American Express Clear

American Express Clear

American Express Clear

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American Express Clear

American Express Clear

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Card details

  • Earn 1% on purchases

  • $25 cash card for every $2,500 spent

Rates, fees & offers

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Rewards rate

    1.00%

  • Bonus offer

    None

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Ongoing APR

    Min APR: 17.99%, Variable

    Max APR: 22.99%, Variable

    Penalty APR: 27.99%, Variable

    Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

Recommended credit score

Compare to other cards

American Express Clear Credit Card

American Express Clear

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

17.99% - 22.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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NerdWallet review

By Mike Anderson

Rating details

3

Editor's overall rating

Pros and cons

Pros
  • No late fee

  • No annual fee

Cons

    The American Express Clear promises no fees: the $0 and it has no balance transfer fee, over-limit fee, cash-advance fee or late fee. You’ll also earn 1% on rewards, and American Express will put that cash back on a gift card for every $2,500 you spend. All in all, you might as well just apply, if only to keep your credit score up.

    It’s true that the rewards rate isn’t special, but the no-fee part is a plus. Because the annual fee is $0, you can keep the card open at no cost to you and boost your credit score simultaneously. This is because the credit bureaus evaluate you for the following: the average length of your accounts, your overall credit limit, and the number of your accounts in good standing.

    In other words, with the American Express Clear, you can keep your card open for a long time, boost your credit limit and have one more account to boast about to your credit scorers – assuming you do indeed make repayments on time.

    While we do recommend this card for its credit-score boost, we can’t say the same about its no-fee policy: it’s a little gimmicky.

    The value of no annual fee and no late fee is pretty obvious. But what about those other fees that American Express forgives: the balance transfer, over-limit and cash advance fees, which are discussed much less often in card reviews?

    No balance transfer fee

    When you make a balance transfer, you transfer the amount you owe from one card to another, most often to a card with a lower balance-transfer APR; the goal is to consolidate and, eventually, eradicate debt at the lowest interest rate possible.

    The balance transfer fee is something else entirely: it’s a one-time fee that most card companies charge simply to process the transaction. Usually, the rate is about 3% of your balance. The American Express Clear may give you a break on that fee, but you still face charges on APR – The ongoing APR is 17.99% - 22.99% Variable – which is of much greater concern anyway. That rate will grow your balance rather quickly: after just 2 months, the charges you’ve incurred with APR will outweigh the benefit of no transfer fee.

    Clearly, for someone who really does need debt relief, this card offers small comfort. Look to a card like the Citi Simplicity® Card instead, which gives you 0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR.

    No over-limit fee

    This feature may have helped out card carriers in the past, but now it’s irrelevant. Since the CARD Act was passed in 2009, no card company is allowed to charge an over-limit fee. The Act does have a provision that allows you to opt for that over-limit fee if you so choose, but I don’t know why you would.

    No cash advance fee

    Like American Express's policy on balance transfers, this relief on cash advance fees is small comfort. You may not pay to make the cash advance happen, but you will pay 25.24% APR on your cash-advance balance.

    These clear gimmicks aside, the American Express Clear is a fine card. It’s not the best for rewards, but it’ll do as you build that credit score.