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American Express Essential Credit Card

Offers a $200 account credit, points per $1 spent and complimentary smartphone screen cover and has no annual fee.

The American Express Essential Card gives you a combination of perks and money-saving features.

It earns 1.25 Membership Rewards points per $1 on eligible spending, including supermarket shopping, dining, fuel and travel bookings. With government bodies, you’ll earn 1 point per $1 spent.

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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 rate p.a.14.99%
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


  • $200 credit introductory offer
  • $0 annual fee
  • Transfer points to a choice of 8 airline rewards partner programs
  • Competitive purchase rate of 14.99% p.a.
  • Smartphone screen cover 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 has been writing about personal finance for more than 13 years – including over 600 articles as a senior writer for Finder. She is also the editorial lead for Finder Green, covering sustainability across different industries. Her work has appeared in publications including Money Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, Financy, ABC News Australia and Equity Magazine. Amy also has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Drama from Griffith University.

Expert review

The American Express Essential Card 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. While you can find low rate cards with more competitive purchase rates, they don’t usually offer rewards. Plus you get the added benefit of complimentary smartphone screen cover.

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

  • New cardholder. To be eligible for the statement credit, you must apply for a new card and cannot hold or have held an American Express credit card in the last 18 months.
  • Minimum income. You must earn a minimum annual income of $40,000.

Card benefits

  • $200 statement credit. This card gives you $200 back on your account when you apply as a new Amex card member and spend $1,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card approval. The credit will then appear on your statement within 8 to 10 weeks after the spend criteria has been met.
  • 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.

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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