Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card Review — Pros & Cons


When it comes to rewards credit cards, sometimes simpler is better. Simple certainly describes the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card, which has the most straightforward rewards program imaginable and an otherwise standard menu of perks and benefits. 

The Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does offer solid returns on every purchase every day. If you’re in the market for a new cash-back credit card, Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back might be for you.


What Is the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card?

The Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card is a no-annual-fee cash-back credit card that earns unlimited 2% back on all eligible purchases. There are no caps on cash-back earning potential and rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

You must have a Fifth Third Preferred Banking relationship to qualify for a Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card. Fifth Third Preferred Banking has a lot of choice benefits, including special discounted rates on eligible Fifth Third loans. However, it does have a relatively difficult-to-avoid monthly maintenance fee, so it’s not the best choice for folks who prefer free checking accounts.


What Sets the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card Apart?

The Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card is your standard 2% cash-back credit card. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. But it does have a few features worth noting upfront:

  • Requires a Fifth Third Preferred Banking Relationship. You must have a Fifth Third Preferred Banking relationship (which includes a checking account and other components) to qualify for this card. If you don’t want to deal with the associated fees, consider instead a Fifth Third Momentum Banking relationship and its tie-in card, the Fifth Third 1.67% Cash/Back Card.
  • No International Transaction Fees. This is a nice benefit for international travelers that’s not standard in the no-annual-fee card space. If you don’t yet have a go-to travel credit card, this one can stand in until you do.
  • 0% Intro APR Balance Transfer Promotion. This card’s 12-month 0% APR introductory balance transfer promotion offers a decently long runway to pay down high-interest credit card balances without incurring additional costs. It’s not paired with a corresponding purchase promotion, however.

Key Features of the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card

If you’re still interested in the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card, see below for more details on its most important features.

Earning Cash-Back Rewards

The Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card’s rewards program couldn’t be simpler. Every eligible purchase earns 2% cash back, with no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn. Once earned, rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains active and in good standing.

Redeeming Cash-Back Rewards

You can redeem accumulated rewards in any amount for statement credits to your Preferred Cash/Back account or deposits into your linked Fifth Third checking account. Statement credits and bank deposits can take up to 2 weeks to hit the account.

0% APR Intro Balance Transfer Promotion

Enjoy 0% APR on eligible balance transfers for 12 months from account opening. Balance transfer fees apply —  $5 or 4% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Failure to pay off the full transfer amount within the promotional period may result in deferred interest charges.

Cell Phone Protection Coverage

The Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card comes with complimentary cell phone protection coverage backed by Mastercard. It’s capped at $800 per claim (less a small deductible) and $1,000 per 12-month period, regardless of claim count. See the Mastercard guide to benefits for more on potential restrictions and exclusions.

Additional Mastercard Benefits

This card has some other Mastercard-backed benefits worth noting:

  • 24/7 Mastercard travel concierge support
  • Mastercard Airport Meet & Greet (useful for navigating unfamiliar airports, especially abroad)
  • Purchase protection, subject to certain limitations and restrictions
  • Mastercard ID theft protection, which includes identity resolution services

Important Fees

This card has no annual fee or international transaction fee. Other fees may apply — see rates and terms.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit, though specific underwriting standards may vary by applicant.


Advantages of the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card

These are the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card’s biggest selling points.

  • No Annual Fee for the Card Itself. Although it’s tied to Fifth Third Preferred Banking, which does have some fees, this card has no direct annual fee. 
  • 2% Cash Back on Every Eligible Purchases. The Preferred Cash/Back Card earns unlimited 2% back on all eligible purchases, every day. You don’t have to worry about rotating categories or other confusing program features.
  • No Caps or Expiration on Cash Back Rewards. Once earned, your cash back never expires unless you close your account or become delinquent. This is a big advantage over competing cards that do put an arbitrary time limit on redemptions.
  • Solid 0% APR Intro Balance Transfer Promotion. This card has a 0% APR introductory balance transfer promotion that stretches for 12 months from your account opening date. It’s a great way to pay off high-interest credit card debt without incurring additional interest charges. (But do pay off any transferred amounts before the promotional period ends to avoid deferred interest.)
  • No International Transaction Fees. This card has no international transaction fee. That’s a welcome advantage over many other no-annual-fee cash-back cards and good news for frequent travelers (and folks who buy stuff from overseas merchants).
  • Good Cell Phone Protection Benefit. This card’s cell phone protection benefit provides up to $1,000 in coverage (less deductible) per 12-month period and up to $800 per individual claim. That’s more than the standard $600-per-claim coverage common elsewhere.

Disadvantages of the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card

Consider these downsides before you apply for the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card.

  • No Sign-up Bonus. The Preferred Cash/Back Card has no sign-up bonus for new cardholders. If you’re looking for an easy boost to your rewards right out of the gate, look to competitors like the Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card.
  • No Way to Earn More Than 2% Back on Purchases. Flat-rate 2% cash back is nice, but there’s no way to earn more than that with this card. If that’s a problem, consider a credit card with higher-earning bonus categories, like Freedom Flex or Unlimited.
  • Requires a Fifth Third Preferred Banking Relationship. This isn’t a problem if you’re already a Fifth Third customer, but it’s an inconvenient and possibly costly extra step if you’re not. Most competing cash-back cards don’t have this requirement, including similar 2% cards like the Citi Double Cash Card.
  • No 0% APR Intro Promotion for Purchases. The Preferred Cash/Back Card has no 0% APR introductory promotion for purchases to go with its 12-month 0% APR intro balance transfer promotion. The Chase Freedom cards offer both.

How the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card Stacks Up

Before you apply for the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card — and potentially enter into a Fifth Third Preferred Banking relationship with monthly fees — see how it compares against a slightly less generous offering from Fifth Third: the Fifth Third 1.67% Cash/Back Card.

Preferred Cash/Back Card 1.67% Cash/Back Card
Rewards Rate 2%, unlimited 1.67%, unlimited
0% Intro APR Promotion 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months
Foreign Transactions No fees No fees
Annual Fee $0 $0
Cell Phone Protection $800 per claim, less deductible $800 per claim, less deductible

Final Word

If you’re happy with your current cash-back credit card, particularly if it’s a flat-rate 2% (or better) card, I wouldn’t advise running out to replace it with the Fifth Third Preferred Cash/Back Card. The Preferred Cash/Back Card simply isn’t worth the trouble.

That said, it’s a great card for what it is: a card that earns you unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases, every day. Nothing fancy, nothing earth-shattering, but as I said — sometimes simpler is better.



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