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How to buy a car with an American Express card

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A common question that comes up in our comments section is whether you can buy a new or used car with a credit card, primarily American Express.

After all, it would be wrong to turn down a large chunk of miles and points as part of the biggest single purchase you are ever likely to make.

In reality, it is very tricky. This is partly due to the card fees that garages must pay, partly because of the large profits to be made if you take their own financing packages, and partly because many garages are wary of you making a Section 75 chargeback if there is a problem with the car.

It’s not impossible, however, especially with the larger quoted dealerships. The best advice to give is to only ask the question after you have negotiated a price, so the card fee isn’t secretly added to their ‘best price’.

Even if you cannot pay the whole sum on a credit card, see if you can pay the deposit. As well as earning a few miles, it gives you Section 75 protection in case of a problem with the car. Section 75 kicks in even if only part of your payment is by credit card.

Curve Card can help if debit cards are accepted

If your dealer will accept debit cards but not credit cards, take a look at Curve Card.

Our core article on Curve Card is here. In simple terms, you receive a debit card which recharges your purchases to another Visa or Mastercard credit card. This allows you to earn points on the underlying card.

If you take dealer financing, can you settle by credit card?

You may find that you can get a better price from a dealer by agreeing to their financing package.

If you can immediately pay off the financing package with cash or a personal loan, it may be worth doing for the discount.

If you intend to keep the financing deal, some packages allow you to make your monthly repayment by credit card.

Things are changing with Amex …..

Cazoo and Cinch are currently making big strides in the ‘online only’ used car market. You can’t fail to have seen their advertising. Cazoo is about to float in the US with a proposed valuation of $7 billion – not bad going for a business that is only two years old and has sold very few cars so far.

Both Cazoo and Cinch accept American Express. They don’t keep this a secret – it is in their terms and conditions. Cazoo’s payment rules are here. Visa and Mastercard are obviously accepted too.

The only restriction is that Cazoo does not accept ‘business’ credit cards, presumably because the fees on these are far higher. It also insists that the card is in the name on the person who will be registered as the owner.

Cazoo has an Amex cashback deal too

Whilst it is a bit late in the day to mentiont this, Cazoo currently has an American Express cashback offer running.

Until 2nd May (ie tomorrow!), you can get £250 cashback on a transaction of £1,000+.

If you are targetted, you will see the deal on the ‘Offers’ section of your online American Express statement or app.

Conclusion

For clarity, I know very little about buying cars and I know even less about Cazoo and Cinch. I’m certainly not recommending them based on any personal experience.

However, if you are in the market for a car and are thinking about trying one of these two new online-only players, being able to use your American Express card is an added bonus.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our October 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (115)

  • Greg says:

    Forget Cazoo and Cinch. They offer a money back guarantee but don’t offer a warranty. Personally I’ve bought my last 3 card from a recognised dealer with 12 months warranty maximising any benefit from paying by credit card or curve debit card.

    • Bob says:

      I guess it depends on the price. Afaik Cazoo gives 3 months warranty, and can be etended with extra cost.

  • Tarmohamed says:

    if anyone cares….

    Aug 2020 purchased a car from Cargiant for £17k (inclusive of all admin fees etc) – car was worth £18-19k atleast as was top spec.

    April 2020 previous owner had sold it to WBAC for £15k

    Wonder how they made a profit between WBAC, BCA and CarGiant.

    • Damian says:

      They probably got frustrated like the sales person did with me at Big Motoring World. Out of courtesy I listened to the sales chat on optional extras of additional warranty, cleaning protect kit etc. and the bill was presented at over £2000 more than what the car was be sold for. Naturally I politely declined and said if I wanted to spend £2000 more I would get a slightly better car. She then asked if I was sure I didn’t want finance despite being a cash buyer!!!

      Their business model seems to be to sell the cars below market value in bulk and make profit on the finance and additional extras.

  • Gary Colclough says:

    Bought a car a few weeks ago and dealer was fine with Amex which surprised me, 40k deposit across 2 cards netting me 60k avios and 2 x 2-4-1 vouchers , nice 🙂

  • BFT01 says:

    You don’t need to take your car to the dealership to have it serviced, so long as genuine parts are used and your service book is stamped, any reputable garage can service it for much less than a main dealer, for a 40,000 miles service on my diesel BMW I was quoted £590.00 of which £99.00 plus Vat was for engine oil, just because it said BMW. My local garage was £320 including a MOT.
    Dealership will tell you it needs to be serviced there to keep the warranty valid, it’s not necessary to have it dealer serviced, and hasn’t been for years. I managed a workshop for Shell Australia, and always looked after fleet cars of the local businesses near me, which is how I grew the business.
    The reason dealers want to sell you a car using their finance company is because they buy cars on a floor plan, the finance company buys the stock, the dealership sells you the finance and any other additional items which they all make a commission on.
    I bought a nearly new car in November and paid cash, said no to everything else, traded in my old car and got more for it than I was offered by we buy any car, after taking into account all of their fees, despite what the adds say the fees with WBAC are huge. Admin fees with car giant etc is another reason why I refuse to buy a car from them, it should not be an extra charge.

  • flyforfun says:

    I was really annoyed when I bought my Toyota to find the dealership didn’t take Amex, even though their Lexus arm does. Then I was told they only take credit cards up to £2000 and the rest had to be on a debit card. I paid £500 on a credit card when I signed the contract, then a further £2000 when picking up the car. The balance I used my Curve card, linked to my Lloyds Avios card so at least I got some points.

    My existing car was 16 years old. Because we were in the middle of the last lockdown I couldn’t sell privately. Went to a few online dealers with pics etc, but WBAC came out almost triple the worst offer, but just over double once we got there and the marked it down for wear and tear – which we were expecting. I may have got a couple more hundred selling privately, but didn’t have the time and didn’t want to be sharing a car with a stranger for test drives.

  • Jay says:

    With limited use during the pandemic, I returned by PCP vehicle and bought a nearly new car (with 18 months warranty left on it) using Cinch. The price was the most competitive I could find for the spec, got a load of Amex points for it.
    I could also transfer the balance to zero percent interest cards covering 2 years for peanuts. Overall, worked out very well and I will recommend Cinch.

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