Credit One Bank American Express® Card review: Adding on Amex for boosted value?
This Credit One and Amex crossover card brings a bit more on the benefits side if that’s important to you.
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Credit One Bank American Express® Card Overview
American Express benefits like shopping protections, travel perks and Amex Offers make the Credit One Bank American Express Card one of the better Credit One cards available.
These could certainly be worthwhile features if you’re building your score, but you may be able to find higher cash back rates and potentially more valuable benefits with other cards for fair credit, or even secured credit cards.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- $39 annual fee
- The low cash back rate only redeems for automatic statement credits
- Several credit cards for fair/average credit and unsecured cards outclass many of its rates and features
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 1 percent cash back on all purchases
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $39
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 24.24 percent variable
Current welcome offer
The Credit One American Express doesn’t have a welcome offer. Although credit cards for fair credit don’t commonly extend welcome offers, it’s worth noting that a few secured cards do. Even if there isn’t a rewards bonus, keep an eye out for other valuable benefits before you apply for a credit card.
Despite its low-yield cash back rate compared to most other cash back credit cards, the Credit One American Express card’s flat-rate cash back could encourage credit building through healthy spending—rather than chasing rewards.
How to earn
The Credit One Amex card makes cash back easy if you’re looking for a no-frills way to earn rewards while building credit. You earn unlimited 1 percent cash back on all purchases.
While this isn’t bad considering it’s a credit card for average credit, 1 percent rewards on all purchases is the bare minimum among credit cards for good credit. Once you’ve built up your credit score, you might want to think about trading up.
How to redeem
There is only one way to redeem your cash back with the Credit One Bank American Express: automatic statement credits to your account.
It’s an easy way to keep your balance and credit utilization ratio low if you prefer straightforward rewards, but you won’t find redemption options like direct account deposits, checks or gift cards with this card.
How much are rewards worth?
As a cash back card, your 1 percent statement credits are worth 1 cent per dollar of each purchase.
Statement credits likely won’t be a problem if you’re focused on building credit. Otherwise, different “true cash back” redemption choices, like direct deposits and checks, might personally be more valuable and versatile.
Other cardholder perks
Thanks to its American Express benefits, Credit One Amex card features are beefed up compared to other Credit One cards’ benefits. They’re standard American Express card features for the most part, but they provide solid perks and shopping protections for cardholders with fair credit.
In case there are any hiccups during your item’s journey to your door, these shopping protections may cover the unexpected if you pay with your card:
The Amex Offers program is available to all American Express cards. With it, you can put your flat-rate cash back rewards to good use and earn extra cash back and other discounts on limited-time deals from participating merchants.
These promotions generally focus on everyday spending with popular retailers. Offers that you can activate using your card might look like “Get 10 percent back on GrubHub.com or Seamless.com, up to $75” or “Spend $10 or more on Hulu, get $10 back.”
You won’t earn boatloads of cash back from these deals, but an extra statement credit here and there can add up if you align them with your spending.
Rates and fees
The American Express Credit One card’s $39 annual fee seems to be a common price point among cards for average credit, but options with no annual fee are also easy to find with that credit level.
Plus, the low 1 percent cash back rate could make it hard to make up the annual fee. You’d have to spend $325 a month, which could be particularly hard considering the minimum credit line is $500. Not to mention, these factors could slow your credit-building until you can increase your credit limit.
The ongoing APR is 24.24 percent variable, which means you should avoid accruing interest, or it could easily eat up the lion’s share of your cash back. There are also no intro APR periods to keep the APR at bay.
On the whole, the Credit One American Express card doesn’t nickel-and-dime you with fees the way several other Credit One cards may. Just make sure to read your card agreement carefully. Depending on your choices, you could face a 3 percent foreign transaction fee (or $1, whichever is greater), $19 fee for each authorized user or an optional “Credit Protection Program” fee (monthly 96 cents per $100 of your balance).
How the Credit One American Express compares to other cards for average credit
Besides the annual fee, absent welcome bonus and barebones cash back we previously mentioned, you should carefully weigh how much you value the American Express benefits. They are situationally helpful for shopping and travel, but these benefits probably won’t save you money regularly like perks such as cellphone or baggage protection.
Capital One American Express vs. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has the same $39 annual fee and carries a flat-rate 1.5 percent cash back and Capital One benefits. In this case, the QuicksilverOne wins out with the higher rewards return; however, it falls short with the ongoing APR. The QuicksilverOne’s ongoing APR is 26.99 percent variable, a steep price to pay for interest if you end up carrying a balance. The Credit One Amex would win out marginally on this front, since it has a slightly lower 24.24 percent variable APR.
The QuicksilverOne makes for a better travel companion, as it skips the foreign transaction fees unlike the Credit One Amex. Depending on how much you value the Amex shopping and travel perks, they far outweigh those offered by the Capital One QuicksilverOne. How much you want to travel abroad with the card, how high of a return you want on your rewards and whether or not you will carry balances more often will be some of the most notable determining factors when deciding between these two cards.
Credit One American Express vs. Discover it ® Secured Credit Card
Cardholders building credit might be better served, pay fewer fees and improve their credit score faster with some secured options like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. Discover clearly outlines that you will be considered for a credit line increase after seven months of responsible card use. The Credit One Amex does mention future credit line increases are possible with the card, but does not specify when cardholders are eligible for these increases.
The Discover it Secured also offers higher rewards tiers, a stellar welcome offer and doesn’t require an annual fee, unlike the Credit One Amex. It’s important to remember that as a secured credit card, the Discover it Secured requires a refundable $200 security deposit for access to a credit line. The Credit One Amex is unsecured and does not require this extra cost. Higher rewards, a welcome offer and no annual fee might make the Discover it Secured more appealing overall than the Credit One Amex, but if the Amex benefits are of more value to you, the $39 is a smaller price to pay than the $200 required security deposit on the Discover it Secured.
Best cards to pair with the Credit One American Express card
The Credit One American Express card partners well with Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards points, which could allow you to take advantage of the bonus points from select Amex Offers. The Blue from American Express® Credit Card could make a great pair with no annual fee and 1X points on all purchases. Just keep in mind that most other American Express cards require at least good to excellent credit to qualify.
Bonus category cash back cards would come in handy for earning more cash back on purchases in select categories. For instance, the Discover it Secured earns 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1 percent), plus 1 percent back on all other purchases.
Unfortunately, there’s a catch—getting either of these two cards would make the Credit One Amex card obsolete since they come with the same 1 percent rate on general purchases. It may save you time and fees to choose another card in the first place.
Bankrate’s Take—Is the Credit One American Express card worth it?
The Credit One Bank American Express card provides low-grade cash back for a $39 annual fee—both of which could be topped by most other cards if you have good credit.
This card is a decent option for shopping protections and American Express benefits if you’re building credit, but several cards for fair credit and even secured credit cards carry similar—if not better—cash back and benefits.
All information about the Credit One Bank American Express® Card and the Blue from American Express® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.