4 Ways to Earn 5: Credit Cards with 5% Cash Back Programs

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With some credit cards you can earn as much as 5% cash back through various quarterly sign-up options, online purchasing portals, or special bonuses offered from time to time. For those who are looking to save as much extra money as possible in 2015, here are four examples of plastic that pays you back fivefold.

Discover Card

Discover Card has won awards for customer service because they are always thinking ahead on how they can keep customers happy. While Discover never really does anything flashy and will probably never be perceived as one of those high-status prestigious brands, they still manage to quietly reward cardholders in ways that add value.

Discover it, like many other rewards cards, offers 5% cash back in rotating categories, so that each quarter you can save 5% by activating your 5% rewards bonus once each quarter. Right now through the end of June, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases at restaurants and theaters.

You don’t really have to think about it, either, which is convenient. As long as you have an online account and subscribe to cash back reward alerts, Discover will notify you when the new purchase category goes into effect. Then you just click on the link in the email and it automatically signs you up to start earning the extra cash. As a Discover cardholder, your rewards never expire even if you go an entire year without using your card.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom is another card that offers 5% cash back in popular categories that rotate every three months (or quarter). Now through the end of June, cardholders are able to earn 5% back when eating at restaurants, or shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond, H & M, and Overstock.com. Bonus rewards categories cap off at $1,500 each quarter.  All other purchases generate a standard 1% cash back.

As with other cards, you have the option to sign up for Chase Freedom email notifications to remind you of your 5% cash back earnings opportunities in specific categories. Understanding bonus rewards categories is a good way to manage your card use; if you carry multiple cards, you use the one that gives you the most generous cash back.

The U.S. Bank Cash+ Card

Use the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card and you can earn 5% cash back in categories that you get to select each quarter. This is one of the only credit cards on the market that allows their cardholders to choose which categories of purchases they would like to earn bonus rewards in. Their rewards structure is as follows:

  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter on two out of eight categories of your choosing, like cell phone and bookstore purchases
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one of three everyday categories such as gas, restaurants or groceries
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • No limit on total cash back earned

The Citi Dividend Card

Existing cardholders with the Citi Dividend Card will bring in 1% cash back on all purchases with the option to active 5% cash back rewards in specific categories. Now through June, cardholders can earn 5% cash back from home and garden stores.

To find out what category is offered in any given quarter or month, just reference the Citi Cashback Calendar. The calendar is arranged so that you earn 5% back with the types of purchases you are most likely to make in any particular season. *This card is no longer available for new cardholders. You must be an existing Citi Dividend cardholder to benefit from 5% cash back.

Some Limitations, but Generous Rewards

Most rewards credit cards, including those discussed above, limit how much cash you can earn at the accelerated 5% rate to about $75 per quarter – which translates to 5% back on a maximum of $1,500 in purchases (5% X $1,500 = $75). Still, that is a generous reward, and if you normally spend $500 or less in each of those designated categories per month you will still be eligible to max-out your cash back opportunity.

* Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed bythe credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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