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How to activate an American Express credit card

There are three ways you can activate your card to start spending.

Once your American Express arrives in your mail, your next step is to activate it. You can do this online, by phone or through the Amex mobile app. Whichever option you choose, the card activation process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

How to activate your American Express card online

American Express cards don’t require you to enroll in an Amex online banking service before activation. To activate:

  1. Visit
  2. Enter your credit card number and the four-digit ID on the back of the card.
  3. Enter any requested personal information to verify your ID.

How to activate your American Express card by phone

Activate your card by phone in two steps:

  1. Call the number on the back of your card or 800-869-3016.
  2. Provide the required credit card and personal information, including your card and Social Security number.

How to activate your American Express card with a mobile app

Another option is to activate your American Express card using the Amex mobile app.

  1. Download the Amex mobile app from Google Play or the App Store.
  2. Tap to register for a new Online services account.
  3. Scan your card or enter the card’s information manually.
  4. Verify your identity.

How do I know if my American Express credit card is activated?

Check the status of your Amex card in your online account or in your mobile app.

When can I use my American Express credit card after activation?

You can use your Amex card immediately after you activate it.

Getting started with your American Express credit card

With your American Express credit card now active, you’ll want to know how to optimize your card and earn and redeem rewards for the highest value.

    1. Download the mobile app. Simplify your account management with the Amex mobile app. Use the app to activate your new card, to monitor your account, make payments, track rewards or to activate Amex Offers.
    2. Set up digital wallets. Amex supports multiple digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Fitbit Pay. Use digital wallets to safely pay in-store with your phone or smart watch.
    3. Enroll in online banking. Visit Amex’s website to enroll in online banking. Use your card’s number and four-digit ID to enroll. Use your account to monitor your accounts, activate autopay, redeem rewards and more.
    4. Set up a PIN. Your card is likely to already have a personal identification number (PIN), but in case you didn’t get one — or you want to reset your old one — use your online account or call 844-460-6656. Follow the instructions to set it up. ATMs require a PIN to make cash withdrawals. Also, if you often travel abroad, you’ll need a PIN because it’s typically required when you make credit card payments.
    5. Set up autopay. You need an online account to set this one up. Once you log in to your online account, navigate to Payments and then Manage AutoPay.
    6. Maximize rewards. If you got a rewards credit card, you’ll want to know how the Amex rewards program works and how to maximize your rewards. Check out our guides on how to earn Amex membership points and how to redeem Amex membership points to squeeze the highest value of your Amex rewards.
    7. Setting up airline fee credit. If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, you must set up an airline to use the airline fee credit. (Terms apply, see rates & fees). You can find this option under the Benefits section and choose one of nine options including American Airlines, Delta, United, Southwest and JetBlue.

Bottom line

American Express lets you activate your card online, by phone or with the Amex mobile app. If you’re in a hurry, go for the online activation method or through the app — your quickest option. And if you choose an additional credit card from a different issuer down the road, activating your new credit card should prove a similar process.

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