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Pay Over Time & Pay It Plan It: Amex Programs You Might Want to Use

Updated Sep 09, 2021 | Published Aug 07, 20197 min read

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At a glance

American Express offers two payment plans, Pay Over Time and Pay It Plan It. If you have a former charge card, you can use Pay Over Time to carry a balance over time while it accrues interest. Pay It Plan It lets you pay off a purchase over time while it accrues no interest by making set monthly payments. Pay It applies to purchases less than $100 and Plan It is for purchases of $100 or more.

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American Express offers its cardmembers two programs that provide different ways to pay your Amex bill: Pay Over Time and Pay It Plan It.

These plans are available for select Amex cards, and each one will incur interest charges.

First, let’s break down the difference in the cards Amex offers so you know which ones may be eligible for each program. The main difference between Amex’s former charge cards and credit cards is how much you have to pay off each billing cycle compared to how much you owe:

  • Former charge cards have no preset spending limit and may require that you pay off the full amount you spend on the card each month (more on this below).
  • Credit cards only require that you pay off some minimum amount of your balance each month. You can carry the rest over on to next month’s bill, although we recommend you always pay off your full statement balance every month to avoid paying expensive credit card interest.
Insider tip

Learn more about the differences between a charge card and a credit card here.

American Express Pay Over Time

This feature basically turns your former charge card into a typical credit card, letting you carry a purchase balance from month to month while accruing interest. Some key things to note about the Pay Over Time program include:

  • Fees: A monthly fee, of a percentage of the purchase amount, may apply.
  • Added flexibility: You have the option to pay eligible charges over time with interest.
  • Payment options: You can pay your Pay Over Time balance in full, the minimum amount due, or anything in between.
  • Details:
    • Pay Over Time Limit applies to the total of the Pay Over Time, cash advance, and Plan balances.
    • All charges not added to a Pay Over Time balance or monthly payment plan or cash advance balance must be paid in full each month by the payment due date.
  • Eligibility: No enrollment required; eligible cards are automatically enrolled.

What Purchases Are Eligible?

Most purchases are eligible. However, the American Express terms and conditions call out a few stipulations, including:

  • In most cases, a charge must be $100 or more and approved by Amex (the Green card has no minimum charge requirement).
  • Eligible charges include purchases, foreign transaction fees, and annual membership fees.
  • The following types of charges are ineligible for Pay Over Time: cash advances and express cash, American Express Travelers Cheques and other cash equivalents, casino and other gambling transactions, any fees owed to American Express except foreign transaction fees.
  • You can’t add a charge to a Pay Over Time balance if it causes your Pay Over Time balance to go over your Pay Over Time Limit (the limit is shown in your account dashboard).

Pay Over Time Options

You can set your Pay Over Time status to either active or inactive:

  • Pay Over Time Active: Eligible charges are automatically moved into your Pay Over Time balance (some accounts may have higher minimum charge requirements). This is the default setting for new accounts.
  • Pay Over Time Inactive: Eligible charges will not be automatically added to your Pay Over Time balance, but you can manually add them to Pay Over Time.

Which Amex Cards Can Use It?

If you have one of these Amex cards, you may be able to use this program:

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The Platinum Card® from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$695
  • Purchase APRSee Pay Over Time APR

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American Express® Gold Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Purchase APRSee Pay Over Time APR

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American Express® Green Card
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$150
  • Purchase APRSee Pay Over Time APR

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The information related to American Express® Green Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$595 ($695 if application is received on or after 1/13/2022)
  • Purchase APRSee Pay Over Time APR

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The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

American Express® Business Gold Card
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$295
  • Purchase APR14.24% - 22.24% Variable

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The information related to American Express® Business Gold Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Purchase APRN/A

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The information related to Business Green Rewards Card from American Express has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

You can log in to the Amex site or mobile app to see if your cards are eligible and what your limits and balances are:

Picking an eligible Pay Over Time card
 

Do I Still Earn Rewards?

Yes, as long as you are enrolled in the American Express Membership Rewards program (which is typically automatic), you earn points on eligible charges including those that you pay over time.

Should I Use Pay Over Time?

We encourage anyone using credit cards to pay off his or her balance every month to avoid paying more, so unless you’re just enrolling to get bonus points you probably shouldn’t worry about Pay Over Time.

However, if you are stretched financially one month because of an emergency, it may be worth it to avoid going into credit card debt since this may cost you less.

American Express Pay It Plan It

Pay It and Plan It are separate features that you’ll typically find together. They allow you to pay off small or large purchases over time at no interest, with a fixed monthly payment. Here are some key things to note about the program:

  • Fees: There is a fixed monthly fee for Plan It, which will be shown to you up front.
  • Added flexibility:
    • Pay It allows you to immediately pay off small purchase amounts under $100 without waiting until your statement arrives.
    • Plan It provides an option to pay for qualifying large purchases of $100 or more over a fixed period of time instead of paying interest.
  • Payment options: You can pay your Plan It balance in full, the minimum amount due, or anything in between.
  • Length of time to pay purchases off: There are various durations offered ranging from 3 to 24 months.
  • Plan It enrollment: There is no sign up, application, or enrollment required. It is automatically embedded into eligible Amex products.
  • More information and eligibility: Check your Pay It Plan It eligibility here if you’d like to use the program.

Amex may offer you one, two, or three plan duration options for each qualifying purchase. The payment plan duration options vary based on factors such as the purchase amount, your account history, and your creditworthiness. The Plan It program is similar to an installment plan because you pay a set amount every month over a fixed amount of time.

Here’s how you can set up Plan It:

Image credit: American Express

Amex also has a Plan It calculator on its website which allows you to plan your Plan It purchase(s), showing how much you’d pay in different situations.

Sample Costs

Here’s an example of the calculator, and the cost of using this program for paying off a purchase.

A sample Pay It Plan It plan.
 

Here’s how the plan plays out with three different options for a $500 purchase:

6-Month Plan 12-Month Plan 18-Month Plan
Monthly payment $87.49 $45.85 $31.94
Monthly plan fee $4.15 $4.18 $4.16
Total plan fee $24.90 $50.16 $74.88
Total amount paid $524.90 $550.16 $574.88

Essentially, the longer the period of time you select to pay off the purchase, the more it will cost you in fees.

What Purchases Are Eligible?

Most big purchases are eligible for the Plan It feature, as long as they cost $100 or more. You can have up to 10 active plans at once, and each plan can consist of up to 10 purchases.

You can’t use Plan It for cash advances, cash equivalents, purchases subject to foreign transaction fees, or any fee including annual membership fees.

Pay It allows you to pay off items under $100 immediately via the American Express mobile app (you must use the app, it’s not available through the Amex website).

Which Amex Cards Can Use Pay It Plan It?

Most American Express consumer credit cards (including co-branded credit cards) are eligible for Pay It Plan It.

Here are some of our favorite Amex credit cards:

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% on purchases for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

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Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% for 15 months, then 12.99%–23.99% Variable

The information related to Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Purchase APR15.74%-24.74% (Variable)

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Purchase APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

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Prepaid cards and products, American Express corporate cards, American Express small business cards, and American Express-branded cards or account numbers issued by other financial institutions are not eligible for Pay It Plan It. Also, additional cardholders are not eligible for Pay It Plan It.

Do I Still Earn Rewards?

Yes, you’ll earn American Express Membership Rewards points or cash back on purchases in these plans, just like any other purchases.

Can I pay off my Amex plan early?

Yes, you’re able to pay any amount you’d like, but you won’t be able to direct your payments to a specific plan. Any amount you pay over your card balance will automatically be directed toward your Amex plan.

Should I Use Pay It Plan It?

If you find yourself in a bind, with some larger purchases all happening at once that you can’t pay for immediately, this could be a helpful way to finance them because the Pay It Plan It program will likely cost you less than the typical interest charges would.

Though there’s no interest, be aware of the monthly plan fee and total plan fee. Compare this to what you’d pay if you carried the balance, and go for the cheaper option.

However, it’s always best to pay off your credit card every month to avoid paying for anything more than the purchases themselves (i.e., interest).

Pay It offers an easy way to help your creditworthiness, because you’ll report a lower statement balance by immediately paying off small charges. Since one major factor impacting your credit scores is your credit usage, or credit utilization, a lower balance is pretty much always a good thing.

Make sure you pay attention to when your monthly plan payments are due so you don’t risk missing them. Set up automatic payments to ensure you’re always on time.

Other Credit Card Issuers With Similar Payment Options

Some other card issuers have similar programs, including:

  • Chase: Chase announced two new features in early 2019 — My Chase Plan and My Chase Loan, which were rolled out in August 2019. My Chase Plan is similar to Amex’s Pay It Plan It and My Chase Loan is a way to use an existing credit line to borrow money for larger purchases. 
  • Citi: Citi offers the Citi Flex Plan, a similar program to Amex’s Pay It Plan It where you can make fixed monthly payments to pay off purchases or a loan against your card’s credit line. Also, Citi Flex Loan lets cardholders utilize their Citi credit card limits as loans, where a fixed amount is paid over a fixed term up to 60 months, depending on eligibility.

Check out each credit card company’s website for more information on their programs. Or, if you have a card from one of these issuers, you can log in to your online account or call the number on the back of your card to find out more.

Looking to learn more about credit and credit cards? Find more topics in the Insider Academy.

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For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

Written by

Ellen Sirull

Ellen Sirull is a writer with over 15 years of experience, covering topics from personal finance to identity protection to credit and credit cards. Her work has been featured on CNBC, New York Daily News, Fox News, Yahoo! Finance, AOL Finance, Experian and the Identity Theft Resource Center. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling as much as possible and is always thinking about how best to invest her own money for retirement and her family’s well-being.

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