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How much do American Express fees cost?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of different factors. American Express offers 17 distinct credit cards and charge cards to U.S. applicants. Each card comes with its own unique offer. This means that annual fees, foreign transaction fees, and penalty fees can vary widely depending on the nature of your card.

And of course, the rewards, terms and conditions that come with each card vary widely as well, which means you’ll often want to weigh the cost of certain fees against credit card rewards, statement credit perks, and other membership benefits before choosing the right card.

For instance, the Platinum Card from American Express is noted for its high annual fee of $695, but one of its many travel perks is the elimination of the foreign transaction fee. By contrast, the Blue Cash card from American Express comes with no annual fee, but you will pay a 2.7% foreign transaction fee for every purchase made abroad.

In short, the best fee structure for you will depend on how you plan to use your card.

Planning to use your card for things like groceries, gas, and home goods? Check out our article featuring the best American Express cards for everyday purchases.

Otherwise, read on for a look at some of the fees you can expect as an American Express cardholder.

Common American Express Credit Card Fees

Annual Fee

The annual fee that you will pay for your American Express card will vary widely depending on the specific card offer you apply for. For instance, American Express has quite a few credit cards that come with no annual fee. Among them are some of the more accessible cards in the AmEx portfolio, including the Blue Cash Everyday Card, the AmEx Everyday Credit Card, and the Cash Magnet Card.

There are also several American Express cards that come with a low annual fee. The AmEx Everyday Preferred Card is just $95 per year. And the classic AmEx Green Card charges an annual fee of $150 per year, though a quick look at the perks suggests you’ll easily get that money back in the form of statement credits alone.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card actually starts with a $0 annual fee in the first year and the low rate of $95 every year thereafter.

Then, on the upper end of the scale, the Platinum Card from American Express charges a $695 annual fee to go along with its extremely generous membership rewards points program. Other high end cards include those available through partnerships with airlines and hotel chains. You can expect to pay an annual fee of $650 for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card; $550 for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card; and $550 for the Metal Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card.

Card membership through one of these high annual fee cards typically carries high end perks like global airport lounge access, discounts for staying at hotel collection properties, and multiplied rewards points on eligible purchases. In other words, if you take full advantage of your membership benefits, you tend to get what you pay for with those high annual fee AmEx cards.

Foreign Transaction Fee

The Foreign Transaction Fee is the amount that you will pay as a consumer on every purchase you make using your credit card when traveling overseas. This number will be a percentage of the overall transaction sum. Whether you’re withdrawing foreign currency at an ATM or paying with a merchant abroad, the foreign transaction fee will usually apply.

However, there are actually some American Express cards that waive the foreign transaction fee. For instance, travel rewards cards like the Platinum Card, Gold Card, and Green Card are noted for carrying absolutely no foreign transaction fees.

On the other hand, a number of the American Express cards without annual fees will charge foreign transaction fees, including the Blue Cash Everyday Card, the AmEx Everyday Credit Card, and the Cash Magnet Card. In these cases, you can expect to pay the standard foreign transaction fee of 2.7% when shopping abroad.

Late Payment Fee

American Express does charge late fees for payments that arrive after their monthly due date. The first instance of late payment will result in a $29 late fee. A second late payment over the same six month period will result in an escalated fee of $40. While late fees may not exceed $40 per late payment, you may also be charged an elevated APR while repaying past due sums, according to the American Express terms and conditions page. The same fee structure applies to returned payments.

Cash Advance Fee

Using your American Express card to withdraw cash from an ATM will result in a cash advance fee. This charge will be a minimum of $10 or 5% of your overall withdrawal amount–whichever is higher.

Curious whether or not that cash advance fee is actually worth it? Well there’s actually a bit more to it. Check out our article on the American Express cash advance feature to learn more.

Balance Transfer Fee

Historically, American Express was known for its charge cards, which come without preset limits, but which require balance payment in full every month. But over the last several decades, AmEx has unveiled numerous traditional rewards credit cards aimed at everyday users. This includes cards that allow borrowers to carry forward a monthly balance without penalty.

A number of these cards–such as the Blue Cash Preferred Card, the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and the Cash Magnet Card–are even highlighted for their favorable balance transfer offers. Each combines a 0% introductory APR (usually for 12 to 15 months) along with a fee on balance transfers of either a minimum of $5 or 3% of the overall transfer amount–whichever is higher. AmEx notes that some promotional offers may actually allow you to waive this balance transfer fee altogether.

Overlimit Fee

American Express does not charge its cardholders a fee for exceeding their credit limit. However, you can typically expect to see a higher minimum monthly payment amount while you are at the upper end of your limit. Of course, it bears noting that AmEx charge cards like the Platinum, Gold and Green cards have no stated credit limit.

Card Replacement Fee

There are no fees for replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged card with American Express. However, if you do need to receive this card through expedited shipping, some credit card issuers may charge you for this cost.

Interest Charges

As noted above, American Express now offers a number of cards which allow users to carry a balance forward from month to month. These cards tend to come with introductory promotional offers including 0% APR for the first 12 to 15 months, depending on the card. During that period of time, you won’t pay any interest on your balance.

When that promotional period is over, you can expect to pay a variable APR between 19.24% to 29.99%. This interest charge will apply to your account balance every month that you carry credit card debt forward.

It is highly advisable that you take steps to avoid carrying a balance forward beyond the 0% APR promotional period as these interest fees can quickly snowball into growing debt.

A Note On Merchant Fees

American Express has historically charged only modest fees to its cardholders, while pulling a great deal of its revenue through merchant fees. Indeed, even the most costly annual fees for premium cards like the Platinum Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Card may be easily eclipsed by the value of the resulting travel rewards, welcome bonus points, and statement credits.

As a consequence of this business model, American Express is noted for charging higher merchant fees for the merchants who process its transactions than do global competitors like Visa and Mastercard. According to an article from Bankrate, “Visa and Mastercard tend to charge merchants processing fees between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent to accept their credit cards, whereas American Express charges 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.”

This is actually the reason that your American Express may not be accepted everywhere that your Visa or Mastercard can be used. To learn more, check out our article, which asks–Where can American Express cards be used?