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How to Do a Balance Transfer with American Express

If you’re wrestling with credit card debt, an Amex balance transfer card could help tackle your balance.

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American Express is best known for its premium travel credit cards and perks. But this card issuer also has a range of credit cards with balance transfer offers -- a potentially helpful benefit if you need more time to pay down your credit card debt.

Approximately 37% of adults with credit card debt aren’t familiar with how balance transfer credit card offers work, according to recent research from CNET’s sister site Bankrate. A balance transfer card lets you move existing credit card debt to a new card, letting you save interest for a period of time. Not only can this help you get out of debt more easily, but it can also help boost your credit score.

Here’s how to transfer your balance with an American Express balance transfer card and which cards Amex offers to help you do so. 

What is a balance transfer?

A balance transfer moves the outstanding balance from one or more of your current credit cards to a new credit card. For example, if you’re carrying a $4,000 balance on Card A, a balance transfer allows you to move all or part of your balance -- up to your credit limit -- to the new balance transfer card. 

Most balance transfer cards, particularly those from Amex, come with a 0% APR introductory period for the first 12 months of account opening. Utilizing a balance transfer lets you cut out interest for a specific period of time, so you can work on paying down your debt rather than getting buried in high-interest charges. The goal is to pay the balance in full by the end of your introductory period. If not, you’ll pay interest on the remainder.

Balance transfers typically aren’t free, though. Most of them come with a fee between 3% and 5% of the balance, but this upfront cost is usually significantly less expensive than continuing to accrue interest for another year. American Express charges a balance transfer fee of 3% ($5 minimum) -- which is on par with many other credit card issuers. 

How to transfer a balance with Amex

Once you open an Amex card with a balance transfer offer, the process is straightforward. The best way to transfer a balance with American Express is through your online account on the Account Services page or by calling 1-800-528-4800.

The 0% introductory APR period starts when you open your new Amex credit card, so make sure you process your transfer right away. You have 60 days from opening your card with Amex to qualify for the introductory offer period to decide.

Before applying for an Amex balance transfer card, make sure the debt you want to transfer is from a different card provider, like Chase or Capital One. You can’t transfer a balance between Amex cards.

Amex credit cards with balance transfer offers

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express* has a 0% introductory APR offer for balance transfers that lasts for 15 months from account opening, then a variable APR of 19.24% – 29.99%. The 0% introductory APR offer also applies to new purchases for 15 months from account opening (19.24% – 29.99% variable APR after that). 

We like that this card has no annual fee and a lower 3% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum). It’s also a card you can use to earn rewards once you’ve paid off your debt. It earns 3% cash back on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year in each category, then 1%). You’ll receive cash back as Reward Dollars and you can redeem them for a statement credit. This card does have a notable $200 statement credit welcome bonus after spending $2,000 within the first six months of account opening -- but if you’re looking to transfer a balance, we don’t recommend putting charges on this card until you’ve repaid your debt.

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

The American Express Cash Magnet® Card* ties with the Everyday Card with a 0% introductory APR period on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, then a variable APR of 19.24% – 29.99% after that. It also has no annual fee, and after you pay off your balance, you can take advantage of a straightforward 1.5% cashback across all categories. You’ll receive cash back as Reward Dollars which you can redeem as a statement credit. It also earns a solid $200 statement credit welcome bonus after you spend $2,000 within the first six months, but again, we don’t recommend this if you need more than six months to pay down your debt.

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card* has a 0% introductory APR period on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, like other Amex cards. There’s a 18.24% – 28.24% variable APR thereafter. Like the first two cards on this list, it also has no annual fee.

But unlike the other no-annual-fee Amex cards above, this card earns Amex Membership Rewards Points -- 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1x) and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. And you can earn 2x points at Amextravel.com when you pay with your card. There’s also a 10,000 Membership Rewards Points welcome bonus when you spend $2,000 within the first six months -- but you shouldn’t bother chasing this until after you’ve paid off your balance. One unique perk we like about this card is that if you use it 20 or more times on purchases during a billing period, you’ll earn 20% more points on those transactions, making it a good choice if you find yourself in the grocery store several times a week.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express* has a 0% introductory APR offer on new purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening, then a variable APR of 19.24% – 29.99%. That’s a good offer, but not as long as the Blue Cash Everyday. But, if you’re confident you can pay off your debt in that first year, this can be a better card for your wallet after you’ve knocked out your balance.

The cashback structure for the Blue Cash Preferred includes earning 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each year in purchases, then 1%), 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% on transit (including ridesharing) and 3% on U.S. gas station purchases. You earn cash back in the form of Reward Dollars, which you can redeem for a statement credit. There’s a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, but you’ll pay a $95 annual fee thereafter. So after you pay off your outstanding balance, you get ongoing rewards, but make sure you can take advantage of them to offset the yearly price tag before applying.

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card* also has a shorter balance transfer window -- a 0% introductory APR offer for 12 months from account opening (18.24%- 28.24% variable APR thereafter) -- but it can still work well if you don’t need more than a year to tackle your debt. This 0% introductory APR offer also applies to new purchases for 12 months from account opening (then 18.24% – 28.24% variable APR). But there’s a $95 annual fee you’ll need to hand over every year, so we only recommend this option if you can use its rewards after you’ve tackled your debt.

This card also follows the Amex Membership Rewards Points structure, earning 3x points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each year in purchases, then 1x), 2x on U.S. gas station purchases and 1x on other purchases. 

If you use your card 30 times or more on purchases within a billing period, you’ll earn 50% more points on the purchases you made. Plus, you can transfer your points to transfer partners and book travel with the Membership Rewards program -- which offers 2x points when you book with your card on Amextravel.com. The card also includes travel benefits, including the Global Assist® Hotline and car rental loss and damage insurance**.

What happens after you complete a balance transfer with Amex

Your balance won’t transfer immediately. You’ll usually see the new balance reflected on your Amex card within five to seven days. However, the company also warns that some transfers can take up to six weeks

The clock on balance transfers starts ticking as soon as your account opens. So, if you open an Amex Everyday Credit Card tomorrow, the 15-month introductory APR period begins as soon as your application is approved. It’s important to put your payback strategy to work immediately. If you transfer a balance of $6,000, for example, and you have 15 months to pay it back, after including the $180 balance transfer fee ($6,000 x the 3% balance transfer fee), this breaks down to a $412 payment every month. We always recommend paying a little extra to kick down your balance sooner if you can. 

Lastly, be sure to check your mailbox: That’s where you’ll receive the final word about the completion of your balance transfer. And while you’re waiting for that verification, continue paying on the card you transferred so you don’t miss any upcoming payments before your transfer goes through.

And once your debt is gone, you can use the card to earn rewards. If you don’t have a plan for the card, try not to close it and instead use it for monthly small purchases to keep it active and your credit score healthy.

The bottom line

Credit card APRs have been steadily increasing in 2023, and the average APR is now over 20%. If you’re struggling to knock your credit card debt down to $0, rising rates make this process even more expensive. Taking advantage of a 0% introductory balance transfer offer can be  smart move -- as long as you have a plan in place to pay off your balance before the introductory no-interest period ends.

While Amex has plenty of balance transfer options, it also typically requires good to excellent credit. If you have less-than-perfect credit, consider other options to help pay down your credit card debt to reach your financial goals, like a debt consolidation loan.

FAQs

The amount you can transfer depends on your credit limit and other Amex terms. For example, if your credit limit is $7,500, you can transfer up to this amount, minus the 3% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum).

While Amex doesn’t specifically note credit score requirements for balance transfer card offers, the company typically looks for a minimum credit score of 670. If your score is lower, you might explore other balance transfer offers or consider a personal loan.

Yes, but we don’t recommend doing this until your debt is paid off, since adding more to your balance can make repaying your debt more challenging. Oftentimes the 0% APR introductory period applies to both balance transfers and new purchases for most cards, but not all. It’s best to check before applying for the card.

*All information about the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, American Express Cash Magnet Card, Amex EveryDay Credit Card and Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

**Eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. Based in Chicago, he writes with one objective in mind: Help readers figure out how to save more and stress less. He is also a musician, which means he has spent a lot of time worrying about money. He applies the lessons he's learned from that financial balancing act to offer practical advice for personal spending decisions.
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