You’re in a store and you spot the coolest gift for your mom’s birthday. You don’t mind putting it on your credit card knowing that your siblings will chip in... eventually. Or, maybe your brother ends up picking up the gift, and now he’s asking you to Venmo him ASAP, but you don’t have enough money to cover the expense.
Enter Amex Send & Split, a service designed to help you in scenarios such as these, all without added fees. Here’s how it works.
What Is Amex Send & Split?
Amex Send & Split is a partnership with Venmo and PayPal that lets you do two things: Use your Amex card to send money directly to friends and family from your Amex card, and make one purchase and split it with others.
How to Use Amex Send & Split
The first thing to do is to activate Send & Split on your Amex app. Click into your account tab, then click “Send & Split.” You’ll have to scroll through the fine print, tap “Agree and Enroll,” and then the app gives you the option to link your PayPal and Venmo accounts. Once one or both are linked, you’re ready to use the feature.
The main benefit of Send is that you can give money to friends and family using your Amex card as the payment method without paying PayPal and Venmo’s credit card fees.
First, you’ll need to add money to create a Send balance. Go to your app’s account settings, choose “Send and Split,” select “Send,” and then “Manage Balance” to add funds. Whatever amount you choose to add will appear as any other charge on your American Express card’s billing statement. There is no fee to do this but you won’t earn rewards on the transaction.
Once you have a “Send” balance to work with, you can share the wealth with a friend who uses Venmo or PayPal.
There is a set limit on how much you can add to your “Send” balance. Amex points out that your cardmember agreement details your card’s Send & Split limit and that the limit is subject to approval. Limits are $5,000 on the Centurion card, $4,000 on The Platinum Card, and $2,000 on all other eligible cards.
To send money, choose the amount and the recipient (remember, they must be a Venmo or PayPal user). Amex also lets you include a note, too. If you don’t use your Send balance, you can send the balance back to your card.
Amex Send is not intended for buying items or paying for services. It’s strictly for exchanging money with friends and family—people you trust. Amex even points out that other types of payments would be in violation of your Terms and Conditions.
Here’s an example of when you might want to use Amex Send. Say your friend is collecting money for a gift for your kids’ basketball coach, and you don’t have cash on you or in your bank account. Normally, you’d have to eat the 3% fee that Venmo charges to use your credit card as the payment method (PayPal charges 2.9% plus 30 cents). With Amex Send, however, you won’t pay those fees to make your gift contribution on credit.
With that wiggle room, you can send what you owe without depleting your checking account and pay your Amex bill at a later date (ideally on time and in full so you can avoid interest charges).
Any Send transactions you make with your card are treated as purchases, not cash advances.
The premise is simple: Pay for a large purchase, then “split” the charges with a group. Via the Amex app, you can send a split payment request to up to 20 people (as long as they have PayPal or Venmo). When their payments start rolling in, you have the option of applying those funds to your Amex account as a statement credit. The credits will be applied within 24-36 hours.
A perfect scenario for this feature would be if you’re out to a restaurant with friends. Instead of pestering the wait staff for separate checks or counting out money and having to make change, you can put the whole purchase on your Amex card, and have everyone pay you their share.
To do this, you'll head to your Amex app, find the charge, and hit the “Split It” button.
Once you choose to do a split, add your Venmo/PayPal contacts and assign them the amount they owe. You can split it evenly or choose custom amounts, and add a tip, too.
Next, you can choose to have their payments applied to your Venmo/PayPal balance or your Amex account as a statement credit. The best bet is to take the Amex credit; that way you won’t be tempted to spend the money on other things.
If your friends don’t pay up or decline your payment request, you’re still on the hook for the full purchase. Be sure you’re using the Amex Split feature with people who won’t stiff you.
Send and Split Comparison
Of the two features, Amex Split may be the most beneficial since it can help you rack up extra rewards. Going back to the restaurant scenario, say the bill for 10 people comes to $500. By offering to put it on your Amex card, you will earn points on that $500 spend. Then, if your friends all pay you back and you choose to apply as statement credits (a total of $450 if it’s an even split), you only have $50 left on your bill, but you earned rewards on the full $500.
As for Amex Send, the key benefit is that you forego the credit card fees that PayPal and Venmo charge. While this can offer you convenience and an additional fee-free payment method, be careful about falling into the trap of not paying your bill in full on the due date, which results in interest payments.
Alternatives to Amex Send & Split
There are several options for sending people money, including PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, and others. There are also apps to help with bill splitting. What’s nice about Amex Send & Split is that it lets you manage both payment scenarios right from your American Express app. Setup is simple, and it adds another tool to your digital payment arsenal, even if you don’t use it all the time.