American Express Basic Charge Card review October 2019

This no-frills charge card has little in the way of benefits, but could be a good introduction to card use.

Don’t expect wonderful rewards, but you can take advantage of entertainment discounts and perks with the American Express Experiences programme.

Finder rating: ★★★★★

£0

Account fee

Details

IssuerAmerican Express
NetworkAmex
Rep. APRN/A (this product is a charge card).
Annual/monthly fees£0
Additional Rewards InfoAccess to tickets for must-see music, theatre and film events, often before they go on sale to the general public with American Express Experiences. Eligible for American Express Offers where cardmembers can choose offers from selected retailers to obtain discounts or cashback.

Expert review

Chris Lilly

Review by


Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.

Expert review

This super-simple charge card does exactly what it says on the tin. Because it’s a charge card, there’s no set spending limit, you won’t incur interest, but you do have to clear your balance in full each month. Plus, there are no regular fees, so you can have peace of mind that you’re not in for any nasty surprises.

On the flip-side, by Amex standards the perks are pretty limited. There’s no welcome bonus and no ongoing rewards scheme. As with all Amex cards, however, you’ll be able to enjoy exclusive discounts and pre-sale gig tickets through the American Express Experiences (formerly Invites) programme – so although you can’t earn rewards points, you could earn brownie points with your family and friends.

The American Express range

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first

Whether you’re looking for a card that lets you earn rewards or one that offers payment flexibility on forthcoming purchases, American Express has a wide range to match a variety of financial requirements.

Updated October 16th, 2019
Name Product Max. intro bonus Default earn-rate Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
5,000 points
1 point per £1 spent
£0
22.9% p.a. (variable)
Earn 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months, and 1 point for virtually every £1 spent thereafter.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
5,000 points
1 point per £1 spent
£0
22.9% p.a. (variable)
5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 within 3 months of account opening. Earn 1 Avios for virtually every £1 spent. Spend £20K in 12 months and get 2 for 1 travel when redeeming Avios for a BA reward flight. Earn up to 90,000 bonus Avios points per calendar year, 4,000 points per friend/family member that successfully applies for an American Express card (Excl. Basic card) and uses the Referral Programme.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
£100
1% cashback
£0
22.9% p.a. (variable)
5% after £1 of yearly spend for introductory period of 3 months. 0.5% on £1 to £5000 of yearly spend. 1% after £5001 of yearly spend. Cashback paid Anniversary into Card Account. 5% intro cashback in the first 3 months (max £100). Must spend £3K annually to earn cashback.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
20,000 points
2 points per £1 spent
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum
28.2% p.a. (variable)
20,000 Nectar points when you spend £2K within 3 months of account opening. Earn 2 Nectar points for virtually every £1 spent at Nectar partners and elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum, your representative rate is 28.2% APR (variable).
£125
1.25% cashback
£25 per annum
28.2% p.a. (variable)
5% on £1 to £2500 of yearly spend for introductory period of 3 months. 1% on £1 to £10000 of yearly spend. 1.25% after £10001 of yearly spend. Cashback paid Anniversary into Card Account. 5% intro cashback (max £125).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 28.2% APR (variable).
30,000 points
3 points per £1 spent
£75 per annum
39.7% p.a. (variable)
Earn 30,000 points when you spend £1K within 3 months of account opening. Earn 3 points for virtually every £1 spent. Earn 6 points for every £1 of eligible purchases at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards hotels, until 31.12.2019.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £75 per annum, your representative rate is 39.7% APR (variable).
10,000 points
1 point per £1 spent
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £140 per annum
57.6% p.a. (variable)
Earn 1 point for virtually every £1 spent. 2 points per £1 spent directly with airlines or in a foreign currency or 3 points for every £1 spent through American Express Travel. Earn 10,000 bonus points when you spend £3,000 in your first 3 months. Spend £15,000 or more during the year and earn 10,000 bonus points each year the card is renewed. Earn 6,000 points per friend/family member that successfully applies for the card or 12,000 points if they spend £3,000 in their first 3 months. Two complimentary lounge visits per year, available at over 500 airport lounges worldwide.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 57.6% APR (variable).
25,000 points
1.5 points per £1 spent
£195 per annum
76% p.a. (variable)
25,000 Avios when you spend £3K within 3 months of account opening. Earn 3 Avios for virtually every £1 spent directly with BA, and 1.5 Avios for virtually every £1 spent everywhere else. Spend £10K in 12 months to redeem the Avios for a companion ticket on a BA flight. Earn up to 90,000 bonus Avios points per calendar year, 9,000 points per friends/family that uses Referral Programme and successfully apply for an American Express card (Excl. Basic card).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 76% APR (variable).

Compare up to 4 providers

Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.

How to apply for the American Express Basic Charge Card

You can apply by visiting the American Express site and completing an application form. Before you apply, check that you meet the eligibility requirements and have all your necessary personal and financial details ready.

Frequently asked questions

How does an Amex charge card work?
A charge card is similar to a credit card, but has no credit limit and does not charge interest on your unpaid balance. However, you will be charged late fees if you fail to pay off your balance each month.
Why can’t I earn reward points?
As this is a basic charge card, you will not be signed up to any rewards scheme. If you want an American Express card that offers rewards, you can compare them here.
How does American Express Experiences work?
Formerly called ‘American Express Invites, Amex Experiences is an entertainment service that’s only available to American Express cardholders. You can get exclusive discounts, access to pre-sale tickets and entry into Amex competitions.
What happens if I don’t pay off my balance?
If you fail to pay off your balance each month, you’ll be charged a late fee.

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