Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card: 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee

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Why we like this card: The no annual fee Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card disgraces most other cash back credit cards with its impressive 2% return rate on all purchases. It also offers automatic cell phone coverage, no foreign transaction fees, and a good intro APR offer for balance transfers.

Pros

  • Unlimited 2% cash back for all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Decent 0% intro APR offer

Cons

  • No intro bonus
  • You need a relationship with Fifth Third to qualify
  • Unmemorable ongoing benefits

Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card: Overview

APR

  • Intro: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles after account opening.
  • Purchase: 20.74%–29.99% Variable
  • Balance transfer: 20.74%–29.99% (plus $5 or 4% of the amount of the balance transfer, whichever is greater)
  • Cash advance: 29.99% (plus $10 or 5% of the amount of the cash advance, whichever is greater)

Annual fee: $0

Foreign transaction fee: $0

Convenience check fee: Either $5 or 4% of the amount of each check, whichever is greater

Late payment: Up to $40

Minimum interest charged: $1.50 

For most people looking for a no-annual-fee cash back credit card, the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card is above-average. Its 2% return trounces most of its competitors. It even offers a fair 0% intro APR offer for balance transfers, which incentivizes folks with high-interest credit card debt to make the transition.

The card boasts two benefits that are still rare among no annual fee credit cards: Waived foreign transaction fees (making it a boon for international travel) and automatic cell phone insurance when you use the card to pay your monthly phone bill. But there’s one big catch: You’ve got to be a Fifth Third member to open the card. If you don’t have a Fifth Third relationship (such as a checking or savings account), you’re out of luck.

Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card: Rewards

The Fifth Third Preferred Card earns a flat 2% back on all purchases. That’s one of the best fixed return rates you’ll find on a cash back credit card. You’ll often see credit cards touting 1.5% on purchases—but rarely 2%.

This return will appeal to those that have no interest in confusing bonus categories or utilizing different credit cards for specific purchases. The Fifth Third Preferred Card takes all the work out of credit card rewards.

Does Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card offer a new customer bonus?

The Fifth Third Preferred Card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus to new customers at this time.

How to redeem Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card rewards

It’s just as easy to use the rewards you earn from the Fifth Third Preferred Card as it is to earn them. There’s no way to get outside value from them, so there’s little strategy to the redemption process.

Statement credit

A popular way to redeem the rewards you earn from the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card is as a statement credit on your card. This can effectively lower the balance on your card, though it won’t count as a payment.

Alternatively, you can apply the credit to other Fifth Third loans you’ve got, such as your mortgage, auto loan, or installment loan.

Direct deposit

Instead of attributing your rewards balance to your card, you can instead perform a direct deposit into your Fifth Third account (either checking or savings). Fifth Third says the cash should be deposited into your account within two weeks.

Automatic redemptions

Some like to let their cash back balance build, using it as a sort of savings account toward a specific goal—perhaps a vacation or other splurge. But if you like to think of your cash back rewards as more of a rebate on the purchases you make, you can enroll in automatic redemptions. Each month, the cash back you’ve earned will be either deposited into your bank account or applied to your card as a statement credit. You won’t have to initiate anything.

Additional benefits

The Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card comes with fair benefits, though most are expected among no annual fee credit cards (aside from its overachieving cell phone protection).

  • Cell phone protection: Get up to $800 in coverage per claim (maximum two claims with $1,000 cap per 12-month period) toward a lost or stolen phone. You’ll pay a low $50 deductible. To be covered, simply pay your monthly phone bill with the card.
  • Mastercard travel benefits: You’ve got access to a hotline with a personal travel advisor any time who can help you with your vacation arrangements. You can also get emergency travel assistance and airport meet and greet for aid in negotiating airports (though it won’t be free).
  • Lock and unlock your card: Switch your card’s payment ability on and off through the Fifth Third mobile app.
  • Identity theft protection: Opt-in to a monitoring of the internet for your sensitive details, credit bureau monitoring, etc. to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud.
  • Contactless payments: Use the Fifth Third 1% Card touch-free at an eligible point of sale. You can also add the card to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Is the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card right for you?

First things first: If you’re not a Fifth Third member, you can’t open the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card. You must be willing to open an account with Fifth Third if you want it.

Beyond that, the card is right for anyone who values simplicity in earning and redeeming credit card rewards. With a 2% return rate, you can know you’re getting a solid return whenever you use your credit card.

However, simplicity is a two-edged sword. Other credit card rewards, such as airline miles, hotel points, and transferable travel currencies (like Chase Ultimate Rewards® points) offer more complex redemption options—but can also provide exponentially greater value. For example, you may achieve a value of 3+ cents per airline mile when redeeming for a flight to Europe. These rewards require significant research to maximize, but the dividends can be worth it.

Credit cards similar to Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card

If the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card doesn’t quite scratch your cash back credit card itch, there are a handful of other credit cards that achieve a similar return for spending.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card vs. Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card

The no annual fee Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card currently offers a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Similar to the Fifth Third Preferred Card, this card earns unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. It also has various travel benefits—and even cell phone protection (though you’re eligible for just $600 in coverage as opposed to $800 with the Fifth Third Preferred Card).

Finally, the Wells Fargo Active Cash brings a slightly more generous intro APR offer: You’ll receive 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers during the first 15 months from account opening (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable). You can read our Wells Fargo Active Cash card review for all the details.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a rewards-earning beast. While its floor is lower than the Fifth Third Preferred Card, its ceiling is significantly higher thanks to practical bonus categories. Here’s what you’ll earn:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • 3% cash back on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery service)
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases

Even better, this card’s current welcome bonus will double the amount of rewards you earn during your first year of card membership. In other words, you’ll earn an incredible 3% to 10% for all purchases made in year one.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® comes with 15-month 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers (then 20.49%–29.24% variable APR). This is slightly better than the terms offered by the Fifth Third Preferred Card.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card worth it?

The Fifth Third Preferred Card is worth it for most cash back enthusiasts. Its rewards structure couldn’t be simpler, and it guarantees a strong return for all your purchases. And with no annual fee, you won’t have to worry about membership fees eating into your earnings. 

How does the Fifth Third Preferred Card card work?

You’ll receive a fixed 2% cash back return every time you swipe your card. You can then redeem your rewards for a direct deposit into your Fifth Third account or a statement credit on your credit card (or other Fifth Third loan).

What credit score do you need to get the Fifth Third Preferred Card?

You generally need a “good” credit score before you apply for a rewards credit card like the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card. FICO defines a good credit score as anything above 670.


Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

Fortune Recommends™ credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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