American Express tends to be thought as just a credit card issuer, known widely for their rewards and business credit cards. They’re much more than that. American Express National Bank has been around since 1850, but if you’re looking to open a checking account, American Express National Bank’s probably not your first pick…until now!
The national bank has recently launched a new checking account, the American Express Rewards Checking Account.
The Amex rewards checking account works just like how you might think, where purchases are made with a debit card and the American Express app to track your expenses. But with this checking account you earn interest and redeem points.
Just like a high yield savings account or a certificate of deposit, your checking account can offer rewards too!
If you’re wondering whether or not opening an American Express checking is a good idea for you and your finances, we got you covered.
When it comes to the American Express checking account, there are plenty of perks that are appealing. It offers one of the highest APY return for a checking account as well as membership rewards points. But there are a few things you will need to consider before running to apply for a new account.
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Available to American Express Consumer Card Holders Only
The biggest requirement for opening a checking account with American Express is that you must already be a holder of a consumer credit card account.
So, only American Express Card Members with a Consumer Card can apply to open an American Express Rewards Checking account.
If you want to apply for the consumer credit card, you must have held the consumer card for at least 3 months before you qualify for the American Express.
American Express Business Checking customers are not eligible as of yet.
Perks & Benefits
Possibly one of the most appealing perks of the American Express rewards checking account is its annual percentage yield (APY).
With eligible debit card purchases, you will earn interest. There are other interest bearing checking accounts out there, but you won’t see many from national leading banks such as American Express.
Their competitive APY makes this a high-yield checking account at 0.60% – beating the national average of 0.01% APY. That’s even high for most interest bearing savings accounts.
Earn membership rewards points on eligible purchases.
You earn a Amex Membership Reward® point for every $2 spent on eligible purchases.
The points will go towards statement credits, gift cards, transfers to other rewards programs, and you can use the rewards for online shopping. You can also transfer your American Express rewards points to airlines and hotels.
There is no fee to open a Amex checking account.
There is no minimum deposit, no monthly maintenance fees, and no minimum balance fees.
This is a huge perk compared to other credit card companies offering high yield checking accounts, where most charge monthly account fees and minimum balances required to redeem the rewards.
No debit card? No problem.
Digital wallets are Apple Pay® and Google Pay™, Easily manage your account transactions, balances, and statements, 24/7 online or in the Amex® App.
You can make ATM withdrawals and get account information for no charge at any MoneyPass location. There are 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs all over the US, making fee free atm withdrawals within reach of anyone.
Protect Covered Purchases
The Amex new checking account offers Zero Liability Fraud Protection and Purchase Protection, in case your debit card gets lost, stolen, or is used without your consent.
The Amex rewards checking account is also FDIC insured. Each account holder is insured to at least $250,000.
A credit card issuer should not go with credit card companies just because they can. Those that offer an express rewards checking account with a debit card tend to do it with the goal of getting you to be a credit card companies’ new credit card user.
Online Only/ No Physical Locations
The American Express checking account is a digital checking account, meaning there are no no brick-and-mortar locations. So you won’t have the option to speak to someone in person about any questions or issues that may arise.
For most people, this won’t be an issue.
However, if you feel being able to go to local bank office is a deal breaker for you then this is not the one. Just know that most banks and credit card companies are moving in this directions.
Online banks are more common and have less cost or usually more rewards even for debit cards these days. So ask yourself, which would I prefer? Earn membership rewards points, low to no monthly account fees or monthly maintenance fees or waiting in line at your local bank.
You can tell I am a proponent of the former.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have a local rep you can go to but it is usually best for business needs, not personal or individual matters like this.
I have found that their customer service department available online and over the phone are very helpful. When in doubt, call their customer service line especially if you have questions about your debit card, needing a new debit card or specifics on how the American express rewards work and when they accumulate.
Only Available to Amex Consumer Card Holders
Only existing American Express consumer card members can open a checking account. So if you are not a credit card holder you’d first need to apply for a credit card account with Amex, and then wait at least three months to be eligible for the checking account.
Foreign Currency Fees
Debit card purchases made with out of country currency are subject to fees.
If you’re an avid traveler or plan on making foreign transactions, the fees may add up.
No Cash Deposits
It’s not possible to make cash deposits with American Express checking accounts.
The American Express Checking accounts don’t offer a physical bank you can deposit cash at. Depending on your situation, that could be frustrating and something to consider.
You can deposit via mobile check deposit, online transfer between bank accounts, and wire transfers.
The key takeaways from our review of the American Express debit card is that it can be a great choice for you if you already have an account with American Express.
American Express Checking Overview
High yield checking account/great APY return
Membership rewards points
No monthly fees
No minimum balance requirements
Zero Liability Fraud Protection
Available only to Amex Consumer Card Holders
Online only/No physical locations
No cash deposits
Out of country currencies fee
The American Express debit card can bring you more rewards and return than most high yield savings accounts!
If you are are invested in the rewards of the checking account, you can apply for a credit card with American Express. You will need to have held the credit card account for 3 months to qualify for the checking account.
Are the Amex rewards worth it?
Amex rewards are based on eligible debit card purchases so let’s go over what expenses qualify to obtain your membership rewards points.