The American Express Essential® Credit Card | Review

The American Express Essential® Credit Card

What do you want this card for?
Save money
Earn points
Card features
balance transfer
purchase rate
annual fee
The American Express Essential® Credit Card
$0 p.a. annual fee.
Smartphone Screen Insurance for up to $500 for screen repairs to your Smartphone (conditions apply).
0% p.a. for 12 months for balance transfers and a one-off credit plan establishment fee of 3%.
12 months
0% p.a.
then 14.99%
with a 3% fee
14.99% p.a.

Pros & cons

What's good?

What's not so good?

$0 p.a. annual fee.
0% p.a. for 12 months for balance transfers and a one-off credit plan establishment fee of 3%. T&Cs apply.
Smartphone Screen Insurance for up to $500 for screen repairs to your Smartphone when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card.
Earn 1.25 Membership Rewards Gateway points for every $1 spent on everyday purchases, utilities, insurance and telecommunications.
Earn 1 Membership Rewards Gateway point for every $1 spent on government bodies
Transfer your points to a choice of 8 airline rewards partner programs.
Eligible for use with Google Pay™, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Enjoy a low interest rate of 14.99% p.a. on purchases.
Complimentary insurances to cover shopping purchases.
Some businesses make you pay a surcharge for using your Amex card.

*This offer is available to new Card Members only.
Transfer rate applies to Velocity, KrisFlyer and Skyward Mile programs, while the Air NZ transfer rate is 200 Membership Rewards Points to 1 Airpoint Dollar.

Disclaimer (2): Reviews rely upon third party information that may not be correct or may be changed without Credit Card Compare’s knowledge. You must carefully consider your own circumstances before making any commitments and confirm all offers and terms with credit card providers before accepting them. Please refer to our T&Cs for more.

User reviews

4.5 out of 5.0 based on 3 reviews100% of reviewers would recommend this card

Rates and fees
Customer service

Reviews from users

Pretty good basic card with no annual fee

Reviewed and recommended by Sreenath on 16 Jan 2017

AmEx Essential is a basic card with a $0 joining fee. Good offers are there in the card. It would be better if they could increase the value of the reward points.

There’s an easy-to-use AmEx app and good deals on balance transfers. The 55 interest-free days are very attractive and I am using it for my daily purchases, groceries, etc.

Pretty good card especially for travel

Reviewed and recommended by Bradley on 08 Jun 2016

Got this one to go to Hawaii—they love AmEx there! No surcharges, no funny looks.. just yes sir, of course sir. Instant updates on purchases made via the app; earned points quick enough to cover currency charges in credits; has phone screen insurance; and a low interest rate. They also increased the credit limit instantly when needed after a mini holiday emergency.

This card really floats my boat

Reviewed and recommended by Nelson Chan on 25 Jan 2016

I have never ever had a credit card before, but as a young individual getting amongst it has never been easier.

I’m all about the Apple Pay function. I’ve been tapping my phone everywhere I can with this! Also having the screen insurance means I drop my phone like it’s hot now that I’ve got protection.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed about credit cards are the reviewer's alone, and do not reflect the views of Credit Card Compare or the credit card issuer. Reviews have not been approved or otherwise endorsed by Credit Card Compare.

The basics

About this card

Card setup
Card tier
Card type
American Express
Card use
Credit rating
No history of bad credit
Gambling transactions allowed
Joint application
Minimum age
18 years old
Minimum income
Minimum income for pensioners
Rewards program
Membership Rewards Gateway
Temporary residents
Long Term Visa (12 months or more; Student Visa is excluded)


Additional cardholders
Additional card fee
$0 p.a.

Credit limits

Minimum credit limit
Maximum credit limit


Interest charged from
Statement date
Interest free period
Up to 55 days on purchases
Minimum repayment
whichever is greater, $30 or 2.5%

Balance transfers

The offer

Interest ratePeriodFeeLimitRevert rate
Balance transfers0% p.a.12 months3%whichever is less, $10,000 or 70% of credit limit14.99% p.a.

Balance transfers to this card

Balance transfer earns rewards
Balance transfer fee payment due
First statement
Balance transfer from personal loan
Balance transfer processing time
10 - 14 days
Interest free days with unpaid balance
0 days
Maximum balance transfer
whichever is less, $10,000 or 70% of credit limit
Available to existing customers

Banks you can't balance transfer from

You can't balance transfer to the The American Express Essential® Credit Card at the promotional balance transfer rate from:

  • American Express

Rates & fees

Promotional interest rates

Interest ratePeriodFeeLimitRevert rate
Balance transfers0% p.a.12 months3%whichever is less, $10,000 or 70% of credit limit 14.99% p.a.
PurchasesN/AN/AN/AN/A N/A

Ongoing interest rates

Cash advances N/A N/A
Purchases 1.25% 14.99% p.a.


Annual fee
$0 p.a.
Cash advance fee
Dishonour fee
Duplicate statement fee
Foreign exchange fee
Late payment fee
Over limit fee
Overseas ATM balance fee
Overseas ATM withdrawal fee
Overseas emergency card replacement fee
Transaction verification fee

Rewards & points

Rewards program basics

Reward points expiry
Rewards program
Membership Rewards Gateway
Sign up bonus
Spend required for bonus points

Earning points with this card

Frequent flyer points
0.625 pt per $1 spent
Overseas earn rate
Same as standard earn rate
Points cap per month
Points cap per year
Points earned on ATO payments
1 pts per $1 spent
Reward points
1.25 pts per $1 spent

Additional benefits

Airport lounge access
Complimentary flight voucher
Concierge service

Minimum criteria for this card

What you need before applying

Be over 18 years old
You are a resident or citizen of Australia
Earn a regular income of more than $40,000 per year
You have your personal details ready to complete the online application
Have not applied for multiple credit cards recently
Disclaimer: The minimum criteria are intended only to be a guide. Your application may still be rejected by the bank even if you can answer 'Yes' to all the minimum criteria. The final decision regarding your application is up to the bank.

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People are happy
Rated 4.8 out of 5 for customer satisfaction.
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