American Express Personal Savings Review

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Last updated on July 29, 2018 Views: 1555 Comments: 34

Amex entered banking years ago. Today, they offer great rates with low fees. Check out our take in this American Express savings account review.

By far, the most requested review on Consumerism Commentary is for the American Express Personal Savings Account. Amex offers one of the highest interest rates available with this savings account, making it very attractive from the surface. Once you own an account, how does it hold up against All, Discover, CIT and other online savings accounts?

I opened an account to find out.

First of all, if the bulk of your savings is earning less than 0.5% APY, it’s time to change. There is usually no excuse for settling for interest rates that low. It’s simple and easy to double or triple the interest you receive in your account every month. Granted, this might not add up to a lot of money. But high yield savings accounts help to ensure your cash will at least hold its value when up against inflation. Your money loses value over time when sitting in a low-interest or no-interest account.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.85% APY on an FDIC-insured money market account at CIT Bank.

Application process

After visiting the American Express website, I was impressed with the application process. You can zoom in on the overview screen by clicking on the image included here.

The first step is entering your personal information. If you have an American Express savings account currently, you can easily link your current account to the application.

As I do not have a savings account with AMEX, I entered my personal information. Following this, I entered the amount I intend to deposit from my external bank account. There is no minimum deposit, and I decided to start with $500. While there is an option to send a check, I chose to pull the funds from an existing bank account via an electronic transfer (ACH). After confirming my personal information and deposit amount, I agreed to the standard terms of service and entered my external banking information (routing number and account number). I chose to link this account to my personal Wells Fargo brick and mortar checking account.

The strength of American Express, in this first impression, is the bank’s professional appearance. Each step through this process, the bank’s website was very helpful in letting me know what to expect and when to expect it. When I confirmed my external banking information, it was clear that I would need to verify two test deposits into my newly-linked Wells Fargo account. I immediately received an email with instructions for verifying the test deposits, and I received a welcome kit in the mail in days. It took three days, from Friday to Monday, for the deposits to hit my Wells Fargo account.

Verifying deposits

After the weekend, I checked my Wells Fargo account and saw two small test deposits from American Express. Once again, AmEx outlined the process clearly, as you can see from the image here. To finalize the link between my new American Express account and my existing checking account at Wells Fargo, the bank required me to enter my email address, a verification code that was sent to me via email, and the amounts of the two test deposits.

After the confirmation, American Express allowed me to create an online user identity for viewing statements and otherwise operating my new bank account. User names for the American Express Personal Savings Account require at least two numerals, so I was unfortunately forced to use a non-standard user ID. For the first time, I chose to receive online statements in lieu of paper statements. This is a trend I want to continue; I receive too much paper in the mail, and electronic states — when chosen without paper statements — will help reduce my clutter, as well as on a small scale, help the environment.

Using my American Express Personal Savings Account

As of today, I am waiting for my initial deposit to reach my new American Express savings account. Although there is not much I can do, I am able to look at all features contained in the website and get a feel for its operation. My first order of business was customizing the account names. I also looked at the options for downloading activity into applications like Quicken. American Express supports Quicken through the “Web Connect” service as well as Microsoft Money. There are options for QIF and CSV downloads, too.

There are not many different things you can do with this savings account. Although the bank recently lowered the interest rate offered on these accounts, the rates are still comparatively high. The deposits at American Express Bank are fully insured by FDIC, which means there is no risk in depositing your money up to the FDIC maximum, currently $250,000 for an individual savings account. American Express does not currently offer a checking, bill-payment, or other “transactional” account, so this type of service is fine for letting the cash you need to sit and grow, losing as little value to inflation as possible in a savings account.

American Express Interest Rate

On July 29, 2018, American Express Bank increased the rate on its online savings account to 1.75% APY.  This keeps them in the for online banks, but there are a few banks who are currently offering a better interest rate on savings.  Those banks are:

Outside of an online savings account, there isn’t much else to the deposit side of American Express. They do offer a range of CD’s, but the interest rates on those are simply not good.  A six month CD will net you an APY of 0.40% and a five year CD comes in at 1.70%.  Keep in mind that these rates can change at any time. Check our high yield savings account page for current rates.

The ease with which American Express allowed me to open an account was terrific.  Their clean interface, transfer options and overall appeal is something that I’m not sure any other online bank can match (for my taste).  That said, their interest rate, while strong, is a bit lower than some other online banks.  If I were a rate chaser, AMEX would not have my business.

American Express Bank
Routing (ABA) number 124085066
Established December 1, 2000
FDIC certificate 35328
Location 4315 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84184
Direct Connect Not supported
Web Connect Supported
Mint/Yodlee Supported

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

Article comments

34 comments
Tom says:

Hello out there, I’m just putting some feelers out there to see if there’s anyone interested in making a pretty substantial amount of cash in a short amount of time. Only thing this requires is that you have an active bank account or credit card in the US. No cash is required up front to start. Which means your account can be on a zero balance and that’s completely fine. +1(314) 856 1730, lets talk about the next deal

Anonymous says:

I signed up, despite slightly higher rates elsewhere, because they have a better rep than most. Every one of these banks has many unhappy customers; Amex seems to have fewer, and reviews like this one are mostly positive. They do answer their phone quickly. I have not done any transactions yet so can’t comment on that.

There are two problems I have found, which may or may not be important to you:

1. You cannot put the account in the name of a trust. I tried to re-register my account when I created a simple trust, with me as the sole trustee. No dice. Rep said they were looking at changing this, but gave no more info. It is August 2015 right now (Hey, Luke, dates on the comments would be useful).
2. Because of the above, I decided to just add my sisters as beneficiaries. The form says List your beneficiaries: #1, #2, #3, etc. Thats all. No primary, secondary; no percentages, as found on, say, Ally’s form. Had to call to find out that percentages are not allowed, and there can be no primary or secondary, etc.: All beneficiaries listed get an equal share. No other choice.

So I’m not that happy with them. These are simple things that I believe most other banks do better.

Anonymous says:

I have lost my respect to Amex recently mailed a check from sale of mutual funds to them for deposit they could not deposit the check because my name only is on the amex acct. did not even bother to let me know.. when I kept calling to see if check arrived there no one even told me it arrived and was being mailed back…again ever time I called a different date that they mailed it back, But not to even let the client know that you are returning their check..both husband and I will be shopping for another bank

Anonymous says:

WILL YOU PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR OPINION ON AMERICAN EXPRESS HIGH YIELD SAVINGS ACCOUNT OR YOUR THOTS ON THE BEST ONLINE HIGH YIELD SAVINGS ACCOUNT OR INFORM ME WHERE I CAN FIND AM EXPRESS REVIEWS ? Thanks, SAM

Anonymous says:

I closed my online American Express Personal Savings account 3 weeks ago and still haven’t received my money. I have called many times and they have a stock answer – be patient. On the last call I was informed that they would email me a form stating I didn’t receive the check and still no form. I am not on a call to them being told as they transfer me from one person to another (last was a supervisor whom I asked for – sounds about 12 yrs old) and she is transferring me to someone else – asked for me to be patient. Beware to all of you who put their money with American Express Personal Savings.

Anonymous says:

Seems like Amex has a simple approach to savings. High interest for you savings account, but transfers take a bit long, but nothing really to complain about.

Anonymous says:

I do not like my experience with AMEX saving, elcetronic fund transfer takes 6 business days to clear. Which means sometimes your fund transfer won’t be available after two weekends. (If you like me, had an emergency and needed to withdrawal funds from savings).

Anonymous says:

One useful thing about AmEx is that they have free wire transfers in and out of the bank. Unfortunately they cannot take “3rd Party” transfers. So if you close out an account at a brokerage you cannot transfer from that company into your account. I used Ing for that. But you can easily wire into and out of accounts that have your name on it. This saves money when you sell a house or do another large transaction.

Anonymous says:

I find it hilarious that people complain about rates on this comment section. All online banks change their rates. Amex and most of their competition don’t advertise intro offers (the guy who said that doesn’t know what he’s talking about). Just like Flexo said at the beginning, all these banks vary. So, rate hopping from bank to bank is a dumb idea (unless you have millions).

About the 5 day hold. It says that right under the transfer funds page while you’re making the transfer. Plus, they say “initiated on our website,” which means that if the other bank initiates the transfer, there is no hold. All banks have a hold timeframe, and banks like Ally, AMEX, Discover, and ING all give you that info up front.

6 withdrawel limit- That’s an FDIC thing. They govern that, not AMEX. If you want a interest bearing checking account, go to Ally.

I think AMEX is competitive. They seem to improve as time goes on, and at least they tell you everything up front while many banks are not as straitforward in today’s market. Literally no fees or min balances. everything else that people are complaining about is explainable. Feel free to reply if you have questions. I’ve called them lots of time, and have received great answers to most of the common questions.

Anonymous says:

I’m closing my American Express savings account. They remove the money from your bank account and you don’t have access to it for five days.

Anonymous says:

I left ING because their rates dropped AND they do not have a beneficiary designation for accounts. I’ve been with AE for a few months and I am loving it> I’m actually only using it to take advantage of competitive rates.

Anonymous says:

I opened a few goal-specific accounts with American Express to replace my accounts at ING now that they’ve been bought out by Capital One. One thing that I was really happy to see was that their support – which I had to call once during the setup because of a minor issue – was of the same above-par quality that I get from Amex as a gold card customer. Admittedly, it’s not like I’m going to be calling in on a weekly basis for a *savings account* (heck, I only call in once or twice a year with my charge account), but it’s nice to know that there are humans there willing and able to walk you through any bumps you may run into.

Anonymous says:

It takes forever to verify and setup an account with them.

Anonymous says:

This is very true. I tried to set up an account and I had sooooo much problems because I always get stuck on one page. It will not let me proceed to the next page, and this happened on at least 3 occasions. I decided to abandon the application. If this is happening on the application, who is to say it will not happen if I would like to make a withdrawal?

Anonymous says:

I have been with American Express Personal Savings Acct since August 2011 and very happy with it. AmEx still holds the highest interest % yld of 0.90% , even if it lowered from 1.00% amongst the online savings bank like Ally, ING, etc.

No complaints here.

Anonymous says:

I had an AmEx personal savings account and was dissatisfied with the online banking system and the length of time it took to move funds between my checking account and the savings account.

First, the online banking system is not linked to your amex credit card, so you will have to create a separate log-in and log-in on a separate page. Because of the username parameters being different than those for the credit card, I had to use a different log-in name which I constantly forgot, resulting in several calls to customer service to reset the login.

Second, deposits from checking account take 5 business days to become available in the savings account. This became a real pain when I was unable to cancel a recurring transfer and had to wait a full 5 business days to get the money back into my account. After the money was available to transfer back, it would take another 2-3 business days to show up back in my bank account.

I also was very frustrated by the inability to cancel the recurring transfer I had set up upon opening the account. Each month I would cancel the transaction, only to have it re-appear the following month. I discovered it had reappeared after the money unexpectedly vanished from my bank account, and then had to wait the time period above.

Then I went to close the account, I was informed I would have to wait the 5 business days for the transferred funds to become available, and then it would take another 7 – 10 business days to process the closure and transfer the balance back to my bank account.

For an online savings account, the length of time for transactions to be completed is far too long. I will look at ING and Discover, or just open a savings account with my credit union where I can move money around easier. This AmEx product was just too slow for transactions, and did not meet my needs.

Anonymous says:

Question: How long does it take for funds available in your American Express Personal Saving account to reach a linked account after a withdrawal transaction is initiated?

Anonymous says:

2-3 business days. And the money won’t even be available to transfer into your account until 5 business days after the deposit.

Anonymous says:

How long do they hold funds for? Sallie Mae is very clear about their 5 day hold but I cannot find any mention of Amex’s policy

Anonymous says:

Happy with american express savings. Although rates have lowered, it is still one of the highest – also, got a live rep every time I had question.

epd21084 says:

They just dropped the rate to 1.00% APY.

Anonymous says:

Hi!
Just curious: is there any transaction fee (transfer) between from your bank while making a deposit to the Amex savings?
Thanks!

Anonymous says:

I called to inquire about the fees and was told there are no fees for transferring in or out of the savings account, only the standard 6 per month limitations.

Anonymous says:

Sallimae offers a high interest savings/money market account. I’ve seen the rate consistent at 1.15%. May want to look into this.

Anonymous says:

Yes, AMEX lowered their high yield rate, which was the primary motivation for transferring funds there to begin with. If the rate drops again, and I anticipate it will drop again, I will leave. I also find it hard to believe that anyone can call any of the listed savings rates ‘high yield’ to be honest.

As the prior poster said they didn’t notify anyone of the rate change, which I consider to be bad customer service.

Anonymous says:

When you transfer in your money is free, but what about transfer out? are there fee apply to it?

4hendricks says:

Great info, thank – I get lazy and accepting of what I have because I don’t want the hassel of changing.

tigernicole86 says:

Thanks Flexo. On occasion, I still look for other online banks but thanks putting another one in perspective!

Anonymous says:

AmEx Bank just dropped their rates to 1.15% APY without notifying their current customers (aka, me). I’m leaving their bank.. back to Evantage..

Anonymous says:

Agree. Tired of shenanigans from Amex. In fact, the promo I was offered indicated a fixed rate for 6 months, then variable thereafter. They apparently had no intention of honoring as I never received the 1.30% promised rate EVER. they’re now 15 bp lower and when I called to inquire, the rep was not only dismissive but rude. I’m out.

Anonymous says:

thanks so much….just wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something fantastic at Amex that I was unaware of. After living in new york during my twenties, the mentality of “you can always find a better apartment, a better job, and a better boyfriend”…..sometimes seeps into my personal finances (unnecessarily). I’m sticking with discover. thank you!
Kathryn

skylog says:

thank you for the review flexo. i was unaware they even offered savings accounts. it looks good, but i still have not really found a reason to leave ing direct. as i have said on other threads, i do not have great sums of money in my online savings accounts, so to rate chase is not worth it for me.

Anonymous says:

Hi Flexo, given this is a slightly lower rate than others are offering (discover for example) is there any reason to use Amex over Discover? thx!
Kathryn

Luke Landes says:

Kathryn,

Up until a few days ago, the AmEx rate was higher than Discover’s. Banks like these compete tightly and generally have very similar rates. I like my account with Discover Bank, and recommend it, but who is to say that Discover doesn’t lower their rate to be 5 basis points lower than AmEx next week? You can’t go wrong with either bank in my opinion.