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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.

 /  12 min
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Snapshot

3.0

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card gets a leg up on other Credit One card options because of its fairly low annual fee and its tie to Amex perks and benefits. However, plenty of other credit cards for fair credit on the market have better long-term value.

Credit One Bank American Express® Card

Apply now Lock
on Credit One Bank's secure site
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
3.0
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
Info
Fair to Good (580 – 740)
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

Credit One Bank American Express® Card Overview

The Credit One Bank American Express Card offers cardholders benefits like shopping protections, travel perks and Amex Offers, which makes it one of the best Credit One cards available — especially for people who need a card to help boost their credit score. But even though these could certainly be worthwhile features if you’re building your score, 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.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 1 percent cash back on all purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • $39 annual fee
    • Regular APR: 29.74 percent variable
    • No intro APR for purchases and balance transfers

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Fair

    Credit-building features

    • Free online credit monitoring

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Amex Offers

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

Credit One Bank Amex pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    The Credit One Bank Amex has fewer fees than the other Credit One Bank cards.

  • Checkmark

    It offers solid American Express benefits for potential cardholders with fair credit, such as shopping and travel perks.

  • Checkmark

    It earns unlimited 1 percent cash back on all purchases, making it more valuable beyond its credit-building features.

Cons

  • The $39 annual fee can eat into cash back earnings.

  • Cash back is automatically redeemed for statement credits, limiting flexibility.

  • The rates and fees on this card are lacking compared to many other cards available for fair and average credit.

Why you might want the Credit One Bank Amex Card

If you're looking for a credit-building card that earns rewards, this card may be an appealing choice for you to consider since the flat cash back rate has no complexity and the benefits of an Amex card may be worthwhile.

Rewards: Easy flat-rate structure

The Credit One Bank 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 cash back on all purchases is the bare minimum among credit cards for good credit

But despite its low-yield cash back rate compared to most other cash back credit cards, the Credit One Bank American Express card’s flat-rate cash back could encourage credit building through healthy spending — rather than chasing rewards. Once you’ve built up your credit score, you might want to think about trading up to a card with no annual fee.

Cardholder perks: Plenty of protections and benefits due to Amex

Thanks to its American Express benefits, Credit One Bank Amex card features are beefed up compared to other Credit One Bank 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.

Why you might want a different credit-building card

Even though the Credit One Bank American Express provides a lot of features for a credit-building card, there aren't many that genuinely focus on boosting credit. On top of that, it has no welcome bonus, restricts reward redemptions options and poses too many fees.

Welcome offer: Doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus

The Credit One BankAmerican Express doesn’t have a welcome offer. Although credit cards for fair credit rarely extend welcome offers, it’s worth noting that a few secured cards do. Even if there isn’t a sign-up bonus, keep an eye out for other valuable benefits before you apply for a credit card.

Redemption: There are limited options

As a cash back card, your 1 percent statement credits are worth 1 cent per dollar of each purchase.

You can only redeem the cash back you earn with the Credit One Bank American Express in one way: 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.

Statement credits likely won’t be a problem if you’re focused on building credit. Otherwise, different redemption choices, like direct deposits and checks, might personally be more valuable and versatile.

Rates and fees: Has annual fee and high APR 

The Credit One Bank American Express 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 card also charges a 3 percent (or $1, whichever is greater) foreign transaction fee, $19 for each authorized user and a fee for its optional Credit Protection Program. On top of all that, it’s high ongoing APR means you should avoid carrying a balance as often as possible, especially since this card doesn’t have an intro APR offer.

On the whole, the Credit One Bank American Express card doesn’t nickel-and-dime you with fees the way several other Credit One Bank cards may, but other cards for fair to average credit are available that don’t have an annual fee, high APR or foreign transaction fees. 

Credit-building: You only have online access to your credit report

When it comes to features that help you increase your credit score, the Credit One American Express falls short, since the only benefit of this supposedly credit-building card is the ability to access your credit report online for free. Even though this is a common feature for most cards in this category, other credit-building cards include a bit more guidance, such as a virtual bot that can assist you with any challenges you may have, as well as tips, articles and information on improving your credit score.

How the Credit One American Express compares to other cards for credit building

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’re situationally helpful for shopping and travel, but these benefits probably won’t save you money regularly.

Image of Credit One Bank American Express® Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Credit One Bank's secure site

Annual fee

$39

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (580 – 740)
Info
Image of Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$39

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1.5% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (580 – 740)
Info
Image of Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info

Who is the Credit One American Express right for?

Depending on your specific circumstances, the Credit One American Express card may or may not be the best option for you.

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 and is a decent option for shopping protections and American Express benefits if you’re building credit. However, there are several cards for fair credit and even secured credit cards that carry similar — if not better — cash back and benefits.

All information about the Credit One Bank American Express® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

How we rated this card

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perks evaluated

Our proprietary card rating system takes into account a mix of factors when scoring credit cards for students and people building credit, including each card’s cost, APR, credit-building tools and more.

We analyzed over 50 of the most popular cards designed for students and people with no credit history, bad credit or a fair credit score and scored each based on where its key features stood in relation to others in its category. 

Here are some of the key factors that gave this card its score: 

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Re'Dreyona Walker
Associate Editor, Credit Cards

Re’Dreyona Walker is an editor for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, focusing on product guides and reviews. As a personal finance expert, she is dedicated to providing honest product reviews as well as in-depth, comprehensive guides to assist readers in building credit and finding the best credit cards for their needs.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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