Review: The Plum Card® from American Express

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In a Nutshell

The Plum Card® from American Express is a charge card that comes with a unique Extra Days to Pay feature that can come in handy for businesses that experience short-term cash flow issues. But the card’s steep annual fee and lack of a rewards program means it isn’t the ideal card for everyone.

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Pros Cons
Ability to add employee cards High annual fee: $0 intro, $250 after first year
Early-payment discount No welcome bonus
Deferred payments No rewards program
No foreign transaction fee

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The Plum Card® from American Express

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What you should know about The Plum Card® from American Express

The Plum Card® from American Express is probably going to be different from most other cards in your wallet. It’s a charge card, which means it doesn’t come with a preset spending limit. That doesn’t mean you have access to unlimited spending, but it does mean that your spending can be more flexible than with a credit card.

Another feature of a charge card is that you typically can’t carry a balance month to month, instead having to pay your monthly balances off in full. But that’s not exactly the case with The Plum Card® from American Express. Here are three distinct features that make it different from a typical charge card.

1. Deferred balance payments

Waiting to get paid before you can pay your bills? The Plum Card® from American Express can help ease your cash flow pain with its Extra Days to Pay feature. If you pay at least the minimum payment by the due date — along with any previously deferred balances — you can defer the remainder of your new balance to the next statement without accruing interest on the balance.

What does that actually look like? Say you charged $5,000 in your first month. To be eligible for payment deferral, you’d need to pay the minimum payment due of $500 (10% of your new balance) by the due date. The remaining $4,500 won’t accrue interest as long as you pay it off by the next statement due date.

Say you charge another $2,000 next month. To be eligible to defer the $2,000 payment, you’d need to pay $4,700. That’s the minimum payment due of $200 for the new month, plus the entire deferred balance from the previous month of $4,500.

The Extra Days to Pay feature can effectively give you an extra 30 days interest-free in order to make your payment.

2. Early-payment discount

The Plum Card® from American Express doesn’t come with a welcome bonus or rewards, but it does offer a discount for early payments. Make a payment of at least your minimum amount due within the 10 days prior to the statement closing date, and you’ll get a 1.5% discount credited in your next statement.

Note: It’s not clear if you can pay off the card even earlier than 10 days and still get the discount. If you’d like to do that, reach out to American Express customer service to find out if they’ll honor the discount for even earlier payments.

3. Free employee cards

If you’re ready to grow your business, this card lets you add employee cards for no extra fee. Early payments made on these purchases can also qualify for the early-payment discount. And you can set up limits on the employee cards online or over the phone.

What else you should know

There are a few other things you should make note of.

  • A pricey annual fee: $0 intro, $250 after first year
  • No foreign transaction fee: Feel free to bring this card along while you travel
  • Late-payment fee: 1.5% of any past-due amounts, or $38 (whichever is higher)

Who this card is good for

The most unique feature of The Plum Card® from American Express is the Extra Days to Pay option. If your business has short-term cash flow issues that mean you usually carry a balance on your credit card — and pay interest — this feature could help save you money.

Some business credit cards charge an APR of over 15%. Imagine, for example, that you needed to defer a $4,500 payment for an additional 30 days. The pay-it-later feature would save you around $56 in interest during that month, compared with a credit card with a 15% APR that doesn’t offer this feature.

To make up for a lack of a rewards program and a high annual fee, this card is best suited to business owners who know they’ll be able to take advantage of the Extra Days to Pay feature to save money.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re not sure that The Plum Card® from American Express is for you, compare it to some of the other solid options for business owners.