Quick Take: For those who want a straightforward version of the American Express credit card experience, Cash Magnet may be a solid choice. The card offers 1.5% cash-back rewards on all purchases, has a $0 fee and comes with a solid, 15-month introductory annual percentage rate.
- Pay It, Plan It
- Introductory Offer
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Pros and Cons
When reviewing the many credit card options available, consumers will want to carefully weigh any perks and drawbacks before settling on one.
- Straightforward 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Pay It, Plan It features
- $0 fee annual
- Introductory APR and bonus with a minimum $2,000 of purchases
- Good credit required
- Rewards rate beat by some competitors
- 2.7% foreign transaction fee
Overview of the American Express Cash Magnet Card
The American Express credit card business started with a single card in 1958 and a gold card offered to qualified business customers in 1966. Since then, the company has developed a sizable array of consumer, personal and business cards, including the Cash Magnet in 2018.
The Cash Magnet card was developed as part of American Express’s family rewards and includes buy now, pay later financing, which offers short-term, no-interest financing of purchases. For customers who appreciate low cost and simplicity, the card combines a good rewards schedule with no annual fee and the perks standard to any American Express account.
Watch Those Late Payments
As with any credit card, it’s important to stay on top of the billing and payments. The smart option is for the user to set an automatic monthly draft from their bank account for at least the minimum due — and ahead of the due date in case any processing issues crop up.
At the first late payment or returned check, American Express will kick the interest rate to a penalty APR of 29.99%. The rate applies for at least six months. The company may reset the interest rate downward after the six-month review.
Who It’s Best For
When handled carefully, credit cards can provide convenience and savings in the form of discounts and rewards on purchases. But not everyone is keen on tracking rewards categories or worrying about when and how those might or might not be available.
The American Express Cash Magnet card will suit anyone with solid credit looking for a no-fee card, a simple rewards structure and a good introductory APR period as a sweetener.
Best Features of the American Express Cash Magnet Card
Take an in-depth look at some of the top features you can benefit from with this credit card.
The American Express Cash Magnet card has a straightforward rewards program offering 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There are no limits on categories and no cap on the amount eligible for rewards. Cash magnet rewards balances can be redeemed for statement credits.
Rewards aren’t available for redemption until the rewards balance reaches $25.
What Does Pay It, Plan It Mean?
American Express has joined the buy now, pay later trend in consumer finance with the Pay It, Plan It feature, now available on the Cash Magnet and other American Express cards.
BNPL means offering customers a convenient way to pay for smaller purchases via a short-term installment plan lasting a few weeks or months. The American Express version begins with Pay It, designed for purchases under $100. The buyer makes small payments throughout a single month to settle the outstanding balance without paying any interest.
Plan It is for purchases greater than $100. The plan sets up regular payments over several billing cycles. A fixed monthly fee is charged, but no interest. New customers can set up a plan with no fees for up to 15 months from the opening of the account.
For both Pay It and Plan It, the payments and plans are set up through the American Express app.
All credit cards have introductory offers, and American Express usually matches the best of them. The Cash Magnet card offers a bonus of $200 after $2,000 of purchases are made in the first six months. The bonus can be redeemed as a statement credit.
The introductory APR of 0% is available for 15 months from the date the account is opened. Afterward, the APR varies from 14.24% to 24.24%.
The Cash Magnet account carries standard credit card account fees, including a $40 hit for late payments or returned checks. The cash advance fee is set at $10 or 5% of the advance amount, whichever is greater.
As with all American Express cards, there’s no over-limit fee and no interest charged if the balance is paid off by the end of the statement period. Combined with the rewards program and no annual fee, this policy makes the account a net gainer for customers who manage the monthly payoff.
The advantages of being an American Express® Card Member go beyond the perks mentioned above.
American Express cards are never short on the little extras that offer convenience and security for travelers. The Cash Magnet is no exception.
Foremost is the Global Assist Hotline, available 24/7 to help with travel emergencies. This could be locating legal assistance or medical treatment, a loan of emergency funds or help with lost luggage. Having a source of help available on the road allows customers to avoid stress over travel problems and enjoy the experience. The Cash Magnet card also offers damage and loss insurance on car rentals paid for through the account.
For anyone booking a family vacation with the card, the Destination Family feature offers benefits such as early check-in, free kids’ meals, discounts on travel packages and complimentary breakfasts. Participating providers include Royal Caribbean International, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and high-end family resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.
Even with the travel benefits, the foreign transaction fee of 2.7% means a surcharge on everything purchased abroad, which may turn some cardholders to low- or no-fee alternatives.
American Express Experiences
The American Express Experiences program gives Card Members access to pre-sales on show tickets as well as exclusive events to members. Examples might include hit Broadway shows, pro basketball games, a harvest-season tour of Napa Valley wineries and VIP center court packages at Wimbledon.
Purchase and Fraud Protection
American Express offers purchase protection, which reimburses Card Members up to 90 days from the date of purchase for lost or stolen items. With fraud protection, members have no liability for unauthorized purchases.
Online shopping has conquered the retail world, and American Express is on it. With the ShopRunner program, available with Cash Magnet and other American Express cards, free two-day shipping is available retail on all purchases from participatingers. Several businesses take part, including big department stores such as Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s.
American Express Cash Magnet vs. Competitor Cards
Here’s how the Cash Magnet card stands up against some common rivals.
Cash Magnet vs. Citi Double Cash
Citi’s Double Cash matches Cash Magnet’s no annual fee but offers a higher 2% cash-back rate on all purchases, which are paid to the cardholder at 1% on purchase and 1% on payment. Through ThankYou points, the rewards can also be linked to other Citi credit accounts.
The introductory APR of 0% is good for 18 months but is limited to balance transfers. After the introductory period, that APR goes to 14.24% to 24.24%, matching Cash Magnet’s rate. The Double Cash card also carries a slightly higher foreign transaction fee of 3%.
Cash Magnet vs. Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom is a close competitor to Cash Magnet, offering an identical 1.5% cash-back rate on all purchases. But the Chase card bumps that rate to 5% on any travel booked through the company’s Ultimate Rewards program and offers 3% on pharmacy and dining.
The starter bonus on the Chase Freedom card is set at a comparatively low threshold of $500 within the first three months, which activates 20,000 bonus points worth a $200 statement credit.
Cash Magnet vs. Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card runs neck-and-neck with the Cash Magnet, with both offering a 1.5% cash-back rate on all purchases and no annual fee. The introductory APR on Unlimited Cash Rewards is also 0% on purchases and balance transfers over the first 15 months, while the bonus cash back amounts to $200 after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days.
Bank of America’s APR range of 14.24% to 24.24% offers a similar interest to the Cash Magnet card.
The decider between these two may be Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, available to cardholders with a minimum checking, savings or investment account with Bank of America or Merrill. Preferred Rewards can boost the rewards rate on purchases to almost double the standard 1.5%.
Good To Know
With the Send and Split feature, American Express customers can link their credit cards to PayPal or Venmo accounts for sending money or splitting a purchase amount with a third party.
The Cash Magnet card carries a standard range of American Express benefits and will suit customers who want to keep a simple, flat-rate rewards program. No annual fee, no interest for the first 15 months, and a bonus for new Card Members also make the Cash Magnet an attractive option.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.
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