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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.


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? – September 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 (114)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • MarkZ says:

    I bought my latest car, second hand, from an independent car dealer, two months ago, using my BA Premium Plus AMEX card, with no fuss or bother whatsoever. It also triggered a 2-4-1 voucher, as well as generating a boot-load of Avios!

    • Benilyn says:

      Rare I’d say. In the UK very few will be open at first to pay by credit card as a starting point. I’ve had local Merc dealer say no Amex whilst local Porsche dealer say only up to £10k by card. Obviously these are opening guidelines and can be negotiated if you are strong willed / threaten to walk away.

      • Polly says:

        Best we did was with the mbna American air miles deal years ago, got the garage in Croydon to take full payment 14k, divided between our 2 cards. Took a couple of hours, but got there. Also got us that huge Aadvantage bonus…

  • Sam says:

    I thought Arnold Clark took AMEX no?

    • James says:

      Yes we bought using Amex from Arnold Clark. No fuss. No extra charge.

      • gordon chalker says:

        I paid £20k for a new car at Arnold Clark in Birmingham 4 months ago and the salesman said there would be a extra charge paying by Amex what ever the percentage is ? So declined and paid by bacs shame would have loved the avios

  • Nilesh says:

    Remember you don’t need to pay for the whole car to benefit from s75 protection. If the car is worth less than £30k, you only need to pay £100 or more by credit card and you benefit from s75 from the entire car. (Someone more on knowledgeable should confirm this). Also remember that charge cards like the Amex platinum do not benefit from s75 protection. Although they claim to do so voluntarily I found Amex refused to honour s75 on a holiday purchase last year.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      There’s no need to pay £100, any amount is fine. £100 relates to the value of the goods/service, not the value of the card transaction.

    • Jenny says:

      No. If you read amexs t&c. Cars are not included

      • Nilesh says:

        Andrew – you are right.

        Jenny – not sure which t and C’s you are referring to but I assume it is for the charge cards. That’s my point. The messaging on this site that protection on charge cards is as good as s75 because Amex abide by it is misleading. They may do but if they decide not to, there is nothing you can do about it as I have found. I no longer use my platinum amex but keep it for the benefits. I use the BA card which is a proper credit card with the statutory S75 protection.

        • the_real_a says:

          There is also no consequential loss “voluntary” protection in AMEX charge T&C. Really you should be booking travel on a charge card when this type of protection is essential.

          • KBuffett says:

            Surely the Amex Gold Credit has S75?

          • the_real_a says:

            Yes – Gold Credit has S75, Gold Charge does not (i’ve got the Gold charge)

          • the_real_a says:

            Also my typo: “Really you should NOT be booking travel on a charge card when this type of protection is essential!” 🙂

  • Chas says:

    Does anyone have any personal experience of whether Marshall’s will be happy to accept Amex (or if not any other credit card)? Am hoping to be able to buy a used car from them in the next few months, having been putting it off for years and years….

    • Frances says:

      We recently bought from Marshall’s, AMEX was not accepted and could only put £500 on MasterCard and the remainder had to be paid via debit card

      • Chas says:

        Thanks. Looks like we will have to use bendy then, and spread the payments over several days.

      • Simon says:

        Marshall Mercedes will take Amex payment online for the deposit only

        • Chas says:

          Good to know. I presume you couldn’t choose to pay a larger deposit than normal….?! We will be using Marshall Volvo, but I’d have thought that they will have the same functionality across the group. We just need to wait for them to get the right used car into stock, and then we’ll take the plunge.

      • Mikeact says:

        @Frances. Curve?

        • Frances says:

          I don’t have a Curve so didn’t ask, this wa Marshall’s Mercedes

    • Tim says:

      Marshall BMW Hook Hampshire stopped taking Amex last year. When I asked the service manager he said the card fees were too high. I now use Barrons which still take Amex

  • Rob M says:

    Audi dealership I dealt with for approved used were fine with me paying with Amex – didn’t raise an eyebrow. Same with Audi finance if exercising right to withdrawal/ paying down a product early.

  • Waribai says:

    Interesting…. In the past on HFP, I’ve found Rob’s personal approach to car buying even more interesting 🙂 Has it changed?

    • Rob says:

      I don’t have a car …. I have 10 Zipcars parked up within 10 minutes of my house!

      • KBuffett says:

        How is the cleanliness of ZipCars etc since Covid?

        • Rob says:

          Never gave it a second thought. Car cleanliness was always hit and miss – we had one last year where the previous user had clearly been inhaling large amounts of illegal substances whilst driving, with both the smell and detrius available to confirm it ….

          • KBuffett says:

            ZipCar is known to be a safe, secure
            method of transport for such fraternity.

      • Waribai says:

        That’s exactly what I meant! In London now , you are often nearer to a zipcar parking bay than a resident parking bay!

  • Anthony Edwards says:

    Robins & Day let me put the whole purchase price (12k) of a second hand car on Amex. Very pleasant surprise.

  • Vit says:

    Something to consider as well, not an advice, bought my “perfect” 1st car off Facebook, cheaper than my watch. 😅Bought using PayPal “paying family” option. It was a one off payment so get away with it… and the MR​ points. 😉

    • Jenny says:

      Paying paypal with that option doesnt give you protection at all
      How much was your watch?

      • the_real_a says:

        Very true – however if buying from a bloke in town, its ultimately no worse than paying cash

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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