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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.
The Pay Over Time option is available for select Amex charge cards, while Pay It Plan It is for eligible Amex credit cards. Amex may or may not offer you these programs; whether it does may depend on your card activity and creditworthiness.
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 charge cards and credit cards is how much you have to pay off each billing cycle compared to how much you owe:
This feature basically turns your charge card into a typical credit card, letting you carry a balance from month to month while accruing interest. Some key things to note about the Pay Over Time program for eligible Amex charge card members include:
Amex may offer bonus rewards points for enrolling in the Pay Over Time option (usually 10,000). If you’re an American Express charge cardholder, be on the lookout in your email for targeted offers and consider waiting until you get one to enroll.
You only have to enroll in the Pay Over Time program to get the bonus points, you don’t have to use it. Paying your balance in full each month is still the best bet, just as with any credit card.
Most purchases are eligible. However, the American Express terms and conditions call out a few stipulations, including:
There are three different Pay Over Time programs:
If you have one of these Amex charge cards, you may be able to use this program:
Other charge cards may be ineligible. You can log in to the Amex site or mobile app to see if your charge cards are eligible and what your limits and balances are:
This benefit isn’t automatic for every cardholder of an eligible card, as Amex still determines eligibility. If you have any questions about the program or enrolling, just call the number on the back of your card and an Amex representative can help you.
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.
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.
Pay It Plan It allows you to pay off large purchases over time at no interest, with a fixed monthly payment. Here are some key things to note about the program for eligible Amex credit card members:
Amex offers 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 Pay It Plan It (also known as the Plan It feature):
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.
Here’s an example of the calculator, and the cost of using this program for paying off a purchase.
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 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.
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).
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:
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.
Yes, you’ll earn American Express Membership Rewards points or cash back on these purchases as well.
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.
Some other card issuers have similar programs, including:
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.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold 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 Business Green Rewards Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
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