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American Express Cash Magnet vs Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card 2024

investor.com

Written by investor.com

December 18, 2023

In head-to-head competition, which of these rewards credit cards wins out? Here’s what each has to offer and how they fare when put to the ultimate test — the cash back you’ll earn for using them.

American Express Cash Magnet
The American Express Cash Magnet card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases. Welcome offer: 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from the date of account opening. Earn $200 back after you spend $2,000 or more on purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card
Navy Federal’s cashRewards Credit Card pays an unlimited 1.75% cash back on purchases for customers enrolled in direct deposit with Navy Federal. The cashback rate without direct deposit is 1.5%. Welcome bonus: Get a low intro APR on balances transferred for 12 months + Earn $200 cash back when you spend $1,500 within 90 days of account opening.

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dining Dining
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monetization_on Other
local_pharmacy Pharmacy
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Best for Low-Hassle Rewards

American Express Cash Magnet

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American Express Cash Magnet Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
$200

Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card

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Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
$200
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On Navy Federal’s CU site
Rates & Fees

Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Which credit card earns more cash back overall?

Based on identical spending inputs, you’ll earn $180.00 cash back per year with American Express Cash Magnet and $180.00 with Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card. For context, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $181.73.

The annual rewards payout assumes you charge $1,000 each month spread across the following spending categories: Dining ($145), Entertainment ($134), Gas ($140), Groceries ($198), Travel ($128), Pharmacy ($15), and Other ($240). The dollar amounts for each category are based on consumer spending data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (i.e., how much the average American spends proportionally across the major credit card rewards categories). But you can — and absolutely should! — customize the inputs based on your actual monthly spending habits, using our rewards calculator.

To ensure the most accurate results possible, the rewards calculations for American Express Cash Magnet and Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card incorporate bonus rewards rates, spending caps, default rewards rates and annual fees, where applicable.

Is the American Express Cash Magnet good?

A flat, category-agnostic, unlimited 1.5% reward rate? Although less rewarding than other flat-rate cash-back cards, Amex Cash Magnet offers preapproval (handy if your credit score is on the fence) and installment payment plans for purchases you can't pay off in full right away.

thumb_up Likes

  • 1.5% unlimited cashback rate on purchases
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Preapproval with no impact to your credit
  • 0% intro APR on purchases/balance transfers for 15 months
  • Offers installment payment plans
  • Comes with Amex network perks

thumb_down Dislikes

  • Lower-than-average flat cash back rate
  • Flat 1.5% rewards rate less generous than other Amex cards
  • American Express not as widely accepted abroad as Visa and Mastercard
  • Le yuck 2.7% foreign transaction fee


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.50% - - -
Travel 1.50% - - -
Dining 1.50% - - -
Entertainment 1.50% - - -
Pharmacy 1.50% - - -
Groceries 1.50% - - -
Other Purchases 1.50% - - -

Is the Navy Federal cashRewards Credit Card good?

The Navy Federal cashRewards card is a good choice if you have average credit, don’t always pay your balance in full, and have an existing Navy Federal Credit Union account that qualifies you for 1.75% cash back instead of 1.5%.

thumb_up Likes

  • Navy Fed members can find out if they prequalify
  • Competitively low APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No balance transfer or cash advance fees
  • Includes Visa Signature perks

thumb_down Dislikes

  • 1.75% cashback rate requires setting up a Navy Federal direct deposit
  • 1.5% default rewards rate without direct deposit
  • No low intro APR on purchases
  • Only available to Navy Federal Credit Union members


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.50% - - -
Travel 1.50% - - -
Dining 1.50% - - -
Entertainment 1.50% - - -
Pharmacy 1.50% - - -
Groceries 1.50% - - -
Other Purchases 1.50% - - -

compare_arrows Compare cash back credit cards

Select and compare two credit cards head to head to see which offers the most bang for your buck.


Select Credit Cards

×
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlly Everyday Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlly Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmazon Prime Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmazon Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmerican Express Cash Magnet
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxApple Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Customized Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Everyday from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBread Cashback American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards for Good Credit
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One QuicksilverOne
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Savor Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One SavorOne Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Flex
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Unlimited
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Custom Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Double Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCostco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Bank American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Rewards Visa (No Annual Fee)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum X5 Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Cash Back
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxFidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxNavy Federal cashRewards Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPayPal Cashback Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPenFed Power Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPetal 2 Visa Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSam's Club Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTD Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTruist Enjoy Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Triple Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxVenmo Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxWells Fargo Active Cash Card

Compare

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Methodology

The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)



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