It’s true – American Express has officially entered into the prepaid market. And why wouldn’t it? This is one of the fastest growing areas in credit cards. As more Americans look for better options when it comes to managing their finances, the prepaid offers more than meet those needs. This week, we take a look at the American Express prepaid debit card.
The American Express prepaid card is a traditional prepaid, reloadable card that gives members not only a better way to manage their finances, but also in a way that’s not loaded with confusing fees that some prepaid offers carry. Card members use the AMEX card the same way they do any other prepaid product. You spend what you have available, much like a traditional checking account works. It’s being touted as one of the best offers in awhile that provides a host of safety features that were created with the consumer in mind.
Consumers can easily add money to their American Express prepaid card online, by phone, with a checking account, and of course, in person. From there, the consumer can then shop safer, pay bills online with no worries and they can even use their card in some instances to hold hotel reservations or car rentals (it varies depending on the hotel or rental company). It’s accepted anywhere American Express is, which means there are more than two million locations worldwide card members can use their cards.
The perks are plentiful with this prepaid product. First, customers are allowed one complimentary ATM withdrawal a month – which is virtually unheard of with other offers. After that, a $2 fee is assessed by American Express. Keep in mind, though, the owners of ATMs may have their own fee structures.
Customers enjoy a full service website where they can manage their finances easily. Complete with all the American Express financial tools, prepaid members will enjoy those same perks traditional card holders have come to trust from the American Express name.
Lose your American Express or think it might be stolen? Simply contact the company and it will replace your prepaid card and transfer your funds to that new car at no charge.
Other benefits include Globe Assist Services, which provides emergency assistance and resources to help with lost passports and other complications when traveling abroad. Enjoy savings on advance tickets with Entertainment Access and 24 hour assistance by an award winning team of customer service representatives.
Purchase Protection protects you when items you buy with your American Express prepaid card are stolen or damaged. This is applicable for ninety days after your purchase. Finally, you can enjoy impressive discounts and special offers through the American Express Selects program.
A Few Guidelines
There aren’t any restrictive guidelines for card members; however, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, to open your account, there’s no minimum balance requirement nor is there an initial load requirement at purchase. When you’re reloading your card, there is a minimum load of $25 that applies as well as a maximum load of $2,500.
The one exclusion is when consumers are using direct deposit from their employers; in that case, the maximum load is $5,000. Card members may add money to their prepaid cards using their bank accounts or cash until the balance equals $2,500. For those using direct deposit, their balance may increase to a maximum of $5,000. The maximum amount card holders may add to their card in any given month is $2,500 (when using a bank account or cash) and $5,000 if funds are being added via direct deposit.
Make Your Move
Another feature that American Express offers that other similar products do not is the Make Your Move program. Your card can help you build a history with American Express through this program. Simply load your your card and use it regularly and American Express could invite you to apply for a traditional American Express Card. It’s a great way to build credit and for those hoping to rebuild their credit, this could be the solution.
Card holders are automatically enrolled in this benefit when they receive their new American Express Prepaid Card. Simply using it and reloading it regularly can mean an invitation. You must be eligible, and the card company requires six months to evaluate your eligibility before an invitation would be extended. Also, there are no guarantees, but it’s a powerful tool.
So has American Express raised the bar in the prepaid market? With all these benefits and member perks, it would certainly appear so. With fewer fees, better benefits and more than a few perks to keep card members happy, the American Express prepaid credit card is definitely one to consider for those in the market.
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