Express is one of America's top shopping destinations for clothing at the cutting edge of style for men and women. With more than 600 locations nationwide, Express is a mainstay in most US malls. And through regular sales and coupon mailers, the company has worked to make fashion affordable since its first location opened in Chicago in 1980. In 2001, the company expanded to menswear with its Express Men storefronts.
Today, the company is best loved for its line of denim jeans, with women's fit styles like Mia, Zelda, Stella, and Rerock, and men's styles such as Blake, Kingston, Rocco, and Alec. All of the clothes sold in stores are designed at the Express Design Studio on Fifth Avenue in New York City's Flatiron District. The Express Next Credit Card offers a rewards program that awards gift cards for every $125 spent, but the hefty interest rate makes it pricey if you carry a balance long term.
Better Cards to Use at Express
As seasons and styles change, it's always tempting to head to the mall to look for a few new pieces to add to your wardrobe. Whether it's a hot date, a job interview, or just a night on the town, you always feel more confident with new threads to wear. The total cost of adding those clothes to your closet can quickly escalate if you aren't careful. Adding a 25.99% interest rate on that purchase can have you paying off those new jeans long after they're out of style.
Given the high APR of the Express Next Credit Card, consumers will likely be able to find an option with better terms. Most basic rewards credit cards offer better (or, at least, similar) cash back, points, or miles than the Express Next.
Most cash back cards will offer unlimited cash back on every purchase, and many cards will also offer bonus cash back in select categories. Even better, the majority of prime cash back cards will also do so at much lower interest rates.
If there was a mall for Annual Percentage Rates, most cash back cards would be that fancy jewelry store with security guards standing out front — and the Express Next Credit Card would be relegated to the “As Seen on TV” section. With a 25.99% rate, you could be stuck paying way more for a purchase than it says on your receipt. Long-term savings could be had with a low APR card like the ones below.
What's the point of having new clothes if you can't show them off? The Express Next Card's rewards can only be redeemed at Express, but with a travel-perks card like the one below, you can take the points or miles from that Express purchase and redeem them toward a dream trip (where those new clothes will look real spiffy in any selfie you post to Instagram).
Rewards points are always nice, but consumers need flexibility in where they use the rewards and how they're redeemed. Through the Express Next Credit Card, you're relegated to using your perks at Express. While that may be a good thing for some, if you really want to be in style this season, you need a makeover to your wallet with a rewards card that gives you options for how you redeem your perks, along with an interest rate that's more realistic.
What Others Say About the Express Credit Card
With acceptance reports for credit scores as low as 540, the Express Next card seems suited for damaged or new credit that's in need of a makeover. For consumers with higher credit profiles, there are more suitable options that offer better perks and interest rates on purchases anywhere you shop. With a quick look at cardholder reviews, a spotlight is shone on potential flaws in the card.
I honestly do not recall applying for an Express card, but I'm sure I did at one point since I do shop at Express a lot. I've had my card for at least one year. My credit score was in the low 600's my card was approved for $300, then $500 and now I'm at an $800 credit limit within a year. This card has helped me improve my credit score a lot. I love it. A few pointers though - pay your card on time and pay in full to avoid interest. Overall I love this card. — CreditKarma.com”
I used to use my Express Credit Card like crazy when I first started shopping at the Express stores. It offered good discounts and rewards. I was young then and didn't understand about APRs and finance charges. The check I mailed never reached them one month, so I ended up rolling over my balance and I couldn't believe the total finance charges I received on my next two bills. They charged me enough to pay for the dress that I liked. That was the last time I was in the store. Immediately after that I put this card in the drawer and haven't touched it since. I now use my Chase card that has a 12.99%v APR. — WalletHub.com”
I have an Express account which I use here and there and pay off the balance right away. I recently made an $80 charge and completely forgot about it. The following month, I notice on my credit report that my score dropped 40 points and Comenity Bank noted 30 days past due on my account. I called immediately to pay the balance which included late fees. I requested this please be lifted from my credit report, as I would have immediately paid it if I hadn't forgot, and there was never a phone call, email reminder, warning, nothing. They had four different phone numbers on file for me that are not mine (no one seemed to know how that happened) and I had just opened my account six months ago and have had the same number for some time. I wrote a letter to the bank requesting that they please lift this from my credit report being the circumstances, and seeing that all other payments were made on time and in full. Also explaining that the impact on my credit score was huge. I called today to follow up on my letter and was told that "they said no." This is just horrible. I cannot believe that after being a loyal customer for two years with another account, always paying on time and in full each time, having this one $80 charge that was missed got to my credit report so quickly. Then to take the time to write the letter explaining this and voiced my concern for not having correct contact information for me, no letter or bill was received through my mail (though they had the correct mailing address) to notify me, to just get a response of "they said no." — ConsumerAffairs.com”
Is the Express Card Right for You?
With nearly 40 years of experience providing the latest fashions to consumers around the country, Express has built a solid fanbase that remains loyal to its offerings every season. Although the company is known for its style and atmosphere, its rewards program is the only selfie-worthy perk to the credit card.
With a high 25.99% APR, the card is best suited to frequent shoppers or those with lower credit scores who need to rebuild. Shoppers with established credit histories are better served with an open-loop rewards card with a lower APR.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.