What is a Credit Card?
and how do Credit Cards work

From interest rates to application,
here's everything you need to know about Credit Cards


Woman shopping for clothes at a store

What is the difference between a Credit, Charge and Debit Card?

Depending on your individual needs and spending habits, it’s important to choose the Card that’s right for you.

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How do you apply for a
Credit Card?

The easiest way to apply for an American Express® Credit Card is by completing the online Application. Your Application should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

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How do Credit Card limits work?

A credit limit is the maximum balance that you can have on your Card at any time, including your purchases, interest charges, and fees.

Man checking the price of a box

How do we charge interest?

Interest is applied to your closing balance at the end of every day, and then totalled up to calculate your monthly statement balance.

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What fees do you pay?

Depending on the Card you apply for, your fees may include an annual Card fee or other service fees.

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Where is American Express accepted?

American Express is welcomed at tens of thousands of Merchants around New Zealand. That means you can use your American Express Credit Card to pay for purchases, both big and small.

Understanding Credit Cards – Useful Terms

  • Statement period: The period in which the transactions reported on your statement relate to. Generally, your statement period will be every 30 days, the actual dates can vary slightly from month to month.
  • Interest: When you use your Credit Card, you will be charged interest unless you repay the full closing balance by the Payment Due Date shown on your statement. Interest will be expressed as an annual percentage rate.
  • Interest free days: Interest free days are the time from when you buy something using your Credit Card to when interest is applied to that purchase.
  • Repayments: When your statement arrives, you’ll need to choose how you want to make repayments. You can choose to repay the entire closing balance on or before the Payment Due Date shown on your statement, in which case you’ll avoid paying interest. You also have the option of paying the minimum payment, however you will be charged interest on the unpaid balance.
  • Closing balance: The amount you owe at the end of a statement period.
  • Credit Card limit: A Credit Card limit is set when you’re approved for a Credit Card and is the maximum amount of credit you can use on your Card. All Credit Cards have a maximum and a minimum Credit limit.
  • Annual fee: An annual Credit Card fee is a fee paid once per year to a financial services provider, in return for access to benefits and services on the Credit Card product you hold. Not all Credit Cards have an annual fee and American Express offers a range of no annual fee Cards. An annual fee is however charged on some Cards in return for richer rewards, features and benefits.
  • Balance transfer: A balance transfer is when you move an existing Credit Card balance onto another Credit Card. If you have a high interest Credit Card balance you’d like to pay off, a balance transfer to another Credit Card with a lower interest rate can help you keep on top of your payments.
  • Membership Rewards: If you choose a Membership Rewards points earning Card, you’ll earn Membership Rewards points through the American Express Membership Rewards loyalty programme. Membership Rewards points that can be redeemed for your next travel adventure, a new outfit, concert tickets and more of the things you love.

Managing your Account is simple

Whether you’re just getting started, looking to pay a bill, use Membership Rewards points or keep track of your spending, here’s how to get the most out of your Credit Card.

Explore our Personal Cards


Earn Airpoints
Dollars™ fast


Earn points from
everyday spending


Premium benefits
and services

No Annual Fee

Card Member benefits
with no annual fee

Membership that gives you more

As an American Express Card Member you can take advantage of more travel benefits, richer rewards and outstanding service, plus 24/7 Global Support.