Types of Cards from American Express

More flexibility for your finances. More freedom 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 on purchases. Membership Rewards points can be redeemed1 for flights, accommodation, gift cards, or paying for purchases you make on your Card2. 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 Programmes3, such as Air New Zealand, Qantas or Velocity, Or you can use points to pay for any travel booking you make with Webjet4 or helloworld5.

More flexibility

A Credit Card gives you the option to pay the minimum repayment, the full closing balance, or an amount in between. You incur interest charges if you don’t pay your balance in full.

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 Protection6, 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 Protection7 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 limit8, but that does not mean unlimited spending.

Why choose an American Express Charge Card?

More flexibility

Gives you greater purchasing power with no pre-set spending limit8.

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 on time or in full9.

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.

Earn points on larger purchases

As Charge Cards have 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

The same level of credit checks are not required.

What’s the difference between a Credit Card and a Debit Card?


When you spend on your Debit Card, you’re using your own money, which is taken automatically from your savings account. This means you usually can’t spend more money than you already have.


A Credit Card, on the other hand, is completely separate from your savings account. When you buy something with a Credit Card, you are essentially borrowing money to make the purchase and this amount will need to be paid back later. Your Credit Card issuer pays the vendor, then you repay the Card company.


This allows you to spend, even when you may not have the funds readily available. You can choose to pay off the full balance of your spending each month or repay it over time. You will be charged interest if you do not pay the balance in full each month. If you need to make a larger purchase, a Credit Card could be a more convenient option.

Credit Card vs Debit Card


There are several differences between Credit Cards and Debit Cards you should know about. Let’s take a look at the key features of Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards:


Debit Cards:


  • Use money you already have
  • Mostly do not charge a fee for use, though some may have a monthly maintenance fee.
  • Allow you to withdraw cash from an ATM for free, depending who you bank with.
  • Have no effect on your credit score, unless used with an accompanying overdraft.
  • Don’t tend to offer rewards, such as air miles, cashback or points.
  • Are available to most people, regardless of credit status.

Credit Cards:


  • Offer you a line of credit, where you’re advanced credit by the provider to be paid off monthly, either in full or in part. Interest charges apply when not paid in full.
  • Spending isn’t limited by the size of your bank account, but rather, by the Credit Limit you qualify for.
  • Generally, come with greater protection than most Debit Cards. Some Credit Cards offer fraud protection, Card Purchase Cover, and sometimes insurance cover (travel insurance, for example).
  • Often offer rewards for use.
  • Charge interest on any balance not paid off in full at the end of the billing period, which is usually monthly. Other fees can accrue, such as over-limit fees and late payment fees.
  • Carry the risk of accumulating debt if the balance is not repaid faster than the credit is spent.
  • Can negatively affect your credit score if the balance is not paid down each month.
  • Are usually unsuitable for cash withdrawals, as a high fee and interest rate may be charged.

How to choose: Credit Card or Debit Card?


A Debit Card offers a straightforward way to spend with little to no risk of debt and often with no fees or monthly payments. Debit Cards work by taking money you already have in your savings account. However, you may not enjoy some advantages a Credit Card may offer.


When handled well, choosing a Credit Card from American Express can offer you:


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


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.