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April 24, 2006

American Express Clear: No Fees of Any Kind*

Filed under: Finance — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:38 am

American Express Clear

American Express has a new credit card called “Clear.” The primary benefit of the card is that there are “absolutely no fees of any kind.”

*MOUSE PRINT: Buried in the terms and conditions is the additional 2% fee they tack onto transactions made in foreign currencies: “Transactions in Foreign Currencies: Transactions made in foreign currencies are subject to a conversion rate. Foreign currency conversion rate is base rate plus 2%, as described in the Cardmember Agreement.”  [AMEX website, April 13, 2006]

To their credit the list of fees they do NOT charge is impressive: late fees, annual fees, over-the-limit fees, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, dishonored check fees, wire transfer fees, stop payment order fees, and statement copy fees.

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  1. Everybody’s charging for foreign transactions now. Is this a sudden decision by the credit card companies, or are *they* being charged by someone else and passing it on to us?

    Comment by Bruce — April 23, 2006 @ 3:14 am
  2. Visa/Mastercard both charge 1% foreign currency conversion fee and then send the charge in US dollars to the bank. Since they trade so much money this 1% is still way better than you can do at any money changer.

    Then the banks tack on another 2% even though it is already in USD. Why? When I called to ask, the answer was pretty much ‘because we do’. I called my credit union and now have a card from them that does not tack on the 2%. So if you’re traveling outside the US, it is a good idea to join a credit union and get their card.

    Nowadays, credit unions are getting easier and easier to join. Find one in your area.

    Comment by mike — April 23, 2006 @ 8:02 pm
  3. I have this card and I love it! Amex has a really great offer here compared to any other card I have seen.

    This is a non-issue for the majority of people that would get this card in my opinion.

    Comment by Jeremy — September 26, 2006 @ 8:31 am
  4. I live in Sweden, so technically every purchase I make is an overseas purchase.

    My own bank charges 7% foreign currency conversion unless you have a business account. This is actually not uncommon here. However, the fact that I’m American means I deal always with foreign currency on a daily basis. So no matter what direction I choose I get shafted.

    Comment by FoxP — September 26, 2006 @ 10:51 am
  5. As with other Amex cards, do they requrie you to have their basis Green card?

    I cancelled my Amex card beacuse they don’t waive the annual fee for this no matter what.

    Call it what you will, but making you have acard they charge you a fee on to get a clear card with no fees is, indeed, charging a fee.

    Comment by Nick R — September 26, 2006 @ 11:16 am
  6. I had a Blue card from them and didn’t have to have the Green card. Once I read about the Clear card, I called them and changed my Blue to a Clear with no problem, so I don’t think you have to.

    Comment by Greg — September 26, 2006 @ 9:53 pm
  7. The foreign conversion fees banks charge are absolutely rediculous in my opinion. What extra service are financial institutions providing that in comparison to stateside purchases?

    There are a lot of Americans living overseas who get paid in dollars. Every time we go onto the local economy to make purchases with cards that have these terms we are really taking it in the rear.

    Comment by Maren K — September 27, 2006 @ 6:23 am
  8. I have had the card for 6 months or so. Ran up quite a large bill as we always use and have used the AMEX green card for the last 30 years. I guess I misunderstood that there was no late fee so when I mailed a payment of $5000 it was received a little late so they showed me as late and subsequently put 30% interest on my account. I spoke to them this A.M. and they said that they don’t charge a late fee, but do put higher interest on the account when I am “late”. I have never been charged any kind of fee or interest on my Am Ex card and don’t know if this is false adv or not. I am paying ff the card and cancelling it. I will keep my green and my optima as the 30% interest is excessive. I was initially told there was no interest at all. I will be contacting some one in authority at AM EX, but for now I am paying the balance and probably cancelling the card. I guess it’s buyer beware abd read the fine print.

    Comment by Sue — August 1, 2007 @ 1:03 pm
  9. I had the card for 6 months. I got it for the 0% interest on purchases and a low rate on transfers. The plan was to pay some expenses I had over the 6 months. When my balance got bigger than anticipated I called them and asked if the interest would accrue from the date I opened the card. The representative said there was never any interest on the purchases made before the 6 month introductory period. So on my first statement after that period was over, I was shocked to find out that they charged me 30% on the whole balance, including purchases made during that six month period.
    Also beware that when making payments, it is applied to purchases only. Transfers don’t get paid until the purchases are payed off.

    Comment by Maria Treichel — September 26, 2007 @ 1:44 pm
    -No hidden fees, unlike filthy Bank of America
    -Picky creditor; if you are late at least once, they will increase your APR to 30% right off the bat and review your account for closure by the end of the year, otherwise, you can expect your rate to stay the same or even go down
    -Very low rates: I transfered over 10K at 3.99% APR for the life of the balance, no transfer fee at that time and my purchases are at 9.99% fixed now since I’ve never been late, so that is the secret with them
    -No affidavids to fill out with fraud or disputes, they take it off your account in the blink of an eye and that’s it, and if it’s a dispute you’re always right!!!
    -They expedite a replament card to you anywhere in the world for free, there on the next day.
    -2% on foreign currency transactions, yes, but CITIBANK charges 3%!
    -You can always pay over-the-phone for free, no fee for that convenience,something you cannot expect from any bank. I work in customer service translation, so i get them all, at Bank of America, when you pay online, they delay your payment like 3 days from the time you make it so they can charge you their late fee, even if you step into a branch and pay in cash, they take 3 or 4 business days in applying it to your account. With AMEX the moment you make a payment online or over-the-phone it is effective.
    Trust me, they are the best in the market, and I don’t get paid by them to tell you this…

    Comment by Jairo — October 14, 2007 @ 3:40 am

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