The Express credit card, issued by Comenity Bank, is expressly mediocre.
It can help you pay for a new wardrobe at the clothing retailer, but its usefulness is limited beyond that, especially given its high interest rate and narrow redemption options.
There’s no annual fee, and the card earns an eye-catching 20 to 25 points per $1 spent. But those figures aren’t as rewarding as they sound, and the card’s drawbacks easily outweigh these benefits.
Here are five things to know about the Express credit card.
1. It can be used only at Express
The Express credit card is a “closed-loop” product, meaning it can be used only to make purchases at Express, Express.com or Express Factory Outlets. For a more versatile card that you can use (and earn rewards with) anywhere, check out our list of best cash-back credit cards.
2. The interest rate is dizzying
The interest rate, or purchase APR, on the Express credit card topped 32% as of December 2023. That’s almost 10 percentage points higher than the average interest rate on all interest-accruing credit cards in August 2023, per the Federal Reserve.
An APR that high will make carrying a balance from month to month an expensive proposition. If possible, pay off the balance in full, or you could end up owing far above the sticker price for those new clothes.
If you need to finance an expensive wardrobe over time, consider a credit card with a 0% intro APR offer. The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card, for example, offers 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR.
3. The welcome offer is meager
If you’re approved for the Express credit card, you’ll get a 20% discount off the first Express purchase charged to the card. However, the discount must be used on the same day you apply and are approved for the card. This welcome offer may seem enticing when you’re at the cash register, moments away from taking home your Express haul, but it pales in comparison to bonuses on other credit cards, which can be worth a few hundred dollars.
For example, the $0-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has this welcome offer: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply. It also earns, among other things, 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%. Terms apply; see rates and fees.
This card would be a superior pick to the Express credit card if you have the credit score to qualify and are willing to shop online.
4. Cardholders get perks within the Express loyalty program
Express’ loyalty program, Express Insider, has three tiers: Insider, Influencer and A-List. If you have the Express credit card, you’re automatically enrolled in the program and elevated to the Influencer level.
Influencers get 20 points for every dollar spent at Express and Express Factory Outlets, a $20 birthday gift, and free U.S. standard shipping and returns.
To make it to A-List status, you’ll need to earn 10,000 points, the equivalent of spending $500. A-Listers also get free shipping and returns, but they earn 25 points per $1 spent and get a $40 birthday gift.
Unredeemed points expire after 12 months from the date they were earned.
5. Reward redemption is automatic, but point values are poor
Redeeming rewards earned with the Express credit card is effortless, but that’s because there’s only one option: Points earned with the Express card are redeemable for Express Cash certificates, which can be used toward future Express purchases.
Cardholders will automatically receive $5 in Express Cash once they accumulate 1,250 points, sent to their Insider account. That means that 1 point is worth a measly 0.04 cent, far less than the standard 1 cent per point.
Express Cash certificates are valid for a minimum of 60 days after their issue date, but even still, “banking” them up for a big purchase might be difficult if you don’t visit the retailer that often.