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Credit One Bank American Express Card: Average Rewards for Average Credit

The 1% cash back rewards structure is great if you have less-than-great credit.

Credit One Bank American Express® Card

6/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Apply Now with Credit One Bank
CNET’S PICK
Credit One Bank American Express® Card
Apply Now

Credit One Bank American Express® Card

6/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Apply Now
On Credit One Bank’s secure website
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$39
APR
29.74% Variable
Rewards rate
1% Earn unlimited 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, terms apply.
Rewards Rate
1%
Earn unlimited 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, terms apply.

When a credit card lists “average” credit as its recommended credit for approval, it’s not all that common to see any kind of rewards opportunity attached to it. However, the Credit One Bank American Express® Card is an exception. 

The card offers a straightforward way to earn cash on your purchases: Every time you swipe, insert or tap this card, you’ll get 1% of the amount back. It’s simple, but it’s nothing extraordinary. The best cards for fair and average credit often come with higher payouts and/or lower fees.

The card’s main selling point is the Amex brand, which puts you in the running for special offers, experiences and VIP-style treatment at the Amex Global Hotel Collection. However, the card comes with a $39 annual fee. That means you’ll need to spend at least $3,900 in a year with this card to break even. Plus, there’s no welcome bonus, and if you wind up carrying a balance, it’s going to cost you big time. The current annual percentage rate on this card is 29.74% variable, which is much higher than the average 20% APR you’ll find in the credit card industry right now.

Is the Credit One Bank American Express® Card worth considering? Read on for a full rundown of the pros and cons of adding this to your wallet.

Rewards and redemption

While some rewards cards come with quarterly bonus categories and tiered payouts, the Credit One Bank American Express® Card has the most basic structure: Earn 1% cash back every time you use it. So, if you spend $10,000, you’ll get $100 cash back. You don’t have any options for how you use the cash, though. It’s simply applied to your statement automatically. That isn’t as appealing as other cards that allow you to convert points to miles for travel redemptions, but it actually can be valuable. You won’t be tempted to use those points to spend even more; instead, you’ll just pay your bill down -- which is the number-one rule of carrying any credit card.

The real downside of this card is that there’s no extra reason to celebrate receiving it. With no introductory APR and no sign-up bonus, it’s hard to justify paying the $39 annual fee.

Other card perks

The Amex branding might help make the annual fee worth it. If you’re a regular traveler, there are a few notable benefits.

  • Amex Global Hotel Collection: This collection includes more than 3,000 hotels where you can qualify for some elite-level treatment like complimentary breakfast, early check-in and late check-out and room upgrades when available. 
  • Car rental discounts: You can score up to 25% off rates at car rental companies when booking through the Amex travel concierge.
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: You can skip paying for insurance at the car rental counter, thanks to $50,000 of coverage from the card. It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t a rare perk, though. Most credit cards worth adding to your wallet come with this benefit.

Alternative cards

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

The Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card, issued by WebBank, is the number-one choice for average credit, and it beats the Credit One Bank American Express® Card in basically every category. There’s no annual fee, so you automatically save $39. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees -- a clear winner versus the 3% foreign transaction fees ($1 minimum) you’ll have to pay with the Credit One Bank American Express® Card when you’re outside the US. 

In addition to saving money, you can earn a lot more with the Petal 2. While this card’s rewards payout starts at the same 1% cash back on eligible purchases as the Credit One Bank American Express® Card, that jumps 1.25% after making six on-time monthly payments and 1.5% after 12 on-time monthly payments. There are also bonus cash back opportunities; some select merchants will pay 2% to 10% back when using your Petal 2. 

You can learn more in our Petal 2 card review.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One offers the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card* specifically for people with fair credit. It has the same $39 annual fee as the Credit One Bank American Express® Card, but the rewards payout is 50% higher. Consider the QuicksilverOne card’s 1.5% cash back payout: If you spend $10,000, you’ll earn $150 cash back -- $50 more than the Credit One Bank American Express® Card. Plus, there’s a bonus payout: If you book hotels and rental cars directly through the Capital One Travel portal, you’ll earn 5% cash back on your purchase. And if that purchase translates to traveling outside the US, you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees, either.

How Credit One Bank American Express® Card compares to other cards

CNET’S PICK
Credit One Bank American Express® Card
Apply Now

Credit One Bank American Express® Card

6/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$39
APR
29.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1% Earn unlimited 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, terms apply.
Apply Now
On Credit One Bank’s secure website
Petal® 2

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

9/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$0
APR
18.24% – 32.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1% – 1.5% Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.; 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Apply Now

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

4.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$35
APR
25.64% (variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
N/A This card doesn’t offer cash back, miles, or points
Apply Now
On Capital Bank’s secure website

FAQs

Improving your credit score starts with making on-time payments. Every financial institution wants to see responsible money management, so paying your bill before the due date is essential. Additionally, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month. You’ll save yourself money by avoiding finance charges, and you’ll also keep your debt-to-utilization low.

A flat-rate credit card comes with one pre-set rewards structure. You’ll never need to remember to activate quarterly bonus categories or think about certain times when a specific card is a better method of payment; you’ll always receive the same rewards payout no matter when you use and no matter what you buy.

If you’re thinking about applying for a credit card with an annual fee, it’s important to think about your spending patterns to determine if your regular expenses can help you offset the yearly cost. Do the math – if the card’s rewards structure includes higher payouts for your typical purchases, you might be able to rack up enough points to cover the fee and give yourself an extra cushion of miles or points.

*All information about the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. Based in Chicago, he writes with one objective in mind: Help readers figure out how to save more and stress less. He is also a musician, which means he has spent a lot of time worrying about money. He applies the lessons he's learned from that financial balancing act to offer practical advice for personal spending decisions.