American Express Basic Charge Card review 2020

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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.

You say: ★★★★★We say: ★★★★★

£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.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Customers report excellent customer service when dealing with American Express
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Applicants with low credit scores are unlikely to be eligible

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.

Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Rewards earn rate Max. intro bonus Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Ratings Link Incentive Representative example
British Airways American Express Card
1 point per £1 spent
5,000 points
£0
22.2% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
1% cashback
£100
£0
22.2% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
New Cardmember offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
American Express Rewards Credit Card
1 point per £1 spent
5,000 points
£0
22.2% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
As a new Cardmember, earn 5,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
The American Express Nectar Credit Card
2 points per £1 spent
20,000 points
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum
27.3% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
As a new Cardmember, earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Cashback Card
1.25% cashback
£125
£25 per annum
27.3% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
As a new Cardmember, get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
10 points per £1 spent with selected partners
2 points per £1 spent elsewhere
20,000 points
£75 per annum
38.8% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
As a new Cardmember earn 20,000 points bonus when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £75 per annum, your representative rate is 38.8% APR (variable).
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
2 points per £1 spent with selected partners
1 point per £1 spent elsewhere
20,000 points
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £140 per annum
56.6% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
New Cardmember offer: Earn 20,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £3,000 in your first three months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 56.6% APR (variable).
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
3 points per £1 spent with selected partners
1.5 points per £1 spent elsewhere
25,000 points
£195 per annum
74.7% (variable)
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
As a new Cardmember, earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 74.7% APR (variable).
The American Express Green Card
1 point per £1 spent
N/A
£60 per annum
N/A (this product is a charge card).
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
Go to site
More Info
1 point earned for virtually every £1 spent. Rewards points can be used as currency to buy flights and package holidays through American Express Travel. Reward points can also be redeemed for a wide range of products, experiences, travel and hotel stays.
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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.

The verdict

As the name suggests, the American Express Basic credit card is a straightforward charge card with limited perks. There’s no ongoing reward scheme and no introductory bonus, which really just leaves you with the American Express Experiences as a potential draw.

Unsurprisingly, this means you won’t need to pay an annual fee, and given it’s a charge card, there’s also no interest to pay. But you’ll still need to clear your balance in full to avoid late payment fees.

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.

Finder credit card ratings

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Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar products on the market.

We look at the how good the card is for its designated purpose – spending abroad, clearing debt, earning air miles etc. – how costly it is to use day-to-day and whether it offers much in the way of extras.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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