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AmEx Essential Card Review
17 Nov 2018

AmEx Essential Card | Credit Card Review

We all know you’re supposed to pay off your entire credit card bill every month, no exceptions. Unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way. If you know you often end up paying the hefty interest rates that other credit cards charge, reading this AmEx Essential credit card review could show you a great way to save money going forward.

Protect yourself as much as possible from high interest rates with this 8.99% interest credit card.


General Information

You Are Interested If You’re a frequent user of credit cards who rarely manages to pay off their balance in full each month.
Brief Description The American Express Essential credit card is a stellar low-interest card that currently boasts the lowest interest rates on the Canadian market.
Main Requirements This is a card meant for people with little usable cash flow, so as little as $15,000 in income might suffice to qualify you for this card.

Card Details

Network American Express.
Provider American Express.
Card Type This is a low-interest card that really takes that role seriously.

Fees and Interest

Purchase Interest Rate You’ll pay in an incredibly low 8.99% on all regular purchase balances charged to this card.
Cash Advance Cash advances also get charged the 8.99% interest rate.
Balance Transfer Balance transfers will normally be billed at the same rate used for cash advances (8.99%), but prospective applicants might like to know that you’ll be hearing about a way to get an even better rate later on in this AmEx Essential credit card review.


Income Requirements Only $15,000 a year is enough to be considered for this card.
Household Income Requirements Only personal income is a factor in decisions about who gets granted this card.
Annual Fee Incredibly enough, this is a free card, so you won’t have to pay a single cent to get one.


Welcome Bonus Upon getting this card, new cardholders will have the chance to make balance transfers for which they will pay only 1.99% in annual interest for the first 6 months.
How To Earn Points This card does not use a reward system, so there are no points involved.
Benefits This card comes with the American Express Invites membership, purchase protection insurance and $100,000 in travel accident coverage that are bundled with most AmEx cards.

About AmEx Essential Credit Card

Main Features

We know the most important and most compelling part of this AmEx Essential credit card review will be the low interest rates, so we’ll begin there. Cardholders pay a flat 8.99% rate on normal purchases, cash advances, and the remainders of balance transfers. This is an exceptionally good rate as it is – currently the lowest you can get in all of Canada, in fact. To see how much of a difference this could make to someone’s finances, consider this scenario. Most cards that are not specifically crafted to be low-interest cards start at about a 20% standard interest rate. If you were to carry a $1,000 balance on one of those, you would end up paying $200 in interest alone over the course of a year, ignoring the effects of compounding interest. It’s easy to see how easily this could become a major financial burden. The American Express Essential credit card’s rates, however, would bring this down to just $89.90. This is still quite a bit, but it’s much more manageable.

However, you can actually get an even better deal than this if you’re already carrying some credit card debt. As part of the current welcome bonus, you can pay just 1.99% in interest for a full 6 months on any balance transfers you make when you initially apply for this card. This means that if you moved an existing $1,000 balance onto this card instead, you would pay just $19.90 in interest on it. There are other introductory balance transfer offers out there with slightly lower rates, but this card still holds a distinct advantage over its peers: when the offer ends, you’ll still only be paying a very low amount of interest each month on any remaining balance you have. This takes a lot of the risk out of balance transfer money-saving strategies and lets you be slightly less aggressive in terms of paying down your debts if you choose.

There aren’t many bonuses attached to this card, but when it offers so much value at such a low price (free!), it’s hard to complain about that. You’ll still get the usual purchase protections, $100,000 in travel accident coverage, and even a chance to try American Express Invites out for yourself, so it’s not all bad.


The bottom line on this AmEx Essential credit card review is very simple; if you’re looking to pay as little interest as possible on your credit card bills, there is no better option out there than this card. If you’re fairly confident that you can pay down your bills completely every month, there are other cards out there that will suit you far better. It all comes down to how worried you are about insulating yourself from the effects (or potential effects) of high interest fees.

About American Express

American Express has been around since 1850, and has grown so much over the years that they are now the most valuable financial services brand in the entire world according to Forbes. They may have a better reputation for upmarket products, but don’t let that fool you; they strive for quality in everything they do, as you can see from this card. They also make sure to make themselves available to customers 24/7 by phone or email and also offer emergency card replacement services in a very short time frame.

What We Think

You probably won’t be surprised to hear this given the tone of the rest of our AmEx Essential credit card review, but we heartily recommend this card. If you need to save money on your credit card bills, you simply can’t do any better than this. You’ll be making some small sacrifices on perks and you won’t be eligible to earn any rewards, but you’ll be able to cut your debt-servicing expenses so dramatically that these things shouldn’t make too much of a difference to you. You will, on the other hand, notice a big difference in your credit card bills each month!