The First National Bank American Express Card is not one of our top-rated cash back credit cards. You can review our list of the best cash back credit cards for what we think are better options.
Full Review of First National Bank American Express Card
Small, easily-earned one-time offer
Simple and decent rewards
Almost no benefits
$25 redemption minimum
- Small, Easily Earned One-time Offer: Like many credit cards, the First National Bank American Express card offers a one-time offer for new cardmembers. If you spend $500 within the first three billing cycles after opening an account, you’ll get a $100 automatic statement credit. Some cards require you to spend thousands to qualify for a bonus, so this card’s version is much more easily achieved. If you use the card to pay for essentials like gas, groceries, and your utility bills, you can reach the $500 threshold and earn the bonus.
- Simple and Decent Rewards: Some credit cards have complicated rewards programs with bonus rates on certain spending categories, sometimes with limitations on availability or to maximum spending. By contrast, the First National Bank American Express card keeps it simple. You earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no cap on how much you can earn, and your rewards never expire as long as your account is open.
- Almost No Benefits: It’s not unusual for a no-annual-fee card with decent rewards to lack frills, but the First National Bank American Express card is among the more basic cards you will find. It offers only a few basic security benefits, such as fraud protection and free FICO Scores, and access to American Express Connect, for shopping and dining discounts and ticket presales for entertainment and sporting events. But there are no extras like 0% APR offers, travel insurance, or purchase protection.
- $25 Redemption Minimum: It’s ideal to get access to your credit-card rewards as you earn them, and some cards essentially allow the redemption of as little as a cent in rewards. With the First National Bank American Express card, though, cash back is automatically redeemed for statement credits only once you’ve accrued 2,500 points, which is worth $25 in rewards. That minimum might be a drawback for some cardholders who need their rewards to be continual, such as those on a budget who rely on those funds to help make ends meet.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
The First National Bank American Express card is best for someone who wants a credit card that earns rewards simply and consistently on all routine purchases. You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, with no cap on the rewards you can earn. Rewards are automatically redeemed for statement credits once you reach 2,500 points or $25 in rewards.
First National Bank American Express One-Time Offer
You earn a one-time $100 statement credit if you spend $500 on the First National Bank American Express card within the first three billing cycles after opening an account—which usually means within the first three months. That bonus is small compared with cards that dangle bonuses of $300 or more, but those bigger incentives usually require far higher spending. This bonus gives you a 20% return on required spending, which is notable.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average consumer spends $372 per month on food consumed at home. If you used your card to pay for your groceries, you could reach the $500 threshold in under two months.
Rewards Earning Details
The rewards structure on this credit card is very straightforward; you earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. The only transactions for which rewards aren’t granted are cash advances, finance charges, balance transfers, or other services provided by First National Bank.
Rewards Redemption Details
Once you’ve accrued 2,500 points or $25 in cash back your rewards, First National Bank will automatically issue you a statement credit at the end of that billing cycle. Credits are issued in increments of $25.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
To maximize your rewards, use the First National Bank American Express card for all of your recurring and usual expenses, such as utility bills, groceries, clothing, entertainment, and gas. To gauge what such spending might yield in rewards, let’s assume you spend the amounts reported for the average household by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for key household expenditures often charged to a credit card. Those spending amounts are as follows:
- Food consumed at home and at restaurants: $7,923
- Clothing: $1,866
- Gasoline: $2,109
- Entertainment: $3,226
- Personal care products and services: $768
This totals $15,892 in spending. If you used the First National Bank American Express card to pay for all of the purchases, and so earn 1.5% in cash back, you’d have $238.38 in rewards for the year.
- Fraud protection
- Free FICO Score access
- Zero liability protection
- CONNECT from American Express
This credit card is issued by First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha. As a small card issuer, First Bankcard is not included in the J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study, even in its ranking of regional banks.
You can reach customer service by calling 888-530-3626.
The First National Bank American Express card offers standard security features you can expect from most credit cards, including:
- Zero liability protection
- Account alerts
- Fraud protection
- Free monthly credit score access
Fees To Watch Out For
The balance-transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, which is higher than the 3% fee most cards charge. While this card has no 0% APR that would strongly encourage balance transfers, its 21.24% APR could potentially be lower than you might be paying on another card, especially if your credit score is on the low side. Keep this higher fee in mind if you’re considering transferring a balance to this card.
The First National Bank American Express card is undeniably simple. It has no annual fee. You earn a decent 1.5% in cash back on every purchase and rewards are automatically redeemed for statement credits. There’s no activating categories or figuring out point values.
However, the card is very barebones in its benefits, even for a card with no annual fee. Provided you have good credit, you can likely qualify for another no-annual-fee card that offers better rewards and a few additional benefits.
One example is the Citi Double Cash card. This card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, then a further 1% cash back when you pay for it. The card, too, is basic in its benefits, but it does provide a 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. That’s a relatively long period for such offers and could be a major cost-saver for those carrying a big balance on a high-interest card.
There’s also the Wells-Fargo Platinum card. Its benefits are surprisingly robust, and include such items as coverage for auto-rental damage collision waiver, roadside dispatch, travel-accident insurance, and travel- and emergency-assistance. It even offers up to $600 in coverage against damage or theft of your cell phone.
Finally, if the $25 minimum redemptions for the First National Bank American Express card is a problem for you, consider the Discover it Cash Back. You can redeem as little as one cent in rewards, and do so for statement credit, electronic bank deposit, charitable donation, or to make purchases—a wider range of options than the First National Bank American Express card offers.