The bottom line
This card is an American Express classic. The Green Card allows you to earn rewards from the American Express Membership Rewards scheme as well as benefit from travel insurance and purchase protection features (subject to enrolment) without having to worry about accruing debt and interest charges. That’s because this is a charge card, not a credit card, so whatever you spend during the month will need to be repaid in full. The card does, however, carry a £60 annual fee.
Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
What I like
The American Express Green Card provides you with the freedom to spend what you like, as long as you can afford to pay it off within the month.
- No pre-set spending limit – Some card users may feel restricted by credit limits, but this is not the case with the Green Card, as there’s no pre-set spending limit in place.
- No interest – This may seem obvious because this is a charge card rather than a credit card, but it has no interest rate. Therefore it makes spending very clear cut and can help you avoid the temptation presented by credit cards to build up debt that incurs interest charges. However, it is worth noting that if you do not pay your balance in full at the end of each month, you will incur late payment charges.
- Reward points – One of the standout features of this card is the ability to earn reward points. Cardholders can earn one Membership Rewards point for every £1 spent, with no upper limit to how many can be accrued. Points can then be redeemed against vouchers for participating retailers, or if you earn yourself enough, against flights with multiple airline partners. You can also earn yourself 5,000 bonus reward points if you refer a friend who is approved (up to 90,000 points a year).
- Travel benefits – As part of the overall package, cardholders will have the option to enrol to travel inconvenience insurance and baggage insurance, as well as travel accident insurance up to £75,000.
- Protection – Being part of the American Express family definitely has its perks. Refund and purchase protection is one of them. With the card, after enroling, items up to the value of £200 will be replaced or refunded if the retailer refuses to do so. Additionally, if something you have bought with your card is stolen or damaged within 90 days, American Express will replace, repair or refund you up to £2,500 per eligible item, giving you peace of mind when spending your money and using your card.
- Other benefits – With a provider like American Express, you get a full package. With this card that includes a one year extended warranty of up to £1,500 per item on purchases where the manufacturer’s warranty has expired (subject to enrolment).
What could be improved?
Nothing in life comes for free, and that is exactly the case with the American Express Green Card.
- Annual fee – While the card has no interest rate, it does have a £60 annual fee. While this fee is not in the same league as the premium card annual fees, it is still a significant cost. Therefore, it is always worth calculating whether the value of the benefits outweighs the upfront cost.
- Overseas usage – This is standard across most American Express cards, but the card has a 2.99% foreign transaction fee. This is something to be aware of if you are planning to use the card abroad.
How does it stack up?
The American Express Green Card does offer something different from traditional credit cards: as a charge card, it gives cardholders more control of their spending by having no pre-set spending limit. The features attached to the card are also attractive, particularly the ability to earn reward points on pretty much all your spending.
The charge card market is not as competitive as the credit card market, with American Express being a dominant player. Competition in a market often leads to a wider variety of offers, with providers trying to stand out from the crowd. The lack of competition in the charge card market means that this card doesn’t have many others to be compared against.
This card acts as a good compromise if you are looking for something more than a basic card and a little less than the premium cards that carry higher annual fees.
American Express requires applicants to have no history of bad debt, be aged 18 or over and be UK residents.
If you have a sparkling credit history and a good income, you may not question whether you’ll be approved for this card. But if you want to play it safe, by using the ‘Apply’ link above and following the ‘Check your eligibility’ link on the American Express website, you can perform a quick and easy check on whether you’ll be accepted, without any risk to your credit score.
How do you apply?
You can apply through the American Express website. The application will reportedly take less than 10 minutes, and you will receive a response in 60 seconds.
You will need to provide personal information, including your income and employment details. Your UK bank or building society account number and sort code may also be required, so it’s helpful to have those to hand.
Is The American Express Card right for you?
If you are looking for a charge card, then American Express’s Green Card could be a good halfway house as it offers more than a basic package but doesn’t carry the very high fees of the more premium cards.
As a cardholder you stand to benefit from the Membership Rewards scheme, travel insurance perks and additional protection. And while the card does carry a £60 annual fee, that fee is significantly lower than those attached to other charge cards available.
A card needs to suit your lifestyle and spending habits, so if you are confident that you can pay off the balance in full each month and like the idea of no interest charges and no pre-set spending limit, then The American Express Card could be a good fit.
The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Lloyds, Tesco and Barclays.