American Express Essential Credit Card

Enjoy Membership Rewards points without an annual fee, plus complimentary smartphone screen insurance and access to Amex offers and experiences.

The American Express Essential is a no annual fee credit card designed to suit modest spenders, with a combination of money-saving features and complimentary extras. This card offers a low ongoing purchase rate and complimentary insurance covers.

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14.99% p.a.

Purchase rate


Reward points

Per $ spent

$0 p.a.

Annual fee

55 days

Interest free period

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Product NameAmerican Express Essential Credit Card
Rewards programMembership Rewards Gateway
Purchase rate14.99% p.a.
Annual fee$0
Interest-free periodUp to 55 days on purchases
Min credit limit$2,000
Max credit limit$25,000
Card typeAmerican Express
Foreign currency conversion fee3%
Minimum income$40,000
Available to temporary residentsYes - Conditions apply
Joint applicationNo


  • $0 annual fee
  • Transfer points to a choice of 8 airline rewards partner programs
  • Competitive purchase rate of 14.99% p.a.
  • Smartphone screen insurance of up to $500 per claim and up to two claims per 12-month period will be covered.


  • Charges a 3% transaction fee when used overseas or for making online payments in a foreign currency
Rewards programMembership Rewards Gateway
Bonus pointsN/A
Rewards points per $ spent1.25
Rewards points capUncapped
Annual fee$0
Minimum monthly repayment2.5% of the closing balance or $30, whichever is greater
Late payment fee$30
Foreign currency conversion fee3%
Additional cardholder fee$0
Number of additional cardholders4

Review by

Amy Bradney-George has been writing about personal finance for more than 13 years – including over 600 articles as a senior writer for Finder. Her work has also appeared in publications including Money Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, Financy, ABC News Australia and Equity Magazine. Amy has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Drama from Griffith University.

Expert review

The American Express Essential has the rare combination of rewards and an ongoing $0 annual fee. Its competitive purchase rate of 14.99% p.a. also stands out when compared to the typically high interest rates seen on other rewards credit cards. Plus you can use this card through Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, with the added benefit of complimentary smartphone screen insurance.

How to apply

If you've checked out a few credit cards and want to get the Amex Essential, you can apply online in around 10 minutes and may get a response within 60 seconds of completing the application. Get started by making sure you meet the eligibility criteria and that you have all the documents and details needed for the application.

Eligibility criteria

  • Minimum income. You must earn a minimum annual income of $40,000.
  • Residency. You must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or hold a current long term visa (12 months or more). Student visas are not eligible.

Card benefits

  • Membership Rewards Points. The Amex Essential earns 1.25 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent with government bodies in Australia. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, Select + Pay with Points and more through Membership Rewards, or transferred to airline partner programs including Velocity Frequent Flyer and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
  • Complimentary purchase insurance covers. Use the American Express Essential to pay for eligible purchases and get peace of mind with purchase protection insurance, refund protection insurance and extended warranty cover (known as "Buyer's Advantage").

Rates & fees

  • $0 annual fee. There is no annual fee for the American Express Essential.
  • Interest rate. The Amex Essential has an ongoing purchase rate of 14.99% p.a. Note that you cannot make cash advance transactions with the Amex Essential.
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