In challenging or encouraging economic times,

understanding your Cards, your credit and how to manage debt is important for your financial health.

It can be overwhelming, but American Express is here to help.


Start your Credit Know-How journey here.

About the Cards we offer
Get to know basic knowledge

Credit or Charge?
Know the differences between the Cards we offer

How to be Card Smart
Tips and more for smart Card use

Managing Debt
Information to help manage debt



Have questions? Need info?


More ways to manage credit
Discover the resources available to you.

Find answers in our Credit Resource Centre


Charge and Credit Cards

Used wisely, credit and charge cards can make your life easier and offer many benefits and protections. Boost your card knowledge with a better understanding of the differences between credit and charge cards.

What is a Credit Card?

Credit cards offer a revolving line of credit, meaning that you can carry a balance from month to month rather than having to pay the amount owing in full.
Each time you use a credit card, you are essentially taking out a loan. Card issuers require that at least the minimum amount due is paid by the due date every month.
If you always pay your balance in full so that we receive your payment by the payment due date, interest will not be applied to any of your purchases. If you choose to carry a balance or if we receive your payment late, interest charges are calculated and charged to your account starting from the posting date or the day the merchant submits charges to issuers. Interest is always charged on balance transfers and funds advances starting from the day the transaction occurs.
TIP: If you make your monthly payment earlier than the due date, you can save money on interest charges when you are carrying a balance.

What is a Charge Card?

Charge cards are different from credit cards in that they require you to pay the full amount you’ve charged to the card each month. By doing so, they can help you manage spending and stay on track with your finances. By paying in full every month you can avoid interest charges.
Plus, charge cards often come with many reward options.


Tips to make you Card Smart

Manage your spending and maintain a good credit score


Credit cards and charge cards are important financial management tools that allow you to purchase the things you want sooner and pay for them later. But, because cards are so convenient, it can be tempting to overuse them, and overspend your budget.


Being Card Smart includes knowing how to manage your spending and realizing the importance of having a strong credit rating.


These simple tips can help you be even more Card Smart:


1. Know your spending limit and don't exceed it.


2. Know the due date of your payment and be disciplined about making sure your financial institution receives your payment on time.


3. Always pay at least the minimum due to keep your account in good standing. For Charge Cards, remember to always pay your balance owing in full and on time each month.


4. Maintain your preferred interest rate by paying at least your minimum payment on time each month.


5. Consider consolidating outstanding balances into one convenient payment or to a lower interest rate.


6. Use online financial management tools to keep track of your card spending. That way, there are no surprises when your statement arrives.


7. Avoid taking cash advances. They often incur a fee and can add to your debt and borrowing levels.


8. Make a budget, and stick to it. Track your spending to help you remain aware and in control of your purchasing behavior.


9. Regularly review your monthly statements to ensure there are no errors or unauthorized charges on your account.


10. Check your credit bureau report once a year by letter to verify that your information is correct. This will help to ensure that lenders evaluate your profile with accurate information. You are entitled to review your credit report one time per year without charge. Contact credit bureau service providers directly for details.


Managing Debt


In challenging or encouraging economic times, understanding how to manage debt is important for your financial health. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.


If you're feeling that way, remember, you're not alone. There are many solutions that can help make debt manageable. But just as it takes time to get into debt, it can also take time to get out of it.



Here are some guidelines to help you manage and reduce your debt:


  • Create a budget and stick to it. Budgets can help u gain control of your debt and manage future spending.

  • Prioritize your outstanding balances based on interest rate. Pay off your highest-interest debts first. But remember to continue paying at least the minimum amount on the other outstanding balances.

  • Consider consolidating outstanding balances into one convenient payment. You might also be able to consolidate balances to a lower interest rate, and save on interest payments.

  • Investigate alternatives for paying down your debt. You may want to consider using money from your savings account or using another alternative to help you pay down your debt.

  • Source your available payment options. Some lenders offer a variety of payment methods. See what's available and use the option best suited to help you pay on time, every time.

  • Utilize services such as Account Alerts to help you remain aware of your due dates and spending levels.

  • Talk to your lenders if you're struggling to make your payments. Don't skip the payment altogether, as this will only make the situation worse and impact your credit rating. In many cases, lenders are willing to work out a solution with you.

  • Seek advice from a professional credit counselor.


Budgets build healthy habits


Budgets can help you recognize spending habits and identify areas where you might be able to cut back. They're an important tool for managing your debt, and are simple to create.


Download a Budget Worksheet


How to prepare a budget


After downloading the Budget Worksheet , follow these steps to prepare your budget:


  1. Track your income and expenses: Over a two-month period, keep records of all your money coming in (income) and going out (expenses). Certain expenses may be fixed each month, including rent, mortgage, groceries, insurance premiums, utilities and transportation. Other expenses may vary - such as vacations, entertainment and gifts. 

  2. Create your budget: Use the information you gathered above to help you complete the fields on the Budget Worksheet. It is recommended that you prepare the budget for one month so you can directly compare your monthly expenses against your income. You may also choose to complete your budget from a household point of view. If this is the case, be sure to consider income from all contributing household members and the total of everyone's monthly expenses. 

  3. Follow your budget and keep track of your spending: When you have a good record of where your money is going, see if you can cut costs in certain areas. Or, see if you can add to your savings.






Learning About Interest on Your American Express Credit Card


When interest is charged


Calculating interest


American Express Credit Cards are a convenient way to pay for everyday purchases. A credit card is a lending product. When you make a transaction using your Card, we are lending you that amount of money and you are essentially taking out a loan. As an American Express Cardmember, you have the flexibility to pay back the outstanding either paying the card in full each month or only paying a portion of the total outstanding amount within a due date. If you choose to pay the portion or minimum amount then the interest will be charged on a daily basis until full amount is settled.


** Interest is calculated on a daily basis and applied to the statement at time of cycle cut


When interest is charged


If you always pay your balance in full so that we receive your payment by the payment due date, interest will not be applied to any of your purchases. If you choose to carry a balance or if we receive your payment late, interest charges are calculated and charged to your account at a predetermined annual percentage rate (APR) starting from the posting date. Interest is always charged on balance transfers and funds advances starting from the day the transaction occurs.



Managing interest charges


How to manage interest charges


The best way to reduce your interest charges is to make your payments early or pay your balance in full and on time.


Remember, the processing time varies by financial institution and by method of payment (Internet, mail, telephone and bank branch).

Direct Debit service is a great tool to help you maintain your preferred interest rate.


Click here to learn more




















More smart tips for managing debt

Be Card Smart


Download a Budget Worksheet



Direct Debit Service

Automatically pay your account balance each month to help ensure you don't miss a payment.


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Tools and resources you can use



Payment Options




Preparing a Budget

A budget can be a big help when it comes to managing spending and staying in control of your finances.


Learn how



What is a Charge Card?


Is a charge card right for you?


Learn More



Credit Card Interest Rates

Learn more about credit card interest rates.


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