Santander Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card review |

Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card review – September 2018

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Get 1.5% cash back on everything, plus limited fees.

30-second take

  • Get this card if you like simple rewards, the Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card is worth a look.
  • Pick something else if you want a card with a market-leading balance transfer promotion, check out other cards.
  • Apply if you want a card with simple rewards and a solid signup bonus.
Product NameSantander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card
Card TypeMastercard
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases16.24% to 25.24% variable
Introductory Balance Transfer APR 3% for the first 12 billing cycles (then 16.24% to 25.24% variable)
Cash Advance Rate26.74% variable
Cash Advance FeeNone
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Interest Free PeriodUp to 21 days
Minimum Interest$1.5
Late Payment Fee$35
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome BonusEarn 100 cash back after spending $500 in the first 90 days
Reward Value per Dollar1.5% cash back
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

Our review

This card offers 1.5% cash back on everything you buy. That’s not the most flat cash back you can earn — the Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1% — but it’s a good rate.

The card is unique in that it doesn’t charge balance transfer, foreign transaction, cash advance or returned payment fees. It’s just too bad that the card’s intro APR on balance transfers is 3% variable . You’ll find cards that offer 0% APR for the same period, such as the U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card and Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card.

The perks


    A $0 annual fee makes it easy to keep the Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card long term.


    Earn cash back on all purchases.

    You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase. That’s a good rate for flat rewards, though a few cards do better, like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back.

    Depending on your spending, you may be able to earn more cash back with tiered-reward cards. For example, the Uber Visa Card offers up to 4% cash back and the Discover it® Cash Back offers up to 5% cash back.

    $100 cash back.

    When you spend $500 in the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $100 cash back bonus. You can redeem this as statement credit.

    While $100 is a respectable signup bonus, you’ll earn more with cards like the U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card and Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, which each offers $200 bonus cash.

  • Limited transaction fees.

    You won’t pay balance transfer, foreign transaction, cash advance or returned payment fees. Few cards waive these fees, so this is a unique perk.

Other benefits

  • No over-the-credit-limit fee.
  • Get a Debit Mastercard from Santander Bank.
  • No over-the-credit-limit fee.
  • Instant Card Hold. If you think you’ve lost your card, call Santander to place a temporary hold on it. This will block most transactions on your card.

You’ll also like…

    3% variable on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles.
    It’s great that Santander doesn’t charge transaction fees, but you’ll wish it also offered 0% intro APR. Still, 3% variable APR is a significant discount from the average credit card APR of around 16%.

Compare cash back credit cards

Name Product Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
14.74%, 18.74% or 24.74% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.74%, 18.74% or 24.74% variable)
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees
$0 to $99
19.74% to 25.74% variable
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchase, terms apply.
14.74% to 25.74% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
Snag a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
14.74% to 25.74% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
15.24% to 25.24% variable
0% for the first 18 months (then 15.24% to 25.24% variable)
Earn 1% cash back for payments on purchases, on top of the 1% cash back on purchases. No annual fee.
14.99% to 24.99% variable
0% for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
Earn more cash back for the things you buy most.
16.74%, 22.49% or 25.49% variable
Get 4 points back on dining, 3 on travel, 2 on Uber rides and online shopping and 1 on other purchases, and redeem points for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back.

Compare up to 4 providers

How does a balance transfer work with this card?

What to watch out for

  • Potentially high APR.

If you have a weaker credit history, you may be given an interest rate up to 25.24% variable. That’s high, considering the average APR is around 16%.

  • Penalty APR.

Santander may apply a penalty APR of 31.74% variable to your account if you:

  • Miss a payment.
  • Pay late.
  • Make a payment that is returned.

The penalty APR will apply until you make six consecutive on-time payments.

A penalty APR is never fun, and it increases the consequences of slipping up on payments. Don’t be afraid to compare other credit cards, as there are plenty of banks that don’t charge penalty APRs.
How does credit card interest work?

What to know before you apply

To apply for the Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card, you must be at least 18 years old. The card is available only to customers in these states:

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Information you’ll need

  • Your full name and contact information.
  • Your residential status.
  • Your annual income, source of income and employment information.
  • Your Social Security number.

What credit score do I need?

You’ll have a better chance of being approved for this card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 to 850.
What’s a good credit score?

How to apply for the Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card

1. Go to the Santander website and click Apply Now.

2. Select your state from the dropdown menu and enter your ZIP code.

3. Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.

4. Review and submit your application.

How long will it take to get my Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card?

Typically, a credit card provider will make a decision on your application within 10 days. In some cases, your application may be approved immediately. If there are issues with your application, you may need to wait up to a few weeks to hear back.

Once you’ve been approved, you should receive your credit card within five to seven business days.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments. Pay your card bill online at the Santander website, where you can enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of at least 21 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoid fees. You’ll still pay fees for late payments — up to $35 per infraction.
  • Contact customer service. If you have questions, call Santander at 877-768-2265.

Bottom line

Getting 3% variable APR on balance transfers — instead of the customary 0% intro APR — may feel a bit odd. Luckily, the Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card offers solid rewards for a flat-cash-back product. You might also like that Santander charges no fees for balance transfers, foreign transactions, cash advances or returned payments.

Compare your options before deciding on the right choice for your situation with our comprehensive guide to credit cards.

Frequently asked questions


Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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