American Express Bank Review

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Everything You Need to Know About American Express

Is American Express a good bank?

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You probably know American Express as the famous credit card company. But, like many major credit card companies, it also has a less-publicized arm devoted to bank accounts. That’s a shame since we think it may be a worthy place to park your savings. Our impartial American Express Bank review can help you decide if its deposit accounts are right for you.

What We Like
  • Pays a consistently competitive savings rate

  • Requires no minimum deposit for CDs

  • Offers lots of credit card options

What We Don't Like
  • Available only online

  • Provides no ATM or debit cards

  • Offers only a savings account, CDs, and credit cards

  • Savings and CD accounts can’t be accessed by mobile app

Who Is American Express Bank Best For?

If you’re looking for a high-yield place to park your savings, American Express Bank is definitely one of the top contenders. It’s an especially good option if you’re looking to:

  • Bank online
  • Open a CD with no minimum deposit required
  • Keep your savings at a different bank from your main accounts
  • Open a savings account with no monthly fees or balance requirements

What Does American Express Offer?

American Express won’t ever be your primary bank. That’s because it only offers three types of financial accounts. Notably, it doesn’t have a checking account, which is one of the account types that just about everyone should have. Still, putting your savings in a separate bank can have its advantages. 

If you find yourself frequently withdrawing your money before you’ve reached your savings goals, it’s a good idea to keep your savings at a separate bank from your main accounts. This helps to add an extra layer of separation, so it’s not so easy to sabotage your own financial goals. 

Accounts

  • Savings account
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Credit cards

Services

  • Banking experience (online)
  • Customer service

High-Yield Savings Account

American Express offers an APY of 0.80% (as of August 18, 2020) on your savings. That’s among the top-earning savings accounts for well-known banks, likely because it’s an online-only experience. What’s more, Amex has been offering competitive savings rates since 2018, so it’s a consistently high-earning account. 

The American Express savings account also has the added advantage of not having any minimum deposit requirements or monthly fees, so there’s not much to lose by storing your money in this account. The only thing to watch out for is that, as with all banks, you’re limited to just six withdrawals and transfers per month due to federal rules. You can still get your money out beyond these limits, but you’ll need to call the bank to request that a check be mailed to you. 

If you regularly exceed the six-withdrawal monthly limit, American Express can freeze or close your account, or change it so that it doesn’t earn any interest.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

American Express CDs are a bit of a different story rate-wise. They’re not bad rates, to be fair. But unlike with its savings account, they’re also not particularly great. They do have one huge advantage, though: There is no minimum deposit required. You read that right—normally CDs require a minimum deposit of say $500 or $1,000, and sometimes more. But at American Express Bank, you can open a CD with whatever you have at the moment, even if it’s just spare change. Early withdrawal penalties vary per CD term, and range from 90 to 540 days’ worth of interest. Rates are current as of August 18, 2020.

American Express Bank CD Rates
Term APY
6 Months 0.25%
12 Months 0.35%
18 Months 0.45%
24 Months 0.55%
36 Months 0.65%
48 Months 0.75%
60 Months 0.85%

Credit Cards

American Express is probably most well-known for its credit cards, and it offers a lot of them.

General Travel Rewards Cards

Cash-Back Credit Cards

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Business Credit Cards

American Express Bank Customer Service

American Express is a bit hit-or-miss with its customer service. It does offer 24/7 call-in customer support, which is something we’d expect with a bank this big. Additionally, it ranked second in the J.D. Power 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, only behind Discover. However, its mobile app, while handy, is only available for credit card customers. We’d like to see a mobile app for its online deposit accounts since they’re only available online. Then again, since its savings and CD accounts lend themselves better toward set-it-and-forget-it type of behavior, it might not be that big of a deal for you.

How to Bank With American Express Bank

Since American Express is an online-only bank, the easiest way to open an account is by applying online. You can also sign up over the phone by calling the bank at 1-800-446-6307. Remember, since there’s no mobile app, the only way to deposit money into your account (aside from electronic transfers) is to send a check directly to the bank. 

The Bottom Line

Benefits

If you’re looking for some of the best credit cards around, you can’t go wrong with American Express Bank. It’s also a good option if you’re looking to save separately for specific goals like an emergency fund, a down payment for a house, or a new car. It offers some of the highest rates around on savings accounts from large banks. If you’re looking for the best CD rates, however, we’d steer you toward another bank or credit union. 

Drawbacks

The biggest downside to American Express Bank is that it isn’t a full-service bank. Sure, it offers some great products, but if you choose to bank here it’ll always be just a supplementary account. You’ll still need a checking account at another bank, and if you need other products such as a mortgage or auto loan, you’ll need to get those elsewhere, too. Finally, you should definitely avoid this bank if you’re looking to do your banking in person since American Express Bank has no physical locations or branches. 

Article Sources

  1. American Express. "Personal Savings." Accessed March 16, 2020.

  2. J.D. Power. "Credit Card Rewards War Reaches Inflection Point as Competition Grows, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed March 16, 2020.