American Express Bank Review

American Express is best known for its award winning credit cards. What many don’t know, however, is that American Express also offers an online bank with competitive interest rates. The American Express savings account is one of our favorites.

american express savings review

American Express Bank, FSB is an FDIC-insured online bank (FDIC Certificate #35328) located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It offers two savings products. First, the bank has high-yield certificates of deposit with terms ranging from six to 60 months. Second, it offers a high-yield savings account.

In this review, we’ll look at the accounts AMEX offers, its rates and fees, and how the online bank works.

Deal of the Day: Earn 1.30% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Synchrony Bank.

High Yield Savings Account

The high yield savings account works like most savings accounts. Funds deposited in the account earn interest. You can withdraw money from the account at any time. Keep in mind, however, that you are limited to six withdrawals per month. This limitation is not set by American Express. It’s actually a federal law:

Reserve Requirements for Depository Institutions (12 C.F.R. 204, Regulation D) is a Federal Reserve Board regulation. It limits the number of withdrawals and transfers from a savings or money market account. Regulation D (Reg. D) applies to all U.S. banking institutions offering such accounts. Personal Savings customers may make a maximum of six (6) Reg. D-covered transfers or withdrawals per statement cycle. There is no limit on the number of deposits that can be made.

The interest rates offered by American Express are competitive with other online banks. The yield on the savings account is currently 1.15% APY (as of September 20, 2017) and is subject to change. This rate is competitive with the highest available yield on savings accounts that we track.

CDs

American Express currently offers CDs in terms ranging from six to 60 months. As with most CD products, the interest goes up for longer term CDs. It’s important to note, however, that there may be penalty fees for taking your money out of the CD before it matures. The amount of the penalty depends on the term of the CD:

  • For a CD with a Term of 12 Months or Less: If you withdraw all of your principal balance, or if the account is closed for any other reason, the penalty is 90 days’ interest on the withdrawn amount, applying the interest rate disclosed in your account-opening documents.
  • For a CD with a Term of More than 12 Months: If you withdraw all of your principal balance, or if the account is closed for any other reason, the penalty is 180 days’ interest on the withdrawn amount, applying the interest rate disclosed in your account-opening documents.

Because of the penalties, it’s important to make sure you can keep your money in the CD during the entire term. If you are unsure, consider a shorter term CD or the savings account option.

 

I’ve not listed the CD rates because quite frankly, they suck. When compared to other online banks like Discover, Ally, and CIT, the CD interest rates for American Express don’t hold water. The value in owning personal savings products from American Express account comes from the high yield savings account.

Related: Learn how to build a CD rate ladder

Fees, Minimums & Support

  • Fees: There are no monthly fees
  • Minimum Balance: There is no minimum balance requirements.
  • Support: Because we’re talking about an online bank, customer service is critical. American Express Bank offers 24/7 account access. You can access your account online or call AMEX.

Opening an American Express Bank Account

Here’s how you sign-up for an American Express account:

Step 1: Gather Your Information

You will need this information for both primary and joint applicants:

  • Social Security number
  • Home Address
  • E-mail address
  • Phone Number
  • Date of birth
  • Your existing bank account and routing numbers (if funding electronically)

Step 2: Submit Application

Here you’ll choose the type of account you want to open, either a High Yield Savings account or a Certificate of Deposit. You can apply online or by phone at 1-800-446-6307.

Step 3: Receive Confirmation

You will receive an online and/or email confirmation when your application is approved. Additionally, you will receive an American Express® Personal Savings Welcome Kit in the mail within a few days.

Step 4: Fund Your Account

You can fund your online account either by linking your current bank account or by mailing a check. That’s why you’ll need your existing bank account and routing number. Online banks are generally funded electronically by transferring funds from your primary checking account. The idea is to move money you want to save to an online bank such as American Express in order to earn a higher interest rate than most brick and mortar banks pay.

Savings accounts and CDs aren’t designed for everyday spending. That’s what a checking account is for. So money you transfer to an account at American Express should be for longer term savings. These are also good options for emergency savings.

That being said, you can fund an account at American Express via check if you want. You also get your money out of the bank the same way you deposited it, via electronic transfer.

Why I Bank With American Express

Chasing interest rates is a difficult job, especially in a market like this one, where they’re constantly changing. Sometimes that means American Express has a top interest rate, and sometimes it means American Express does not. Seeing as I’m not tucking away hundreds of thousands, I choose to use my online savings accounts to track savings.

American Express is one of those accounts. I’ve always enjoyed my interactions with their customer service team, and their interface is simple to use. Transferring money in has always been quick, and if you find yourself in need of an online savings account (not CDs!), American Express Personal Savings has my recommendation.

Listen to our show about online banks

American Express Bank

American Express Bank
8.8

Interest Rate

9/10

Products Available

8/10

Navigation

10/10

Customer Service

10/10

Pros

  • My Personal Favorite Interface
  • NO minimum deposit or balance requirements

Cons

  • Limited CD Options
  • No Checking / MMA Accounts

Topics: Banking

10 Responses to “American Express Bank Review”

    • Ally and AMEX are almost the exact same. I have both, and they are both very easy to use. I have called both customer service lines, and you will receive intelligent people with both banks. Feel free to ask any questions if you want

  1. Gloria

    Whats with the linking of your reg banking account to theirs just to open an account? This seems very risky! Most banks don’t require this step, only your routing # and Acct 3.

    • Lots of banks do the test deposit linking process. It’s actually alot smarter than just taking the account and routing #. If a bank just allows you give that information without verifying that it’s a legit account and without verifying that it’s your account, that leaves them open to the possibility of transferring money from someone else’s account or never reaching your account when you need it. The linking thing that these banks do avoid user errors that all of us make from one time to another. Feel free to comment back if you have questions about it.

  2. I have a savings account with AMEX and they have been holding my money hostage for about 6 days already. I called them 2 days ago and they said it would be available the next day so when that didn’t happen I called again and they told me another 2 days. I have made at least 10 transfers to and from the account and it has never taken this long. Yes it is a larger amount that I transferred but they also said it doesn’t matter how much I transfer, the hold will be the same. Now I can only imagine how long its going to take to get my money back out! They do have a high interest rate but if they are going to continue to do this then I prefer not having an account with them!

  3. We have had an American Express savings account for several years. The original rate I think was 1.5%, and it has slowly worked its way down. At one point we considered closing it but we were told we could keep the account with no balance (again relying on my memory here). We shift money to and from it and have had no problems.

  4. I’ve had an Amex Savings account for three years, and never had any problem. ACH transfers are done quickly, both directions. They’ve never “held my money hostage” (I don’t even know what that means). They’re easy to deal with. My only issue is that their APY rate keeps dropping, by tiny amounts.

  5. Be careful with this card. I had a Serve account for about 3 years. On Thursday, 11/12 I received 2 emails from Amex Serve telling me that my account had been locked due to possible fraud. I called as soon as I saw the emails, about 7:00pm. Since then I have called 10 times…a combination of customer service and fraud protection. I cannot speak to a supervisor. A supervisor was supposed to call within 48 hours. To date (Sunday night, 11/15) no one has called. No one can tell me why it was closed. I have no idea if someone used my card fraudulently. I can’t access my account. I have no idea if or when I am getting my money back (there was about $900 on the card). I have tweeted. I have called the executive offices. No one is willing to help.

Leave a Reply