American Express Review

Michael Dinich

In a Nutshell

Everyone knows American Express. They offer superior cashback offers and the best customer service around. So, naturally, we were excited to find out that this major finance company was branching out into online banking. Giving customers competitive interest rates, excellent UX, and a fee-free structure, AMEX online banking looks great from the start. Let's see how it fairs when we take a closer look.

pros

  • No fees
  • No minimum deposit requirement
  • FDIC insured

cons

  • No checking accounts available
  • No mobile app
  • Not connected to a debit/ATM card

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American Express at a Glance

Fees: No fees

Personal loans available: No

Credit card available: Yes

SMS/Mail alerts: Yes

24-hour customer service: Yes

Money transfers: Yes

Check scanning: No

Average APY: 1.60%

Minimum for APY: No minimum requirement

Advantages Over Regular Bank

It doesn't take a lot of exploring to figure out that online banking is better than the regular banking options available. But here are several areas in which AMEX really shines:

  • High-yield savings

American Express Bank has 2 savings options. You can get a high-yield savings account with excellent annual percentage yield. Alternatively, you can open a high-yield certificate of deposit with AMEX for an even more impressive return.

We’ll discuss numbers below, but both the savings and CD APYs are some of the highest rates you’ll find anywhere. In fact, American Express interest rates beat the national bank average by more than 18x. This means you’ll be earning significantly more money for doing nothing.

  • Online convenience

The convenience of online banking can't be overstated. With AMEX online banking, the point is even more relevant. You can link your savings accounts from up to 3 different bank accounts, create recurring deposits that go in automatically, and check on your account at any time of day or night.

  • Fees structure

Banking the traditional way is a costly endeavor. From minimum balance charges to ATM fees, hard copy statement fees, and monthly account maintenance fees, bank charges can really hit you hard. This is why American Express online banking is so appealing for most Americans. With this type of bank account, you won’t pay any fees whatsoever. No maintenance fees, no transaction fees. Nothing. This is a huge perk for people who are trying to save money.

  • Minimum balance waived

Another big advantage of an AMEX online account is the fact that there are no minimum balance requirements. Banks generally have a certain amount they want you to keep in your account all the time. If you go below that amount (either on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis), you will be charged a minimum balance fee for not meeting that required amount.

Cutting-Edge Banking Services

The AMEX savings account has everything you could hope for in a savings account, plus the flexibility and convenience of online accessibility. You can access your account 24/7, make transfers whenever you want, and withdraw from your account with ease. You can also link several other accounts of yours for even easier transference of funds.

One of the biggest highlights we noticed about this brand’s savings account was the smooth auto transfer feature. AMEX makes it easy for you to transfer money to fund your AMEX online bank account. Using direct deposit, you can link your checking account to the online one, or you can fund it by mailing checks directly to AMEX. You can link up to 3 separate accounts to make auto deposits as easy as possible.

AMEX is also famous for its customer support, but we’ll cover that in more detail below.

Traditional Banking Services

Since AMEX’s savings account isn’t your traditional bank account, it doesn’t have many of the usual services you’re used to. For example, there are no rewards credit cards linked to the account. In fact, AMEX is very specific about keeping its credit card and banking accounts separate. Of course, you can sign up for an American Express credit card, but you’ll need a different login for this account.

While most savings accounts can link a checking account to them, AMEX offers no such luxury. This is a good thing since it means you can't easily access your money that’s intended for savings with a checkbook or ATM withdrawal. When you do want to withdraw funds though, it is only a simple online process. It takes 1 to 3 business days for the transfer to be completed, which is pretty standard for the industry.

Interest Rates and Fees

As mentioned, AMEX Bank has 2 savings products on offer. You can get a savings account or a CD. Here are the important details about both:

Savings Account
Certificate of Deposit
APY
1.60%
3.10%
Withdrawal fees
None

Term of less than 12 months: 90 days of interest

Term of more than 12 months: 180 days of interest

As you can see, the savings account yields 18 times more than the national average. Plus, if you opt to convert your high-yield savings account to a Certificate of Deposit (a CD), you’ll earn an even better and guaranteed rate of 3.10%.

The savings account is your typical savings account. You put money in, and that money accrues interest for as long as it stays in the account. You are free to make withdrawals against the savings account whenever you want. The law does limit you to 6 withdrawals per month though, so plan accordingly.

AMEX CDs are also available in a variety of term lengths ranging from 6 months to 60. Naturally, the longer you take out the CD for, the higher the interest rate you'll get. Unlike savings accounts, CDs cannot be dipped into freely, and you will incur a penalty charge if you try to withdraw money from the CD before it matures.

Customer Service

With a company as prominent as AMEX, you know you’re going to get good customer service. But American Express customer support goes above and beyond any expectations. Known throughout the world for its superior service, AMEX offers the highest quality customer support.

You can reach a service rep via the toll-free phone number, request a call back by filling out the online form, or by using the live chat feature on the site. AMEX also has a tremendous Help Center online with questions and answers to every aspect of its products if you prefer finding information on your own.

Mobile Apps

There is no dedicated mobile app for the AMEX savings account. However, you can access the mobile-friendly website from any Android or iOS device.

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Security

American Express is one of the 3 major credit card companies in the world, so it’s understood that it takes security extremely seriously. In fact, this company is always enhancing the security features for its members to protect both member collected data privacy and account safety. AMEX uses security measures like:

  • Self-selected user ID and password
  • Data encryption technology
  • Secure website for all account activities
  • Automatic timeouts that will automatically log you out of your account after 10 minutes of inactivity
  • Email confirmation of password recovery
  • Personal security key used for authentication

AMEX also has several fraud protection measures including pre-purchase verification, constant monitoring of accounts for any unusual transactions, and irregular account activity alerts.

Conclusion

While it doesn’t come with some of the bells and whistles of other online accounts, the AMEX savings account is an excellent choice for people looking to make more money on interest rates. With one of the highest APYs around, AMEX savings gives you an incredible edge over traditional banks. Plus, you’ll get the award-winning customer support, convenient online accessibility, and rock-solid security features that come from an industry leader like American Express.

Michael has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, pay down debt and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, saving money, and all things geeky.

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