The difference between CREDIT and CHARGE cards
Definition of a CREDIT card
A CREDIT card allows the cardholder to make purchases “on credit” by not having to pay for them until the credit card bill is due.
The main aspect of a credit card is that it offers payment flexibility. A credit card holder does not have to pay back the ENTIRE amount spent on the card each month.
Instead, he can choose to pay:
- a minimum amount (decided by the card issuer, here American Express)
- or any amount between this minimum and the total balance
If the full balance due is not paid, the cardholder has to pay additional fees: interest on the balance due… which is very high (around 20%).
Also, the CREDIT card has a limit, which is called the “credit limit”.
At American Express, the minimum credit limit is $1,000. In general, a limit of $10,000 will be the one granted to you based on your record. You may very well have a higher limit like $20-30,000.
Definition of a CHARGE card
A CHARGE card allows the cardholder to make purchases that can be paid for at a later date until the payment card account bill is due.
However, the payment card does not offer payment flexibility. Indeed, the payment card holder must repay the entire amount borrowed each month on the due date.
And the CHARGE card has no pre-set limit: only American Express knows how much it is willing to lend you. Generally, this will be based on your purchasing habits on the card and payments made.
For example, it may be possible to make large purchases on a CHARGE card , such as the purchase of a car worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Why is this difference important?
American Express Canada has an unofficial limit on the number of CREDIT and CHARGE cards that can be held simultaneously:
- 4 CREDIT cards
- an unlimited number of CHARGE cards
Transferring credit from one card to another
You can transfer your credit limit from one CREDIT card to another by simply calling American Express. The procedure is immediate.
The minimum limit on a card is usually $1,000.
Therefore, before cancelling a card, it is advisable to transfer almost all the available credit from one card to another!
That way, in the event you apply for a new CREDIT card in the future, and American Express denies or puts a hold on your application, it will be easy to ask American Express to transfer some of the available credit to your new card !
How do I know if a card is for CREDIT or CHARGE?
In the product description, American Express indicates whether it is a credit card or a charge card.
For example, the American Express Cobalt™ Card is a CREDIT card .
Whereas the American Express® Gold Rewards Card is a CHARGE card . You can see that this card does not have any “annual interest rate” information.
List of American Express Canada CREDIT cards
There are 12 American Express CREDIT cards:
List of American Express Canada CHARGE cards
There are 6 American Express PAYMENT cards: