American Express announced on Aug. 3, 2020, that it would be expanding the Pay It Plan It and Pay Over Time features to American Express® Green Card, American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

While these cards were automatically enrolled in Pay Over Time (for eligible cardmembers), the popular Pay It Plan It feature was not available to any cards that had access to Pay Over Time.

The expansion will allow cardmembers more control over how they pay for their purchases, offering more payback options.

A closer look at the features

Previously, Amex Green, Gold and Platinum cards were considered charge cards, meaning that cardholders were responsible for paying off the balance in full every month.

With Pay It Plan It and Pay Over Time, however, paying in full isn’t required. Instead, you can choose to create a monthly payment plan with a fixed fee and no interest or carry a monthly balance with interest.

Pay It Plan It

Pay It Plan It can be compared to an installment payment program that’s available through your card.

  • Pay It allows cardholders to quickly pay for small purchase amounts (under $100) throughout the month, using the American Express app.
  • Plan It lets cardmembers split up large purchases of $100 or more into equal monthly payments for a fixed fee with no interest. Using this feature, you’ll know exactly how much you’re required to pay each month.

Pay Over Time

Pay Over Time allows cardmembers to revolve a balance and pay it off with interest.

  • Pay Over Time is available to American Express Green, Gold and Platinum cardholders when they open their account.
  • With this feature, eligible charges are automatically added to a balance that you can choose to revolve with interest month-to-month, up to your Pay Over Time limit.

What these changes mean for Amex cardholders

Having both features on your Amex card can offer more payment flexibility and control over your credit card debt.

“I think Pay It Plan It is an especially good option these days,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate. “As cardholders wrestle with debt and uncertain finances, a lot of the normal alternatives have dried up.”

Rossman notes that it can be much harder to get a 0 percent balance transfer card or a low-rate personal loan these days. Tapping into programs you already qualify for on existing cards (such as Amex Pay It Plan It, Citi Flex Plan and My Chase Plan) is a good way to lower your interest rate and establish a more predictable payback plan.

“For example, I just looked on one of my Amex cards, and I could sign up for a 12-month plan at about 7 percent interest,” he says. “My regular purchase APR is about 14 percent.”

Bottom line

American Express Green, Gold and Platinum cards are popular products with excellent benefits and rewards. The added options to revolve a balance or choose an installment plan provide more flexibility to current cardholders, as well as make these cards a good option for those on the market for a new card.

“Young adults especially like these installment plans because they see light at the end of the tunnel,” Rossman says. “A generation saddled with student loans is worried about more debt, so they like knowing exactly how much they owe for exactly how long.”