Home » Cashback » Chase Freedom Flex vs. Discover It – Which Is the Best 5% Cashback Credit Card?

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Discover It – Which Is the Best 5% Cashback Credit Card?

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Discover It – Which Is the Best 5% Cashback Credit Card?

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Sep 16, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

If you’re looking for a credit card that earns generous cash back, you probably want to take a look at either the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Discover it® Cash Back. Both charge no annual fee and offer a high cashback rate on rotating quarterly categories when you activate. But which is the best fit for you? We’ll compare their cashback categories, sign-up bonuses and more to help you decide.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ vs. Discover it® Cash Back

Here’s a quick look at how the two cards stack up:

 Chase Freedom Flex℠Discover it® Cash Back
Sign-up bonusEarn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
RewardsEarn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Annual fee$0 $0
Foreign transaction fee3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.None
Regular purchase APR14.99% - 23.74% variable11.99% - 22.99% Variable

Note that the Chase Freedom Flex℠ pulls ahead of the Discover it® Cash Back by offering ongoing categories for earning 5% and 3% cash back, in addition to its quarterly rotating 5% categories.

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

See additional details for Chase Freedom Flex℠

More Info

  • 0% for 14 months on purchases and Balance Transfers, then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable.

  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. *

  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically*

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back

More Info

Rotating 5% cashback categories

With the Chase Freedom Flex℠: Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.

And with the Discover it® Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

If you’re looking to plan your spending throughout the year, you’ll like that the Discover it® Cash Back rotating category rewards calendar is available for the entire year. By contrast, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ categories are published quarterly throughout the year, as was the case with the classic Chase Freedom®. We’ll take a look at categories offered in 2020 and 2019 — though since the Chase Freedom Flex℠ launched in September 2020, note that categories listed for Chase before that period were offered on the Chase Freedom®, which has been closed to new applicants.

Here are the rotating 5% cashback categories announced for 2020 so far:

 Chase Freedom Flex℠Discover it® Cash Back
January — March 2020Gas stations, internet, cable and phone services, select streaming servicesGrocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
April — June 2020Gym memberships and fitness clubs, grocery storesGas stations, Uber and Lyft, wholesale clubs
July — September 2020Amazon.com and Whole Foods MarketRestaurants and PayPal
October — December 2020Walmart and PayPalAmazon.com, Walmart.com and Target

And for historical reference, here’s what the rotating 5% cashback categories were in 2019:

 Chase Freedom®Discover it® Cash Back
January — March 2019Gas stations, tolls, drugstoresGrocery stores
April — June 2019Grocery stores (not including Walmart and Target), home improvement storesGas stations, Uber and Lyft
July — September 2019Gas stations, select streaming servicesRestaurants, PayPal
October — December 2019Department stores, PayPal, Chase PayAmazon.com, Walmart.com, Target

As you can see from both years, gas stations are a popular category. Chase even offered gas stations as a 5% category twice in 2019.

Sign-up bonuses

With the Chase Freedom Flex℠, earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. and earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including target® or walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

For the Discover it® Cash Back, if you’re a new cardmember: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Both of these are solid sign-up bonuses. If you’re looking for one you can earn quickly with a low spend amount, you may like the sign-up bonus offered by the Chase Freedom Flex℠. But if you’re aiming to maximize your sign-up bonus cash back, the Discover it® Cash Back offers the potential to earn more (especially if you’re putting the bulk of your spending on this card throughout the year).

Additional benefits

Chase Freedom Flex℠

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, here’s some great news — you can transfer rewards earned on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ to your Sapphire card, then redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for additional value.

 

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

More Info

However, make sure you’re aware of the Chase 5/24 rule before applying. This is an unwritten rule that, boiled down, says you may not be approved for any Chase credit card if you’ve been approved for five or more credit cards from any issuer in the past 24 months.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ also comes with the following benefits:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Free VantageScore
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Zero liability protection
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits including cellphone protection and discounts at merchants such as Boxed, ShopRunner and Fandango

Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back comes with the following benefits:

  • Use the website or mobile app to freeze your card and to prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if the card is lost or stolen
  • Free FICO credit score
  • Customer service is 100% U.S.-based
  • No late fee for the first missed payment
  • $0 fraud liability

APRs and fees

Both cards offer generous rewards. But how do they stack up when it comes to annual percentage rates (APRs) and fees? Here’s the breakdown:

APRs

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months. After, a 14.99% - 23.74% variable APR applies. N/A

The Discover it offers 0% for 14 months on purchases. After, a 11.99% - 22.99% Variable applies. There’s also 0% for 14 months on balance transfers. Then, a 11.99% - 22.99% variable applies.

Fees

With a $0 annual fee for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and a $0 annual fee for the Discover it® Cash Back, both cards are head-to-head.

When it comes to foreign transaction fees, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ charges 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars, while the Discover it® Cash Back charges none. However, it’s worth noting that Discover isn’t as widely accepted in some countries as Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

As for balance transfer fees, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ charges Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.. The Discover it® Cash Back’s balance transfer fee is a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

Which is the better cashback card for you?

Both of these cards offer excellent value, but your decision will likely be influenced by which credit card has the quarterly categories more compatible with your spending patterns.

However, the fact that the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers ongoing categories that can earn 5% and 3% cash back, sets it apart from the Discover it® Cash Back. And if you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, we think you’ll appreciate the ability to earn Ultimate Rewards points on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and transfer them to your Sapphire card.

Whichever 5% cashback card you choose, it’s worth pairing with a flat-rate rewards card so you can earn a higher rate than 1% on purchases that don’t fall into a higher earning category. One good option for earning flat-rate cashback is the Citi® Double Cash Card . You can earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

  • 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers

  • 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Highlights
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

See additional details for Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

More Info

Another good card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. You can earn Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases..

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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on Chase's secure site

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

More Info

For more recommendations, take a look at our list of best flat-rate cashback and rewards cards to see which one might be the best fit for your wallet!


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