|Cash Back Rating:||3.0 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||3.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||5.0|
In a Nutshell:
The 1.5 rewards rate on the American Express Cash Magnet card is nothing special, but the introductory offer is a nice bit of extra pocket change (terms apply).
All information about the American Express Cash Magnet Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy. The American Express Cash Magnet Card is no longer available through CreditCards.com.
$200 statement credit if you spend $2,000 in first 6 months
American Express Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Plan It, Pay It, car rental insurance, $0 liability, year-end summary
The American Express Cash Magnet Card may be the best fit for consumers who value simplicity above all else. This cash back credit card offers 1.5 percent cash back for every dollar you spend – with no categories to track and no limit to how much cash back you can earn. Plus, there’s no annual fee waiting to eat away at your rewards.
That said, the card’s flat rate falls short of several competing no annual fee cash back cards. If you have at least good credit, you may be able to qualify for a flat rate card that earns 2% back on all purchases. Though it may not sound like much, that extra 0.5% cash back can add up to significant earnings over time.
Why you might want the American Express Cash Magnet Card
Some credit cards require you to put in extra effort and do some complex math to be sure you’re maximizing your rewards, but we’re happy to say that’s not the case with the Cash Magnet card. You can enjoy a simple flat cash back rate on all your purchases without worrying about tracking spending or enrolling in bonus categories, all while paying no annual fee.
If you have a big purchase to make, the Cash Magnet card’s introductory APR offer could also be a big help, giving you a chance to pay down your balance while minimizing interest charges. Plus, you can score a decent welcome bonus and perks with your Amex card, including a handful of travel-related benefits and protections.
Earn simple cash back without paying an annual fee
The Cash Magnet card offers the same 1.5% cash back on all eligible spending, no matter the type of purchase. This makes matters very simple for cardholders who hate having to keep track of bonus categories and want to avoid the complexity of spending caps and cash back limits sometimes associated with rewards credit cards.
Not only is earning cash back simple with the Cash Magnet card, but you’ll also pay no annual fee to keep the card in your wallet. Annual fees can sometimes be costly and, depending on what you buy and how often you use your card, can make a big dent in your rewards at the end of the year.
Boosted sign-up bonus
The Cash Magnet card also offers a solid welcome bonus with an easy-to-reach spending requirement – you can earn $200 in statement credits after you use your card for $2,000 in purchases within six months of account opening. That’s $50 more than the card’s previous bonus and gives you twice as long to reach the spending requirement (most cards require you to reach the bonus spending threshold within your first three months).
The $2,000 threshold is also relatively low when spread out across six months – just under $334 per month in spending – and most people should be able to reach it just by charging everyday expenses like groceries, gas and other household purchases to their card. This is the same amount of monthly spending you would have had to make to earn the card’s previous $150 bonus, but now you’ll get an extra $50 in return.
Considering most of the top cash back cards offer at least a $200 bonus, the Amex Cash Magnet’s welcome offer isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s nice perk.
Intro APR offer for new purchases
A major plus to the Cash Magnet card is its current 0 percent introductory APR offer on new purchases for your first 15 months (18.99% to 29.99% variable APR thereafter). If you need to pay for an expensive purchase such as kitchen appliances, new furniture or a vacation, you can not only earn cash back on the purchase, but also pay down your bill while avoiding interest during your first 15 months.
The typical intro APR offer on a no annual fee cash back card – if one is offered at all – can range anywhere from 12 to 18 months. The Cash Magnet card’s intro APR period falls right in the middle, giving you a decent amount of time to pay off your balance without racking up interest charges.
Tip: Unfortunately, this intro APR offer is not matched for balance transfers
While nothing earth-shattering, the Cash Magnet card includes a handful of useful perks, especially if you suspect you’ll need to take advantage of flexible financing options on large purchases even after your intro APR period comes to an end. Notable benefits include:
- Pay it Plan it – Amex’s “Pay it Plan it” is a flexible financing program that allows you to pay down large purchases over several months via installment payments with a fixed fee. While it may not save you as much as a 0% intro APR offer, this could come in handy if you need time to chip away at a large expense and want to avoid options like a personal loan or deferred interest financing. This program is available for consumers based on their credit history and you are required to use the American Express app to access the program.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance – Receive up to $50,000 in coverage per rental agreement if your rental car sustains damage or theft or you’re on the hook for other covered charges.
- Global Assist hotline – You can call this hotline 24 hours a day for help when you travel, be it for 24/7 emergency assistance and coordination services, medical and legal referrals, emergency cash wires or missing luggage assistance.
Why you might want a different card
While the Amex Cash Magnet’s cash back rate is better than the standard 1% back you’ll find on nearly all cash back cards, it falls short of the rate you’ll find on the best flat-rate cash back cards, which can get you 2% back on all purchases, as well as the rate available on tiered bonus rewards cards that earn more in specific spending categories. Plus, the card’s rewards redemption options are limited, as you can only opt for statement credits.
You’ll also face strict approval odds, which, given the card’s low cash back rate, make it less attractive than several alternative cash back cards available with good to excellent credit.
Low cash back rate
A big downside to the Cash Magnet as both a standalone and supplemental cash back card is its low cash back rate when compared to many competitors.
The card’s 1.5% cash back rate doesn’t measure up to several flat-rate options, including the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which not only earns you 2% cash rewards on purchases instead of 1.5% back, but also charges no annual fee and has a similar welcome offer with a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in your first three months.
Earning 0.5% more cash rewards may not seem like a lot, but it could make a big difference in the long run. Based on an average yearly spend of $15,900 or approximately $1,325 per month, there is a significant difference in how much cash rewards you can earn with a 2% flat rate cash back card like the Active Cash versus a 1.5% flat rate card like the Cash Magnet.
|Card||Rewards calculation||Total rewards|
|Amex Cash Magnet||$15,900 x 1.5% back =||$239|
|Wells Fargo Active Cash Card||$15,900 x 2% back =||$318|
In this example, the Active Cash earns you approximately $79 more in annual cash rewards, with this gap widening the more you spend.
Alternatively, competing cards that earn just 1% back on general spending but extra cash back in specific categories could prove more valuable if your budget is heavily focused on a couple of key areas like groceries. Though these cards may require extra strategizing, they could prove valuable in lieu of – or at least in combination with – a flat-rate card like the Amex Cash Magnet.
Limited rewards redemption options
Another major downside of this card’s rewards program is the fact that redemption options are very limited. The Cash Magnet card doesn’t earn points in the American Express Membership Rewards program, so you won’t be able to pool points with other Amex cards or transfer points earned with this card to airline or hotel partners. Instead, you earn cash back rewards that you can only redeem as statement credits. You’ll also need to have earned at least $25 in cash back before you can redeem your rewards.
Even if you’re focused on cash back, such an inflexible redemption process can be a big inconvenience, especially considering several competing cards let you redeem with no minimum for cash back, travel, gift cards and more, all without sacrificing rewards value.
On the bright side, your cash back never expires as long as your account is open, and there is no limit to how much you can earn.
Better cards available at this credit level
Given the Amex Cash Magnet card’s low cash back rate, it likely won’t be the best choice among all of the more rewarding cash back cards available at the good to excellent credit level.
You’ll need at least good to excellent credit to qualify for the card (a minimum FICO score of 670). That’s high enough to meet the minimum requirements for cash back cards like the Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi® Double Cash Card, both of which earn up to 2% back on eligible purchases and charge no annual fee and, as such, are all but guaranteed to beat the Amex Cash Magnet when it comes to ongoing rewards earned via general purchases (the Active Cash earns 2% cash rewards and the Citi Double Cash earns 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases).
How does the Cash Magnet card compare to other cash back cards?
While the Cash Magnet card is a decent – if unimpressive – option for earning a steady rate of cash back, it has a lot of competitors in the cash back space. Not only is it one of a slew of 1.5% cash back cards, but you can find plenty of cards – both with flat rates and bonus categories – that trump it in terms of earnings:
Citi® Double Cash Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited®*
Discover it® Cash Back
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back
Matches all your cash back at the end of your first year
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Amex Cash Magnet vs. Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash is a popular flat-rate cash back card for consumers who want to earn lucrative rewards but don’t want to pay an annual fee. This card gives you up to 2% back – 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay it off. It proves more valuable long term thanks to its higher rewards rate.
Amex Cash Magnet vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is another cash back credit card that lets you earn at least 1.5% back on purchases, but it comes with a few valuable twists. To start, you’ll not only earn 1.5% cash back on general purchases, but also 5% back on travel booked through Chase and 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases. This mix of an elevated base reward rate and boosted rewards in specific categories gives the Freedom Unlimited a clear advantage over the Cash Magnet. Plus, you can transfer your points to premium Ultimate Rewards cards and redeem them for travel through Chase at a 25% to 50% higher value.
Amex Cash Magnet vs. Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it® Cash Back is a great choice if you get a kick out of hunting for deals and strategizing about where and when to buy to maximize your rewards. You can earn a whopping 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating categories each quarter (1% thereafter, enrollment required), as well as 1% back on all other purchases. Also, Discover matches all the rewards you earn the first year at the end of your first year, which makes the card extremely rewarding for the first year of membership. Used strategically, this card could easily prove more valuable than the Cash Magnet thanks to its variety of cash back categories and elevated rewards rate.
How to use the Cash Magnet card
- Use it for all your regular purchases that don’t qualify for a higher category bonus with a different rewards credit card.
- Take advantage of the 0% APR for the first 15 months (18.99% – 29.99% variable APR thereafter) to pay off major expenses over time.
- After your intro APR period ends, consider using Amex’s Plan It feature to finance larger purchases for a fixed fee.
- Consider pairing the Cash Magnet with a card that earns at a higher rate in specific spending categories like groceries or dining, based on your spending habits.
Is the Cash Magnet card right for you?
If you want to keep things a simple as possible while earning cash back, the Amex Cash Magnet card will get the job done, allowing you to easily earn rewards on all your general spending and redeem for statement credits. However, there are few reasons to recommend the card as a standalone or supplementary flat-rate option given its low rewards rate. As long as you have at least good credit, a 2% flat-rate card or a card that earns more in your highest spending categories will likely be a better way forward.
For rates and fees of the Amex Cash Magnet, please click here.
Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
*All information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
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