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First National Bank American Express® Card Review - Discontinued

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The First National Bank American Express Card is no longer available to new applicants. You can review our list of the best cash back credit cards to find alternative 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

Pros Explained

  • 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. Cash back is automatically issued as a statement credit.

Cons Explained

  • 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

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. Cash back is automatically issued as a statement credit.

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. 

Standard Benefits

  • Fraud protection
  • Free FICO Score access
  • Zero liability protection
  • CONNECT from American Express

Cardholder Experience

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. 

Security Features

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.   

Our Verdict

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.

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Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
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Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.