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The Plum Card® from American Express – Review


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At a glance

American Express Business Plum Card

Our rating

3.9/5

The Plum Card® from American Express

  • Welcome Offer: None
  • Rewards: 1.5% discount when making a payment early (within 10 days of statement closing date), with no limit
  • Benefits: No interest or fees for 60 days after statement closing date
  • Intro APR: None
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Credit Needed: Good/Excellent
  • Terms and conditions apply – see rates and fees


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The Plum Card® from American Express is a small business card with a $250 annual fee. Unlike most American Express cards, it does not have a welcome offer, nor does it share in the company’s Membership Rewards point program. However, it does offer a 1.5% discount on all balances paid early – defined as within 10 days of your statement closing date, as long as you make your minimum payment (10% of new activity during the statement period, plus any balance from previous statement periods).

You also have the flexibility to carry balances above the minimum payment amount for 60 days beyond each statement due date with no interest, late charges, or risk of account closure. However, failure to pay your balance in full beyond the 60-day limit could result in reduced spending limits or account closure.

The Plum Card is comparable to a number of other business cards, including Amex’s other color-coded cards: Business Platinum, Business Green, and Business Gold.

Keep in mind that the Plum Card is meant for business owners with a good or excellent credit score and ample cash flow. If you’re just starting out and can’t demonstrate adequate revenues, or if you have any significant credit blemishes, you likely won’t qualify for this card.

Key Features

These are the key features of the American Express Plum Card.

Discount for Early Repayment

As long as you make the minimum payment (10% of new activity during the statement period, plus any carried balances from previous periods) within 10 days of your statement closing date, you receive an unlimited 1.5% discount on the amount paid by that time (above and beyond any previous balance due).

Here’s an example: If you rack up $3,000 in new charges during the statement period, and make a $1,500 payment within 10 days of the closing date, you get a $22.50 discount – 1.5% of $1,500. This effectively functions as an unlimited 1.5% cash back statement credit.

No Interest or Fees for 60 Days

After the statement closing date, you have 60 days (until the next statement’s due date) to pay the remaining balance without interest or fees. Beyond the 60-day mark, unpaid balances are subject to charges and your account is at risk of closure.

Important Fees

The annual fee is $250. There is no foreign transaction fee. Late payments, which American Express defines as balances left unpaid for more than 2 consecutive statement cycles (60 days), cost $39 or 2.99% of the late balance – whichever is greater. Returned payments cost $39.

For rates and fees of The Plum Card from American Express, please see this rates and fees page.

Additional Business Benefits

The Plum Card features many business-friendly benefits, including adjustable spending limits on employee cards, expense tagging and tracking, and digital receipt storage.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.

Advantages

  1. Flexible Repayment Option. The Plum Card’s flexible repayment option sets it apart from most other cards, including its fellow color-coded Amex business cards. It’s great for companies with unpredictable revenues or expenses – such as seasonal businesses, a key marketing target for this card. Unlike most other cards, the Plum Card doesn’t charge interest or fees for 60 days after the statement closing date, as long as you pay at least 10% plus previously carried balances by the due date. That’s a big plus if you need a little extra time to pay your balance in full.
  2. Discount for Early Payment. The early payment discount effectively functions as a 1.5% cash back bonus, a solid rate of return for any business rewards card. By contrast, Amex Business Platinum‘s Membership Rewards program has an effective 1% rate of return.
  3. No Foreign Transaction Fee. The Plum Card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, which is nice for cardmembers whose business takes them outside the United States. U.S. Bank Business Edge World MasterCard has a 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee, depending on currency denomination.
  4. No Complicated Rewards System. The Plum Card’s early repayment discount is about as simple as card rewards get. If you pay part or all of your balance within 10 days of statement closing, you effectively get 1.5% cash back on that amount. By contrast, many other Amex business cards use the somewhat confusing Membership Rewards program, which features variable point values, variable minimum redemption requirements, and limits to what you can redeem for.
  5. Lots of Fringe Benefits. The Plum Card has lots of business and non-business benefits that really enhance its value. Top competitors like Chase Ink Business Cash and Chase Ink Business Preferred can’t match it on this front (though they hold their own elsewhere).

Disadvantages

  1. High Annual Fee. The Plum Card comes with a $250 annual fee. That’s higher than fellow Amex cards, such as Business Green Rewards, and higher than popular business cards, such as Capital One Spark Miles and Chase Ink Business Preferred.
  2. No Welcome Offer. The Plum Card doesn’t have a welcome offer. That’s unusual for business cards with high annual fees.
  3. No Rewards Beyond Early Repayment Benefit. Unlike most other American Express business cards, as well as many business cards issued by other companies, Plum doesn’t earn rewards or cash back points beyond the on-time repayment deal. Other Amex business cards earn 1 to 3 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on some or all purchases, while some business cash back cards, such as Capital One Spark Cash for Business, earn as much as 2% cash back across the board.
  4. Potential for Lower Spending Limit. American Express often sets spending limits – as low as $5,000, in some cases – for Plum customers after relatively short active periods. This is likely due to the fact that Amex markets the Plum Card to seasonal businesses and companies with less predictable revenue streams. However, it can be frustrating for customers who expect to have more freedom to spend. American Express is much less restrictive with its other cards on this front.

Final Word

The Plum Card® from American Express is somewhat unusual. With no regular interest charges and a more flexible repayment schedule, it’s a great business card for entrepreneurs looking to keep their options opens. And it incorporates an incentive – the 1.5% early repayment discount – for an action that most card issuers expect of their customers as a matter of course.

The Plum Card’s strengths appeal to businesses with unpredictable cash flows, especially those affected by seasonality, such as retailers in vacation towns. At the same time, it’s not for everyone. Before you apply for this card, make sure you understand its limitations.

For rates and fees of The Plum Card from American Express, please see this rates and fees page.

FEATURED PROMOTION

The Verdict

American Express Business Plum Card

Our rating

3.9/5

The Plum Card® from American Express

The Plum Card® from American Express is a great card for business owners, particularly those with unpredictable revenues and expenses, who need the option to pay over a short period of time without worrying about losing cardmember status or incurring interest charges and fees. On the other hand, it’s also useful for business owners who want a cash back reward – the 1.5% early payment discount – for paying in full each month. Plum isn’t great for business owners who dislike high annual fees, nor those who need a reliably high spending limit.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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