American Express Personal Savings Account Review (Updated)

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Updated 2015. American Express has a banking division called Personal Savings through their FDIC-Insured bank American Express Bank, FSB. There are currently just two products – a high yield savings account and certificates of deposit. This is a review from my own experiences with the American Express Personal Savings Account. You don’t need to have an American Express credit or charge card to open a bank account with them.

The Basics
The savings account has no minimum balance requirement, no inactivity fees, and no monthly fees. Their current interest rate is 0.90% APY (as of 4/13/15).

As with all savings accounts, the rate is subject to change. Their rate history for the last few years has been that they consistently pay a competitive interest rate but usually not the very highest. They are usually in the mix with their competitors like Capital One Consumer Bank (0.75% APY) and Ally Savings (0.99% APY as of 4/13/15).

Like those other online savings banks, this one is designed to piggyback onto your existing checking account through online transfers. There are no checks, no ATM cards, and no online bill-pay with this account. If you really want, you can withdraw your money by having them send a check payable to you. Interest is compounded daily, and credited monthly. Interest begins to accrue on the business day the deposit is received, as long as it is by 5pm Eastern.

Application Process
The application process can be done completely online. You provide the usual personal information, as well as the routing number and account number of the checking account you wish to link and fund your account with. There is no minimum opening amount. AMEX Bank will then send two small verification deposits of under $1 to your checking account (and then withdraw them as). They’ll also send a verification code to your e-mail address. With this information, you can activate your account and initiate the funding transfer. They’ll send you a welcome packet in the mail, but there is no paper to sign or send in.

Website User Interface
In the beginning, AmEx used a 3rd-party backend service but now the entire bank website is hosted at Here are some screenshots of my bank account after logging in with some captions (click to enlarge).

The overall interface is pretty minimalist and straightforward. Here is the main page:


Here is the Transfer tab:


Here is the Alerts tab:


Funds Transfers, Customer Service, E-mail Alerts, and Statements
You can link up to 3 external bank accounts, and you can remove and add accounts online as needed. Online transfers to/from your external accounts take the usual couple of business days to complete. However, I wasn’t thrilled about this note on the transfer page: “Funds from electronic deposits to your account that you have initiated through us will generally be available for withdrawal on the sixth business day after the deposit is initiated.” This is likely for protection against fraud, but could be inconvenient and discourages me from using this account as a central transfer hub.

Customer service is available by phone only – no secure online message or live chat. Call 1-800-446-6307, available 24/7. Although you have to navigate the usual phone tree, once you do reach a human they are as courteous as the reps from AmEx credit cards, which is to say very courteous.

You can set up free, automated e-mail alerts in case of your balance reaching a certain threshold or the arrival new deposits and/or withdrawals. Text messages are not directly supported but you can usually find an e-mail version of your cell number (ex.

Finally, one unique thing about American Express Personal Savings is that they give you free paper, snail-mail, monthly statements. Many online savings accounts only include you electronic statements and will charge you for paper statements. Of course, you can opt out and just stick to e-statements, but I can see paper statements as being attractive for some folks. A commenter below noted that if you elect paper statements, then AmEx limits the amount of transactions you can view online to the last 30 days.

Other Handy Stuff
American Express Bank, FSB Routing Number: 124085066
Customer Service: 1-800-446-6307, available 24 hours a day. I haven’t had to call in yet, but American Express does have good customer service on their credit cards in my experience.

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  1. ING dropped their rate to .85% about 12 days ago…….

  2. As you mentioned ING is always trying to be on top of the chart by giving max rates currently with .90%. I started doing goal oriented savings when they used give 1.7% few months ago but now they couldn’t even match up to internet bank rates. So I am pulling it out. So I am not sure AMEX will be able to keep up if they dont’ get proper consumer base. Also 6 days is norm for savings account in ING as well. That’s why I use ING Checking to move money and then to savings accounts. It works like charm. I like AMEX but not sure whether I will try their bank unless they give better competitive rates.

  3. I have this account too, and have no complaints. In my experience, the 6-day hold only applies if you initiate a transfer on the receiving end. If you initiate transfers on the sending end, the funds become available immediately upon deposit.

  4. American Express online banking is provided by FIS, formerly Metavante, which is why it looks the same as many other bank’s websites. Customer Service for Personal Savings accounts is not provided by American Express but rather another bank that is not related to American Express. I work in the call center for that other bank and take AmEx calls on a regular basis. Open an account with AmEx…it’s job security for me! 😉

  5. Alliant Credit Union – 1.15% APY. If you’re not already a member, you can join by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success. (I’ve had them about a year – very quick ACH, been a great account.)

  6. @Greg – Yup, I missed that initially!

    @David – Good tip.

    @Elliot – Very interesting, so you take calls for more than one bank at the same time?

    @Mary Anna – Do you use the savings or just the checking which has nearly the same rate? lWould you be interested in writing a review about them for this site, using this review as a template? (was the application all online, what is the online interface like, etc)

  7. I use the savings – I have my checking account at a smallish local bank that refunds my ATM fees anywhere (even overseas), but doesn’t have good savings rates. And sure, I’d love to write a review! It’ll likely be a week or two til I can get to it (am going to Maine this coming week, and then lots going on for Christmas), but I can definitely write one.

  8. I’ve been looking for somewhere to move my money since Emigrant Direct is woefully low compared to everyone else recently. This is another good option. May still just go ING though, not sure yet.

    Is it recommended to keep an online savings account open even if you empty it out to move your money? I’m not needing to take out a mortgage in the next year or anything, just wondering how savings account closing affects a credit score (if at all) since there’s less talk about that kind of thing than how closing lines of credit affect the score.

  9. @Mary Anna – That would be great, no rush, just send it over whenever you get a chance.

    @Sean – If I think a bank has “given up” being competitive – usually if they stop for a while they never go back to being competitive – then I do close the account. Closing a savings account won’t affect your credit score. In some rare instances, a checking account may offer you a small line of credit for overdrafts, like Penfed with a $500 limit.

    Banks I’ve given up on off the top of my head – Emigrant Direct, Dollar Savings Direct, WT Direct, SmartyPig.

  10. @Mary Anna ~ Thanks for the tip about Alliant CU. I just opened an account on line with no problems and plan on closing accounts at other banks and transferring the balances to Alliant.

  11. @Jack – Sweet! Glad to be of help!

  12. @Mary Anna

    Any disadvantages in opening an account with them if I’m not a resident of IL?

  13. @Jay B – I don’t think so… I’m not, and haven’t run into any problems at all. (I’m in CT.)

  14. Looks like Alliant is now 1.00% APY now…

  15. John Lavery says

    NEWBIE here. I have about $75k inheritence coming soon and thought the following would be a good distribution.
    $25k MMA account for 3-6 months emergency account.
    Then $25k into a mutual fund through USAA and $25k into a Roth IRA.
    Make sense?

  16. @John. You’re limited to $5000 per year ($6000 if you’re over 60), in contributions to a Roth. If you get it before you file your taxes this year, you can make a $5000 contribution for tax year 2011 and an additional $5000 for tax year 2012. The other $15k you’ll either have to sit on until it’s time for future year’s Roth contributions, or do something else with for the time being.

  17. One thing I dont understand and is stopping me from trusting this 0.9% interest rate for high yield savings account. The CD rate is 0.4 % for 6 months and 0.55 % for 1 year. Why would I lock my money for 6 months and 1 year if the high yield savings account gives me 0.9% and I can withdraw money any time (?). Am I missing something here?

  18. @don – Any bank can change the interest rate on their savings account at any time. The danger is that future rates could go even lower than 0.4%. Predicting interest rates is hard, as shown by this Nobel Prize Laureate:

  19. I have my money in HSBC, which currently has a rate of 0.40%. When I contacted them they weren’t concerned that I was unhappy and planning to move my money. They aren’t competitive at all. The problem is that my large balance is in a Premier fund, which offers a lot of perks, but their low rate is a real turn-off. Can you explain to me how the AmEx compounding works using a basis of $100,000? I never understood that!


  20. I am using AMEX Savings for almost year now, Interest rates are competitive.. Mostly .90%, few months with .80%. I keep comparing them with ING and found them always higher than ING.

    Overall I am happy and satisfied with one nagative thing… You can’t check your transcation history beyound 30 days if you have paper statements.. Big negative.

  21. I missed the fine print about no checks. They tied a wire transfer to a closed account. Need an wire transfer application to change inline connection. Said I could download from website. Looked on website while talking to customer service person and no form available, said the took it off with the change that occurred last 6/14-15/2013. Sending me a check with form. Have no fax which they would do.

  22. Grant Morgan says

    First be aware of the extended times you must wait until you can withdraw funds. We had the experience that several weeks after our deposit, they would not honor a withdrawal until a lot of investigation into the validity of the deposit.
    After closing the account, there was interest left. They sent us a check for this amount. However they refused to honor the check because the account was closed. Never have been able to resolve this in spite of hours on the phone. We of course had bounced check charges from our bank also.
    If they ask you to fax them a document … when you call back they never can find it.
    I asked once on this issue, “How long until you get back to me?” Answer, “10 business days.” Of course that was a long time ago.

  23. I used Amex FSB for a couple of years, but ended up switching to Barclays. I opened a Barclays credit card and decided to explore their savings accounts, and they have great rates! Well, great is relative. They’re ever so slightly higher than most, albeit they’re still low compared to gains elsewhere.

    Their savings accounts are at 1.00% now, and they raised them recently. They also have a “dream account” which is a bit confusing but rather unique. For that account, they offer bonuses on your interest if you make monthly deposits without withdrawing (which I assume most do, since that’s the point of a savings!). The catch is they limit your deposits to $1000/mo. If you make consecutive deposits each month for six months, you get a 2.5% bonus on the interest earned during those six months. If you don’t make withdrawals for six months, that’s another 2.5% bonus! Pretty neat, huh?

  24. I signed up a year ago due to good reviews, despite the rate not being the highest, and was generally pleased. The website is good and they answer the phone. But I recently I set up a revocable trust, with me as the sole trustee. I was surprised when I was told I cannot change the registration to the trust. They do not allow accounts under a trust name, period. The rep said they were “considering” changing that, but she had no certainty or timeline. I know Ally and some others allow trusts; not sure why it is a big deal.



  26. Jonathan you mentioned the following in your review of Ally Bank:

    Jonathan Ping says:
    December 20, 2014 at 9:34 am
    Just wanted to add a quick confirmation that Ally does not like being used solely/primarily as a transfer hub. If you repeatedly move money in, just to move it out again immediately, they will close your account. I can see their side that such behavior appears like potential for fraud, even if it it isn’t. It would be nice if they outlined their policy more clearly. I’ve moved some big amounts through Ally when I really needed to, but it was maybe once every 6 months and I still use them for day-to-day activities.

    I wanted to find out if Jonathan or anyone has any experience or knowledge of whether the American Express Personal Savings Account will be closed if one uses their account solely/primarily as a transfer hub, by moving money in just to move it out immediately or just after, in this bank’s case the 6 day hold period? How often is it safe to transfer money in and out to another bank with the American Express Personal Savings account? That question would apply for both ACH transfer & withdrawal by bank check. Thank you.

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