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American Express Essential Credit Card

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Card details
Network provider
American Express
American Express
Card types
Low Interest
Low Balance Transfer
No Fee
Credit needed
Fees and interest
Annual fee
Purchase interest rate
Cash advance rate
Balance transfer rate
8.99% after 6 months
Credit score required
Excellent (750-900) Good (650-749) Fair (575-649) Bad (300-574)
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Purchase Protection
  • Travel Insurance

The American Express Essential Credit Card is a good choice for anyone looking to pay off debt quickly. There’s no annual fee and, for the first six months, the card has an introductory interest rate of 1.99% on balances transfers. There's no fee for doing so.

After that, the rate on transfers goes up to 8.99%, which is still low compared to most credit cards (APRs on balance transfers can be north of 19.99%).

The interest rate for purchases is also a low 8.99%. However — and this will incentivize cardholders to stick to their debt repayment schedule — the annual interest rate rises to 23.99% after you miss two minimum monthly payments within one year. Miss a third payment? The rate goes up to 26.99%.

Holders of the American Express Essential Credit Card can access the lender’s lauded customer service program, as well as its Invites program, which allows you to access tickets for highly coveted events.

Any transactions made on the card in a foreign currency have a fee of 2.5%. 

You need a good credit score to qualify for the American Express Essential Credit Card (in the 650-749 range) and an annual income of $15,000 or more. There's no fee for additional cards. 

Why get the American Express Essential Credit Card?

Competitive interest rates - Interest on purchases is a competitive 8.99%. Plus, enjoy a special introductory interest rate of 1.99% on balance transfers within the first six months. You’re allowed to transfer 50% of your assigned credit limit, up to a maximum of $7,500, whichever is less. The option to transfer your balance is only available at the time of online application.

Insurance coverage - Cardholders get buyer’s assurance, as well as purchase protection. Travel Accident Insurance covers you for up to $100,000.

Get tickets to the best events - Through American Express’s Invites program, you’ll get advance access to tickets for hotly anticipated events. Holders of the American Express Essential card can also access tickets specially reserved for American Express customers — and much more.

Award-winning customer service - American Express consistently ranks high in customer service. As a holder of the American Express Essential card, you’ll be able to access American Express’s 24/7 customer care program.