American Express Cash Magnet™ Card: The new cash back kid on the block

Two young backpacking women look out over the balcony in Spain, glad they used their Amex Cash Magnet credit cards to help them pay for their trip. Two young backpacking women look out over the balcony in Spain, glad they used their Amex Cash Magnet credit cards to help them pay for their trip. Image:

In a Nutshell

The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card is a fairly average cash back credit card with some of the familiar American Express perks. But if you don’t at least pay the minimum due each month, you’ll lose some of the features that make this card attractive.

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The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card is the latest cash back card offering from American Express.

There are a lot of different cash back credit cards out there. If you like to travel and plan to use your credit card frequently, the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card might be for you. This card isn’t the most exciting we’ve seen, though, so you may want to check out some other cash back cards.

  What we like Heads up
APR
  • 0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, with a variable rate of 14.99% - 25.99% after that. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days of account opening. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • If your payment is late or returned by your bank within the first 15 months, you could lose the 0% intro APR completely and the penalty APR could kick in
  • Variable 29.99% penalty APR if your payment is late or returned by your bank
Fees
  • $0 annual fee
  • Late payment fee of up to $38
  • Balance transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5)
  • Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days of opening the credit card
  • Use of the Plan ItSM feature has a 0% intro fee for the first 15 months. Finance charge increases to 1.16% per purchase after that
Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back on purchases
  • Earn a $150 statement credit by spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership. Earn an additional $100 statement credit if you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within the first 12 months of card membership
  • Rewards are paid in the form of statement credits
Other benefits
  • Plan ItSM feature allows you to create up to 10 active payment plans for qualifying purchases of $100 or more, subject to a plan fee

 

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American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

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  1. The rundown: Everything we like about the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card
  2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card
  3. Do the math: How to get the most out of the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card
  4. The competition: How the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card stacks up against similar cards
  5. Bottom line: Is the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card right for you?

The rundown: Everything we like about the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

If you like to travel and plan to use your card frequently, the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card has lots of benefits for you to take advantage of.

0% APR for first 15 months

As long as you make your monthly minimum payment, American Express won’t charge you a penny of interest on purchases or balance transfers during your first 15 months of membership.

Flat 1.5% cash back ‘reward dollars’ on purchases

There’s no special categories to keep track of or activate each month because you’ll automatically get 1.5% cash back rewards on all eligible purchases. You can choose to redeem them at any time, as long as you have a balance of 25 reward dollars or more.

$250 bonus if you spend $7,500 in the first year

You’ll earn the first $150 in statement credit if you spend $1,000 in purchases on the credit card within the first 3 months of opening the account, and you’ll earn the second $100 in statement credit if you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within the first year of opening the account. Word of caution: Even though that extra $250 sounds nice, don’t overspend just to get it!

Lots of travel perks

If you travel a lot, you can take advantage of complimentary rental car and travel insurance through American Express as well as travel deals through their partners. You also have access to the American Express Global Assist® Hotline, which offers coordination and assistance to card members traveling around the world.

Safety first

American Express offers its card members 24/7 emergency roadside assistance in the form of a tow truck or locksmith.

Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

This card has a lot of benefits as long as you make the minimum payment each month. If you can’t, you may lose a couple of the features that make this card so attractive.

If you can’t pay on time, you’ll lose the 0% introductory APR

Even if you’re late only once, that’s enough for American Express to potentially raise your APR to the penalty rate of 29.99% for at least the following six months. While your APR could eventually go back to the card’s standard 14.99% - 25.99% range, you’ll have to be really careful not to make any more late payments.

An APR of 29.99% is a big jump from 0% and could make it more difficult for you to make your minimum monthly payments. If you can’t make your minimum monthly payments or if you continue to carry a large balance on your credit card, that could hurt your credit scores. Lower scores could make it more difficult for you to get other forms of credit like a mortgage or auto loan in the future.

After the first 15 months is up, you’ll pay a finance charge on each purchase you make using the Plan It℠ feature

While the 0% doesn’t have an annual fee, it does tack on a 1.16% finance charge for each Plan It℠ purchase once the 0% introductory 15 months period is up. You’ll pay this fee every month the plan is active, so it’s something to consider if you’re going to use this feature, which allows you set up as many as 10 monthly payment plans for purchases of $100 or more with a fixed monthly fee.

Rewards only come in the form of statement credits

Despite the name, the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card doesn’t give its members any actual cash. You earn 1.5% “cash rewards” on each eligible purchase, and those rewards can be redeemed as statement credits. This means your rewards are useless unless you have a balance on your credit card. Another thing to consider is that you can’t use your cash back to pay your minimum monthly payment.

Check out other cash back cards

Do the math: How to get the most out of the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

Getting the most out of the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card depends largely on making your minimum monthly payment. As long as you can cover your minimum monthly payment, you maintain the introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months. If you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership, you’ll earn a $150 statement credit. If you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within the first 12 months, you’ll earn an additional $100 statement credit.


Bottom line: Is the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card right for you?

The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card offers lots of benefits, and the financial features like 0% APR during the introductory 15 months make this card attractive. But after the introductory period is over (or before, if you happen to make a late payment or are unable to pay your monthly minimum payment), you might see a decrease in the overall benefits you get from this card.

Remember that there are a lot of other cash back cards out there, many with more alluring terms, so be sure to do your research before applying for a cash back card.


Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors' opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s posted.