In recent months, I’ve been writing a lot about the changes to the credit card market, warning that in 2017 many bank-issued AMEX cards would likely disappear. That’s because new laws have reduced the “interchange” fees banks can charge merchants when you use your credit card, with bank-issued AMEX cards the most severely affected. Those fees pay for the points you earn, so lower fees means fewer points.
Today, we heard that ANZ is the first of the major banks to announce a shake-up of its AMEX cards. ANZ has ended its relationship with American Express, stopped taking new applications for AMEX cards, and will shut down existing cards on 5 August 2017. That’s a big change.
ANZ will continue to offer only Visa cards and it’s rejigging the points earning rates on those.
It surely won’t be long until we hear other banks announce changes to their AMEX products, given the new laws take effect on 1 July 2017. The banks may follow ANZ’s lead and discontinue their relationship with American Express, or they may negotiate new agreements (with fewer points for many customers) – we wait and see.
AMEX cards issued directly by American Express Australia are exempt from the new laws. As I’ve written about previously, a simple strategy for maximising points moving forward is to hold a high-earning AMEX card issued by American Express Australia, with a backup Visa or MasterCard from another provider for use with merchants who don’t accept AMEX.