Choosing a Credit, Charge or Debit Card

Understanding the key differences will help you choose the American Express Card that’s right for you

 

More spending power? Greater financial control? Better rewards?

Whatever you’re looking for, every Credit, Charge and Debit Card comes with its own unique features and benefits.

Credit Cards
All the control of a debit card, with added rewards and benefits

A Credit Card is a convenient way of making every day payments, and helping you get rewards while you’re at it. There are also great benefits you get on your Card that debit cards may not offer.

Why choose an American Express Credit Card?

More rewarding

Depending on the Card you hold, you’ll earn Membership Rewards points or Airpoints Dollars™ for every dollar you spend. Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for flights, accommodation, gift cards, or paying for purchases you make on your Card. Airpoints Dollars will be automatically transferred into your Airpoints account to use with Air New Zealand.


Turn your everyday spend into travel

With eligible American Express® Cards, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to any of our seven Airline Partner Programmes, such as Air New Zealand, Qantas or Velocity, Or you can use points to pay for any travel booking you make with Webjet or helloworld.


More flexibility

A Credit Card gives you the option to pay the minimum repayment, the full closing balance, or an amount in between.


Cash flow

Use your Card to make purchases for the things you need straight away. Payment doesn’t have to be made until your statement balance is due, helping you to free up your cash flow in the meantime.


Fraud Protection

Any purchase you make on an American Express Card is covered by Fraud Protection1, so you can shop with confidence online around the world knowing American Express has you covered.


Helpful benefits

Depending on the Card you choose, you can enjoy complimentary Travel Insurance or retail Purchase Protection when you make a purchase with your Card.


Charge Cards
The easy way to enjoy greater financial flexibility

Charge cards are not Credit Cards, but they do offer another form of Card payment. They have no pre-set spending limit2, but that does not mean unlimited spending.

Why choose an American Express Charge Card?

More convenience

You don’t need to have the money on hand to make a purchase.


No interest

As the balance is paid off in full every month, interest will not be charged on your purchases. However, a fee is incurred if the amount is not paid off in full3.


Cash flow

Gives you greater purchasing power with no pre-set spending limit.


Earn points on larger purchases

With no pre-set spending limit, you can make larger purchases on your Card, and earn points too.


Extra benefits

Enjoy our top tier of benefits with the Platinum Card including elite hotel and airline and Lounge benefits.


Debit Cards
Access your money quickly and conveniently

A debit card (or bank card) allows you to make purchases with money you currently have in your bank account. Instead of carrying cash, a debit card is a convenient way to access your own money from your bank account.

Why choose a debit card?

Use money from your bank account for transactions

Use only the money you have available to you in your bank account.


Withdraw money from an ATM

The most common type of debit card is an ATM card which allows you to withdraw money from your bank account via an ATM using your PIN.


Your own money

So the same level of credit checks are not required.


What tools can help you better manage your American Express Card?

There are a range of handy tools that will help you better manage your Credit or Charge Card. Here are a few of them:

  • Set up personalised alerts for:
    • Your current total balance.
    • When your bill needs to be paid.
    • Large transactions made on your Card.
    • Approaching your credit limit.
  • Manage your bills more easily by setting up direct debits to make an automatic payment each month.
  • Download the Amex App for an easy way to check your current balance and all recent transactions.
  • Use American Express Online Services to keep track of transactions made by you and Supplementary Card Members.

Why is building a good credit rating important?

Good credit management and smart spending habits can help with getting approval to borrow in the future.

Need to know more about how Credit Cards work?

There are a few things that are useful to know when choosing a Credit Card – from rewards, fees, interest charges and credit limits, to understanding the different Cards available to you.

Explore our Personal Cards

Airpoints™

Earn Airpoints
Dollars™ fast

Rewards

Earn points from
everyday spending

Platinum

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.