Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is American Express SafeKey®?
American Express SafeKey® helps prevent unauthorized online use of your American Express® Card by confirming your identity with a dynamic One-Time Code (OTC) and/or your three-digit Card Security Code (3CSC) to complete your transaction with a participating online merchant. In some instances, SafeKey may be able to authenticate your transaction without any action required on your part.
2. Doesn’t American Express provide online fraud protection?
Yes, American Express provides online protection for all our customers through our Fraud Protection Guarantee*. American Express SafeKey has been launched as part of our continuous efforts to let our customers shop in a safer and more secure online environment.
* As long as you've taken reasonable care to protect your account details & PIN and have provided all necessary information to our Fraud Department, you will not be held responsible for any fraudulent charges.
3. Do I have to pay for American Express SafeKey?
No, you do not have to pay for this service. Data charges may apply, please check with your service provider.
4. Do I need to register for American Express SafeKey?
You are automatically enrolled for American Express SafeKey. There is no additional step that you need to take for your existing Cards, when you get new Cards, or when you open additional new accounts other than ensuring your e-mail address and mobile phone number on file with American Express are updated for all of your American Express Cards. This also includes Supplementary Cards that you may hold.
5. How do I know if my e-mail address or mobile phone number on file for my American Express Card are up-to-date?
You can proactively confirm the e-mail address and mobile phone number you have on file for all your American Express Cards either by logging in to your American Express Online Account or by calling the Customer Service number on the back of your Card.
6. How do I shop with American Express SafeKey?
When you enter your American Express Card number for payment at a participating online merchant, an American Express SafeKey window will appear automatically. In some instances, you will be prompted to enter your 3-digit Card Security Code (CSC) on the back of your Card, 6-digit One-Time Code (OTC), or both 3CSC and OTC. If an OTC is required, it will be sent to your e-mail address and/or mobile phone number that you have on file for that account. Once we verify your OTC and/or 3CSC, your online transaction will be processed.
7. I am making a purchase, but the American Express SafeKey screen displays a masked e-mail address or mobile phone number that are not updated. What can I do?
When you checkout with American Express SafeKey, the masked e-mail address and mobile phone number that we have sent the One-Time Code (OTC) to is displayed. If it is not up-to-date, please click the “Update Now” link on the OTC entry screen displayed on the merchant page.
When updating your e-mail address and mobile phone number, please correctly answer the security questions and input your new e-mail address and mobile phone number. Once completed, another OTC will be sent to your updated e-mail address and mobile phone number, and you can complete your purchase. If you experience any difficulties, please call the Customer Service number on the back of your Card.
Your e-mail address and mobile phone number will be updated across all American Express systems and platforms, and your updated e-mail address will replace the e-mail address used for servicing communications, including Online-Only Statements and account alerts.
8. Why is a One-Time Code (OTC) required to complete an online purchase?
The OTC helps to reduce online fraud. It is a secure way to authenticate that the customer using an American Express Card for an online purchase is the rightful owner.
9. How do I receive the One-Time Code (OTC)?
You will receive your OTC via e-mail and/or mobile phone number.
10. Do I have to enter a One-Time Code (OTC) for all online purchases?
No. This measure only applies for purchases made at merchant websites that support the American Express SafeKey authentication protocols. Some online purchases may only require the 3CSC found on the back of your Card, while others may require your 3CSC in addition to your OTC.
11. Do I need to provide my e-mail address and mobile phone number to American Express to receive the One-Time Code (OTC)?
Yes, you need to provide your e-mail address or mobile phone number to receive the OTC.
If you do not have an e-mail address or mobile phone number on file with American Express, you will be able to complete your transaction without providing it the first two times you encounter SafeKey. Upon encountering SafeKey for the third time, you will be asked to provide your e-mail address and mobile phone number in order to authenticate your identity and complete your transaction with your American Express Card.
12. How do I update my e-mail address and mobile phone number with American Express?
You can update your e-mail address and mobile phone number in multiple ways including: by calling the Customer Service number on the back of your Card, when you login to your profile by clicking on Amex Profile to manage your account online, or via the “Update Now” link on the One-Time Code (OTC) entry page displayed during checkout. Any updates you make to your contact details for your account alerts will automatically apply to SafeKey.
13. How long is a One-Time Code (OTC) valid for?
The OTC is valid for approximately 10 minutes after submitting your Card details to the merchant.
14. How do I know if a merchant supports American Express SafeKey?
Participating online merchants will display the American Express SafeKey logo on their websites.
15. I am checking out at an online merchant, why am I not prompted for a One-Time Code (OTC)?
If the merchant is not registered for American Express SafeKey, you will not be asked for your OTC. Only online merchants who are participating in American Express SafeKey require the American Express SafeKey OTC. In some instances, SafeKey may be able to authenticate your identity without an OTC.
16. I have Basic, additional, and Supplementary American Express Cards that are used by different people. Can I have the One-Time Code (OTC) sent to the specific person using each Card?
Yes, the account numbers for each Card are different and different contact details can be added for each Basic, additional, and Supplementary Card you have associated with your account. All that is needed is that the correct contact details be on file for each Basic, additional, and Supplementary Card.
17. I have an e-mail address and mobile phone number on file for my Basic American Express Card. Will this information apply to all of my additional and Supplementary Cards as well?
No, each Card can have a different e-mail address and mobile phone number associated with it. If an e-mail address or mobile phone number has not been put on file for the additional and Supplementary Cards, please update the details on file for the Cards either by logging in to your American Express online account by clicking Amex Profile or by calling the Customer Service number on the back of your Card.
18. I am using an additional or Supplementary Card and have added my e-mail address and mobile phone number that are different from the Basic Cardmember’s contact details. Will my e-mail address and mobile phone number update on the additional or Supplementary Card change the e-mail address and mobile phone number on file for the Basic Card?
No, the e-mail address and mobile phone number update for additional or Supplementary Cards will not change the e-mail address and mobile phone number on file for the Basic Card or other additional/Supplementary Cards.
19. It’s been over 10 minutes and I have not received my One-Time Code (OTC). Can I have it re-sent again?
The OTC is valid for approximately 10 minutes after submitting your Card details to the merchant. If you click the “Resend OTC” button within that 10 minute window, then the same OTC will be re-sent to you. If you click “Resend OTC” button after the 10 minute window expires, then you will need to start the entire transaction process again to generate a new OTC. Please also check your junk mail folder.
20. What should I do if someone has changed my e-mail address and mobile phone number without my permission or if I identify a fraudulent purchase on my Card account?
If you ever suspect that fraudulent e-mail address and mobile phone number changes or purchases have been made on your American Express Card account, please contact Customer Service immediately to report it by calling the number on the back of your Card.
21. Do all American Express Cards work with American Express SafeKey?
No, you can only use Cards issued by Amex Bank of Canada. Business Travel Accounts, Corporate Purchasing Cards, Corporate Meeting Cards, Prepaid Cards and Gift Cards are excluded.
22. Why don’t I have to use a One-Time Code (OTC) every time I shop at a SafeKey merchant?
We want to make your online shopping experience as secure as possible without sacrificing the convenience of shopping online. As a result, certain purchases don’t require an OTC. When you make these types of purchases, you will be shown a screen advising you of this.
23. Is it obligatory to use American Express SafeKey?
Yes, it is not possible to do a transaction with an American Express SafeKey participating merchant without using American Express SafeKey.
24. My transaction has failed. What do I need to do?
Different reasons could cause the failure of a transaction. When the 6-digit One-Time Code (OTC) or 3-digit Card Security Code (3CSC) on the back of your Card is entered incorrectly or some of the security questions have not been answered correctly, the access to SafeKey could be blocked. If the OTC was not entered within ten minutes, the transaction could expire. Technical issues in the payment service of the merchant could also disturb the transaction. Alternatively, the Card being used may be invalid or the transaction is suspected to be fraudulent. In any case, a notification of what has happened with the transaction will be displayed on your screen.
25. Access to American Express SafeKey has been blocked. What do I need to do?
Access to American Express SafeKey has been blocked for security reasons if an invalid 6-digit One-Time Code OTC or 3-digit Card Security Code (3CSC) on the back of your Card has been keyed in or if the security questions have not been answered correctly. In order to get access to American Express SafeKey please contact American Express Customer Service by calling the number on the back of your Card. After the call, you should be able to use SafeKey.
26. How else can I make shopping online safer?
- Keep your e-mail address and mobile phone number up-to-date on all of your American Express Card accounts so you can be promptly notified of any suspicious activity
- Protect your e-mail account and phone with a strong, unique password and enable any additional security options offered
- Create longer length passwords using combinations of letters and numbers
- Use different passwords for each of your online accounts
- Don’t use predictable passwords
- Change your passwords regularly
- Keep your anti-virus software and firewall up-to-date to prevent fraudsters from accessing your information through your computer or phone
American Express will never e-mail you to ask you for sensitive information. If you receive a suspicious e-mail which claims to be from American Express, do not click on any links. Please forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.