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Santander Bank’s new Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card offers a respectable 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, and doesn’t charge any fees for ownership, foreign transactions, cash advances or returned payments. Where it flips the script on other cash-back cards is that it can also double as a balance transfer card.
The Ultimate Cash Back card offers an introductory 3 percent APR for 12 months for balance transfers made within 90 days of opening an account — and there are no balance transfer fees. Other balance transfer cards typically offer 0 percent APR for a set period of time, but they also charge a fee of 3 percent to 5 percent of your transferred balance.
|Card||Intro balance transfer offer||Rewards|
|Santander Ultimate Cash Back||3% APR for 12 months; no transfer fee||1.5% cash back|
|Chase Slate||0% APR for 15 months; no fee||None|
|Citi Diamond Preferred||0% APR for 21 months; 3% fee||None|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||0% APR for 15 months;$5 or 5% fee||1.5% cash back|
Should I get this card?
If you don’t already have a cash-back card, and you want a simple-to-understand, no-fee card, then Santander’s fee-free 1.5 percent rewards structure is a compelling offer. If you’re looking for a balance transfer card, make sure you do the math first to make sure the deal works for you.
Transfer $5,000 in debt to the Santander Ultimate Cash Back card, and you’d pay $79 in interest at the introductory 3 percent interest rate, assuming you paid off the debt within 12 months.
That’s considerably cheaper than some other options.
If you use a balance transfer card that gives a longer 15-month introductory period at 0 percent APR, but charges 5 percent of the amount you’re transferring, that would cost you $250.
Once you’ve ditched the debt on a card you acquired solely for the balance transfer offer, there may not be a compelling reason to continue to use that card. But canceling a credit card can negatively impact your overall credit score.
Where the Santander card shines is in its long-term usefulness. It’s both a good balance transfer card and a decent rewards card.
Before you apply
If the terms of this card appeal to you, there are a few things to keep in mind before you apply. Although you do not need to have a bank account with Santander, you do have to live in a state where the bank has a retail footprint. Eligible states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
You also have to be at least 18 years old, have a Social Security number and be able to prove you have some type of income.
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