In this Santander Ultimate Cash Back review, we’ll cover the pros and cons of the card, as well as outline the bonuses, so you can decide if it’s for you.
How many cash back credit cards is too many? Right now, as I dig through my wallet, I count seven of them. The Citi® DoubleCash Card, Chase Freedom®, Discover it® and so on. Each provides a slightly unique attribute that I take advantage of at least once a year.
I think I might make room for an 8th cash back credit card from Santander. The Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card does a little bit of everything with it’s $100 cash bonus, and strong rewards program. But it also does something truly unique in the cash back credit card world.
Santander has more than 650 branches where customers can speak to representatives, learn more about card services and more. They offer real-time fraud monitoring, sophisticated online account management and many other perks that go along with having an account with a major financial institution. However this cash back credit card is only available to residents of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
Santander Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card Rewards
Cardholders can get cash back for a wide variety of purchases using the Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card. You can earn cash back anywhere you shop. The cash is given out via statement credits. This means that every purchase you make can potentially go toward paying down your balance. Cash-back rewards can also be redeemed in the form of gift cards and merchandise.
You’ll receive 1.5 percent cashback on all new purchases. There are never any categories or limits when it comes to qualifying for cash back. There’s also a nice $100 cash bonus. New cardmembers will receive $100 in the form of a statement credit once $500 has been spent within 90 days of opening an account.
Rewards never expire and there is never any minimum requirement needed to redeem rewards. Redeem your cash back anytime you want, in any amount you want. On weekends, during Yom Kippur … whenever your heart desires.
Any rewards you earn will not automatically be issued to your statement balance. It’s actually necessary for cardholders to log into their accounts and manually claim their rewards in the form they prefer. While many people enjoy having control over collecting their rewards, it does require that extra step. It’s important to remember to check your account on a regular basis to ensure that rewards are actually being used properly.
Last point to make about the rewards program; the 1.5% cash back rate applies only to purchases. You earn nothing for balance transfers or cash advances.
The Unique Hook–3% APR on Balance Transfers
The Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card stands out for offering a high cash-back rate without fees. In fact, it is essentially a fee-free product so long as payments are made on time. The card offers consistent rewards and simple rules in the place of flashy, highly segmented rewards. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:
- No annual fees
- No balance transfer fees
- Zero foreign transaction fees
- No cash advance fees
- No returned payment fees
Also included is a 3% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. It’s very rare for a credit card issuer to offer the combination of no balance transfer fee and low intro APR. In fact, this is the only cash back credit card that would qualify. Essentially, without a balance transfer fee, Santander is daring you to bring your current credit card debt over. Balance transfers must be made in the first 90 days in order to qualify for the 3% intro APR.
After the intro rate expires, the balance transfer APR becomes 15.49% – 24.49% variable.
The Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card is also a good option if you travel often and you’re looking for a card you can make purchases with outside of the United States. Most other cards charge a foreign transaction fee of at least 3%.
MasterCard Protections and Perks
The Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card is a MasterCard-branded product. This means that cardholders also get all of the same perks that go along with having a MasterCard credit card. Here’s some of what cardholders receive automatically:
- Purchase protection–If anything you purchase is damaged or stolen inside of the first 90 days, MasterCard can get it fixed or replaced for you, free of charge.
- Price protection–If you find the item you purchased cheaper within 60 days, call MasterCard and they’ll reimburse you the price difference
- Travel protection–This covers a wide variety of areas. The most common uses include damaged luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance and trip cancellation insurance, should you not be able to make your flight/hotel.
- Rental car insurance–Very very important caveat here; only specific types of four door sedans and SUV’s are covered. If you sign the insurance waiver at the rental car counter, and you use this card to pay, you’re covered for damages. That said, those damages are not covered on luxury vehicles, sport vehicles and trucks or motorcycles.
- Extended warranties–Mastercard doubles your warranty, up to one additional year.
Here’s a full list of MasterCard perks and protections
Is This Card Right For You?
First, a couple of reasons why this is not the card for you.
- The Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card isn’t an ideal option if you’re looking for a card that offers an interest-free introductory period. There are many other great cash back credit cards that offer at least a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases.
- Beyond the intro APR on balance transfers, this card is also not one to carry a balance on. The high end of the APR spectrum is simply too expensive.
- If you enjoy getting 3% cash back on gas or 5% on select categories each quarter, then this is also not the card for you. A flat 1.5% cash back comes in handy on a lot of everyday purchases but I admit there are cards that can do better on select purchases.
- You don’t live in the north-east. Sorry to say that the card is restricted geographically.
Now, a few reasons why you should own the The Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card.
- If you have an outstanding balance on another credit card and are paying more than 3% annual interest, this card offers a big savings punch. Average credit card interest rates are around ~19%, so on a $10,000 balance, you’ll save $1,600 in interest simply by transferring your balance to Santander.
- Who doesn’t love a cash bonus? Spending $500 in 90 days is a quick way to earn $100 on the house.
- No nonsense, no fee cash back credit cards are easy. Including Mastercard protections; you never have to worry about missing a cash back opportunity or getting charged for something you didn’t buy.
Santander Ultimate Cash Back Bottom Line
The bottom line on this card is that it offers 1.5 percent cash back for everyday purchases. There’s no need to do any calculations or wait for special categories to be added to the list of cash earners. While this level of consistency can be comforting, it can also make you feel like you’re missing out on higher cash-back rates available from other cards. Of course, those cards require you to chase your rewards a little bit more.
The Santander® Ultimate Cash BackSM credit card is an especially good fit for anyone who already does their banking with Santander. This is ultimately a predictable, highly practical card that will work for earning a high rate of rewards for everyday purchases. It works best for anyone looking for generous rewards with little risk or excitement.