Most entry-level credit cards are boring and bare-bones. If they earn rewards at all, the rate is usually low, like a flat 1% on all purchases.
The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa credit card might be an entry level credit card, but it’s hardly boring. Although designed for applicants with fair credit, it earns a solid rate of return on eligible purchases and has some notable additional benefits. As someone who has more than a few (probably too many) of my own, I’m impressed with the Platinum X5 card.
Now, is Platinum X5 the best-ever credit card for beginners? No. It has some noticeable drawbacks. Chief among them is the $95 annual fee, which many competitors waive. But if you spend enough to offset it through earned rewards, that annual fee may not matter. See if the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card is right for you.
What Is the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card?
The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa credit card is a cash-back credit card for people with average to good credit scores. Applicants with FICO scores in the 620 to 660 range may qualify for this card. That’s lower than the 680 to 700 minimum FICO scores that many other cash-back cards require.
The Platinum X5 card pays 5% cash back on up to $5,000 in eligible purchases each year in three categories:
- Gas station purchases
- Grocery store purchases
- Eligible internet, cable and satellite TV, and mobile phone purchases
All other eligible purchases earn 1% cash back. As a cardholder, you may have opportunities to earn even more cash back — up to 10% with select partners. Those offerings are hit or miss, though.
What Sets the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card Apart?
They’re not its only selling points, but three things really set the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card apart.
- Open to applicants with fair credit. The Platinum X5 card is one of the few premium cash-back credit cards that’s open to applicants with fair credit. If your credit score is in the 620 to 680 range, this could be the best cash-back card you qualify for. You’re less likely to qualify with a credit score below 620.
- 5% Cash Back on Spending in Three Popular Categories. The Platinum X5 card pays 5% cash back on up to $5,000 in annual purchases in three popular spending categories: eligible gas station purchases, eligible grocery store purchases, and certain eligible telecommunications purchases.
- Free Credit Score and Credit-Building Tools. Your Platinum X5 card comes with a free monthly credit score and credit-building tools. With it, it’s easy to keep tabs on your progress towards better credit.
Key Features of the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card
These are the most important features of the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card and why they matter.
Earning Rewards With the Platinum X5 Card
The regular rewards program here has two tiers:
- 5% cash back on eligible gas station, grocery store, and telecommunications purchases
- 1% cash back on everything else
But there’s some (sort of) fine print.
- “Telecommunications purchases” means eligible internet, cable and satellite TV, and mobile phone purchases.
- The 5% cash-back tier applies only to the first $5,000 in combined annual purchases each year.
- Due to the $5,000 spending limit, you can’t earn more than $250 per year in rewards in the 5% tier.
- Once you hit the $5,000 spending limit, you earn 1% cash back on purchases that would otherwise have qualified for 5% cash back until the limit resets at the beginning of the next year.
And the process for redeeming cash-back rewards is simple. Actually, it’s automatic. On any statement with at least one eligible purchase, you receive a statement credit equal to your rewards balance for that statement cycle. So you don’t have to do anything — even push a redeem button — to get what’s yours.
Special Cash-Back Opportunities (Up to 10% Back)
You can earn even more than 5% cash back on eligible purchases — maybe. First, you need to find a Credit One partner offer you want to take advantage of. Once you do, your earnings accrue automatically just like they do with the regular rewards program. And the most attractive offers pay up to 10% cash back.
But they can be hit or miss, so don’t hold your breath. You’re best off focusing on the regular rewards program and periodically checking the Credit One app to see if any of your go-to retailers happen to be offering bonus rewards. If you were planning to make purchases with them anyway, pounce.
Free Credit Score
You can view your free credit score in your Credit One dashboard. It updates monthly. Use it to keep tabs on how you’re managing your available credit and spot potential issues (like missed payments or uncomfortably high credit utilization) before they cause serious problems.
The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card is fully contactless. You can use it at any retailer with tap-to-pay functionality.
You can also load your Platinum X5 card into your Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay account. That’s a nice perk if you prefer to pay for stuff with your phone and regularly patronize merchants that accept these payment methods.
Other Card Benefits
Other notable benefits of the Platinum X Visa card include:
- The flexibility to set your own payment due date
- A mobile app where you can check balances, make or schedule payments, and more
- Customizable in-app and SMS notifications
- Zero fraud liability for unauthorized purchases
- See if you’re eligible to apply and prequalify in minutes with no hard credit pull
The most important fee of the Platinum X5 card is the $95 annual fee.
An annual fee is uncommon in the entry-level cash-back credit card niche. If you’re a light spender who won’t earn rewards fast enough to offset it, think twice about whether the Credit One Platinum X5 is the right card for you.
Other important fees include:
- A foreign transaction fee of $1 or 3% of the transaction value, whichever is greater
- A cash advance fee of $10 or 5% of the advance, whichever is greater
- Late and returned payment fees up to $39
The Platinum X5 card is designed for people with fair to good credit. Credit One does not disclose an absolute minimum credit score for new applicants. But if your FICO score is at least 620, you have a chance of getting approved here.
Advantages of the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card
The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card’s top advantages include its generous cash-back program and unusually loose underwriting standards.
- 5% Cash Back on Eligible Gas, Grocery, and Telecom Purchases. You can earn up to $250 in bonus cash each year on eligible gas station, grocery, and telecom purchases. Even after subtracting the annual fee, that’s $155 in guaranteed bonus cash-back earnings alone if you hit the $5,000 spending cap.
- Up to 10% More Cash Back With Select Retailers. You can earn up to 10% cash back on purchases with select Credit One retail partners. These offers come and go, so it’s best not to bank on them, but they could still up your net cash-back haul.
- Open to applicants with fair credit. The Platinum X5 Card is unusual among premium cash-back cards for accepting applicants with fair credit — down to about 620 on the FICO scale. If your credit isn’t yet where you’d like it to be, that’s no doubt welcome news.
- Free Monthly Credit Score With Your Account. You can view your FICO credit score in your Platinum X5 card account, refreshed monthly. There’s no need to pay for credit monitoring or opt into a spammy free credit monitoring service.
- Useful Mobile App. Credit One’s mobile app is better than the average credit card issuer’s. If you prefer to manage your money from your smartphone, that’s a big selling point.
- Contactless Payment and Compatibility With Major App-Based Payment Methods. The Platinum X5 card is compatible with Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. That means you can pay with your phone at retailers that accept these payment methods. Or you can use the X5 card’s full contactless functionality.
Disadvantages of the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card
The Platinum X5 card’s downsides include its atypical annual fee and lack of introductory perks.
- $95 Annual Fee. The Platinum X5 card’s $95 annual fee is definitely the elephant in the room. Most entry-level cash-back credit cards don’t charge annual fees. Those that do, like the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express, have stricter underwriting standards and more generous cash-back programs — in Blue Cash Preferred’s case, a 3% tier with no spending limit.
- No Sign-Up Bonus. The Platinum X5 card does not have a sign-up bonus. It’s not the only one, but enough do that this is a notable drawback, especially in light of the annual fee.
- No 0% APR Intro Promotion. The Platinum X5 card also has no 0% APR intro promotion. Again, this isn’t a universal cash-back card feature, but some of the best cash-back cards on the market do have such promos. Some stretch as long as 18 months and apply to both purchases and balance transfers.
- 5% Rewards Rate Capped at $5,000 Per Year. The Platinum X5 card’s 5% rewards tier has a $5,000 annual spending cap. That means your 5% cash-back haul is capped at $250 each year, or $155 net after the annual fee. Blue Cash Preferred’s 6% cash-back tier and the Chase Freedom Flex card’s rotating 5% categories both have $6,000 annual caps.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee (Or $1 for Smaller Transactions). The Platinum X5 card has a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the United States, including online purchases from non-US vendors. Worse, there’s a flat $1 fee for smaller international transactions (under roughly $30).
Is the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card Legit?
Yes, the Credit One Platinum X5 is legit. Credit One is a reputable credit card issuer with a long track record of serving customers with less-than-perfect credit. It’s not a fly-by-night company that will take your money and run.
In fact, Credit One Platinum X5 isn’t only legit, it’s a rare deal. Most credit cards with these sorts of benefits and rewards aren’t available to folks with fair credit.
How the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card Stacks Up
When I first heard about the Credit One Platinum X5 card’s rewards program, my first thought was that it’s a lot like the Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card.
The comparison isn’t perfect, but the headline 5% cash-back rate is a big similarity. See how the details of these two cards’ rewards programs stack up and what else they have in common (or don’t).
|Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card||Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card|
|Max Cash-Back Rate||5%||5%|
|Cash-Back Spending Cap||$5,000 per year||$1,500 per quarter ($6,000 per year) in quarterly rotating category purchases; no cap on Chase travel purchases|
|0% APR Intro Promo||None||0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months|
|Sign-up Bonus||None||Earn a $200 bonus cash-back credit when you spend at least $500 on eligible purchases within three months of opening your account.|
|Credit Required||Fair||Good to excellent|
Other Alternatives to Consider
If you’re not sold on the Credit One Platinum X5 card or the Chase Freedom Flex card, consider these alternatives instead.
The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa Credit Card is one of the best cash-back credit cards for people who are still in the process of improving their credit. It’s the only cash-back credit card that I’m aware of that pays 5% cash back on eligible purchases and accepts people with FICO scores as low as 620 or so.
Don’t get me wrong. The Platinum X5 card leaves a lot to be desired. Its annual fee, for one thing. Few cash-back cards charge annual fees at all, and those that do tend to be even more generous than this one.
But beggars can’t be choosers. And if you qualify for the Platinum X5 card and use it responsibly for a year or two, your credit might improve enough to qualify for a more generous cash-back card without an annual fee or a premium travel rewards card with an annual fee that subsidizes a slew of choice perks.
Something to look forward to, at least.