What Is the Pay Over Time Feature in American Express Credit Cards?

American Express is famously recognized for its charge cards, with Amex Platinum and Gold card perhaps being the top two.

These cards function differently than regular credit cards and have unique benefits such as not having a present spending limit. However, the traditional advice for such cards — with respect to balances is to pay it off in full every month, as typically, you aren’t able to carry forward balances — until now (sort of).

The Introduction of “Pay Over Time” From American Express

The Pay Over Time feature from Amex converts your charge card into a regular credit card (to some extent) in that you’re able to carry forward balances — but not without interest.

How Amex Pay Over Time Works

To use Pay Over Time, Amex makes it super effortless for its users. Once activated (more on that below), you needn’t do much. To get the advantages of this feature, you continue to use your card as you generally do, except for how you want to pay off your balance when your bill is generated. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Keep making purchases like you usually do. No change is required.
  2. Any eligible purchases that qualify for the “Pay Over Time” feature will automatically get added to your balance — up to your Pay Over Time Limit. Again, no action on your end.
  3. At the end of the cycle, you can then decide if you want to:
    • Pay your balance in full.
    • Or carry it forward with interest — which is where Pay Over Time comes in handy.

Note that if you pay off everything every single time, there is no interest — even with Pay Over Time enabled.

Balance details on Amex platinum with total pay over time limit
Real-world balance details on Amex platinum with total Pay Over Time limit.

Essentially, the entire value proposition of Pay Over Time is that you have the option to not pay off your balances in full each month but rather “over time” eventually, with interest.

How To Turn On Pay Over Time on Your Amex Card

Go back to knowing how Pay Over Time works.

If not set to on already, there are two easy methods here. You can either:

  1. Log into your account and turn the feature on
  2. Call customer service
  3. A third potential alternative is that you might be able to switch this benefit on with the Amex App

Other Things To Know

What Is Pay Over Time Limit?

American Express defines this limit as the total amount you can carry forward as a balance to either pay with interest or via a plan with a fixed monthly fee. Please note that this is not a spending limit.

How Does American Express Determine Which Charges Qualify for the Pay Over Time Feature?

At the moment, there isn’t much information out there on this. So the short answer here is that it’s all automated.

How Does American Express Establish My Pay Over Time Limit?

Again, there isn’t a proper explanation available at the moment — at least, not something I could find, but it’s reasonable to suppose that it’s based on your payments and spending habits.

How Can I Know My Pay Over Time APR?

Log into your Amex Account. Then, Click on balance details. At this point, a popup window will appear. Next, from this window, click on “View APR.” Afterward, take a look at the first line to get the details on your Pay Over time APR, balance, and interest charges. Check out the attached image below for visual can I know my pay over time APR

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Is the Pay Over Time Feature Worth It?

Nobody knows your financial situation better than yourself. There is a perspective that says to avoid interests at all costs. Sometimes though, it’s easier said than done.

The most significant edge Pay Over Time provides is that of opening an extra door for you — which you don’t necessarily have to enter. But knowing that there is a support system in place for not being able to pay off a balance in full for a charge card can help plan certain large expenses.

On rare occasions, Amex may even offer to bestow extra membership reward points if you use its Pay Over time feature once. You never know.

Ultimately, the decision to leverage Pay Over Time should be yours. Just know what you’re getting into and make a knowledgeable choice.

Expert Sources

Side note: This post takes a perspective of personal Amex Cards only.