American Express is special because it is a luxury credit card brand, known for offering elite rewards and having exclusive approval requirements. American Express also is among the country’s largest credit card issuers by purchase volume, and it is one of the four major payment networks.
American Express does have its fair share of faults, however. For starters, nearly all American Express credit cards are for people with good or excellent credit. So you’ll have to choose another issuer if you have a lower score. What’s more, Amex cards aren’t nearly as widely accepted – both in the U.S. and abroad – as cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks.
With all of that being said, we recommend basing your credit card decision primarily on approval requirements and the terms you will receive, rather than the issuer or network. In other words, instead of looking for the best American Express card, try to find the best overall credit card for your needs.
What makes American Express different is that it is both a card issuer and a card network. Unlike card issuers such as Chase or Bank of America and card networks such as Visa or Mastercard, American Express serves both the role of servicing accounts and processing transactions. Amex also charges higher interchange fees, better known as swipe fees, than the other major card networks.… read full answer
On another note, American Express credit cards are unusual in that they’re geared toward individuals who have a high net worth. Similarly, while many card issuers offer credit cards to people of all credit levels, American Express only accepts applicants that have good or excellent credit scores. Also unlike most major credit card companies, Amex issues charge cards, which must be paid in full each month.
Finally, American Express credit cards used to be accepted at far fewer merchants in the United States than Visa or Mastercard cards. This is no longer the case, as Amex is now accepted by practically every U.S. merchant that takes credit cards. However, it is still far behind Visa and Mastercard when it comes to international acceptance.
Yes, it is good to have an American Express credit card because Amex cards offer bonus rewards on a variety of purchases for people with good or excellent credit. American Express cards also come with an array of welcome offers and introductory 0% APR promotions, in addition to a certain air of prestige.… read full answer
As good as American Express cards are to have, they’re not for everybody. For example, American Express does not offer credit cards for students, or cards for applicants with less than good credit, such as secured cards. Additionally, Amex cards aren’t always the cheapest credit cards to own. While a number of Amex cards provide great value with a $0 annual fee, a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express – which has lots of high-end perks – charges an annual fee of $695.
In terms of credit card acceptance, the number of U.S. merchants that take American Express cards has risen in recent years to 10.6 million, slightly lower than the Visa and Mastercard networks. Worldwide, the number of countries where American Express cards are accepted trails the other three major credit card networks. Even in countries where American Express is accepted, some individual merchants may not accept it.
Yes, an American Express card is worth it for people with good or excellent credit scores who want to earn rewards on U.S. purchases that they’ll pay for in full by the due date every month. An Amex card may also be worth it for people who want an introductory low-interest period in addition to rewards.… read full answer
The bottom line is that as long as the money saved by using the American Express card cancels out or exceeds any annual fees, the Amex card is worth having. Of course, whether a particular Amex card is the most worthwhile option overall also depends on what other credit card companies are offering. Amex is more competitive in some areas than others, too.
For example, Amex cards obviously aren’t the best for building credit, and most aren’t well-suited for balance transfers or new-purchase financing. That said, multiple American Express cards have great benefits for food-related expenses, and the Membership Rewards program makes almost all Amex cards good for travel.
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