American Express Business Checking 20,000 Membership Rewards Points Bonus (1.10% APY; Earn Points With Debit Card Spend)

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Offer at a glance

  • Maximum bonus amount: 20,000 Membership Rewards points
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Direct deposit required: None
  • Additional requirements: $5,000 deposit; 10 transactions
  • Hard/soft pull: Soft pull
  • ChexSystems: Unknown
  • Credit card funding: None
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Early account termination fee: None listed
  • Household limit: None listed
  • Expiration date: None listed

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • American Express is offering a bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you open a new business checking account and complete the following requirements:
    • Deposit $5,000 within 20 days of account opening
    • Maintain an average balance of $5,000 for 60 days after account opening
    • Make 10 or more qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening (qualifying transactions are mobile deposits, and electronic/online transactions including ACH, Wire, and Bill Payments)

Account Details

  • Rewards: Earn Earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every $2 spent on eligible Business Debit Card purchases.
  • Interest: Earn 1.10% APY on balances up to $500,000. (You can have up to 10 accounts altogether for $5M total earning that interest rate.)
  • Points conversion (more on this below): If you already have a Membership Rewards-enrolled Card: You can choose to convert points into deposits directly into your Business Checking account or use them the same way you always have – for travel, gift cards, and more.
  • Enjoy fee-free ATM withdrawals at 37,000 MoneyPass® ATM locations nationwide.
  • Mobile deposits
  • Pay vendors, bills, and more with one click; online or through the mobile app (iOS only)

The Fine Print

  • To be eligible to earn a Welcome Offer of 20,000 Membership Rewards® points (the “Welcome Offer”), you must meet each of the following qualifying criteria:
    1. Open your first American Express® Business Checking account, which is subject to approval;
    2. Deposit a total of $5,000 or more in “new money” into your account within twenty (20) days of account opening (the new money must also post to your account and appear in your Available Balance within twenty (20) days of account opening). “New money” is defined as deposits that are not deposited from any other American Express® Business Checking account and are not deposited using our Redeem Membership Rewards points for Deposits feature;
    3. Maintain an average balance in your account of at least $5,000 for sixty (60) days, starting on the date that your deposits of new money are equal to $5,000 or greater; and
    4. Complete 10 qualifying transactions within sixty (60) days of account opening. “Qualifying transactions” are defined as mobile deposits, and electronic/online transactions, including ACH, Wire, and Bill Payments made to or from your account. Business Debit Card transactions and deposits using our Redeem Membership Rewards points for Deposits feature are not qualifying transactions. Transfers between American Express® Business Checking accounts held by the same business are not qualifying transactions. Stop payments and transactions that do not post to your account and do not appear in your Available Balance within sixty (60) days of account opening are not qualifying transactions. You are not eligible to earn a Welcome Offer for any accounts opened for a business that currently has or has had an American Express® Business Checking account. 
  • After you have completed all the above qualifying criteria, American Express will credit the Membership Rewards points to the Membership Rewards Program Account linked to your American Express® Business Checking account within 8-12 weeks. We may not credit the Membership Rewards points, or we may take away the Membership Rewards points if we determine, in our sole discretion, that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the offer in any way or that you intend to do so. We may also cancel this account and other accounts you may have with us if we determine abuse, misuse or gaming behavior has been shown. Your American Express® Business Checking account must be open at the time of fulfillment; we may not credit the Membership Rewards points if you or we close your American Express® Business Checking account.
  • The Welcome Offer may be taxable income to you and may be reported on IRS Form 1099. You are responsible for any federal or state taxes resulting from the offer. Please consult your tax advisor if you have questions about the tax treatment of the Welcome Offer.

Avoiding Fees

  • This account has no monthly fees to worry about.
  • There is no early account termination fee mentioned.
  • Incoming and outgoing ACHs are free, and incoming international ACHs are free. Incoming domestic wires are free. Outgoing domestic wires cost $20 each.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee (Foreign Purchases & ATM Transactions): 2.7% of the amount of each transaction after conversion to US dollars

Our Verdict

Pretty sweet bonus for opening a business checking account (we mentioned this rumored account previously). They had a very similar $300 bonus which is now expired in favor of the new 20k points bonus. We’ll add this to our list of Best Bank Bonuses. 

The fine print states that the welcome bonus may be taxable and may be reported on a 1099, presumably at a value or either .8 or 1 cent per point (see below). Regardless, some people will value the points more than $300.  I assume that someone who did the $300 bonus will not be eligible to do this points bonus. Perhaps if they closed the old account they’d be able to then reopen it under the new offer.

Three other features of this account are worth highlighting:

  1. The 1.10% APY. A few months ago that was an excellent rate, and it’s still a good rate, but I’m disappointed that they don’t seem to be raising the rate as interest rates rise. And so I’m not counting on seeing this higher, even if regular high yield accounts are offering way more in the future.
  2. The new feature here is the ability to earn 1 point per $2 spent on the debit card. (It’s similar to the personal American Express checking account which has this feature.) I don’t know if those who signed up earlier will now get the ability to earn rewards on debit card purchases, but I assume so.
    • You can check the comments of the prior post on the similar personal Amex checking account for data points on what will work as a ‘debit card’ purchase to get the rewards. As far as I know, there was nothing interesting that was considered a debit card purchase, and thus the points-earning feature is mostly useless. I can still see a scenario of a real business who uses debit-only, for whatever reason, and finds this worthwhile.
  3. There’s a new points conversion feature with this business checking account which allows converting Membership Rewards points into cash. Importantly, you can cash out all of your pooled points through your Amex business checking, not just the points earned on the business checking. This is a major new feature which I’ll write soon a dedicated post on. Briefly, you’ll get .8 cents per points cashed out into your business checking account, but if you have the Business Platinum you’ll get 1 cent per point.
  4. Also, this new checking account should now be another way of keeping your Membership Rewards points alive when you close out all of your credit card. So long as the points are pooling together correctly, this fee-free account should keep them alive. Previously, the Blue Business Plus/Cash and the Everyday cards were the only fee-free methods of keeping points alive.

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