American Express®, Member FDIC, Checking Account Review of 2023
While some traditional banks have put conditions on their free checking accounts — such as requiring a minimum balance or a certain number of direct deposits — online banks often do the opposite. They regularly offer free checking accounts with no strings attached.
The American Express®, member FDIC, checking account is no exception. Offered by American Express National Bank, these accounts have no monthly fees and no minimum deposit requirements.
You get a competitive interest rate on your balance and can even earn rewards for debit card purchases.
The only catch is that only American Express credit card holders are eligible to open an account right now.
If you’re looking for a new checking account, keep reading to learn more about the American Express checking account and how it compares to other banks’ offerings.
American Express Checking Account At-a-Glance
- Account features: Competitive APY on balances, membership rewards for eligible debit card purchases, fee-free ATM withdrawals, and mobile check deposit
- FDIC-insured: American Express checking accounts are FDIC-insured through American Express National Bank
- Fees: No fee to open an account and no monthly service fees
- Minimum deposit: None required
- Access: Manage accounts online or through the American Express app
Easily Compare the Best Checking Accounts Online
Shop rates and compare the American Express checking account with other checking accounts to see how they stack up.
Compare to Others
The American Express checking account has plenty of great features, but it’s not your only choice. It’s always a good idea to compare checking accounts before signing up. Here’s how the Amex checking account compares to others.
American Express is a fully online bank, meaning it doesn’t have any branches.
If you’d rather be able to bank in person, you may want to open an account through a traditional bank such as BMO Harris.
With more than 500 branches in eight states, BMO Harris offers multiple checking account options, including one with no monthly fee. However, you will need to deposit at least $25 to open an account.
Chime isn’t officially a bank; it’s a financial technology company that delivers banking products.
Deposits are held by partners such as Bankcorp Bank, which ensures money is protected by FDIC insurance.
As with the American Express checking account, there are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees.
However, Chime limits deposits to $1,000 every 24 hours, up to $10,000 per month, and it doesn’t have a mobile check deposit feature.
Aspiration may have a checking account for you if you’re interested in supporting sustainability efforts.
The company says it is 100% committed to clean money, and every $1,000 transferred to its accounts has the equivalent impact of driving up to 6,000 fewer miles with an average car.
Aspiration offers a single account to serve as savings and checking and a substantial APY on up to $10,000 worth of savings.
But it doesn’t have the same robust rewards program as American Express, and there is a $10 opening deposit requirement.
Who Is American Express Checking Account for?
The American Express checking account offers benefits almost everyone will find valuable. However, these accounts are especially appropriate if you:
- Already have an existing American Express consumer credit card that has been open at least three months
- Don’t visit bank branches and are comfortable managing money online or with an app
- Would like to earn rewards for your debit card purchases
- Want to earn interest on your checking account balance
- Don’t want to be locked into maintaining a minimum balance or paying monthly fees
This account is also a good choice for anyone who wants the convenience of banking and investing in the same place. American Express National Bank offers checking and savings accounts, personal loans, CDs, individual retirement accounts, and financial planning services.
Top Features of the American Express Checking Account
Among its many features, we think the following things help set the American Express checking account apart from your other options.
Some banks charge customers a monthly fee for having a checking account or require a certain balance or direct deposits to avoid fees. That’s not the case with the American Express checking account.
You won’t pay any monthly fees for this account, regardless of your balance size or deposit amount.
The American Express checking account pays an interest rate that used to be hard to find, even on savings accounts.
It is much higher than the national average for interest checking accounts, and there is no required minimum balance to receive interest.
While rewards are common for credit cards, they are relatively unusual for checking accounts.
However, with your American Express checking account, you get access to the American Express Membership Rewards program — considered one of the best loyalty programs available. Eligible purchases earn 1 point for every $2 spent, and points can be redeemed for cash.
Everything you need to manage your account can be found at your fingertips with the American Express app.
You can also manage your money online, use your debit card at ATMs nationwide or load it onto a digital wallet to pay with your phone.
Mobile Check Deposit
Although increasingly common, not every online bank supports mobile check deposits.
However, American Express does, and that makes it easy to deposit checks without visiting an ATM or having to mail them in. Instead, you snap a photo of the check using the Amex app to deposit the money.
How to Get Started
You’ll need an American Express credit card to open an American Express checking account, and only those with consumer accounts rather than business accounts are eligible. Your consumer credit card must also be open for at least three months before applying.
Then, you need to log into your existing account to apply for a checking account. The process can be quickly completed online, and you may not need to supply much information since you already have an account with American Express.
Checking accounts are limited to one per person, and most people receive a decision on their application in minutes.
Rating the Features
Of course, great features are only beneficial if they are easy to use and access. Here’s a closer look at how the American Express checking account rates.
Since only existing American Express consumer credit card holders are eligible to open checking accounts, sign-up is a breeze. It can be done within your American Express account with little need to enter additional information.
Once approved, you can manage all your accounts using one login. If you have problems, customer service is available 24/7 in the app or online, or you can call toll-free at any time.
American Express gets top marks for its fees — simply because there are none. This is a free checking account. There are no hoops to jump through, minimum balances to maintain, or direct deposit to set up in order to be eligible for fee-free checking.
The only fee you will encounter is a foreign transaction fee if you purchase in another currency. There is also a cost for checks and check supplies if you choose to buy those.
While other banks offer higher APYs on their checking accounts, many institutions will only apply a high-interest rate to a relatively small balance.
Or they may require accountholders to meet other stipulations, such as maintaining a certain minimum balance.
However, the American Express checking account offers a competitive rate without any strings attached. What’s more, it applies to any balance, whether large or small.
There isn’t much variety within the American Express checking account. Everyone gets the same account with the same features.
But if you are looking for an institution that offers a variety of complementary accounts, American Express has you covered. You can open savings, checking, investing, and retirement accounts here.
Both the American Express app and website make account management easy. Both have a smooth interface that makes it simple to flip between accounts and find transaction, balance, and reward details.
You can also chat with customer service representatives in the app or online. Phone support is also offered, and representatives are available 24/7.
A qualifying American Express credit card can open an American Express checking account.
But be aware that American Express National Bank has no branches, and the only way to access your account is online, via the Amex app, or using an ATM. A debit card is also provided to account holders.
Pros and Cons of the American Express Checking Account
To help you decide whether the American Express checking account is right for you, it helps to consider its pros and cons. Here’s what we see as the benefits and drawbacks of these accounts.
Not everyone will be eligible for an American Express checking account. It is currently only offered to those who have had an Amex consumer credit card open for at least three months.
However, this can be an excellent account choice for those who are eligible. The American Express checking account doesn’t have any monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements. Plus, you’ll earn rewards points with most purchases, and those can be converted to cash.
From our perspective, there are plenty of benefits and minimal downsides to opening an American Express checking account.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is the American Express checking account worth it?
No one account will be right for everyone, but we think the American Express checking account is a high-quality option for those who are eligible to open an account. It is backed by one of the top names in finances, doesn’t charge monthly fees, and offers a competitive interest rate.
Does American Express offer a debit card?
Accountholders will receive a debit card with their American Express checking account. It can be used at merchants and ATMs nationwide and is enabled for contactless tap-and-go payments.
Who can open an American Express checking account?
Only those with an American Express consumer credit card can open an American Express checking account. The credit card account must be open for at least three months before applying for a checking account.
How do I apply for an American Express checking account?
You can apply online to open an American Express checking account. The application will be completed within your American Express account, and most decisions will be made in minutes.