Start of menu
Search US website
Close Menu

SafeKey FAQs

1. What is American Express SafeKey®?

American Express SafeKey® is an authentication service which helps prevent unauthorized use of your American Express® Card online by confirming your identity with additional verification information.  You may be asked to provide a dynamic One-time Code (OTC) that you receive by email or at your mobile phone number for transactions you make with participating online merchants.

2. How do I shop with American Express SafeKey?

When you enter your American Express Card number for payment at a participating online merchant, an American Express SafeKey window will appear automatically. You will be prompted to enter some additional information for verification purposes, which may include an OTC, which will be sent to the mobile phone and/or email address on file for that account. Once you enter the information requested and it is verified, your online transaction will be processed. In some instances, you may be prompted to enter the three-digit number on the back of your Card (3CSC, OTC, or both 3CSC and OTC).

 

After the OTC is sent to you, it is valid for 10 minutes. If you do not enter the OTC and complete your transaction during the 10 minutes, you will need to restart the transaction with the merchant.

3. Do I have to pay for American Express SafeKey?

No, American Express does not charge a fee for this service.

4. Do I need to register for American Express SafeKey?

As a Card Member, you have been automatically enrolled in American Express SafeKey, so you don't need to take any additional steps to benefit from this online security feature. However, please make sure that any mobile phone numbers and/or email addresses you have on file with us are up-to-date for all your Cards, and advise any Additional Card Members that you may have on your account to update their own information on file with us as well.

5. How do I know if my mobile phone number and/or email address on file for my American Express Card is correct?

You can confirm the mobile phone number and email address you have on file for your American Express Cards either by logging into your online account at americanexpress.com/accountservices to view your Personal Details or by calling the number on the back of your Card.

6. At checkout, the American Express SafeKey screen displays an incorrect portion of my mobile phone number and/or email address. What should I do?

When you checkout at a participating online merchant, a portion of your mobile phone number and/or email address to which we have sent the OTC will be displayed.  The OTC is automatically sent to both your mobile phone number and email address if we have them on file. If you need to update your contact information, you can follow the prompts within the SafeKey experience or call the number on the back of your Card.

7. Why is an OTC required to complete an online purchase?

The OTC helps to protect you against online fraud. It is an additional security measure to verify the identity of our Card Members.

8. How do I receive the OTC?

You will receive the OTC by text message and/or email, depending on which contact details you have on file for the Card that you are using to make your purchase.

9. Do I have to enter an OTC for all online purchases?

No. This measure only applies for purchases made at participating merchants and only when prompted by the American Express SafeKey verification page. Some transactions will not require an OTC, but may require different verification information, such as your 3CSC.

10. Do I need to provide my mobile number or email address to American Express to receive the OTC?

Yes, if you do not have a mobile phone number or email address on file you will be prompted to enter this information to receive the OTC and complete your transaction.  If you do not have a mobile phone number, you can choose to receive the OTC by email.

11. How do I update my contact details with American Express?

You can update your contact details in multiple ways, including:

  • Through your online account at americanexpress.com/accountservices
  • Via the "Update Contact Details" link on the OTC entry page displayed during checkout, or
  • By calling the number on the back of your Card

12. How long is an OTC valid for?

After the OTC is sent to you, it is valid for 10 minutes. If you do not enter the OTC and complete your transaction during the 10 minutes, you will need to restart the transaction with the merchant.

13. It's been over 10 minutes and I have not received my OTC. Can I have it resent?

The OTC is valid for 10 minutes after it is generated.  The SafeKey page will also expire after 10 minutes, which means you will have to start the entire transaction process again with a new OTC. If you still have not received your OTC after clicking "Resend OTC", check your email junk/spam folder if it was sent to you by email.  If you still have not received your OTC, call the number on the back of your Card for support.

14. I am checking out at an online merchant, why am I not prompted for an OTC?

If the merchant is not participating in American Express SafeKey, you will not be asked for any SafeKey verification information.  Even at participating merchant websites, you may not be required to provide the OTC if other information is requested on the SafeKey screen.

15. I have a mobile phone and email address on file for my American Express Card. Will this information apply to all of my Additional Cards as well?

No, each Card can have a different mobile phone number or email address associated with it. If a mobile phone number and/or email address has not been put on file for the Additional Cards, you should advise the Additional Card Members on your account to provide that information by logging into their account at americanexpress.com or by calling the number on the back of their Card.

16. I am using an Additional Card and have added my mobile phone number and/or email address, which is different from the Basic Card Member's contact details. Will my update on the Additional Card change the contact details on file for the Basic Card?

No, the contact detail update for the Additional Card will not change any details on file for the Basic Card or other Additional Cards.  It applies to that Additional Card only.

17. How will American Express use the information I provide through SafeKey?

We will use personal information collected through SafeKey for the purpose of providing the American Express SafeKey service (for example, to verify your identity or to authorize transactions) and to update your contact details in American Express' systems. Log in to your account on americanexpress.com to view your personal details or make additional changes.

 

Your personal information will be handled in accordance with our Online Privacy Statement.

18. Doesn't American Express provide online fraud protection?

Yes, American Express provides online protection for all of our Card Members.  As part of our ongoing commitment to protecting your account's security, we launched American Express SafeKey to allow you to shop in an even more secure online environment.  Please be assured that you are not liable for fraudulent charges on your account.

19. What should I do if someone has changed my contact details fraudulently or if I notice a fraudulent purchase on my Card account?

If you ever suspect that fraudulent contact information changes or purchases have been made on your account, please call us immediately at the number on the back of your Card.

20. Do all American Express Cards work with American Express SafeKey?

No, you can only use Credit and Charge Cards issued by American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., American Express Centurion Bank, and American Express Bank, FSB excluding the following:

  • American Express® Prepaid Cards
  • American Express® Gift Cards
  • American Express® Corporate Defined Expense Program Corporate Cards (CDEP)
  • American Express® Business Travel Accounts (BTA)
  • American Express® Corporate Purchasing Card (CPC)
  • Buyer Initiated Payments (BIP)
  • American Express® Central Bill Meeting Cards (CMC)
  • Single use virtual account numbers such as vPayments
  • Any other plasticless products

21. Why don't I have to use a One-Time Code (OTC) every time I shop at a SafeKey merchant?

The SafeKey program is designed to require an OTC on some, but not all transactions.  Instead of an OTC, you may be asked to provide other verification information, such as your 3CSC.

22. Am I required to use American Express SafeKey?

Yes, if prompted, you are required to enter the OTC or other verification information to complete a transaction with an American Express SafeKey merchant.

23. My transaction has failed. What do I need to do?

A transaction could fail for various reasons. If you enter the OTC incorrectly or did not answer certain security questions correctly, access to SafeKey may be blocked. If the OTC wasn't entered within 10 minutes, the transaction will expire. Technical issues in the merchant's payment service could also interrupt the transaction.  In each of these cases, you will receive an on-screen notification letting you know what went wrong. If you have any questions, you can always call the number on the back of your Card for help.

 

American Express will never email you to ask you for sensitive information. If you receive a suspicious email which claims to be from American Express, do not click on any links.  If you have any questions, please call the number on the back of your Card.