American Express Plum Review: Payment Flexibility for Business

Designed for businesses with irregular cash flow: If you pay early, you get a 1.5% discount. If you need more time, you can get up to 60 days to pay without interest.
Ben LuthiAug 20, 2018

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Our Take

3.3

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: This card makes sense for businesses that need wiggle room on their accounts payable. Others should look for a straight-up rewards card.

American Express Plum Card Credit Card

on American Express's website

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No reward caps

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • No bonus offer
  • Complicated rewards

Alternate Pick: Straightforward rewards

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

American Express® Business Gold Card

Get points rather than payment flexibility

This card has no preset spending limit and gives you 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month and 1 point per $1 on everything else. The annual fee is $295.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$250

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

N/A

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99% - 20.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.24% - 19.24% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

Unlike a lot of cards aimed at entrepreneurs, The Plum Card® from American Express isn't simply a consumer rewards card dressed up in small-business attire. Its signature benefits are realized when you pay, not when you spend. If your business has uneven or inconsistent cash flow, The Plum Card® from American Express can help be a useful tool for managing working capital. It's not cheap, though — the annual fee is pretty pricey.

The Plum Card® from American Express: Basics

To view rates and fees of The Plum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Card type: Small business.

Annual fee: $250. There is no cost for additional cards, such as for employees.

New cardholder offer: None.

Rewards: None.

Interest rate: None. Your entire balance is due each billing cycle. However, see the "flexible payment options" section below.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Benefits of the The Plum Card® from American Express

Flexible capital

The Plum Card® from American Express doesn't have a pre-set spending limit. While this doesn't translate into unlimited spending, your purchasing power is more flexible than it would be if you had a set limit like with a credit card.

It also doesn't allow you to carry a balance from one month to the next. Your balance is usually due in full when you receive your statement. But this is where The Plum Card® from American Express is distinctive.

Flexible payment options

Every month, you have a minimum payment due, which is equal to 10% of your new charges plus any previously deferred balance. You must pay this amount by the due date or you'll be charged a late fee. Everything else, you can either pay or defer:

  • Amounts paid within 10 days of your statement closing date earn a 1.5% discount on the amount paid. The discount appears as a credit on your next statement. So if you paid $10,000 early enough to qualify, you'd get a $150 credit the next month. Note that the date that matters here is your closing date, not the due date. The closing date is when the billing period ends and your statement is prepared; it's a few weeks before the due date.

  • Amounts paid more than 10 days after your closing date but before your due date will not earn a discount.

  • Anything not paid by the due date will be carried forward to the next statement without interest. This can give you as much as 60 days to pay for a purchase without interest. This compares with the roughly 25-day grace period offered by typical business credit cards.

The discount for early payment and the extra time for deferred payments can create breathing room for businesses with irregular cash flow.

Nerdy tip: You'll break even on this card's annual fee if you receive the 1.5% discount on $16,667 worth of spending a year. Put another way, if each month you pay $1,389 early enough to qualify for the 1.5% discount, you'll make up for the fee.

American Express Business

American Express Business is a service offered to small business owners with some significant perks:

  • Stay on top of your expenses with ReceiptMatch with Quickbooks.

  • Shop at an online bonus mall designed for business owners where you can get a 5% discount or bonus Membership Rewards points with purchases from partners like Hertz, FedEx, Hyatt, Hewlett-Packard and more.

  • Get advice and share ideas with other small business owners in the forum.

No foreign transaction fees

Unlike many American Express cards, The Plum Card® from American Express has no foreign transaction fees, making it a good choice if you travel internationally for your business.

The Plum Card® from American Express: Pitfalls and other possibilities

Every card has weaknesses, and The Plum Card® from American Express is no different. Consider the following before applying:

You can't carry a balance

You face steep penalties if you don't pay your balance according to the card's terms. For example, if you're 30 days past due, you'll be charged a late fee of 1.5% of the past-due amount, or $39, whichever is greater.

For example, if you have a $50,000 balance that's 30 days past due, that's a $750 penalty. That can be a big deal if your company is in a dry period for cash flow.

Benefits are conditional

To earn the 1.5% discount with The Plum Card® from American Express, you have to pay your balance within 10 days of your statement date. The Capital One Spark Cash Select - $500 Cash Bonus, by comparison, has unlimited 1.5% cash-back rewards regardless of when you pay your bill, and it doesn't charge the hefty fee of the The Plum Card® from American Express. You can earn a cash sign-up bonus, too.

The annual fee is high

Having the perks of American Express Business and access to more capital comes at a price. The annual fee on the The Plum Card® from American Express$250 — is high compared with other business cards.

Consider the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card if you're looking to skip the big annual fee but still want to earn rewards. You earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on cellular and landline phone service, Internet and cable TV; 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants; and 1% cash back on everything else. (The 5% and 2% cash-back bonus rewards apply only to the first $25,000 spent on the corresponding bonus categories each account anniversary year.) The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card has a terrific cash sign-up bonus, too.

Check out our roundup if you’re still wondering what is the best credit card for your business needs.

The Plum Card® from American Express: Is it right for you?

There are two types of business owners who can benefit from using The Plum Card® from American Express: Those who have enough cash on hand to pay early and get the 1.5% discount, and those who prefer to have more time to pay off their balance than to earn rewards. And some business owners fall into both categories at different times. But if you're sensitive to annual fees or your business will need to carry a balance, consider another card.

To view rates and fees of The Plum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, see this page.

Frequently asked questions