AmEx Debuts No-Fee Credit Card with Premium-Style Rewards

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American Express Co. Debuts No-Fee Card With Premium-Style Rewards
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Elizabeth Dexheimer

American Express (AXP) is seeking to broaden its customer base by offering its first no-fee credit product that grants holders access to all of the lender's rewards programs.

The "EveryDay" card is AmEx's biggest debut in terms of the amount of money spent on development and marketing since AmEx launched its "Blue" brand in 2000, according to Ed Gilligan, president of AmEx. The card issuer, already the biggest by purchases, is seeking new kinds of customers including U.S. mothers by offering incentives such as extra points for shopping at supermarkets, Gilligan said.

"This segment didn't think AmEx had a product that fit their needs," Gilligan said in an interview at the firm's New York headquarters.

AmEx, whose business was built on charge cards that didn't allow consumers to carry a balance, is seeking ways to increase loans and net interest income, which Gilligan has said comprise a smaller part of revenue than for competitors. Loans are increasing at AmEx slightly faster than the rest of the industry and they're regarded as an important source of future revenue growth, he told analysts last month.

Unlike with AmEx's charge cards, EveryDay customers will have a spending limit and won't be required to pay their balance in full each month, according to AmEx. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%They also won't get extra perks such as earning triple rewards for travel and dining or access to entertainment events that are available to some customers who pay an annual fee on other types of cards.

Terms call for the new card to carry a zero-percent interest rate for the first 15 months and 12.99 percent to 21.99 percent afterward, according to the company. Customers will have access to the full rewards program, which includes perks like transferring travel points that aren't available on other AmEx products that don't have an annual fee such as Blue, the firm said.

The new card comes with EMV anti-fraud technology -- named for founders EuroPay International, MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) -- that's designed to provide better security than cards with magnetic strips.

To promote the card, which will be available by April 2, AmEx planned television advertisements featuring Tina Fey to run during the Academy Awards and photographs by Annie Leibovitz that will appear in print publications.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Dexheimer in New York at edexheimer@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net


10 PHOTOS
8 Foolproof Ways to Grow Your Savings
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AmEx Debuts No-Fee Credit Card with Premium-Style Rewards

This is my personal favorite! Think of yourself as a regular monthly bill you have to pay. All you have to do is arrange to have a set amount of money directly deposited from your paycheck into a savings account each month.

I recommend using a separate savings account because if you have access to your funds in your checking account, you're more likely to spend them. Again, it might hurt a bit at first to take home a little less every month, but trust me, after a while you won't even notice it's gone. Here's a moment when the "set it and forget it" strategy works wonders.

It feels great to be rewarded for your hard work. And it feels even better to spend that hard-earned bonus on something you’ll enjoy, like a trip to France or an iPad. At the same time, the pleasure of a vacation or new gadget is short-lived compared to financial security.

So make a pact with yourself to put every bonus you get from here on out to good use. If you direct 90 percent of your bonuses straight into your savings account as a rule, you’ll still have 10 percent to treat yourself with (plus the comfort of knowing that you're building a well-earned safety net). I live by this rule.

OK, OK, this seems like an obvious one -- and easier said than done. Actually, most people spend money on more unnecessary items than they think. So take time to look at where your money is going in detail and begin to cut back. Saving $10 here and there could help you put a lot away in the long run.
Many banks offer seasonal accounts meant to save for holidays like Christmas. These accounts give you reduced access to your accounts, charging a hefty penalty each time you withdraw more than permitted. Since emergencies don't occur often, a seasonal account could make sure you're touching it only when needed (just make sure you're not tempted to blow it all on Christmas gifts).
I love this one. Chalk it up to my massive craving for organization, but I'm all about getting rid of things I no longer use. Rather than throwing these unused goods away, start selling them, and put that money into your emergency fund. All you need to do is post them to a site like eBay or Craigslist or Amazon and you can get rid of items from the comfort of your home. You can also take your clothes to a consignment shop to have them sold for you.
Instead of saving your pennies, put aside any $5 bills that come your way. Never spend a $5 bill again, and you'll be surprised by how quickly this silly trick will help you come up with a few hundred dollars to add to an emergency fund.
You could pick up odd jobs via websites like TaskRabbit.com, DoMyStuff.com, Elance.com, FreelanceSwitch.com or Sitters.com.
If you get a cash-back reward for any spending on your credit card, just make it a rule that those dollars will be dedicated to your freedom fund. It may only add up to $100 extra each year, depending on your spending, but every little bit counts.
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