Santander Credit Cards & Rewards Program [2021]

Santander Bank Patriot Place

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Santander Bank, also known as Banco Santander (and formerly known as Sovereign Bank), is a Boston-based company boasting an array of financial services and products, including retail operations, mortgages, corporate banking, insurance, wealth management, capital markets, and more.

Although Santander Group’s presence pervades Europe, South America, and even parts of Asia, its footprint in the U.S. is small, considering the fact that it’s the fourth-largest bank in Europe.

In this guide, we’ll look at Santander’s credit card rewards program in the U.S., including which credit card earns points and how to redeem them.

What Is Santander Bank?

As we mentioned earlier, Santander Bank is a full-service financial institution. Currently, it serves key markets in the eastern U.S.:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island

That’s not to say that it necessarily has hundreds of branches in all of these states — rather, you might find just 1 branch in some states. For example, the sole Florida location is in Miami’s Brickell district.

To apply for a Santander credit card, you must reside in one of these states:

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

You can only apply if the state and ZIP code you reside in is deemed eligible by Santander.

Santander Cash Rewards Credit Card

Santander doesn’t have a points rewards system like American Express, Chase, Citi, and Capital One do. Instead, its credit card offering focuses on cash-back rewards.

As long as your account is open and in good standing, your rewards will not expire. If your account is closed voluntarily or terminated, you’ll have 180 days to redeem your rewards before they are forfeited.

Your rewards aren’t capped, and Santander has chosen to use Mastercard as its payment network.

Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card

Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card
Image Credit: Santander Bank

In a decidedly unexciting strategy, the only Santander credit card available for new applicants is the Santander Ultimate Cash Back card, which offers a few neat benefits.

As a welcome bonus, you’ll earn 3% cash-back for the first 12 months on qualified purchases, up to $20,000. Qualified purchases exclude balance transfers, cash advances, and any cash equivalents from earning rewards.

Once you’ve hit the $20,000 threshold, you’ll follow the perpetual earning structure, which is 1.5% cash-back with no limits.

In addition, there’s a great 0% introductory APR offer provided to new cardmembers for both purchases and balance transfers!

Other benefits include Santander Instant Card Hold, which allows you to freeze your card immediately if it’s lost or stolen. You’ll also get access to other digital controls, alerts, and more with Santander PROTECHTION.

The focus of this credit card is as few fees as possible. That means that there’s no returned payment fee, annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or even a cash advance fee!

Remember, there are still late payment fees, and there will still be an APR assessed to cash advances, as well as balance transfer and purchases after the introductory period.

Bottom Line: With this card, you will get a 3% cash-back welcome bonus on the first 12 months of purchases (up to $20,000), an uncapped 1.5% cash-back, and perhaps even a 0% introductory APR benefit. Overall, the Santander Ultimate Cash Back card lags behind the competition, especially since numerous credit cards offer better value

How To Redeem Santander Cash Rewards

There are 2 main ways to manage your rewards:

  1. Via the Santander Mobile Banking app
  2. Via the Santander Online Banking website
  3. Call customer service at 877-768-2265

You can use your rewards for statement credits, e-certificates, merchandise, and gift cards. However, you can’t redeem your rewards for travel, electronic deposit, or a check.

So, the best thing to do is to use statement credits to erase the purchases you make. The good news is that there are no minimums to redeem your rewards!

Final Thoughts

With just 1 credit card available, Santander doesn’t exactly offer the best variety of cards or a worthwhile rewards program to entice consumers.

If you happen to bank at Santander and want a cash-back credit card that avoids fees and doesn’t offer travel benefits or rewards, this card might work for you.

However, for 99% of us looking to maximize our spending, we’ll be passing on this credit card.

The information regarding the Santander® Ultimate Cash Back® Credit Card, Bravo® Credit Card, and Sphere® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

Frequently asked questions

Is Santander a good credit card?

Santander offers 1 credit card, known as the Santander Ultimate Cash Back card. While this card doesn’t charge lots of fees for usage, the reality is you can get a much better rewards structure elsewhere, even if you strictly want cash-back rewards.

Does Santander Bank offer credit cards?

Yes. Santander Bank currently only offers the Santander Ultimate Cash Back card, but it has, in the past, offered the Bravo® Credit Card and the Sphere® Credit Card.

Is a Santander credit card a Mastercard?

Yes, the Santander Ultimate Cash Back card is a Mastercard. The bank previously offered 2 other cards that were Mastercards, as well.

What credit score do you need for the Santander credit card?

In general, Santander Bank requires excellent credit to be approved for a credit card. Typically, this means a credit score of at least 750 to qualify, but it’s possible to get approved with a slightly lower credit score. Also, just because you have a score higher than 750 doesn’t mean you will automatically get approved.

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