How to do a balance transfer with American Express
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- From time to time, some American Express credit cards come with intro APR offers on balance transfers or purchases
- You can complete a balance transfer with American Express after you're approved for an eligible card or if you have an existing offer in your account. You can also complete a balance transfer by phone if you're eligible for an offer
- Most American Express balance transfers are completed within five to seven business days, but it's possible it can take up to six weeks
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. Amex now offers an array of standard rewards credit cards that let you carry a balance from month to month, and many of its cards come with Pay It Plan It, which lets you pay off small purchases immediately or pay off larger payments over time for a fixed fee.
From time to time, some of the top American Express credit cards also come with intro APR offers on balance transfers or purchases for a limited time, which can help you save money and pay down debt faster.
How to do a balance transfer with American Express
Before we dive in, note that you cannot transfer a balance from one American Express card to another American Express card. You can only transfer a card balance from another issuer to an Amex card, or vice versa.
Keep in mind that some balance transfer cards offer longer intro APR periods and fewer rewards, whereas others might offer better rewards or perks and a shorter intro APR period. Also, be sure to compare balance transfer cards based on the fees they charge, including annual fees and balance transfer fees.
Balance transfer cards typically charge a balance transfer fee that is equal to 3 percent or 5 percent of the transferred balance. For eligible Amex cards, you’ll typically pay a 3 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5). Also, you’ll have to pay the standard variable APR on any remaining balances after your card’s introductory APR period ends.
Here are the steps you should take when transferring a balance to an American Express credit card:
How to transfer a balance online to a new Amex card
Compare balance transfer cards from Amex until you find the option that would work best for your needs. Once you apply (and are approved) for the card you’re interested in, American Express will ask if you have any balances you’d like to transfer to your new card. You’ll then enter information like your other card’s account number, your other card’s issuer and how much debt you’d like to transfer.
How to transfer a balance online to an existing Amex card
If you already have an eligible American Express card and are within the introductory APR period — which lasts for the first 60 days after opening your account — you can begin transferring a balance to your card. If it’s been many months since you signed up for your Amex card, you should first check if you have any balance transfer offers in your online account. Otherwise, you may want to sign up for a new Amex card with an intro APR offer.
Provided you are eligible for a balance transfer on your existing American Express card, all you have to do is:
- Log in to your American Express account.
- Once in your account, head to “Account Services.”
- Then, select “Payment & Credit Options.”
- From there, you’ll click on “Transfer Balances.”
- Then, enter the requested information like the name of your other credit card issuer, your other credit card account number and the amount you want to transfer.
How to transfer a balance by phone
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 mentioned above, such as your other credit card issuer, your account number and how much debt you want to transfer.
What to know after completing a balance transfer with American Express
Once you have initiated your balance transfer, you’ll still need to track the process from start to finish. To ensure your balance transfer goes off without a hitch, be sure to:
- Check your old account(s) frequently until they show a zero balance.
- Keep making payments on your old account(s) until you see a zero balance.
- Check that the entire amount of your transfer is moved to your new Amex card.
You may be tempted to close your old credit card account after your transfer is completed. However, it’s worth noting that many people keep old accounts open to increase the average length of their credit history and boost their credit scores.
How to check the status of your Amex balance transfer
If it seems like your transfer is taking a while, don’t panic. Balance transfers can take longer to process than you might realize. 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. If you’re curious as to where your balance transfer stands, you can check on it through your online account. All you have to do is:
- Log in to your Amex account.
- Go to “Account Services.”
- Select the option that says “Payment & Credit Options.”
- Once there, click “Check Balance Transfer Status.”
Best Amex cards for balance transfers
It’s important to note that Amex typically offers intro APRs on balance transfers or purchases for a limited time — meaning that some of the offers below may change or expire.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best for high cash back rates
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express includes a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening (then a variable APR of 18.99 percent to 29.99 percent). Additionally, balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days after account opening to qualify for the intro offer. A 3 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5) applies.
This card also earns substantial cash back in select everyday categories. You’ll earn 6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent) and select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3 percent cash back on transit and U.S. gas station purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases. A $95 annual fee applies.
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express: Best for cash back with no annual fee
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers a slightly longer intro APR period than the Blue Cash Preferred, along with no annual fee. You’ll get a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 18.99 percent to 29.99 percent. Also like the Blue Cash Preferred, balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days and you’ll pay a balance transfer fee of 3 percent (minimum $5).
This card also offers 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, 3 percent cash back on U.S. online retail purchases and 1 percent cash back on other purchases. Note that the 3 percent cash back categories are limited to $6,000 in purchases in each category per year, after which you’ll earn 1 percent back.
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card: Best for earning Amex points
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card* comes with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months after account opening, followed by a variable APR of 17.99 percent to 27.99 percent. Balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days and are subject to a 3 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5).
With this card, you’ll earn Amex Membership Rewards points on all purchases, along with boosted rewards on select purchases. You’ll earn 3X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1X points), 2X points at U.S. gas stations and 1X points on all other purchases. This card also includes a $95 annual fee.
Amex EveryDay Credit Card: Best for earning Amex points with no annual fee
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card* is a good entry-level card for earning Amex Membership Rewards points since you won’t have to pay an annual fee. Plus, it includes a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after account opening (then a variable APR of 17.99 percent to 28.99 percent). A 3 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5) applies to any transferred balances, and balance transfers must be completed within the first 60 days of account opening.
As for rewards, this card earns 2X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1X points) and 1X points on all other purchases.
American Express Cash Magnet Card: Best for flat cash back
The American Express Cash Magnet® Card* offers a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 15 months after account opening, then a variable APR of 18.99 percent to 29.99 percent. Balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days of account opening and a 3 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5) applies.
Additionally, this card comes with no annual fee and an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases.
The bottom line
Choosing an Amex 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 the top balance transfer cards from all issuers and consider the length of their introductory offers, the rewards they offer, cardholder perks, fees and more to ensure you choose the best card for you.
*All information about The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, Amex EveryDay® Credit Card and American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.