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2020 Review: American Express Cash Magnet – An Attractive Rewards Card

Updated Sep 24, 2020 | Published Oct 31, 201810 min read

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American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Min Credit Level Good
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
At a glance

The American Express Cash Magnet card is pretty simple, with 1.5% cash back for every purchase and no annual fee. There’s a welcome bonus, and the benefits consist of some useful shopping and travel protections.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Discover it® Cash Back, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Discover it® Miles have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

We give the American Express Cash Magnet® Card 4 out of 5 Stars because it offers solid rewards to cardholders who want an easy-to-use cash back card.

Why We Like It

  • No annual fee
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Amex Offers provides opportunities to earn more cash back
  • 0% purchase APR for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Why It Could Be Better

  • Charges foreign transaction fees
  • American Express isn’t widely accepted outside of the United States

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 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.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
  • Amex Offers rewards you at places you like to shop, dine, travel, and more. You can add as many Offers as you’d like to your Card, then just use that Card to pay, and enjoy rewards directly on your statement.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

While it’s wise to avoid racking up credit card debt, paying with only cash or debit could be a costly mistake. If you’re making purchases without a rewards credit card, you’re basically throwing money away.

If you’re looking for a simple cash back card, this option from American Express may be for you. The Amex Cash Magnet offers a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on every purchase, so you can quickly earn rewards on your regular expenses.

There’s no annual fee. While some other cards without annual fees skimp on introductory bonuses, the Cash Magnet Card allows you to earn a welcome offer of $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

By becoming a cardholder, you’ll also get access to some nice benefits. Overall, it’s a good choice for someone who doesn’t want to keep track of different spending categories. Or, you can use it along with other rewards cards that offer more cash back on select spending categories to earn higher rewards.

Insider Advice: How to Get the Most Out of Your Card

  • Use it for routine expenses: Because this is a flat-rate cash back card, it makes sense to use it for everyday expenses like buying groceries, spending at gas stations, or paying your cell phone bill — whenever you won’t earn more with a different reward card.
  • Take advantage of the introductory bonus: Spend enough money in the first few months to take advantage of the introductory bonus: $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Redeem your rewards for statement credits: Redeem your cash back rewards for statement credits for an easy way to get the full value.
  • Check Amex Offers: Take advantage of the Amex Offers program, which provides extra cash back at select retailers.
  • Use another card for international travel: Because this card has foreign transaction fees and isn’t accepted widely outside of the United States, it’s a good idea to use another credit card when traveling outside the country.

The Rewards

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Introductory Bonus Offers
  • $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Unlike other rewards cards, like the Discover it® Cash Back (Review), there are no spending categories to keep track of with the Cash Magnet Card. Instead, you earn one flat cash back rewards rate.

You can earn rewards quickly by using the card for routine expenses, such as gas, groceries, or your cell phone bill. However, only use this card for purchases when you won’t earn more rewards in a particular spending category with a different card.

Redeeming

Statement credits are the primary redemption method, but you can also redeem your rewards for merchandise or gift cards.

We recommend sticking with statement credits as your redemption method to get the full value of your rewards ($1 in value per $1 of cash back rewards). You can redeem for statement credits whenever your rewards balance reaches $25 or more.

Gift cards will also provide you with the full value and they can be a good redemption method too, but they’ll take some time to arrive and then you’ll be limited to using them at the specified merchant. There may be occasional sales that provide even better deals, like a $50 Nike gift card for only $45 in rewards.

The one exception to that are general American Express gift cards, which provide less value for your rewards. These will always cost $4 more in rewards than they are worth; so a $25 Amex gift card will cost $29 in rewards; a $50 gift card will cost $54 in rewards, etc.

Redeeming your rewards for merchandise is always a bad idea. The items are vastly overpriced compared to ordinary retailers, and you’ll get a very bad value for your rewards.

The Benefits

For a no annual fee card, the Cash Magnet offers a few valuable benefits and perks.

  • Amex Offers: Amex Offers provides access to extra reward opportunities from select retailers. Just visit Amex Offers and click “Add to Card” for the deals you want. Use your Cash Magnet Card as you normally would to complete the purchase. Your savings will appear as cash back or a statement credit later on, reducing how much you owe.
  • American Express presale: As an American Express cardmember, you’ll get exclusive access to ticket presales and cardholder-only events. Find eligible events near you on the American Express Experiences website.
  • American Express seating: American Express reserves a select number of seats at major events for cardholders. Use your card when you purchase tickets to get access to those reserved seats. Find out more on the American Express Seating site.
  • Entertainment Access: Get pre-sale tickets to sports, music, and cultural events, as well as some exclusive cardmember experiences. If you love the theater or live music and performances, this benefit could be very valuable.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: When you enroll in ShopRunner, you’ll get free two-day shipping and returns with select retailers. It’s like Amazon Prime, but for more merchants and you don’t have to pay an annual fee since American Express is covering your membership cost.
  • Instant Card Number: If Amex can verify your identity, you may be given access to an instant card number you can use immediately after being approved. This Instant Card Number can be used with any online retailer that accepts American Express. You may not have access to the full credit line until your physical card is verified. The Instant Card Number will stop working as soon as you receive and verify your physical card.
  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you find your hotel room being advertised for less than what you paid prior to check-in, you can be reimbursed for the difference. All stays must be booked through American Express Travel to qualify.
  • Purchase Protection: Eligible items purchased with your card are protected against accidental damage and theft for 120 days.
  • Global Assist Hotline: If you lose your passport, need help with customs, or need a medical referral away from home, you can get help 24/7.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Decline the rental company’s insurance when renting an eligible vehicle, and you’ll get coverage against theft and damage.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
0% for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable 13.99% - 23.99% Variable 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
None Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
29.24% Variable Up to $40 Up to $40

There is no annual fee with the Cash Magnet Card. It offers a long introductory APR for new purchases, giving you time to pay off large expenses without worrying about interest charges.

Late payments will face a fee of up to $38, and may also cause the penalty APR to be applied. That would cancel out any intro period as well, so be sure to make timely monthly payments.

There’s also a foreign transaction fee to be aware of. Because of the fee and the fact that American Express isn’t accepted widely internationally, anyone traveling outside the country should typically look for a Visa or Mastercard with no foreign transaction fees.

The Bottom Line

The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is about as straightforward a rewards card as they come. With the ability to earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a decent introductory bonus, it’s a good option for users who want a simple cash back credit card.

Cardholders get a nice suite of perks, including travel and shopping protections and the Amex Offers benefit. For a card without an annual fee, that’s a fairly robust offering.

However, there are a number of other rewards cards that offer higher rewards or different benefits. If you have good to excellent credit, it could be worth shopping around to find a card better suited to your needs.

How Do I Apply for the Cash Magnet Card?

You can apply now for the Cash Magnet Card by following the link below. Most people can expect to receive an answer within seconds, but in some cases it could take longer.

If approved, you’ll get a notification and you may be given an instant card number to use. If you’re not approved, you’ll get a letter in the mail detailing why you were denied.

What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Cash Magnet Card?

It’s recommended that you have good credit when applying for this card.

That would mean that your credit scores are within the ranges of 670–739 for FICO and 700–749 for VantageScore.

Those scores might be hard to come by, but credit card issuer’s take more into account than just your scores. Credit card companies will look at things like your income and source of income when determining your creditworthiness. This means there’s a chance that you’ll still be approved even if your scores are lower than what’s recommended.

However, that also means there’s a shot you’ll be denied even if you have those credit scores.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal identifying information: Name, Social Security number, date of birth
  • Address and contact information: Email, cell phone number, address
  • Financial information: Income, source of income

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 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.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
  • Amex Offers rewards you at places you like to shop, dine, travel, and more. You can add as many Offers as you’d like to your Card, then just use that Card to pay, and enjoy rewards directly on your statement.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the American Express Cash Magnet’s credit limit?

Your credit limit is based upon your creditworthiness and other financial details. American Express will review factors like your income and credit scores when determining your limit.

Remember, you can request a credit limit increase. We recommend cardholders request an increase every 6 to 12 months if they want higher limits.

How do I log in to my American Express Cash Magnet account?

Head over to American Express’ website and sign in with your account information. From there, you can see your balance, pay your bill, and check out other card features like Amex Offers.

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Alternatives to the American Express Cash Magnet Card

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) is similar to the Cash Magnet, though it earns a little more.

The Double Cash works a little differently, however. Your rewards are split in two; you’ll get 1% when you make your purchase, and the other 1% once you pay it off. But the tradeoff for the higher cash back value is the lack of an introductory bonus with the Double Cash Card.

The benefits you’d get with the Double Cash are less impressive than what you’d see from the Cash Magnet. The Double Cash offers nothing in the way of shopping and travel protections.

Although the Cash Magnet Card has a long introductory APR, the Citi Double Cash Card has an excellent deal too: You’ll get 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers. Once the term ends, your APR will increase to 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable).

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make (must pay at least the minimum due on time)
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase
  • Free FICO credit score: Keep tabs on your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report.
  • Personal concierge service: Call 1-800-508-8930 to speak with your own personal assistant, for help with all kinds of non-emergency tasks.
  • Citi Private Pass: Get preferred access and presale tickets to select events and experiences, including music, sports, dining, and theater.
  • Quick customer service: Call customer support and say “representative” to be connected with a human rep more quickly than usual.
  • Purchase APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable).
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) earns a flat 1.5% for every purchase.

It’s a very simple card with little else to it. All in all these cards are pretty similar, although their intro bonuses may differ.

You’ll get a few more travel and shopping protections with this card than the Cash Magnet, but you’ll lose Amex Offers. However, there’s no foreign transaction fee like there is with the Cash Magnet card. So this would be the better option if you plan on traveling outside the country.

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Receive special perks at select hotels worldwide, including automatic room upgrades, free WiFi, and complimentary breakfast for two.
  • Shopping discounts: Get discounts at select retailers.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call the Visa Signature concierge service 24/7 for assistance with non-emergency tasks like travel arrangements or dinner reservations.
  • Capital One CreditWise: The CreditWise service provides free access to your VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Shopping protections: May include purchase security and extended warranty
  • Travel protections: Travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and roadside dispatch
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for for 15 months, then 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR14.99% - 23.74% Variable

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review) credit card offers a strong 1.5% for most purchases, in addition to 3% and 5% bonus categories.

With this card you’ll earn 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, on groceries for your first year, or up to $12,000 in spending, and on Lyft rides. You’ll earn 3% at restaurants and drugstores. So you’d easily earn more rewards with the Freedom Unlimited than the Cash Magnet.

There’s still a 0% intro APR period for purchases, a welcome bonus, and just about the same quality of benefits. This card would likely suit you better than the Cash Magnet.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on:
    • Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
    • Grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases; up to $12,000 spent in the first year)
  • 3% cash back at:
    • Restaurants
    • Drugstores
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months

You have more options for redeeming your cash back with the Freedom Unlimited than you do with the Cash Magnet. You can redeem for statement credits, gift cards, travel expenses through the Ultimate Rewards portal, or at checkout with participating merchants. But, like the Cash Magnet, the best method is usually for statement credits (unless you can transfer the rewards to other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, where they can be more valuable).

There’s also no minimum redemption requirement.

  • Complimentary DoorDash membership: You’ll get three free months of DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. You’ll pay $0 in delivery fees for orders over $12, and get reduced service fees. Once those three months are up, you can reenroll for 50% off.
  • Shop through Chase: Cardholders can get more cash back at select retailers with the Shop through Chase marketplace. You’ll find deals that come and go over time, which let you earn a good reward rate outside the bonus categories.
  • Chase Offers: Browse and activate special offers from a selection of retailers on the Chase app.
  • Chase Credit Journey: Chase offers the Credit Journey credit monitoring tool, providing a way to keep track of your credit from month to month. This provides your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report. The Credit Journey service is free and available to anyone, whether you’re a Chase cardholder or not.
  • Travel protections: Roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance services, rental car insurance, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Shopping protections: Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

Discover it® Miles

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APRSee Terms

It looks like a travel credit card, but the Discover it® Miles (Review) is more like one of the flat-rate cash back credit cards above. But it has a special offer that makes it more rewarding in the first year.

You’ll earn 1.5X miles per dollar spent on all purchases, which is typically the equivalent of 1.5% cash back. That’s the same cash back value that the Cash Magnet offers, even though you’re earning miles with this card.

Discover offers a unique and valuable introductory offer as well. The company will double the total number of miles you earn in the first year, so you’ll basically earn 3X miles per dollar when it’s said and done. That comes to a cash back equivalent of 3% when redeeming for statement credits, and it could be more when redeeming for gift cards. But after that first year the rewards drop to a more typical level.

However, there are no shopping or travel benefits, or shopping portals like Amex Offers that proved extra rewards. You’ll be able to check your FICO Score 8 based on your TransUnion credit report, but there’s not much else.

Spending Rewards
  • 1.5X miles per dollar on all purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Discover Match: Double miles earned during the first year, awarded at the end of the first year

You’ll get the full value of $1 per mile when redeeming for statement credits, a nice (and somewhat rare) feature for a travel card. And you can actually get more than $1 per mile when redeeming for gift cards, so they’re worth looking into.

  • Free Credit Score: Track your FICO Score 8 over time, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Social Security number alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites.
  • New account alerts: Get notified of any new accounts that show up on your Experian credit report.
  • Purchase APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 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.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
  • Amex Offers rewards you at places you like to shop, dine, travel, and more. You can add as many Offers as you’d like to your Card, then just use that Card to pay, and enjoy rewards directly on your statement.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Do you use the Cash Magnet Card from American Express? Let us know how you like it by leaving a comment below!

Interested in other rewards cards? We've made a list. Best Rewards Credit Cards

For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please click here.

Kat Tretina
Written by

Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a contributor to Credit Card Insider who writes about credit cards and other personal finance topics. Her work has appeared in publications like the Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Business Insider, and more.

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