AmEx Cash Magnet Review: No-Fuss 1.5% Back on Your Purchases

The flat cash-back rate on everything you buy matches the industry standard, but optimizers might be able to find more attractive options.

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Our Take

4.8

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

A solid option for those who prize simplicity in a rewards card. Just keep in mind that the redemption options are a bit limited.

Jump to: Full Review
American Express Cash Magnet℠ Card
American Express Cash Magnet® Card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
14.24%-24.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Bonus offer for new cardholders

  • Intro APR period on Purchases

Cons

  • American Express isn't accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard

Alternate Pick: 5% cash back
Discover it® Cash Back
NerdWallet rating 
Discover it® Cash Back
Supersized rewards for those who optimize

This card pays 5% cash back in quarterly categories that you activate (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter) and 1% on everything else. Categories in recent years have included such things as restaurants, gas stations and Amazon.com. The annual fee is $0.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

17.74%-27.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.74%-26.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.74%-27.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is a relative newcomer to the issuer's family of cash-back products. But unlike its siblings, it's a simple, flat-rate card: You get 1.5% back on all eligible purchases.

On the upside, that guarantees you'll earn solid, uncomplicated rewards on everything you buy. On the downside, you can find plenty of cards — even within the AmEx family — that earn higher rates.

The American Express Cash Magnet® Card does offer a welcome bonus, among other benefits, and it's a good option for someone seeking simplicity in a rewards credit card. Plus, its annual fee is $0.

American Express Cash Magnet® Card: Key features

All information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. 

Card type: Cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on purchases. As with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, the cash back you earn with the American Express Cash Magnet® Card takes the form of "Reward Dollars" that can be redeemed as statement credit once you’ve earned $25 or more.

Interest rate: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24%-24.24% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%.

Travel perks: Car rental loss and damage insurance and global assist hotline.

Key benefits of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Straightforward rewards: 1.5% back on all purchases is a standard rate for cash-back credit cards, and it's the same rate as that offered by popular cards like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. As with those cards, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card will also cost you nothing to carry each year, assuming you don't rack up interest charges.

Welcome offer: The card's bonus offer for new cardholders is on par with what you'll find with many other cash-back credit cards, although it does come with a higher-than-typical spending threshold. The offer: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Good 0% intro APR period: The card offers 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24%-24.24% Variable APR. That's a decent window of time to finance a big-ticket purchase without interest charges.

Potential drawbacks

Limited earning potential: While a 1.5% flat rate is a decent return on purchases, you can do better with cards that earn elevated rewards rates in popular spending categories. For example, if you're a foodie, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card gives you 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, grocery stores and streaming services. You can also find cash-back cards that offer 5% bonus rewards on categories that change quarterly.

Limited redemption options: Reward Dollars can’t be redeemed as cash back to your bank account. They can be redeemed only for statement credit, gift cards or merchandise. Also, cardholders have to earn at least $25 in Reward Dollars to be able to redeem; other cards have no minimum redemption amount. And Reward Dollars can’t be used toward your minimum payment due.

Potentially limited acceptance internationally. American Express is not as widely accepted outside the United States as Visa or Mastercard. Even if your American Express Cash Magnet® Card is accepted at your international destination, you'll be charged a 2.7% foreign transaction fee for each purchase — and that could add up over the course of an overseas vacation. It's difficult, although not impossible, to find a cash-back card that charges no foreign transaction fees. If you're looking for a credit card to use internationally, better options exist.

Potential alternatives

For higher flat-rate rewards: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a flat-rate cash-back credit card that also offers simplicity, except its rewards rate is higher, offering 2% cash back on everything. Like the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, it has an annual fee of $0.

For 5% back in rotating categories: Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back offers yet another kind of rewards system. You'll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, and 1% back on all other purchases. You'll have to keep track of the categories and activate them each quarter to earn the bonus. The Discover it® Cash Back has an annual fee of $0, and it offers a unique sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

Visit our best credit card deals page to find out more about possible cash-back alternatives.

Is the American Express Cash Magnet® Card right for you?

If you're not interested in keeping track of rewards tiers or bonus categories and just want an uncomplicated cash-back system, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card fits the bill. Just keep in mind that there's no shortage of cards on the market offering at least 1.5% back on all purchases — so evaluate your options to find the one that works best for you.

And if you think a little extra work is worth it in exchange for supercharging your cash-back earnings, you'll likely be better off with a different card.

All information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.  To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.