American Express National Bank is a strong contender for customers in search of high-yield savings options and — for those able to handle a little less liquidity — impressive certificate of deposit (CD) options. In 2022, it launched a personal checking account, too — so you now have the option to make AmEx your one-stop personal finance shop.
Known largely for the Amex credit card, American Express Bank is an FDIC-insured online bank that offers a checking account, savings account and a high-yield certificate of deposit. In addition, you can utilize American Express for personal loans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and a business checking account.
American Express has no physical locations. That means you’ll need to make deposits by mail or on your mobile device.
Why choose Amex over a bank with better mobile access, physical locations, or both? The high-yield APY (1% for checking, 3.30% for savings at time of publishing) may far surpass your other options.
The lack of monthly fees, lack of minimum deposit and lack of ongoing minimum balance requirements also make American Express National Bank an attractive option, but the absence of a widely available mobile app doesn’t do it any favors. Right now, it is only available as a beta add-on to the credit card app – so you need to be an Amex credit card holder to use it.
In our American Express National Bank review, we’ll specifically explore three Amex offerings (the savings account,certificate of deposit and checking account), analyze additional features and then weigh the pros and cons of a bank account with Amex before helping you determine if an account with Amex is right for you.
American Express Bank High Yield Savings
No monthly fees
The High Yield Savings Account from American Express National Bank is the main appeal of a bank account at American Express, especially for those who already have an American Express credit card. The account lives up to its name; at 3.30% APY, the account truly is high yield.
Beyond the high interest rate, the American Express savings account is unique in that it doesn’t limit transfers. Until 2020, Federal Reserve Board regulations limited savings transfers to six a month; many other banks have still capped theirs at six.
You’ll find no monthly service fees for the High Yield Savings Account, and there’s no minimum deposit to open nor a monthly minimum account balance to maintain. Because it’s a savings account with no debit card, you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees.
You can use the Amex mobile app to manage your savings account, but there’s a catch. That’s a beta feature that only current credit card holders can access. Amex does have an easy-to-use online platform with around-the-clock customer service, as needed.
Access to funds is limited. There are no physical Amex locations, so you can’t manage your savings in person. Unless you have a linked Amex debit card, you won’t be able to withdraw from an ATM, either. For maximum flexibility, you will want to have an external bank account (checking or savings) with another financial institution to and from which you can transfer money as needed.
American Express Bank CD
Up to 4.25% APY
Terms ranging from 6 to 60 months
No monthly fees
If you have some funds you are willing to put aside for a set number of months in order to grow interest faster, consider a certificate of deposit with Amex.
Like the High Yield Savings Account from American Express Bank, the CDs have no account minimums and no monthly fees. You can choose certificate of deposit terms ranging from six months to five years. The longer you keep the money in the CD, the more you’ll earn.
Here’s the breakdown of current terms and interest rates for American Express National Bank Certificates of Deposit:
Terms and Interest for CDs
CDs lock in your interest rate when you deposit funds, meaning it cannot fluctuate regardless of the market. APYs on personal savings accounts can change on a dime, as we saw with COVID-19 when they dropped to historic lows.
A note on CDs: Though somewhat riskier, you stand to earn considerably more when you set aside funds for a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds instead of a CD. On average, you can expect a 10% return, though this fluctuates by day.
American Express Bank Rewards Checking
Membership Rewards points
If you are already an American Express credit card holder, consider signing up for this checking account. 1.00% APY is a lot higher than most other banks, so your balance can earn you some change while it’s sitting there.
Another feature is the Membership Rewards. You earn 1 point for every $2 you spend with your Amex debit card – just like a credit card. You can redeem those points for deposits into your checking account. If you have an Amex credit card, however, you can make those points work harder by redeeming them in the Rewards portal as gift cards, plane tickets, hotel rooms, and more.
There is no minimum balance or monthly maintenance fee, and you won’t get charged for overdrafting your account.
Amex doesn’t have physical locations, but you can withdraw cash from 37,000 ATMs nationwide. There are transaction fees on ATMs that are not in-network, as well as international purchases and ATM withdrawals.
Now, for the really bad news: if you’re not an Amex card holder, you’re out of luck. If you want to take advantage of the Amex checking account rewards, you’ll have to sign up for an Amex credit card and wait.
American Express National Bank Review: Key Features
The personal savings account and CDs are the main draw of banking with Amex (outside of the credit cards), and while our review of American Express National Bank is focused on these accounts, we are sharing the full scope of account offerings below, as well as commentary on fees, ATM access, mobile banking and customer service.
American Express: What Else They Offer
You likely know Amex as a major credit card company. At the time of writing, Amex is offering 18 credit cards, including the American Express Gold Card, the Platinum Card, the Blue Cash Preferred Card, and the Cash Magnet Card. Amex also offers credit cards via Delta Airlines.
You can also take out personal loans via American Express if you are a card member. Loans range from $3,500 to $40,000.
You can also apply for a business loan and business checking.
Finally, American Express offers an IRA savings plan (either Traditional or Roth) with funds deposited in either an IRA High Yield Savings or IRA Certificate of Deposit account. These retirement bank accounts are tax advantaged and are backed by FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insurance.
American Express Fees
While Amex credit cards can carry hefty fees, we’re taking a look at just the banking fees. The headline here: no monthly service fees for banking with Amex.
The online savings account is offered fee-free (even if you want paper statements) and has no monthly balance requirements.
The debit card is also fee-free with one major exception: foreign transactions. There is a 2.7% transaction fee for international ATM withdrawals and debit transactions.
American Express ATM Access
The Rewards Checking debit card can make withdrawals from a network of 37,000 ATMs nationwide.
American Express Mobile App
American Express does have a mobile credit card app, which has earned top marks in customer satisfaction in J.D. Power studies in recent years, including recognition for speed. If you’re a current credit card holder who signs up for a savings or checking account with Amex, you may be able to access it all in the same app. This is a relatively new feature, however, so you may need to rely on the website for essential services like mobile deposit.
American Express Customer Service
A hallmark of American Express is its true 24/7 customer service. Many other online banks claim around-the-clock customer service, but your chances of speaking with a real human outside traditional business hours are far more limited.
But with Amex, you can call or chat anytime, any day, and expect to speak with a human.
American Express National Bank Contact Information
Customer Service Phone Number:
American Express National Bank
P.O. Box 30384
Salt Lake City, Utah 84130
Pros and Cons of American Express National Bank
Still deciding whether American Express is the right place for you to build your savings? We’ve compared the pros and cons of an account with Amex.
The High Yield Savings is competitive at 3.30% APY.
Amex has one of the better deals for long-term CDs.
Customer service is always reachable and very helpful.
Amex offers a large selection of credit cards with unique benefits and an industry-leading credit card mobile app.
There are no monthly service fees or account minimum balances to worry about. There is also no minimum deposit to open an account.
There are no physical branches, so if you need help with your account, you’ll have to call or chat online.
Personal loan options are reserved for Amex card holders only; having a savings account does not qualify you.
Mobile app functionality for bank accounts is only available for certain credit card holders.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About American Express National Bank
Still have questions about opening a savings account and/or CD with American Express Bank? We’ve rounded up the answers to the questions our readers are most commonly asking about banking with Amex.
American Express National Bank is a solid choice for credit cards and high-yield savings. It is an online-only bank that is still missing some key app functionality, though. For that reason, it probably shouldn’t be your only bank.
American Express Bank is insured up to $250,000 per depositor through the FDIC. Worried about the security of online savings accounts? Amex utilizes multi-factor authentication, constantly monitors for fraud, and employs Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption for safe online banking.
American Express National Bank is owned by the same parent company as the Amex credit card.
In 2008, financial company American Express received the green light from the Federal Reserve to operate as a bank holding company. In the following year, American Express launched American Express Bank, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The American Express Bank headquarters is in Salt Lake City, Utah, but the bank operates as an online bank only with no physical locations in Utah or any other state. To open an account, you must simply be a U.S. resident.
Yes. The Rewards Checking account launched in 2022. Right now, only Amex credit card holders can sign up and take advantage of its high interest rate and rewards program.
Is American Express National Bank Right for You?
American Express National Bank is a great choice for your personal savings account, but it isn’t right for everyone. An account with American Express National Bank might be right for you if …
You want a high-interest CD.
You want a bank with no fees, no minimum balance requirements and/or no minimum deposit to open an account.
You have an Amex credit card.
You already have another bank you can use for cash deposits and other missing features.
Timothy Moore covers bank accounts for The Penny Hoarder from his home base in Cincinnati. He has worked in editing and graphic design for a marketing agency, a global research firm and a major print publication. He covers a variety of other topics, including insurance, taxes, retirement and budgeting and has worked in the field since 2012 with publications such as The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, WDW Magazine, Glassdoor and The News Wheel. Contributor Ciara McLaren contributed to this report.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.