American Express Bank Review

An online-only bank with no monthly fees and no balance requirements

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American Express has been around since 1850 and is a household name in the credit card industry for its popular rewards credit cards. Besides credit cards, though, the online-only American Express Bank offers a couple of personal banking options, including a high-yield savings account and certificates of deposit (CDs). This in-depth review will help you decide if American Express Bank is right for you.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Competitive rate on savings account

  • No minimum deposit requirements

  • No monthly fees

Cons
  • No checking account

  • Average CD rates

  • No mobile banking app

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1850
  • Official Website www.americanexpress.com
  • Banking Products Offered Savings, CDs, credit cards
  • Customer Support 24/7 Phone: 1-800-528-4800

Pros Explained

  • Competitive rate on savings account – Although it’s not high enough to compete with the best high-yield savings accounts, American Express Personal Savings accounts still earn a 0.60% annual percentage yield (APY). This is well above the current national average for savings accounts of 0.06%.
  • No minimum deposit requirements – Anyone can open an account with American Express Bank. Neither savings accounts nor CDs have minimum deposit requirements.
  • No monthly fees – There are no monthly maintenance fees charged on any American Express Bank accounts.

Cons Explained

  • No checking account – American Express Bank isn’t a full-service bank and offers no checking account option for customers.
  • Average CD rates – American Express Bank’s CD rates don’t compare with the best CD rates on the market. For more-competitive rates, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
  • No mobile banking app – There is no mobile app for American Express Bank. Accounts aren’t accessible through the Amex credit card app, which is completely separate. No mobile app means no popular features such as mobile check deposit or mobile bill pay.

Who Is American Express Bank Best For?

American Express Bank should appeal to individuals looking for a simple high-yield savings account. It’s an especially good fit for consumers who are looking to:

  • Earn competitive rates on a high-yield savings account
  • Supplement accounts at another bank
  • Bank without worrying about minimum balances and monthly fees
  • Access their accounts online 24/7

What Does American Express Bank Offer?

  • Savings account
  • CDs
  • Credit cards

Personal Savings Account

Personal Savings is a high-yield savings account that’s also the only savings account offered by American Express Bank. Customers currently earn a 0.60% APY, which is not bad but also not as good as rates offered by other online banks.

A plus for Personal Savings accounts is the lack of minimum opening and ongoing balance requirements. There is also no monthly maintenance fee.

Funds in an American Express Personal Savings account are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per depositor. You can also link up to three external bank accounts, allowing you to transfer money in and out of the account as needed. You can set up recurring transfers into your Personal Savings account to build toward savings goals, such as an emergency fund or a vacation fund.

American Express Bank Personal Savings Account
Account Name Minimum Opening Deposit Monthly Fee APY
Personal Savings  $0 $0 0.60%
(As of October 5, 2020)

CDs

American Express Bank also offers CDs with terms ranging from six months to five years. Longer CD terms earn a decent APY, with five-year CDs currently at 0.85%. Shorter CDs earn much less, although still better than what you would find at a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.

Interest earned on CDs through American Express Bank is credited on a monthly basis. Customers have options on what happens to that interest:

  • Do nothing and interest compounds until the CD reaches maturity (default option)
  • Have it transferred automatically each month to your Amex savings account
  • Have it transferred automatically each month to another linked bank account
  • Have it mailed to you via monthly, quarterly, or annual checks

CDs automatically renew at the maturity date if you don't do anything. Customers should receive correspondence from American Express Bank at least 10 days before the maturity date, so they can decide.

American Express Bank CDs are subject to an early withdrawal penalty if you take out funds, other than interest before the account reaches maturity. The early withdrawal penalties are as follows:

  • CD terms of less than one year – 90 days’ interest on the withdrawn amount
  • CD terms of at least one year but under four years – 270 days’ interest on the withdrawn amount
  • CD terms of at least four years but under five years – 365 days’ interest on the withdrawn amount
  • CD terms of five years – 540 days’ interest on the withdrawn amount
American Express Bank CD Rates
Term  APY
Six Months 0.25%
One Year 0.35%
18 Months 0.45%
Two Years 0.55%
Three Years 0.65%
Four Years 0.75%
Five Years 0.85%
(As of July 31, 2020)

Credit Cards

American Express offers a wide range of credit cards, although they aren’t directly tied to its banking operations. Credit cards include a variety of travel credit cards, cash-back cards, a balance transfer card, and a host of business credit cards. Here are some of the cards it offers.

General Travel Rewards Cards

Cash-Back Credit Cards

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Business Credit Cards

American Express Bank Customer Service

American Express’ website features a thorough FAQ section, but if you need more personal service, there are two options. Customers can receive support through its customer service phone line (1-800-528-4800), which is available 24/7, or you can write to:

American Express National Bank

P.O. Box 30384

Salt Lake City, Utah 84130

As it’s an online bank, there is no in-person support available. American Express Bank doesn’t currently offer any chat support either.

How to Bank With American Express Bank

To open an account with American Express Bank, you can apply online at AmericanExpress.com. You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident alien to be eligible for an account.

You’ll be asked to provide personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. After agreeing to terms and conditions, you have the option to fund your account and set up online account access.

Verdict

American Express Bank is ideal for customers who are only looking for a decent high-yield savings account, not full-service or in-person banking. It offers average CD rates for the most part, but customers looking for CDs with longer terms can still earn interest at a competitive rate.

American Express Bank lacks many popular features available with other online banks. It’s almost unforgivable for an online bank not to offer mobile access at this point. The only ways to make deposits are by electronic transfer, direct deposit, or mailing a check.

With no checking account, you’ll need to supplement your American Express Bank accounts with another bank. If you’re OK with banking in more than one spot, then American Express Bank’s savings account may be worth the hassle.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of banks. We collected over 20 data points across more than 80 banks—including products available, interest rates, fees, and accessibility—to ensure that our content helps users make the right decision for their savings and banking needs.

Article Sources

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  1. U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. "Weekly National Rates and Rate Caps - Weekly Update." Accessed July 31, 2020.