The downside: There's an annual fee. Read our review.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Maximum customization

If you don't mind putting some work into your rewards, check out the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card. It might be the most customizable cash back card available. You pick which categories earn the most cash back — you get two 5% categories and a 2% category — and you can change those options every quarter. There's a good bonus offer for new cardholders, too. Read our review.

Prime Visa

Our pick for: Amazon Prime members

If you drop a lot of money at Amazon and/or Whole Foods Market, this is the card for you, with 5% back on such purchases, plus bonus rewards at restaurants and gas stations, plus local transit and commuting (including rideshare). There's no annual fee, but you have to be a Prime member, and that does have a fee. Read our review.

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

Our pick for: Walmart orders

Walmart's branded credit card is unusual among store cards in that it gives you significantly better rewards for purchases through Walmart.com (and the Walmart app) than for those made in an actual brick-and-mortar Walmart. If you rely on Walmart pickup and delivery for groceries and other necessities, you can rack up rewards quickly. Read our review.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Our pick for: Office expenses

If your business's spending matches the bonus categories on the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can rack up some serious cash back. (If not, then look elsewhere.) There's an excellent sign-up bonus for a no-annual-fee cash-back card, plus an introductory APR period for purchases. Learn more and apply.

• • •

OTHER RESOURCES

5% store cards

A number of store credit cards suggest that they give you 5% cash back, but in many cases, it might not really be cash back in the commonly accepted sense. It's one of two things:

  • A 5% discount on purchases. This is how cards like the MyLowe’s Rewards Credit Card and the Target Circle™ Credit Card work. If you buy something for $100, you get a 5% discount automatically at checkout, so you pay only $95. You don't get any "cash back." It's just $5 that you never have to pay in the first place.

  • Store credit equal to 5% of your purchase. Credit cards issued by a retailer might give you 5 points per dollar spent or "5% rewards" on purchases, and those points are worth 1 cent apiece ... but you can only use points for more purchases at the store. You can't "cash out."

This leads to a more or less philosophical question: What exactly qualifies as cash back? There's no strict "legal" definition, but in general, cash back is money you get back from your purchases, which you can then use on other things. Discounts at checkout aren't money back, although in practice they do leave you with more cash in your pocket, so they could be considered a close cousin to cash back. Store credit, on the other hand, just creates an obligation to buy more stuff at the store.

If a card lets you literally convert your rewards to cash through a direct deposit to a bank account or even (if you're old-school) a check in the mail, then it's obviously a cash back card. But some cards allow you to use your rewards only for a credit on your statement. Those are essentially cash back cards, too, since they use rewards earned on earlier purchases to pay for other things — and unlike retail cards that require you to come back to the same store, true cash back cards can be used anywhere.

How to choose a 5% cash back card

This was mentioned above, but it bears repeating: No credit card will earn 5% cash back on every single purchase. The 5% rewards will be limited to specific categories, or will be subject to a spending cap, or will apply only at a specific place. Sometimes all three limitations will apply.

That said, choosing a 5% cash back card boils down to how you plan to use it, as well as your appetite for complexity.

Some people want just one card that they can use for everything. If that's you, look at 5% categories (and any potential spending caps) and choose the card that aligns the most with your day-to-day spending. Identify where you're spending the most money, and use that as a guide. If you rarely eat out, for example, then 5% on restaurants will mostly go unused. If you don't drive, you'd get no benefit from a card offering 5% cash back at gas stations for a three-month period.

Some people carry multiple cards and then pick the best one for each individual purpose. If that's you, look at the "holes" in the rewards you're currently earning, and then pick a card that plugs the biggest of those holes. "Electronics stores," for example, might not be a 5% category you need permanently on your everyday card, but if you make one big purchase a year at Best Buy, it may be worth getting a card that allows you to get 5% at electronics stores occasionally.

Some people have no interest in managing their bonus categories. Choosing and activating bonus categories can be a hassle. Forget to do it, and you don't earn 5% at all. If you'd rather not be bothered, stick with a card that doesn't require category activation and that has bonus categories that never change or that automatically adjust your 5% category based on your spending patterns.

Some people love putting in the work to maximize credit card rewards. Hardcore optimizers aren't going to mind selecting, activating and tracking rewards categories. Carrying a dozen or more cards — and knowing which one to use when — is all part of the game. Complexity might even be a benefit of a card's rewards structure, rather than a drawback.

Here's a look at popular 5% cards with these considerations in mind.

CARD NAME and ANNUAL FEE

5% CASH BACK CATEGORIES

REWARDS ON OTHER SPENDING

COMPLEXITY

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.)

  • 6% at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 a year in spending.

  • 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.

  • Terms apply.

  • 3% at U.S. gas stations.

  • 3% on transit.

  • 1% on other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

  • No category activation required.

  • Bonus rewards at U.S. supermarkets are subject to an annual spending cap.

  • 3% at restaurants.

  • 3% at drugstores.

  • 1% on other purchases.

  • Categories must be activated online each quarter.

  • Bonus rewards in quarterly categories are subject to a quarterly spending cap.

  • 1% on other purchases.

  • Categories must be activated online each quarter.

  • Bonus rewards in quarterly categories are subject to a quarterly spending cap.

  • 5% in the eligible category where you spend the most money each billing cycle, on up to $500 in spending per cycle.

  • Eligible categories: grocery stores; restaurants; gas stations; streaming services; drugstores; home improvement stores; fitness clubs; select travel; select transit; live entertainment.

  • 1% on other purchases.

  • No category activation required.

  • 5% category adjusts automatically based on your spending.

  • Bonus cash back subject to spending limit per billing cycle.

U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card ($0 intro for the first year, then $95)

  • 6% on up to $1,500 per quarter in combined spending at two retailers you choose.

  • Eligible retailers include Walmart, Target, Amazon, major home improvement chains and popular specialty stores. (See review for full list.)

  • 3% on up to $1,500 a quarter in spending in an "everyday" category you choose (options: wholesale clubs; gas and EV charging stations; and bills).

  • 1.5% on other purchases.

  • You must choose your 6% retailers and your 3% category.

  • Bonus rewards are subject to quarterly spending caps.

  • 5% in two categories that you choose, on up to $2,000 per quarter in combined spending.

  • See our review for full list of categories.

  • 2% in an "everyday" category you choose (options: grocery stores; restaurants; and gas and EV charging stations).

  • 1% on other purchases.

  • You must select and activate your 5% and 2% categories each quarter.

  • Bonus rewards in the 5% categories are subject to a quarterly spending cap.

Prime Visa ($0, but Prime membership required)

  • 5% at Amazon and Whole Foods Market.

  • 5% on Chase Travel purchases.

  • 2% at restaurants.

  • 2% at gas stations.

  • 2% on local commuting and transit.

  • 1% on other purchases.

  • No category activation required.

  • No caps on spending eligible for bonus rewards.

  • 5% on up to $25,000 a year in combined spending at office supply stores and on cable, internet and phone service.

  • 2% cash back on up to $25,000 a year in spending at gas stations and restaurants.

  • 1% cash back on all other spending.

  • No category activation required.

  • Bonus rewards subject to annual spending caps.

  • 5% on Walmart.com, including pickup and delivery.

  • 2% at restaurants.

  • 2% on travel.

  • 1% on other purchases.

  • Category activation not required.

  • 5% cash back applies only to purchases made online, including those picked up at a store. Purchases made in-store earn only 2%.

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page.

Information related to the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Last updated on April 17, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet's Credit Cards team selects the best cash-back credit cards based on overall consumer value, as evidenced by star ratings, as well as their suitability for specific kinds of consumers. Factors in our evaluation include each card's cash-back earning rates, rewards structure (such as flat-rate or tiered categories), annual fee, redemption options (including minimum redemption amounts), promotional APR period for purchases, bonus offers for new cardholders, and noteworthy features such as loyalty bonuses or the ability to choose one's own rewards categories. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

About the author

Portrait of author

Paul Soucy

Paul has been the lead editor for NerdWallet's credit cards team since 2015 and for the travel rewards team since 2023. Previously, he worked at USA Today and the Des Moines Register, then built a freelance writing and editing business focused on personal finance topics. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA. Read more
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