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How Credit Cards and Charge Cards work


There are lots of different types of Cards. This section will explain how to choose and how to use a Credit Card and a Charge Card.


What is a Credit Card?


A Credit Card is a convenient way to pay for your purchases. It gives you the choice to pay for your purchases over several months1 or all at once. You don’t need to carry cash, and can use it to pay online, over the phone or in person.


You can even use it to pay for goods and services in other countries2. There are other advantages to having a Credit Card – most offer benefits such as rewards, travel protection, purchase protection and a fraud protection guarantee. 


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What is a Charge Card?


Charge Cards are another type of payment method. If you have a Charge Card you are required to pay off your balance in full every month. You do not have the option to carry over a balance. American Express Charge Cards have no pre-set spending or credit limit.


Although there is no pre-set limit on a Charge Card, the amount that you will have available to spend without settling your balance will be determined based on previous credit history and your spending patterns. If you are looking to make a large purchase right away it’s a good idea to give us a call. 



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Discover American Express Card types



We have different types of Cards so that you can choose the one that best suits your individual needs and the way you spend



  • Hotel and Retail Rewards Credit Cards — To enjoy all the benefits, convenience and security of an American Express Card – with the added bonus of accumulating hotel and retail rewards.
  • Rewards Cards – Designed for those who enjoy earning points on their spend then redeeming them for exciting rewards.
  • Cashback Credit Cards – Enjoy cashback on every day spend, from purchases at the supermarket to paying for your bills.
  • Premium Cards — Earn Membership Rewards points or premium rewards.


Explore our Types of Cards

How to Apply for a Card?

To apply for a personal Card in the UK you need to meet certain eligibility criteria. To save time you can use the following checklist:



I am aged 18 or over


I have a current UK bank or building society account


I have a permanent UK home address


I have no history of bad debt


Some of our Cards may require different criteria in order to be issued. You may need to provide additional details in order to complete your application.



Find out how to apply for a Card

What is Credit Score?

Your credit score is one of your most important financial tools. Understanding your credit score can help you plan for the future and is a strong indicator of your likelihood of being approved for a Credit Card or Charge Card.


Learn more about Credit Score

Understanding Card interest rate

When you use your Credit Card, you are borrowing money from a lender. It is important to remember that if you don’t pay off your balance in full every month you will be charged interest  until full repayment has been received. This interest is applied to your closing balance at the end of every day, and then totalled up to form interest on your statement amount. 


The amount of interest you will be charged depends upon:


  • The interest rate of your Credit Card
  • The amount you spend
  • When you pay your Credit Card bill
  • The type of spend, whether purchases or a cash withdrawal.


Learn more about Card Interest

Repayment of a Credit Card



At the end of your statement period, you can decide how much of your balance you want to pay off but you will need to pay the minimum repayment amount. You can find out about your minimum payment and how it is formed by looking at your Credit Card agreement. By paying off more – or all – of your balance by the due date, you will pay less interest. You can find out what the minimum repayment is for your Credit Card by  looking at your Credit Card Statement.



Charge Cards differ to Credit Cards as they give you the financial flexibility of no pre-set spending limit, and no interest charges since you must pay the balance in full at the end of each month.



Learn more about Credit Card Repayment

What is Credit Limit?



When you opened your Credit Card Account you were given a Credit Limit which is the maximum amount you can spend at any given time. Every Credit Card comes with a Credit limit.



Learn more about Credit Limit

Credit Card fees and charges


Some American Express® Cards charge an annual fee in return for rewards, features and benefits. The amount will vary depending on the Card you apply for. Typically, the more rewards or features your Card has, the higher the annual fee. There are other standard charges and fees that may sometimes apply. 


Learn more about Card Fees and Charges

What is a Card Surcharge?

A surcharge is a fee that a business charges a customer for using a Card to make a purchase. As of 13 January 2018, the government banned surcharging of consumer payment products in the UK . American Express welcomes the ban and believe the decision will create a level playing field for consumers and will give them the confidence to use the payment method of their choice.   


Learn more about Card Surcharge

Using your Card Abroad

American Express® Cards are accepted around the world, so you can have peace of mind when using your Card to make purchases overseas. 


Find out how to use your Card Abroad

Who accepts American Express in the UK?

More Merchants in the UK are choosing to accept American Express. You can use your American Express® Card for purchases big and small, including the places you love to shop at every day. We are continuing to grow our network throughout the UK, ensuring when you want to use your Card, you can.   


Find out where American Express is accepted

Useful Terms

Explore Cards by Category

Frequent Flyer Cards


Enjoy points for flights.

Choose between a variety of Cards that offer you Avios points or Membership Rewards points for purchases made on your Card.



Premium Cards


Receive a variety of premium benefits such as airport lounge access or 2-4-1 travel vouchers on top of earning points for your everyday spend. 




Travel Rewards Cards


Enjoy all the benefits, convenience and security of an American Express Card when travelling, with the added bonus of earning points when you make purchases at home and abroad.



Cashback Cards


Earn cashback everyday.

American Express Cashback Credit Cards give you all the benefits and convenience of an American Express Credit Card, whist earning you cashback on your purchases.




Representative 28.2% APR variable

Representative 22.9% APR variable

Rewards Cards


Get the most out of life.

Enjoy all the benefits, convenience and security of an American Express Card – with the added bonus of accumulating Rewards points which offer you the flexibility to redeem for flights, hotels, gift cards and more.


Representative 22.9% APR variable

Representative 22.9% APR variable

No Annual Fee Cards


Get the most out of your Card with no annual fee.

Enjoy all the benefits, convenience and security of an American Express Card - with the added bonus of accumulating rewards.


Representative 22.9% APR variable

Representative 22.9% APR variable

Representative 22.9% APR variable

Credit and Charge Cards Explained


Has talk of interest, annual fees, rates and percentages left you feeling confused? 


Our simple Credit and Charge Card Guides are a great place to start.



How Credit Cards and Charge Cards work

Where is American Express accepted


What is surcharging


Using your Card Abroad


What Credit Card fees am I expected to pay


What is Credit Limit


How to choose a type of Card


What is a Charge Card


How to pay off your Card


How to apply for a Credit Card


What is Credit Score

American Express Benefits


Your security and protection are our priority. Our technology has been designed to give you peace of mind when using your card.



Access to our customer service is available 24/7 by phone, text or email.



Contactless is the quick, easy and secure way to make payments - simply touch your American Express Card on the reader, wait for the beep and you're done. What's more, with Amex Pay and Apple PayTM you can even pay with your phone.

Explore Our Credit Cards

Explore our range of Cards—you’re bound to find something that suits your needs and lifestyle.