BankingReviews

American Express Personal Savings Review – A Good Option

American Express Personal SavingsAs a reformed spender, I love the opportunity to save money.  Unfortunately for all of us savers, the economy is not really geared to rewarding us for holding onto our money.  Even with low interest rates, I still love to save money and want to tell you about the American Express personal savings account.  One of my goals is to give my readers options on where they store their cash.  I am a big proponent of spreading your liquid assets in different places, so adding another savings account is no big thing for me.  I am also a big fan of American Express, because they are the holder of one of my favorite cash back credit cards.  Since my large banks are giving their savings customers a paltry 0.10%, anything better than that is good for everyone!

American Express Personal Savings – The Good, Bad, & Ugly

I figured I would break down the Amex personal savings account by doing a little good, bad, and ugly.  While I don’t really thing there is anything ugly about the American Express personal savings account, I am going with a theme here, so bear with me people!  I am going to provide some feedback into this savings account in hopes to give you options for your savings.  We have a big issue with savings in the US and I am not sure how to fix it.  At least we should try to reward people that are responsible with their money, but that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.

American Express personal savings

American Express Personal Savings – The Good

There are quite a few things that make the Amex personal savings account stand out.  Here are a few of what makes this savings account good and stand out in the competition of online savings accounts.

  • Competitive Rate – There are quite a few online savings account providers out there, but they all don’t provide competitive interest rates.  My big bank offers me a whopping 0.10% APY and that is just unacceptable.  The American Express personal savings account has a competitively high rate.
  • Quick Sign Up – No one likes to take a lot of time to sign up for something.  Luckily for you, American Express makes the account sign up a breeze.  You can be off and running in just a few minutes.  Sign up for the American Express personal savings account.
  • No Fees – We all hate bank fees, don’t we?  I know that I do, so I refuse to pay them.  American Express doesn’t charge fees for holding your money.  It is just that simple!
  • Federally Insured – We all like to make sure that our money is safe.  This Amex savings account is backed by the FDIC for at least $250,000.
  • Easy Electronic Transfers – In order to make the best out of this account, you should setup electronic transfers of your money from your regular checking account.  You can also setup automatic transfers to make saving effortless.
  • Customer Service – American Express has great customer service. I have never had any issues on either my savings account or with my credit card.
  • No Minimum Balance – I hate when I see banks put minimum caps on accounts.  Luckily, that is not the case here. There is no minimum initial deposit (well it is $1) and no ongoing minimum balance.  That is great to see.

The American Express personal savings signup

American Express Personal Savings – The Bad

From my experience with American Express, there aren’t too many things bad or ugly with the Amex personal savings account.  That being said, here is one thing that could be thought as bad.

  • Withdraws and Transfers – (Update: I have been made aware that this is a federal limit on transfers going out of the savings account.  You can deposit as much as you want.) What good is having money in an account if you can’t access it.  You can only have six transfers and withdraws per a billing cycle.  If you do a lot of saving, then this might be a problem. I know some people like to put money into their account every week, plus more.  If you are doing the 52-week savings challenge, then you could be pushing the limits.  You can only withdraw funds into an external account, unless you call them and get a check cut.  You should really link an external bank account in order to use the American Express personal savings.
  • Check Deposit Limitations – Do you like to deposit checks into your checking account?  This could be a little tougher with the American Express personal savings account.  The two real ways to deposit money is to transfer funds from an external account or send a check into American Express.  You can only deposit money into your account from account that you own.

American Express Personal Savings – The Ugly

As I indicated before, I am not I want to call this part ugly, but after reading some other customer reviews and from my experience, I think this is one area where American Express can improve.

  • Fund Hold Time – As with any banking institution, there is going to be a delay between when you initiate a transfer and when it actually comes into the account.  For some of my other accounts, this transfer takes a day or two.  Unfortunately, the Amex savings account can sometimes hold your funds for up to six business days.  I think this should be greatly improved.  That being said, if you are using this account as a true savings account, then this time shouldn’t really matter much.

My Experience with the American Express Personal Savings

As I said, I am a fan of diversifying my liquid funds, so it is natural to spread my money into multiple accounts.  While some of you will say that it can be hard to keep up with different accounts, I have a simple solution.  Personal Capital baby!  It is just like Mint, but it focuses on investing, while still aggregating all of my data.  I love it and highly recommend it.

OK, back on track now.  I signed up for the American Express personal savings account and had it funded in about a week. I had to wait for the first electronics transfer to get setup and then had to wait for my money to actually be transferred.  As I said, this is the biggest downfall.  Other than that, everything else has been extremely smooth. I like the American Express interface and recommend this account to any savers that don’t want to deal with investing.  They also offer CD’s if you are interested.

Would you put any of your savings in the American Express personal savings? Do you already have an account, and if so, how do feel about it?

Editor's Rating

Sign Up
Interest Rate
Customer Service
Ease of Use
The American Express savings account is a good online only option for those looking to score just a little more interest.

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $50,000 in debt. I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a blog management company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.

28 Comments

  1. February 4, 2014 at 8:35 am — Reply

    Hmmm I’m surprised you gave it such a high rating with this glaring fact: “You can only have six transfers and withdraws per a billing cycle.” My bank has no restrictions so I can’t imagine switching to one that does have a restriction.

    • February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am — Reply

      Actually DC, I used to work at a bank in their funding area and any true savings account actually has a limitation because of the tier classification with the Fed. Checking accounts have unlimited transactions and are the most liquid with the fed. The next tier, the money market savings type accounts, are limited to 6 transactions per regulations because it is defined as more “stable” money. Most people don’t hit this limit because it’s their savings account, but if you do, you will likely get a notice from your bank.

      • Grayson Bell
        February 4, 2014 at 10:04 am — Reply

        Thank you Shannon for the comment. I was going to reply with the same thing as I used to work at a bank as well. This limitation is very much there. Many banks don’t tell you about them until you get close to the limit. That limit is typically defined in their long terms pages though.

      • MomofTwoPreciousGirls
        February 4, 2014 at 8:15 pm — Reply

        And to clarify the 6 transaction limit is on WITHDRAWALS per fed law as mentioned. If you read the limitations it lists any type of electronic transaction FROM the account. You can deposit all you like!

        • Grayson Bell
          February 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm — Reply

          Awesome. Thank you for the information. I will update the post.

    • Grayson Bell
      February 4, 2014 at 10:03 am — Reply

      Hey DC, as Shannon indicated, true savings accounts have these limitations. I also used to work at a bank, one of the biggest in the country, and these limitations are very real. I think the account is still a good bet, because most people won’t hit this limit. I don’t see too many reasons why you would need to make 6 transfers per billing cycle, but who knows.

  2. February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am — Reply

    I noticed this 6 transactions limit recently when I was shopping for a new online bank. I didn’t realize this ever before. But like you said it has never affected me in the past. The hold time is a bummer too but I noticed many online banks have this policy as well.

    • Grayson Bell
      February 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm — Reply

      The transaction limit is not out there for everyone to see all of the time, but most banks have it. While the hold time can be bad, it is not always like that. With my transfers, I get my money in about 3 days. With my business account, it takes 6 days for the transfer to go through.

  3. MomofTwoPreciousGirls
    February 4, 2014 at 8:20 pm — Reply

    Any US bank must abide by the 6 transaction limit out of savings accounts. It’s called Reg D…I’m not usually one to rely on Wikipedia, but they are dead on about their explanation!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_D_(FRB)

    Hope that helps!

    • Grayson Bell
      February 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm — Reply

      Sometimes they have it spot on. Thank you for the link!

  4. February 5, 2014 at 10:42 am — Reply

    Grayson, I think the hold time is also a requirement for money transfers with the government, if I’m not mistaken. It definitely sucks, but what can you do? I currently have Ally and CapitalOne360 but I am looking at Amex.

    Does it link up with your Amex account if you have a credit card? Just curious if it uses the same log-on so you can view all of your accounts in one place. That would be a perk for me as I check my credit card frequently so it’d be nice to be able to see the savings at the same time.

  5. February 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm — Reply

    I have an Amex savings account although I don’t really use it much. I am a big fan of Amex products altogether. They have great service and are very flexible with their terms. the only bad thing is you usually have to have a really good credit score to apply.

    • Grayson Bell
      February 11, 2014 at 11:10 am — Reply

      Thanks for your feedback. I love their products as well. I get why they want people with good credit scores to use their products, so I am OK with that.

  6. Disappointed
    April 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm — Reply

    Has anyone noticed how am exp savings account rates are consistently going down and other banks are offering .95?

    • Grayson Bell
      April 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm — Reply

      They do seem to be going down. I have noticed that at a few bigger banks that have online savings accounts. Credit unions are still doing well.

  7. Christopher Kandrat
    April 17, 2014 at 8:44 am — Reply

    One of the best savings accounts around, may not be the highest yield. But the customer service is top notch. Won’t get that from other banks.

    • Grayson Bell
      April 17, 2014 at 10:30 am — Reply

      Thanks for the comment Christopher.

  8. Superman702
    April 29, 2014 at 3:26 am — Reply

    I just opened the savings account and looking in to some review. Yes the 6 withrawal/transaction limit in a cycle suck. But why do you need to do 6 different transaction on your savings?? If you know you’ll need money or you taking out money from your savings you can do it in one transaction. They don’t have amount limit so you can transfer everything in your savings to your external account. In regards to transfer wait. I spoke with Amex savings customer service and they do wire transfer from your savings to your external account without a fee. You just have to fill up there wire transfer and fax it to them and it only take 24hours for you to get it. And the customer service adviced me that once you do the wire transfer once you don’t have to fill up any form if you need to do another wire transfer. All you have to do is contact the customer service and they will look up your wire transfer paperwork on file and they can do the transfer via phone. But my question is the receiving end or so what you called external account. Do they charge to receive a wire transfer?? I have BOA on my external and I will go to the bank tomorrow to find out. But I hope this comment helps.

  9. July 2, 2014 at 11:20 am — Reply

    Great article. I’ve been thinking for a while now about moving my emergency fund from my credit union into an Amex Savings account. Since I just keep my emergency money in the bank, might as well get as much interest as possible!

    • Grayson Bell
      July 5, 2014 at 11:01 pm — Reply

      Does your credit union not provide you with a good interest rate on your savings? Mine is really competitive, but I think the Amex savings account is a good one to put money in. Capital One 360 isn’t too bad either.

  10. Max
    July 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm — Reply

    Overall a good review but I would add one caveat: if you have AmEx credit cards and are in serious debt, don’t do it. Even though legally AmEx Personal Savings is a completely separate entity from their other products—for example, you cannot link your High Yield Savings with your AmEx cards and it’s a totally separate login—they can still freeze your HYSA if you’re missing payments or headed towards Chapter 7.

    In general it’s a bad idea to have a serious long-term high yield savings account with a bank that you also have credit cards with, unless you’re in the top bracket where the possibility of going into debt is nil and you’re able to pay off your card balances in full each month.

    This is why I prefer savings-only online banks. I would love to see an in-depth review of Everbank. They offer the best High Yield Savings and Money Market accounts, but with a $5,000 opening minimum. I’ve read a couple reviews here and there, but they weren’t very detailed and didn’t seem like they had used it for very long. Everbank also offers business accounts which is a major plus considering most of the online banks are geared towards personal savings. I would love to find a bank that offers interest checking for business with no minimums and no fees.

    My biggest issue with AmEx Personal Savings is that it’s extremely limited in comparison with other online banks that at least offer interest checking and shorter holds in transfers. In general I don’t trust credit card companies at all, so I’m biased in that regard since AmEx is principally a credit card institution rather than a savings and investment bank that also happens to offer credit cards. I would avoid CapitalOne360 for the same reason, and the big banks as well (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, Citi, etc) since they are all infinitely more corrupt than any of the online-only banking institutions that focus on savings and encourage saving for the future rather than driving people into hopeless debt and bankruptcy.

    Just my two cents worth.

    • Grayson Bell
      July 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm — Reply

      Thanks for the information Max. Yes, they can do that as they are one single company and you owe them money. Other companies can do the same thing if you are not paying your bills.

      I have multiple savings accounts for this reason at different banks. I do plan on doing an in-depth review of Everbank soon as they have a good product.

      AmEx personal savings is just that. A savings account. Their scope is not limited because they are named as a savings account. You shouldn’t expect a checking account option with every savings account you open. Getting into checking is a different ballgame and that is why AmEx doesn’t do it.

      Just as an FYI, many of the online only banks are not truly online only. Many of them are backed by the same bank (bancorp) which is a large bank. All of your funds are being held by Bancorp and a few other large institutions. So, all in all, your money is still sitting in the big banks.

  11. don
    September 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm — Reply

    After opening an account and Mailing in a check, it hadn’t been deposited for 10 calendar days, so I cancelled payment, cost me $25.

    • Grayson Bell
      September 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm — Reply

      Why did you stop the check? If it was only addressed to them, then it would have only been good if they deposited it. Did they respond to your inquiry?

  12. Steff
    December 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm — Reply

    I been using Amex Personal Savings since 09/03/2014… not sure if I should be rating yet but so far it good. The opening of my account was easy and fast, no complications there. I have not used their customer service yet. I do prefer Amex over Capital 360 since they have my account with a Interest rate of 0.84642% and a APY of 0.85%.

    It’s great competitive rates to my eyes and I don’t even have $1,000 in there yet.

    Well update my product rating if anything changes though.

    • Grayson Bell
      December 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm — Reply

      Well, it sounds like it’s working out for you. They have a good savings account and a competitive rate. Thanks for stopping by to comment on the Amex Savings!

  13. Christine Pompeo
    July 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm — Reply

    has anyone used Ally Bank? how does it measure up against AmexExpress? I am only getting .03 percent in my Money market account in my regular bank and that’s not good enough. Ally is giving the highest rate that i know of .99 percent. are they reliable? any issues that someone would like to share about Ally or Amex. Express

    • Grayson Bell
      July 4, 2015 at 12:54 pm — Reply

      I haven’t used Ally for some time, but when I had them, they were good. No problems with funding my account or pulling out money. I don’t think you will have an issue with either one Christine.

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