American Express National Bank Review 2021


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.

Known largely for the Amex credit card, American Express Bank is an FDIC-insured online bank that offers a 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. Notably absent, however, is a personal checking option, as well as options for money market accounts.

That means an account with American Express National Bank cannot be funded through mobile check deposit or ATM deposit. Because it’s an online savings account, you can’t deposit funds in person either. Instead, you will need to link any external bank accounts to transfer money into your Amex savings account.

Why would you open a savings account at a bank without checking offered along with it? The high-yield APY (0.40% at time of publishing) for the savings may far surpass that of the savings account of your current bank, but you may still enjoy that bank’s checking features. The savings account is also ideal for those banking with newer bank alternatives, like Chime, which have great spending (checking) accounts but don’t have ideal savings features.

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 mobile app doesn’t do it any favors.

In our American Express National Bank review, we’ll specifically explore two Amex bank accounts (the savings account and certificate of deposit), 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

Best for Savvy Savers

Key Features

  • 0.40% APY
  • Up to 9 withdrawals per month
  • No monthly fees

The High Yield Savings Account from Amex is, at its core, about high-yield earnings. The 0.40% APY is enticing enough, but the allowance for up to nine withdrawals per month (instead of six) and the lack of monthly fees are also favorable features. The absence of a connected checking account, plus the lack of a mobile app, are the major pitfalls of this account.

American Express Bank High Yield Savings

APY

0.40%

Monthly fees

$0

Minimum balance requirement

$0

ATM access

n/a

Monthly withdrawals allowed

Up to 9

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 0.40% APY, the account truly is high yield.

Beyond the high interest rate, the American Express savings account is unique in that it allows up to nine transfers and/or withdrawals per month. Until last year, Federal Reserve Board regulations limited savings transfers to six a year; many other banks have still capped theirs at six, but American Express now allows nine a month.

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.

There’s no mobile app to manage your savings, but Amex does have an easy-to-use online platform with around-the-clock customer service, as needed.

Access to funds is limited. You can’t withdraw money via an ATM or physical bank, nor can you deposit that way either. Instead, you will need 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

Best for Long-Term Savers

Key Features

  • Up to 0.55% APY
  • Terms ranging from 6 to 60 months
  • No monthly fees

As far as CDs go, American Express has some of the best on offer. If you can handle being hands off from a chunk of your funds for up to 60 months, you can expect to earn up to 0.55% APY, compounded daily and paying monthly. And the best part? No account minimums and no monthly fees.

American Express Bank CD

APY

Up to 0.55%

Monthly fees

$0

Minimum balance requirement

$0

Terms ranging from

6 to 60 months

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

Term APY
6 months 0.10%
12 months 0.20%
18 months 0.30%
24 months 0.40%
36 months 0.45%
48 months 0.50%
60 months 0.55%

Here, you can see that anything under two years actually earns at an APY lower than the current High Yield Savings Account interest rate. CDs, however, 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.

However, interest rates for savings accounts are on the rise. While no one can be certain, we expect Amex to continue to offer at least 0.40% APY on its savings account, if not more. If you are a gambler (or just need more liquid cash), go with the High Yield Savings option from American Express instead of the CD, unless you plan to invest for the long haul; that 0.55% APY for the five-year deposit is mighty attractive.

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 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 (the only form of checking offered through American Express Bank).

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. That includes no foreign transaction fees, no overdraft fees and no ATM surcharge fees.

But the main reason for its lack of fees? A lack of checking accounts with which you can rack up fees.

We do appreciate that the online savings account is offered fee-free (even if you want paper statements) and has no monthly balance requirements.

American Express ATM Access

A bank account with American Express does not come with a debit card, which means you cannot use an ATM for this account.

American Express Mobile App

At the time of writing, Amex does not offer a mobile app for banking features. This is a major letdown for the account and likely makes it a non-starter for many of our digital-first readers. However, the online bank platform is easy to use, and if you have an app for checking through a different bank, that’s the one you’ll be able to use to initiate transfers into and out of your savings account.

Note: 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.

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:

1-800-446-6307

Address:

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.


Pros

  • The High Yield Savings is competitive at 0.40% 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.


Cons

  • American Express does not offer a checking account, which makes funding and withdrawing money more challenging.
  • The high-yield savings option from Amex does not come with a debit card, meaning you cannot use ATMs.
  • 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.
  • There is no mobile app for the savings account or CD; online banking is limited to browser access or transfers initiated in an external bank’s app.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 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.

Is American Express National Bank Good?

American Express National Bank is a solid choice for credit cards and high-yield savings, but a full-suite bank it is not. If you want a checking option with the same bank at which you open your savings, look elsewhere. But if you already have a checking account you’re happy with, consider moving your savings over to Amex to take advantage of the 0.40% APY.

Is American Express National Bank Safe?

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.

Is American Express National Bank the same as American Express?

American Express National Bank is owned by the same parent company as the Amex credit card. However, the accounts are separate; you’ll log in on separate websites using unique login credentials.

Which bank owns American Express?

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.

Which states does American Express National Bank operate in?

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.

Do the American Express Savings Accounts Come with a Debit Card?

American Express does not offer a debit card with its High Yield Savings feature.

Does American Express National Bank have a checking account?

You cannot open personal checking with American Express National Bank, just a high-interest savings account and competitive CDs. Amex National Bank does, however, offer a business checking option.

Is American Express National Bank Right for You?

American Express National Bank is a great choice for your personal savings account, but with the lack of a checking option, it isn’t right for everyone. An account with American Express National Bank might be right for you if …

  • You’re interested in high-interest savings accounts without a linked checking account at the same bank.
  • You’re happy with your current checking account but are exploring other banks’ saving accounts to earn more.
  • 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 don’t need ATM access for your savings.
  • Having a mobile account for managing your savings isn’t that important to you.

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.






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