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American Express Rewards Checking Review 2022: Should You Get One?

In February 2022, American Express launched its first consumer digital checking account, offering a competitive APY (annual percentage yield) and rewarding Amex cardholders with points for eligible debit card purchases.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics, pros/cons, and whether it’s worth it for you.

Amex Rewards Checking Account Features


One of the big advantages of the account is that it doesn’t have a lot of the fees you would typically expect. For example, it has no monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees. Plus, you don’t have to worry about overdraft fees since it’s a debit card; the transaction will just decline. You can also withdraw money for free at over 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs.

There are still fees though. For example, there’s a 2.7% foreign transaction fee. If you travel abroad frequently and use a debit card, it might make sense to add a different card that has that feature.

Interest Rates

The account offers 0.5% APY which is dramatically higher than the 0.03% average interest rate for other banks.


Earning Points in Debit Transactions

The debit card earns you 1 Amex Membership Rewards point for every $2 in qualifying debit card spend. This is one of the most interesting parts of the program if you care about points.

Is this worth it? For transactions where you can use a credit card, probably not. This is interesting for purchases that are limited to debit cards though or ones where credit cards are prohibitively expensive (i.e., fees outweighing the points you earn). The fact that debit cards are usually not great earners makes this an interesting play.

Combining Points

The MR points earned through the checking account are the same as the MR points earned from cards like the Platinum or the Gold. This means that you can combine your points to get more value, including the ability to transfer them to partners.

If you only have an Amex consumer card that earns rewards other than Membership Rewards points, such as the Amex Blue Cash Preferred® Card or a co-branded Amex card like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, you can still sign up for Amex Rewards Checking and earn points on debit card transactions. Your only option, however, will be to redeem a deposit into your account at a rate of 0.8 cents per point. This means that if you have accumulated 10,000 points, you will receive $80.

Interestingly, by having this account, you’ll be able to redeem all your MR points (regardless of how they’re earned) at the 0.8 CPP rate. If you have the Gold or Platinum and don’t want (or can’t get) the Schwab Platinum, then this might be a good alternative to cash out your points.

Mobile App

With the American Express mobile app’s chat feature, you can reach their customer service 24/7. You can also use the app to deposit checks, set up monthly American Express bill payments, send money to Venmo or PayPal users, manage your alerts and more.

Purchase Protection

Tap-and-go payments are supported with the included debit card at participating retailers. Purchase protection is available for qualifying purchases and covers accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from the moment you use your card to make a purchase. This coverage is limited to a maximum of $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account, per calendar year. There are other exclusions and nuances, so I would check out the terms PDF for details.

So, Should You Open An American Express Rewards Checking Account?

The Amex Rewards Checking account is competitive given the ability to earn points, minimal fees, and cash out optionality. It might make sense to wait for an intro bonus but, outside of that, it’s an easy pickup in my book.

Right now, only American Express consumer credit card holders are eligible to apply for the Amex Rewards Checking account. I think it might make sense to have it as a backup system but I wouldn’t prioritize it if you have more competitive options.

If you’re focused on interest rates, there are other checking accounts that might provide more value, especially if you’re not focused on things like FDIC insurance.

However, if your goal is to accrue as many Membership Rewards points as possible on all of your purchases, the account could be worth having to cover transactions where debit cards make more sense.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
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Editorial Note:
Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.