American Express - do most merchants accept?

liz_hFebruary 9, 2007

We have an offer for a 0% for 1 year, no fee American Express. Although we currently have no debt, we will have a cash crunch over the next few months. We could borrow against a bank CD, but would have to pay interest. The idea of using a 0% credit card for our daily expenses to accumulate some cash is very attractive! My only concern is how many places accept AmEx? I'm thinking of things like the grocery store, car repairs, utilities, etc. We currently use a VISA for nearly all routine purchases, paying it off each month.

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I've used a(fee-free) Amex blue cash for several years, and rarely have to pull my backup Visa out of my wallet.

You may want to checkout There are many posts about different credit card rewards programs there.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 7:28PM
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I would call the stores you currently frequent and see if they accept AMEX. Our larger stores/gas stations do. Our utility companies don't. More often, smaller merchants like our auto shop, or even Baskin Robbins do not. I use my AMEX a great deal for online shopping and with Paypal.

You will just have to check.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 1:16AM
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The only credit card that Costco accepts is AMEX.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 2:46AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

We have an offer for a 0% for 1 year, no fee American Express.

I have never seen a credit card that has 0% on purchases for a year. Those sneaky offers are usually for transfers (they hope you will transfer big bucks and then not pay them off within the 1 year time period). They often charge a transfer fee of 3% right off the bat too. Read the fine print to see.

Additionally, on those same cards, there is always (from what I have seen) interest charged on ALL purchases.
When payments are made, the payment is applied to the 0% transfer...meaning you will be paying interest on all the purchases until the initial transfer is paid off.

we will have a cash crunch over the next few months
If the above is true, you might want to just get a lump sum amount on a transfer (to yourself) and use from those funds as needed. As the one year draws to an end, decide then what the best way would be to pay it off if it goes to a big interest rate.

All 0% credit cards are not created equal.

Last year I borrowed $5,000...(home project)...0% on transfers, and no transfer fee. I had it set up for automatic payments to come from my checking account assuring a payment would never be late...(or the 0% status could be changed by them). As the interest free neared the end, I 'found' I had enough extra money not working for me to pay it off b4 there was a cent of interest charged.

I might add too that once I made the transfer, I hid the card away and didn't carry it for fear of maybe using it, and then having to pay interest on the purchases until the other was paid off.

Years ago I had an AE card, and back then there were a lot of places that did not take them.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 8:09AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

There are cards with no interest on transfers and purchases...seems they all charge transfer fees though.

Maybe what you have really is interest free on purchases for a year...though there might be a transfer fee on transfers.

Initially I signed up for the 0% for 12 months (via phone...don't like using the net for such things if I don't have to. When I got the card, it had a silly $500 limit...sheesh! I called them about it and they said it was 'usually' increased as the card was used and paid well. They then 'noticed' I had $5000 credit available on another Citi card, so between the 2 Citi card places, the available credit was moved to the 0% card. Did that make any sense?

Sue...who probably needs more coffee

Here is a link that might be useful: Cards with 0%

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 8:25AM
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kksmama - thanks, I'll take a look

quiltglo - Thank you for pointing out what should be an obvious step - that I probably wouldn't have thought of!

Sue - This one is no interest on purchases, but either a transfer fee or interest on transfers, I forget which. Many years ago, I took advantage of a few 0% interest for a year on transfers, and borrowed $50,000 which sat in a money market. The payments were on automatic transfer, and I made about $2000 off the credit card company. But the emotional satisfaction of making money from the very instrument that had cost me so much over the years was worth far more! I imagine a few people did things like this, which may be why the credit cards wised up and started charging more often for transfers and setting lower limits.

I got one of those 0%, $500 limit cards once too. They wouldn't raise it for me, so I told them to cancel the card. That limit might make sense for a college kid, or someone with terrible credit, but for a responsible adult it's somewhere between a joke and an insult!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 11:31AM
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Our Costco no longer accepts AMEX, so we had to dig the Discover back out.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 11:32PM
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I've been living with only a green Amex credit card and my bank debit card for about 2 yrs now. I buy groceries (Amex), gas (Amex or debit), pay bills as needed with one or the other. I've not had any problems with just Amex for the credit card.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 5:30AM
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I used an Amex for about 6 months (taking advantage of an offer to charge 3500 and get 50 free). It was declined twice, once at my beach club and once at another smaller store (I forget for what)

Apparently amex lowered how much it charged merchants a few years ago so its more in line with Visa and Mastercard

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 9:15AM
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"Our Costco no longer accepts AMEX, so we had to dig the Discover back out."

We just opened an AMEX account two weeks ago at Costco... because they won't take my Discover!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 12:53PM
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The discussion of Costco and which credit cards they accept reminded me of something I had almost forgotten. Years ago, which credit cards were in common use was a very regional thing. I remember a friend from here in North Texas traveled back east and found that his credit card (VISA?) wasn't accepted anywhere. Otoh, another card that we almost never saw was accepted everywhere - I think that card was Diners Club or AmEx.

So for those of you who commonly use an AmEx, are you anywhere near Texas?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 2:49PM
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I commonly use Amex and I'm near Chicago. But I've used it at Costco near my sister in suburban Detroit, grocery stores near my other sister in Los Angeles, when visiting in-laws near Dallas. If Amex doesn't work and I don't have enough cash on the debit card, my attitude is that I don't really need it that bad.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 4:13PM
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