New Santander Bank card offers unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases

Ultimate Cash Back card

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Santander Bank has launched the Ultimate Cash Back card – a new credit card that pays cardholders 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase along with a $100 sign-up bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days.

While receiving 1.5 percent cash back on everything you buy is a great offer, there are several credit cards that currently offer the same rate. The Ultimate Cash Back card sets itself apart by not charging fees on a variety of popular card transactions, including the following:

  • No annual fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No cash advance fees
  • No balance transfer fees
  • No returned payment fees

According to Ravi Acharya, head of consumer lending and innovation at Santander Bank, the Ultimate Cash Back card is designed to provide cardholders with “a flexible, easy-to-use credit card that doesn't nickel and dime them with unnecessary fees and ensures they're going to earn money back on their purchases.”

To see how the Ultimate Cash Back card stacks up against other cards that offer 1.5 percent back, let’s start by comparing their transaction fees:

FEES FOR CARDS THAT OFFER 1.5 PERCENT CASH BACK
  Ultimate Cash Back card Chase Freedom Unlimited Quicksilver Cash Rewards from Capital One Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa
Annual fee None None None None None
Foreign transaction fee None X None X None
Cash advance fee None X X X X
Balance transfer fee None X X X X
Returned payment fee None X None X X
Late payment fee X X X X X

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of the offer.

As you can see, the Ultimate Cash Back card offers the best deal on fees compared to many of its competitors, though we suspect that many of these fees are irrelevant for cardholders who plan to use the card to earn cash back. The lack of a foreign transaction fee by itself is a valuable benefit – you can use the Ultimate Cash Back card while traveling abroad, without incurring a fee on each of your transactions.

In the meantime, there are more important factors to take into account before deciding if the card is the right fit for you, such as sign-up bonuses, introductory APRs and rewards redemption options. Take a closer look at the pros and cons of each of these cards in the chart below:

PROS AND CONS OF CARDS WITH 1.5 PERCENT CASH BACK OFFERS
Credit card Cash back rewards Pros Cons
Ultimate Cash Back card 1.5% on all purchases • $100 sign-up bonus after $500 spend in first 90 days
• No annual fee
• No minimum required to redeem
• Can transfer rewards to other Santander cards
• Reward options are limited to statement credits, merchandise and gift cards
Chase Freedom Unlimited 1.5% on all purchases • $150 sign-up bonus after $500 in first 3 months
• $25 bonus if you add an authorized user and make a purchase in first 3 months
• No annual fee
• 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
• Can transfer rewards to other Chase cards
• Offer only available to new cardholders who have not received a new card member bonus for this card within the past 24 months
• Minimum $20 redemption
Quicksilver Cash Rewards from Capital One 1.5% on all purchases • $150 sign-up bonus after $500 spend in first 3 months
• No annual fee
• No minimum required to redeem
• 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
• Can’t transfer rewards to other Capital One credit cards
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa 1.5% on all purchases • $200 sign-up bonus after $1,000 spend in first 3 months
• 1.8% cash back on mobile wallet purchases in first 12 months
• No annual fee
• 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
• Cash back can only be withdrawn in $20 increments by ATM or $25 increments by phone
• Can’t transfer rewards to other Wells Fargo credit cards
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa 1.5% on all purchases • Additional .5% cash back through Access America Checking account or military service
• $100 sign-up bonus after $1,500 spend in first 3 months (offer valid through Sept. 30, 2017)
• No annual fee
• No minimum required to redeem
• 0% intro APR on balance transfers
• Must be a member of Pentagon Federal Credit Union
• Rewards can only be redeemed as statement credit or deposited into PenFed account (if you are not an Honors Advantage member
• Can’t transfer rewards to other PenFed credit cards

Getting more bang for your buck

If you’re looking to earn more than 1.5 percent back – and still avoid the hassle of dealing with rotating categories – there are a few cards that offer just that. The PayPal Cashback Mastercard and Citi Double Cash cards, for example, each offer an unlimited flat rate of 2 percent cash back on all purchases. Though neither of these cards includes a sign-up bonus, in the long run you stand to earn more cash back with them than with a card with a 1.5 rewards rate and a sign-up bonus.

Between these two cards, the Citi Double Cash offers more generous redemption options – points can be redeemed for a statement credit, check, gift card or credit to your checking and savings account. The PayPal Cashback Mastercard, on the other hand, only allows rewards to be redeemed through your PayPal account.

For those interested in transferring the balance from a different card, the Citi Double Cash card may be your best bet, as the card offers a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. However, keep in mind that you won’t earn cash back on balance transfers.

5 percent cash back

If you don’t mind a more complex rewards structure that includes category restrictions and earning caps, the Discover it and Chase Freedom cards offer even more cash back. Each of these cards offer 5 percent cash back on categories that rotate quarterly – such as restaurants and movies – up to $1,500, in addition to 1 percent cash back on general purchases. But to earn the 5 percent rate, you must remember to log in to your credit card account and activate the rewards category by the deadline each quarter.

See the 2017 cash back categories for Discover:

DISCOVER 5 PERCENT CASH BACK CALENDAR 2017
January - March
Gas stations, ground transportation and wholesale clubs
April - June
Home improvement stores and wholesale clubs
July - September
Restaurants
October - December
Amazon.com and more

See the 2017 cash back categories for Chase:

CHASE 5 PERCENT CASH BACK CALENDAR 2017
January - March
Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls and Amtrak purchases)
April - June
Grocery stores and drug stores (not including Walmart and Target purchases)
July - September
Restaurants and movie theaters (activate by Sept. 14, 2017)
October - December
Holiday – coming soon (activate starting Sept. 15, 2017)

See related: Wells Fargo boosts the sign-up bonus for the Cash Wise Visa to $200, Chase Freedom versus Chase Freedom Unlimited: Which card is best for you?, PayPal Cashback Mastercard offers 2 percent cash back on all purchases

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy


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Updated: 11-17-2017