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.
Quick FactsView rates and fees
- Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
- Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
Pros & Cons
No annual fee
Bonus offer for new cardholders
Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
American Express isn't accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
Alternate Pick: 5% cash back
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
The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is the newest member in 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, if you're willing to keep track of tiered rewards or bonus categories.
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.
American Express Cash Magnet® Card: Key features
Card type: Cash back.
Annual fee: $0.
Welcome bonus: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 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% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%.
Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the balance total, whichever is greater.
Travel perks: Cardholders get access to American Express’s roadside assistance hotline, car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance and global assist hotline.
Consumer benefits: Purchase protection, extended warranty, return protection.
Key benefits of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card
Solid, straightforward rewards rate: 1.5% back on all purchases has become the standard for cash-back credit cards, and it's the same rate as that offered by popular cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or 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 American Express Cash Magnet® Card's bonus offer for new cardholders is on par with what you'll find with many other cash-back credit cards.
Good 0% intro APR period: The card offers 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR. That's a decent window of time to finance a big-ticket purchase without interest charges. You could also take advantage of the introductory balance transfer APR; just be aware that you'll be charged a balance transfer fee.
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, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express also earn Reward Dollars, but they offer higher rewards rates on specific shopping categories. 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 to 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.
For higher flat-rate rewards: Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a flat-rate cash-back credit card that also offers simplicity, except its rewards rate is higher. It offers 2% cash back on everything — 1% back when you make a purchase, and another 1% back as you pay for it. Like the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, it has an annual fee of $0. However, this offer includes neither a new-cardholder bonus nor a $0 intro APR period for purchases.
For bonus rewards on gas and groceries: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
If you've got your mind set on an American Express cash-back credit card, you could also consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. It, too, offers a new-cardholder bonus, an intro 0% APR period, and an annual fee of $0. But unlike the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, it has a tiered rewards system. You'll earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%); 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; and 1% back on other purchases.
For 5% 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: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
Visit our top credit card options 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. To view rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please visit this page.
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