The iconic, tried and true, green American Express card is recognised everywhere as one of the world’s original charge cards, and it has now been adapted to suit the needs of business owners in the shape of the American Express Business Card. When you use this card you make a statement implying a well-established business history, but it is a card focused on the future, not the past, with plenty of useful business-related features backed by world class service and security. Optional rewards points are the icing on the cake.
A flexible charge card, not a fixed limit credit card
Although it resembles a credit card in many respects, this is in fact a charge card. Unlike a credit card, it’s not a revolving line of credit. You will be expected to clear your outstanding purchase balance on the due date for payment each month, instead of being encouraged to make only a minimum payment if you have temporary liquidity problems. Consequently, there are no interest rates quoted for overdue purchase balances. But you will want to make sure you pay on time and in full, to avoid being liable for penalty payments called ‘liquidated damages’, which can be very substantial.
You can take advantage of Up to 51 days on purchases each month, because the due date for payment falls 21 days after the statement closing date. That’s significantly more generous than the many credit cards which offer only 44 interest-free days, but not as open-handed as the cards extending up to 55 days interest free.
Another charge card feature which may come as a surprise is the lack of a rigid credit limit. That doesn’t mean that your spending power is unlimited. American Express will keep an eye on your balance and assess your ability to repay based on your credit record, payment history and access to funds.
Packed with features to help the small business owner
The word ‘business’ appears in this card’s name for a good reason: it’s a package designed to benefit anyone who is self-employed or running a small business. (However, you don’t need to be a business owner or sole trader in order to be approved for this card.) The specific attributes which make it particularly suitable for business use include the following:
Complimentary insurance cover
There’s no international travel insurance with this card, or even domestic travel cover for flight delays and lost luggage, but you will get some useful policies when you pay your full trip fare using the card:
Optional Membership Rewards Ascent points
Not everyone is interested in collecting rewards points, but with many cards there is no choice because they are built into the cost structure in the form of a higher annual fee. But this American Express card is unusual in that it does give you a choice. If you want to earn points you can opt in for an additional cost (i.e. on top of the annual fee) of $80 per year. The earning rate is 1.5 pts per $1 spent, except for spending on utilities, non-Amex insurance premiums and transactions with government bodies. Purchases which fall into these last three categories earn only 1 pts per $1 spent.
Points are not capped and never expire, so they will still be there no matter how much or how little you use your card.
Redeeming Membership Rewards points
Amex does not have its own merchandise catalogue, where points can be exchanged for consumer goods. However, this does not limit the ways in which points can be redeeme, and it’s possible that not having a catalogue keeps costs down and improves the redemption benefits. This is what you can do with your points:
The longer you can wait to redeem, the more value you will get. For low denomination rewards, the value is about 0.7 cents per point ($10 worth of goods or services for 1,400 points), but the higher denominations deliver $100 of value for 13,500 points (0.75 cents per point).
Most of these redemption methods come with a ‘Points + Pay’ option if you need to redeem before you have accumulated enough points: use points for part of the payment and cash for the rest.
You get what you pay for
With an annual fee of $109 p.a., plus $79 p.a. for each additional card, this isn’t exactly the cheapest card around. And you’ll need to add a further $80 a year if you want to participate in the rewards program. (But it’s well worth opting in, since you only need to spend $10,800 per year to recover the program fee, and every point after that is free.)
So you’re paying $109 p.a. per year for Up to 51 days on purchases, some useful insurance cover, the option to make it a rewards card if you wish, and a package tailored for business or tax purposes. You’ll need to be comfortable with the fact that some retailers either don’t accept American Express or add a surcharge.
Why should I want the American Express Business Card?
You’ll want this card if you have trouble keeping track of your expenses for tax purposes, whether you’re running a business or just need to make deduction claims against your personal income. Since you plan to always pay your account balance in full, the fact that it’s a charge card will not trouble you because you’ll still be able to take advantage of Up to 51 days on purchases each month. If you want to say goodbye to the shoe box full of dog-eared receipts and hello to rewards points, while making good use of the high level of security and customer service, you may have found the perfect match.
Great when accepted, but not all businesses do. Businesses should not be allowed to charge you when using this card. An extra three per cent is over the top, when that cost is probably already incorporated into the account.
There’s nothing else to say when you are reasonably happy with the card.
I do business with this card every day, and have a good response from others. When shopping for items worldwide, it is a great card for transactions involving large sums of money.
The bonuses and rewards are by far some of the nicest out there in the land of credit cards. When ii gets to be as big as this, then you have to go for it.
The one thing you have to remember about this card is that while the $450 is high if you don’t use the benefits (Priority Pass, airline charges, TSA pre check, etc.), if you travel it offers so much value. $450 is a joke because one trip will eat that up. The customer service is super, plus the use of it with international travel is superb.
I highly recommend this card and just cant say enough!
It is very convenient to buy things. Secondly, it does not cost very much when you get a surcharge or go over the limit. I like it very much and would recommend it to my friends.
This was my original credit card and was useful when I took my first trip to Europe in 1983. However, since then it seems to be accepted in less places and even when it is accepted, most retailers prefer you to use another type or apply a surcharge to pay with it.
I have had my plain old green AmEx card for 21 years. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it has reliability. I use it to purchase large items and pay for travel. I know exactly what I have spent and when it is due for payment.
When overseas, if I need help, it is simply a phone call to customer service and help is there. If I need, as has happened, to purchase a new ticket, it is done without a drama.
I am never worrying about internet glitches, changes of bank policy etc. AmEx customer representatives are friendly, knowledgable and wonderfully helpful – and I can always understand them.
My AmEx card is a friend in the wallet and like all good friends I never abuse it!
The American Express card, although a tad on the costly side, is nonetheless an easy card to obtain. This is very re-assuring to have for an emergency such as a major car breakdown. My card was very difficult to begin operation with, due to the poor set of instructions and financial information that it came with. Nonetheless, I eventually activated it and am glad that I have it, although I have not as yet needed it, due to my good budgeting skills! I also like that it is widely accepted at shops and businesses.
The American Express card for which I have been a member of since 1994 has proven to be universally accepted and customer service is second to none. I never use another card due to its convenience, credibility and security aspect having had an experience where my card was debited in the US for a transaction. Amex rectified this with one call. That’s efficiency.
A credit card can be a trap for the unwary, but if used judiciously as an emergency measure, it does have a benefit. The interest rate charged for this card, and in fact for all the credit cards is pure usury as the credit itself is nothing more than a few computer keystrokes.
An American Express card is very handy for the range of businesses you can use it with, and it is a prestigious sounding card. The problem for me is that it has not kept pace with the discounted interest rates that are now available elsewhere, and unfortunately once you get in too far with a credit card, it is hard to extricate yourself.