AMEX Charge Cards in Canada: meh?

American Express forum. Talk about AmEx credit cards like Blue, Gold, Platinum, Centurion, and more.
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Ramzo
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AMEX Charge Cards in Canada: meh?

Postby Ramzo » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:22 pm

Hi folks. First post here (yay!).

Basically I've been looking to get a foot into American Express, and since I already have two credit cards (a Smart Cash MasterCard from MBNA Canada and an SPC MasterCard from BMO which is the oldest account I have) so I'm currently looking at their charge cards.

However, I am a 19-year old student and the Zync is not available in Canada. My FICO score (estimated is around 720-780-ish, zero late payment, oldest account is 2 years old) and I was wondering if the American Express Card (the Green one) was an intelligent choice for me to make.

The annual fee is $59 but there are literally zero rewards. Nothing. And the Gold and Platinum cards are excessive for someone my age. Any advice on this?

Quite honestly it's just to have an AmEx card because apparently it's good for the credit score to have an AmEx, I can use it at Costco. (OK, and I think they're cool…)

Thanks guys.


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Pete838
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Postby Pete838 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:18 am

What about the Costco AMEX? It is available in Canada, and looks 'cool'. Probably their most attractive looking card, IMO. And a decent cash back rewards program.

TrueEarnings™ Card from Costco and American Express | American Express CA

I don't think the credit reporting agencies really recognize the difference between a credit cad and a charge card. If anything, I would think a credit card would be more beneficial as it has a revolving debt limit that counts toward your total available credit.

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CC Deville
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Postby CC Deville » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:18 pm

Just reviewed the American Express Canada website....wow, not very many options and even less without an annual fee.

Since the C$55 fee is rather low, that would be your best option until you are finished with school. Once you are comfortable in your career and are earning a solid income, you can upgrade your Green to a Gold or Platinum card with better rewards. Otherwise I would suggest the Holt Renfrew (despite it's tragic pink colour) card as it does not have an annual fee. Hopefully, Amex backdates in Canada like they do here and when you are ready you could apply for Green or Gold and have it backdated. Not sure if they do that up in Canada though.

Ramzo
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Postby Ramzo » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:22 pm

The Costco card would be a good way to become an AmEx customer, but it's not the right product for me for two reasons: 1) my parents are already Costco members and they do most of the grocery shopping (plus you need to be a member to have that card, which is about 55$ a year) and 2) I already have a very good cashback card (the MBNA one) which gives me 3% back on gas and groceries + 1% on everything else. Also, the whole point of being an AmEx customer for me is to get a charge card (credit cards do not appeal to me at all since I already have two).

As for the Green card, it would be great, but I don't know if the 55$ is worth it since I already have two cards (which I barely use). If I could get rid of my BMO MasterCard I would (because it's ****ty compared to the MBNA), but it's my oldest account so I won't.

Charge cards seem just so appealing for some reason.

Thanks for the replies!

CC Deville
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Postby CC Deville » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:42 pm

I would hold off on closing any accounts. It is my understanding that Bank of America is looking to sell or has already sold MBNA Canada Bank. So you don't know which bank will ultimately buy your MBNA account. If you end up with a bank that you are unhappy with you may wish you had not closed the Bank of Montreal account.

Ramzo
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Postby Ramzo » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:57 pm

CC Deville wrote:I would hold off on closing any accounts. It is my understanding that Bank of America is looking to sell or has already sold MBNA Canada Bank. So you don't know which bank will ultimately buy your MBNA account. If you end up with a bank that you are unhappy with you may wish you had not closed the Bank of Montreal account.


Oh, I didn't know that. Indeed, TD Group bought MBNA Canada from BofA. TD is actually the best bank you could hope for. Them or BMO.

TD buys MBNA's Canadian credit card business - Business - CBC News

I wonder how this will directly affect customers though – in Canada all major banks seem to have exclusivity deals with either MasterCard or VISA. TD offers nothing but Visa cards, so I wonder how that will translate into their actual card offering.

Interesting, thanks for the info!

DavidNY
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Postby DavidNY » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:40 am

If you just want a charge card for the 'prestige', I would recommend against it. it's mostly marketing BS, and you may have a new annual fee you didn't have before.

Amex Platinum will give you airport lounge access if you really need that, but for the most part merchants will sell you the same box of rice for the same price no matter how you pay (excepting cash, for which you might get a discount!)

These are all financial cards, so go for the card which will offer you the greatest financial benefit. The 3%/1% card you have seems decent.

If you want more benefits, try upgrading your Visa to Visa Infinite and/or your MC to World MC if your bank offers these programs which give your cards added benefits and buyer protection on purchases, you won't have to pay extra, and, like Amex charge cards, they don't report a credit limit, though they have the potential for lowering your credit score a bit as the high balance is substituted for your credit limit in credit reports.

Ramzo
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Postby Ramzo » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:01 am

DavidNY wrote:If you just want a charge card for the 'prestige', I would recommend against it. it's mostly marketing BS, and you may have a new annual fee you didn't have before.

Amex Platinum will give you airport lounge access if you really need that, but for the most part merchants will sell you the same box of rice for the same price no matter how you pay (excepting cash, for which you might get a discount!)

These are all financial cards, so go for the card which will offer you the greatest financial benefit. The 3%/1% card you have seems decent.

If you want more benefits, try upgrading your Visa to Visa Infinite and/or your MC to World MC if your bank offers these programs which give your cards added benefits and buyer protection on purchases, you won't have to pay extra, and, like Amex charge cards, they don't report a credit limit, though they have the potential for lowering your credit score a bit as the high balance is substituted for your credit limit in credit reports.


Good advice. Will follow this. I should focus more on investing intelligently than look for a better financial card.

Plus, like I said, I barely use credit cards so… I was just trying to rationalize haha! Thanks folks



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