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Updated on Thursday, July 1, 2021
American Express National Bank
You probably know American Express for its range of business and personal credit cards, but did you know it offers savings accounts and CDs, too? Founded in 1850 as a freight forwarder, the company first ventured into financial services in 1891, launching Travelers Cheques to help people feel more confident bringing money on trips.
In 1958, American Express launched its first credit card and has since continued to add new financial products, including savings vehicles. While the online-only bank doesn’t offer ATM cards or have retail locations, some of its savings products offer higher-than-average yields, making it an option to consider.
American Express National Bank savings accounts
American Express offers one option for a savings account.
- APY: 0.40% on all balances
- Minimum opening deposit: $0
- Monthly fee: $0
At 0.40% APY, this account will earn you more than the current 0.06% national average interest for savings accounts, according to the Federal Insurance Deposit Corp. or FDIC. In fact, its rates are in line with the highest earning savings accounts available. However, the account’s APY is variable, which makes your earnings unpredictable.
In addition to higher yields, the account doesn’t require a minimum deposit or charge annual fees. It also allows account holders to make nine withdrawals per statement cycle, providing flexible access to funds. While you could earn higher rates elsewhere, American Express offers a solid choice based on yield.
The American Express High Yield Savings account also makes saving money easy, with the ability to set up a recurring deposit from an external savings or checking account. You can even have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited to the account.
However, there are drawbacks. American Express doesn’t offer ATM cards, checks or debit cards. The only way to access your money is to transfer it from your online American Express savings account to another account. This can be problematic if you need immediate access to your funds.
Additionally, transfers can take one to two business days for funds to become available in your external account, although in some cases you can qualify for same-day transfers. And the transfer could take longer, depending on the destination bank’s hold policies. The bright side, however, is that the inconvenience could be just enough to keep you touching the account and making unnecessary withdrawals.
Review the rates offered by today’s best high-yield savings accounts.
American Express National Bank checking accounts
Unlike most financial institutions, American Express doesn’t offer checking accounts at this time. The only type of accounts that are available are savings accounts and CDs. Since most consumers use checking accounts for daily transactions, you won’t be able to do all of your banking with American Express and will need to open an account at another bank or credit union.
Explore our list of the best checking accounts currently on the market.
American Express National Bank CDs
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CDs from American Express do not require a minimum deposit amount. You’re free to deposit as little or as much as you want to begin earning interest on any of its CD terms. This is great for individuals who don’t have a lot of money to deposit in CDs offered by other online banks that may have minimum deposit requirements. The downside is that you won’t be receiving as high of an APY as you could at other online banks.
American Express offers terms spanning from six to 60 months on its CDs. Interest compounds daily and is deposited monthly until maturity. You can choose to have your CD’s interest transferred into your linked American Express High Yield Savings Account or another linked external account on a monthly basis.
If you touch the principal, however, you’ll incur an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty is based on your CD’s term:
- For CDs with a term of less than 12 months: 90 days’ worth of interest
- For CDs with a term of 12 months, but less than 48 months: 270 days’ worth of interest
- For CDs with a term of 48 months: 365 days’ worth of interest
- For CDs with a term of 60 months: 540 days’ worth of interest
American Express CDs automatically renew for the same term unless you notify the bank that you no longer wish to or unless the bank no longer offers that term. You can call American Express any time before your maturity date to tell them that you do not wish to have your CD automatically renewed.
CDs get a one-time deposit, although you can add funds during the 10-day calendar grace period at the maturity date. If you’re interested in making monthly deposits or need access to more frequent withdrawals, a High Yield Savings Account is probably a better choice for you.
For more options, check out our roundup of the best CDs now.
Customer experience at American Express National Bank
Despite its limited product lineup, American Express can be a good option for people who want to earn more on their savings, value a fee-free structure, and don’t mind banking completely online. No minimum deposit or monthly fees are definitely attractive, but having no ATM access and having to tap into funds by transferring them to another financial institution could be inconvenient. If you need built in discipline for saving, limited access could help. Otherwise, you may find it lacking.
You can check your balance and facilitate transfers through the American Express online banking portal. American Express credit card holders can also sign up for the company’s app and connect the card to their American Express savings or CD accounts. Otherwise, the mobile app is not available to customers who hold just savings or CD accounts with the company. The bank has an online Help Center, where customers can get answers to questions. Customers also can get direct support 24/7 by phone.