I'm financing a car right now, and I've been paying on time. I just got offered a Green Card by American Express. What do you think about this card? Is there a good starter card that you recommend?

By , CardRatings contributor
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There's nothing wrong with the American Express® Green Card (American Express is a CardRatings.com advertiser), except that its annual fee runs a little high compared to other companies' entry level credit cards. In addition, the way that American Express reports your Green Card history to credit bureaus could weirdly affect your credit score if you don't have other credit cards. I would ask an American Express customer service agent if you qualify for this alternative:

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Unlike the Green Card, you can carry a balance when you need to with AmEx's cash back credit card. On eligible purchases you can earn cash back rewards. Terms and limitations apply. Your cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. There is no enrollment required, as they offer the same reward categories year-round. There is no annual fee. Terms and restrictions apply.

Even if you're only eligible right now for a Green Card, I think it's still worth your while to check out the terms of your offer. They are offering many new cardmembers an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, after that the $95 annual fee kicks in, and it's likely that you may graduate to an American Express® Gold Card or to an account with more perks by the time your Green Card comes up for renewal. Keep in mind the Green Card is a charge card and you will need to pay your balance in full each month.

In addition, I've found that many Green Card members under utilize some of the other features of their accounts, especially:

  • Extended Warranty. Add up to an extra year to the warranty coverage on eligible purchases. This may save you hundreds of dollars if you need to replace or repair a smartphone or a computer. There are some exclusions and restrictions.
  • Roadside Assistance Hotline. Call in case of emergency for coordination and assistance service. Third-party costs would be your responsibility. There are some exclusions and restrictions.

Over the past few years, American Express has retained true elite status among credit card issuers. A relationship you start with them now may come in handy later.


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