Understanding Hidden Fees in Your American Express Statement

If American Express is hiding fees in your bill, you may have legal options.

American Express is a credit card company that has operated primarily with consumer credit cards and corporate credit cards. American Express has been in operation since 1850, but a lot has changed since that time. Today they offer a wide range of different cards with limited fees. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t accidentally find fraudulent charges if someone gets a hold of your account information, hidden fees on your statement or a fraudulent account opened in your name.

If this happens, it’s imperative that you reach out to American Express customer service and give them the chance to rectify the situation immediately. Fraudulent American Express charges should be handled quickly by the fraud department, while hidden fees might be explained as perfectly legitimate. Understanding what feeds to expect can help you determine when something doesn’t quite make sense and when you need American Express customer service to help you reverse the charge.

American Express Fees

American Express has 14 different types of credit cards. No matter which of these cards you choose, you might face a variety of unexpected fees.

Annual fee

The annual fee is the amount you are charged every year. Not all American Express cards have an annual fee, and some of them have no annual fee for the first year, but it kicks in for the second year, which could be a surprise in your statement if you are expecting it. The elite travel cards have an annual fee of around $700, while the basic credit cards have an annual fee of only $25. The reason the annual fee is higher for elite travel cards is that they give you access to things like airline lounges with additional travel credit.

Balance transfer fee

Some of the American Express cards charge a balance transfer fee if you want to consolidate your debt and move it from one car to another. This is usually a percentage of the total amount you transfer, around 4%.

Cash advance fee

If you get cash with your credit card, you can expect to pay a cash advance fee between 2% and 5% of the total amount you withdraw. You will also have to pay a higher interest rate on your cash advance and potential ATM fees.

Foreign transaction fee

If you conduct any foreign transactions, your credit card might have a fee for a foreign transaction as well as a fee to convert the currency. The foreign transaction fee is usually 3% of your total purchase.

Overlimit fee

If you go over your limit, you might be charged up to $29 for whatever purchase pushes you beyond your credit limit. If you have had a late payment in the last six months and you go over your credit limit, you might be charged a $40 fee.

Late payment fee

There are some fees that might show up on your American Express statement relating to your payments. If you make a payment that’s late, you will typically be charged $29 but no more than $40, depending on the type of car you have.

Returned check fee

 If you try to make a payment with your bank and it gets returned because you don’t have enough money to make that payment, again, you can face a charge of up to $40.

Expedited payment fee

If you need to make an expedited payment and you do so over the phone with an American Express customer service agent, they might charge you an additional fee.

Additional fees

There are a few additional fees that are not as common as those listed above but might still make their way onto your American Express statement:

  • Additional card fee if you need an extra card
  • Some American Express credit cards have a credit line increase fee, so if you apply for and get approved for a higher credit limit, you get a slight fee.
  • If you need a replacement card because you lost yours, but you need it immediately, there is an express card delivery fee based on the type of card you have.
  • Some of the American Express cards levy against you if you need paper statements or additional statements.
  • There are certain American Express cards that charge a fee if you speak with an agent over the phone to redeem your card-related rewards.
  • Some cards charge a fee to set up or a monthly maintenance fee, especially if you have a secured credit card to help you improve your poor credit history.

What Should I Do If I Was Charged Incorrectly by American Express?

If you were charged incorrectly by American Express, reach out to American Express customer service first. They might be able to help resolve the issue, reverse the charge, or explain why it was there. If this doesn’t help, there are two more options:

Small Claims Court

The first is to sue American Express in small claims court. You have to know how to do this, what court to go to, what paperwork to file, and what the costs are. However, it usually offers good compensation for those who qualify. Every state has different limitations in terms of compensation and qualifications.


The second is to use consumer arbitration. The arbitration process is potentially easier, without the same restrictions, and often gets a much faster resolution.

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