Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard 2023 Review
Cash back rewards credit cards are designed to put money back in your pocket when you make qualifying purchases.
The Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard credit card is geared towards spenders who want to earn unlimited cash back, without being loaded down with fees.
This card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on net retail purchases, with no rotating categories or rewards earning limits. To sweeten the deal, the card keeps the fees to a minimum.
It is ideal for someone who doesn't want to deal with complex rewards programs. Plus, it has an extremely fee-friendly policy.
If you're interested in a new cash back rewards credit card, learn whether the Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard is a good fit.
Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard Pros & Cons
Easy-to-Understand Cash Back Rewards
Some cash back rewards cards make earning cash back complicated.
For example, certain cards tier rewards so that you earn a higher cash back rate for some purchases than others. Other cards offer a generous amount of cash back but limit how much you can earn.
Same cash back rate on all spending
The Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard credit card does neither of those things.
With this card, you always earn the same 1.5% unlimited cash back on purchases. That's something you might appreciate if you're an everyday spender.
For example, you'll earn 1.5% cash back on things like grocery store purchases, gas, dining out, entertainment, travel, and shopping.
No bonus categories and no limits on rewards mean you can earn a little cash back or a lot, depending on how you spend.
If you're looking for a one-size-fits-all cash back solution, this card delivers.
Get a Cash Back Bonus When You Open a New Account
Some cash back credit cards offer an introductory bonus as an incentive to use your card.
The Santander Ultimate Cash Back credit card does offer a bonus with this card (although it could change at any time).
With this card, you have a chance to receive a cash back bonus via statement credit. To qualify, you just have to meet a minimum spending requirement for new purchases.
Compared to other rewards cards, the minimum spending limit isn't extremely high.
With this card, you could reach the limit relatively quickly if you're using the card routinely.
Two trips to the grocery store a month, for example, could put you where you need to be to qualify for the introductory cash back bonus.
Save Money on Fees With the Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard
Credit cards are convenient and earning cash back rewards is great, since it's like getting a discount on what you buy. The problem is that with some cards, fees take a big bite out of the rewards you're earning.
Santander aims to keep things as simple as possible where the fees are concerned. With the Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard you pay no:
- Annual fees
- Balance transfer fees
- Foreign transaction fees
- Cash advance fees
- Returned payment fees
Balance transfer fees, for example, typically run around 3% of the balance you're transferring. If you want to transfer $5,000 to your card, the fee alone would cost you $150.
Foreign transaction fees are also usually 2% to 3%. This fee kicks in when you use your card to make purchases outside of the country.
That means every $1,000 you spend costs you another $20 to $30 in fees. That can add up fairly quickly if you take regular trips abroad.
With the Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard, you don't have to worry about those extra costs.
The lack of a cash advance fee is another plus, if a cash advance is something you're interested in. When you take a cash advance, you're essentially drawing cash from your credit line.
Unlike a purchase, cash advances don't earn cash back, and they tend to come with a higher annual percentage rate than purchases.
Aside from that, most credit cards charge a fee for cash advances. The fee can be anywhere from 5% to 10% of the transfer amount. Usually, there's a minimum of at least $5.
While a cash advance isn't necessarily the best way to get cash when you need it, the fact that you won't pay a fee for it with this card means you can save a little more than you would with a different card.
How Does the APR Compare?
Any time you're considering a new credit card, one thing you have to consider is the APR, or annual percentage rate. This is the annual rate of interest you'll pay if you carry a balance on the card.
Because it is a credit card that offers rewards, the Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard does have a higher regular APR range compared to card that don't have rewards -- you're exact APR will vary based on your creditworthiness.
Generally, your interest rate is likely to be similar to what you'd get from other cash back credit cards.
If you don't have spotless credit, you may end up with an alarmingly high APR. That's something to think about carefully if you don't always pay your balance in full each month.
Penalty APR is reverted with good behavior
The penalty APR may be applied to new transactions if you miss a payment, pay late, or a payment is returned.
Santander can also apply the penalty APR to your existing balance if you make a late payment. To get back to the regular variable APR, you'd have to make six consecutive on-time payments.
Are There Any Other Card Benefits?
Along with unlimited cash back rewards and minimal fees, the Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard offers a few other perks. One of them is flexible rewards redemption.
Your rewards don't expire and you can redeem any amount, at any time. Redemption options include:
- Statement credit
- Gift cards
- Rewards transfers to other Santander Bank credit cards
Depending on the value that you can get from gift cards and merchandise, it would probably be best to redeem your cash back rewards as statement credit or rewards transfers.
With statement credits, most notably, you're essentially cutting down that balance that you'd owe on the card.
How Does It Stack Up Against Other Cards?
The Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard is just one cash back option. To broaden your scope a little, here are three other cards you may want to consider in your search.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Pros & Cons
Chase is one of the better-known names in the cash back rewards card game. offers plenty of ways to earn cash back:
- 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% on dining
- 3% on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% on all other purchases
Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited editor's review.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card Pros & Cons
The also offers unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards. However, it does have an annual fee because it designed for people with average credit.
It's a solid choice if you want to earn cash back and build credit at the same time.
Read our full Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card editor's review.
The Santander Ultimate Cash Back Mastercard is geared towards spenders who prefer a no-fuss, no-fee approach to rewards.
Ultimately, we'd suggest this card to anyone who doesn't carry a balance from month to month.
You'll earn a consistent amount of cash back on their purchases without the extra bells and whistles. It's a card that you can always carry around