How to do a balance transfer with American Express

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While American Express has long been known for offering charge cards that require you to pay your balance in full each month, the card issuer and network has broadened its offerings over the last decade. They now offer an array of standard rewards credit cards that let you carry a balance from one month to the next, and many of their cards come with a Pay Over Time feature that lets you spread payments out over a timeline you prefer.

Some American Express credit cards even let you transfer balances from other cards at times, which can be useful if your goal is consolidating debt. Amex credit cards with balance transfer offers have even been known to extend 0 percent APR offers for a limited time, which can help you save money while you pay down debt faster.

But, how do you complete an American Express balance transfer? The steps required aren’t as complicated as they might seem, so keep reading to learn how you can start the process.

How to do a balance transfer with American Express

If your goal is simplifying your finances or consolidating debt at 0 percent APR, here are the steps you should take when transferring a balance to an American Express credit card.

Step 1: Select a balance transfer card and apply

Compare balance transfer credit cards from Amex until you find the option that might work best for your needs. Keep in mind that some balance transfer credit cards offer 0 percent APRs for a longer timeline, whereas others might offer better rewards categories or the cardholder perks you prefer. Also, be sure to compare balance transfer cards based on the fees they charge, including annual fees.

If you already have an American Express credit card and are within the introductory APR period, you can move onto the next step. However, you should note that the introductory APR period starts from the day you open your account, not on the date you actually transfer a balance. If it’s been many months since you signed up for a balance transfer card, you may want to compare cards and sign up for a new one that lets you secure 0 percent APR for as long as possible.

Step 2: Initiate a balance transfer on the phone or in your online account

Once you’re ready to transfer a balance to your Amex card, all you have to do is log into your American Express account management page. Once in your account, you can head to “Account Services” and select the option that says “Payment & Credit Options.”

From there, you’ll click on “Transfer Balances.”

Provided you are eligible for a balance transfer on your existing American Express card or a card you’ve just signed up for, you should plan on entering the name of your other credit card provider, your other credit card account number, the amount you want to transfer and the mailing address where you send payments for your other credit card.

If you don’t want to take these steps online, you can also call American Express customer service using the number on the back of your credit card. In this case, the customer service agent will determine your eligibility for a balance transfer. They will also request the same information on your other credit card, including your account number, how much debt you want to transfer and other details.

Next steps: What to know after completing a balance transfer with American Express

Once you have initiated your balance transfer, you still need to track the process from start to finish. Here are the steps you should take to ensure your balance transfer goes off without a hitch:

  • Check your old account(s) frequently until they show a zero balance.
  • Don’t stop making payments on your old account(s) until you see a zero balance.
  • Check to make sure the entire amount of your transfer is moved to your new Amex card.
  • While you can close your old credit card accounts if you prefer, many people keep old accounts open in order to increase the average length of their credit history and boost their score.

If it seems like it’s taking a while, try not to panic. Balance transfers typically take longer than most people realize to process. Most American Express balance transfers take five to seven business days, but it’s possible up to six weeks can go by before the process is complete.

How to check the status of your Amex balance transfer

If you’re curious where your balance transfer stands, you can also check on this through your online account page with Amex. All you have to do is log in at AmericanExpress.com, then go to “Account Services” and select the option that says “Payment & Credit Options.”

Once there, you can click on the link that says “Check Balance Transfer Status.”

American Express balance transfers: Frequently asked questions

If you’re eager to save money with a balance transfer, these questions and answers can help you prepare.

Can you do a balance transfer with American Express online?

You can initiate a balance transfer with an Amex credit card online and on your account management page. All you have to do is log into your account, click on “Account Services” and select the option that says “Payment & Credit Options.” From there, you can click on the button that says “Transfer Balances” and begin the process if you’re eligible.

How much does it cost to do a balance transfer with American Express?

Balance transfer credit cards typically charge a balance transfer fee that is equal to 3 percent or 5 percent of the balance you transfer. This means that, for every $5,000 in debt you transfer from another card, you’ll be asked to pay $150 to $250 in upfront balance transfer fees.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay the standard variable APR on any remaining balances after your card’s introductory APR period ends.

Can you transfer a balance from one American Express card to another?

You cannot transfer a balance from one American Express card to another American Express card. However, you can transfer a balance from an Amex card to a card from another issuer. If you have debt you need to transfer from Amex, consider the top balance transfer credit cards from issuers like Citi or Discover.

How often does American Express give balance transfer offers?

You can apply for an American Express credit card with a public balance transfer offer at any time. You may also receive offers through the mail.

The bottom line

Choosing a balance transfer credit card can help you consolidate debt, save money on interest or both. However, you shouldn’t go with the first balance transfer card you come across. Make sure to compare cards based on the length of their introductory offers, the rewards they offer, cardholder perks and fees. The right 0 percent APR credit card for you should include a little bit of everything you want.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."