What Is American Express Pay Over Time? How Does It Work?

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Updated: 6th Oct 2021
Written by Justin Estes
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October 6, 2021
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American Express is one of the oldest and most reputable financial institutions in America. They are famous for their array of charge cards, credit cards, and business banking solutions.

Members who have traditionally had their flagship charge cards such as the Platinum Card, Gold Card, and Green Card were consistently required to pay their balance every month; otherwise, they would charge a hefty fee.

Charge cards carry powerful benefits such as no predetermined spending limit and enhanced customer support.

However, they do not have traditional interest rates or monthly payment options if you are to carry a balance.

American Express recently introduced a hybrid credit system for their charge cards called Pay Over Time.

Today we will discuss what Pay Over Time is and how it can impact charge card cardholders.

What Is American Express Pay Over Time?

American Express Pay Over Time is available to members you have their flagship charge cards.

Traditional credit cards offer an interest rate that will compound balances that are carried over from a previous period.

Until recently, charge cards did not offer this feature because cardholders were discouraged from carrying a balance.

Pay Over Time is a solution that enables cardholders to choose transactions to finance over multiple statement periods.

Not only does it provide access to flexible financing for consumers who may have never had it, but it also helps mitigate the impact of interest payments if the cardholder pays the rest of the balance.

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How Does American Express Pay Over Time Work?

Cardholders who use Pay Over Time can open their statement on the American Express mobile app and choose eligible purchases to add to their Pay Over Time balance.

What AMEX Credit Cards Offer Pay Over Time?

The primary cards that offer Pay Over Time are the main charge cards, including the Platinum Card, the Gold Card, and the green card.

There is a difference between how Pay Over Time works for the Platinum Card and Gold Card versus the Green Card.

Eligible transactions for the Gold Card and the Platinum Card have to be a minimum of $100. Any transactions below $100 will not qualify for these charge cards.

However, the Green Card offers Pay Over Time for all transactions. There are exclusions such as cash advances and gambling expenses, including any casino purchases.

How to Enroll in AMEX Pay Over Time

All new cardholders are automatically pre-enrolled in the American Express Pay Over Time program.

If you are not interested in participating, you could call American Express directly or reach out to one of their online representatives.

If you have had an American Express charge card for many years, you may have the option to enroll in the Pay Over Time program, which can be done online or through the American Express mobile app.

When Is Interest Charged?

Interest is charged when an eligible purchase that was chosen for your Pay Over Time balance falls into the next statement period.

This means that interest will only be charged if you do not pay off that balance before the statement closes.

You may choose a purchase to Pay Over Time but decide to pay off the entire balance before it accrues interest.

This gives you the option to finance the purchase if you want to, but not the obligation to pay interest if you pay off the balance beforehand.

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Pros and Cons of AMEX Pay Over Time

Pros:

  • Charge cardholders can finance larger purchases.
  • Only pay interest on designated transactions.

Cons:

  • Interest can become expensive.
  • Potential credit score detriment if your rotating balance is too high.

AMEX Pay It Plan It vs. Pay Over Time

American Express offers the AMEX Pay It Plan It program in addition to the Pay Over Time program, and it is another intriguing financing option.

Instead of paying revolving interest like you would with your Pay Over Time balance, the program’s pay it plan essentially turns larger purchases into an installment loan.

There will not be a rotating APR. Instead, you will pay a fixed financing fee broken over a predetermined payback period.

Other personal loans or installment loan options are available, but the Pay It Plan It program is convenient and enables you to use your American Express account as an all-in-one lending platform for most purchases.

Should You Activate Pay Over Time?

Most new cardholders are pre-enrolled in the Pay Over Time program, meaning they would need to opt-out by calling American Express or using the online chat tool.

If your account was grandfathered into the Pay Over Time program where you can activate it or not, there is not much of a downside to enrolling in the program.

American Express even offered bonuses for activating it, so if you have questions about the Pay Over Time program, you may want to contact your American Express representative.

Is AMEX Pay Over Time Safe?

American Express Pay Over Time is very safe for cardholders because it is managed in-house at American Express.

It is very similar to paying interest on traditional credit cards, with the added bonus of choosing which transactions to finance rather than the entire statement accruing interest.

Bottom Line: What Is American Express Pay Over Time?

American Express Pay Over Time is a unique solution for American Express’s most dedicated members who use their charge cards.

By allowing cardholders to choose which purchases to finance, Pay Over Time hit’s a sweet spot for members who want the ability to finance larger purchases on their American Express charge card without losing the Privileges and benefits associated with them.

Justin Estes
Justin Estes
Justin is an experienced personal finance writer, blogger, and author. His background in accounting and finance led to a passion for helping people make the most of their money and matching them with financial products that enhance their lifestyle. When he's not working, he enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and drinking coffee.