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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.

  • KBuffett says:

    Has anyone sold a car on Facebook. I’m pondering selling a couple of cars (£15k and £26k) and hoping to achieve more than Webuyanycar.
    I have some time on my hands, but not sure if the hassle factor is worthwhile.

    • Benilyn says:

      You will get swarmed by dealers who will low bid (as expected they need to eat) but bit less hassle than Joe Bloggs kicking tyres. You will get swarmed by Joe Bloggs making low bids as well so get ready to ignore these people or get thick skin.

      But you can get business done here in the end, lot of patience.

    • will says:

      eBay is easy and relatively cheap, pistonheads I think is free.
      I sold a £40k car on pistonheads pretty much right between what we buy any car and a dealer would have sold it for.

      Not a fan of selling cars on facebook.

      If you want hassle free try collecting cars.

  • Lumma says:

    Does everyone on this site pay outright for their cars?

    • Rob M says:

      It is quite common to use a personal loan which you could get as low as 2.8% APR to buy out a PCP using the right to withdraw or overpay a PCP to minimise interest costs – assuming you can get a better deal with a PCP rather than cash. It doesn’t make a lot of sense owning the car – assuming you could use that cash to get a better ROI than 2.8% for the loan.

    • Tim says:

      When driving 20k miles per year, I used to buy a nearly new car at auction once per quarter and sell once a quarter privately. Did that for ten years or so. Then leased for ten years when miles less than 10k. Cost of car if owning is depreciation, interest (cost or lost) and maintenance. Partner’s lease was up for renewal in March. We declined and I bought her a 9 month old top spec Mazda3 for just above CAP trade. Bought blind and delivered by a main dealer. Used car prices could go either way this year. But I picked it up for £11,000 less than list and expect £6,000 depreciation over next three years. Beats leasing a Golf or Mazda3 by £100 per month. But depends on circumstance.

      • KBuffett says:

        How did the financials/depreciation work when you were buying and selling every quarter?

        I’d love to be able to game depreciation free motoring. Or get close to it and drive great cars.

    • Jordan D says:

      I would have done, but Volvo had a 50% deposit and 50% at 0% finance for 3 years, so obviously went that way!

      • Louise K says:

        So did we! I also managed to bag and ex employee family discount so we are VERY happy with our deal. Just a shame they won’t let me put the whole deposit on AMEX

    • will says:

      I think the biggest reason to buy a car outright is the impact the liability of repayments for a car can have on mortgage application affordability criteria if your at that time in life.

    • KBuffett says:

      If you’ve got the cash, used car dealer finance tends to work out very expensive. There’s no way I’d be paying 5-9% per year, that’s crazy.

      • Tariq says:

        Used finance deals always look bad in comparison to new car deals as manufacturers put incentives into new car finance to sell cars.

    • RussellH says:

      Always have done, yes. And apart from 1979, when I bought new for export, and tax free, and the following car in 1984 which was a new personal import from Belgium, always used.
      Always paid cash – no loans. Never paid over £10K after trade in either.

    • GaryC says:

      I always pay cash for my cars – unless there is a particularly sweet deal that is dependent upon PCP, in which case I pay off the PCP after a couple of months so as not to screw over the dealer.

    • HBommie says:

      Used to buy outright, but why have £30-£40 grand in a depreciating asset. I balanced this against lease and lease has won over the last 4 years. All new purchases.

      Used is a different story and depends on purchase price v depreciation and length of ownership.

    • Navara says:

      Yes, normally with credit card unless it’s from motorpoint with Tesco vouchers😉

  • The Streets says:

    We bought ours at Car Giant using multiple Curve cards because of the daily limit

    • Tarmohamed says:

      Bought 2 cars from them. Always had issues. Will buy again from them though.

      • Magic Mike says:

        As a counterpoint, I’ve bought two cars from CarGiant, never had issues…

  • James says:

    Sweet Lord. Thanks for that decent into hell.
    Imagine the contempt these people will have for those that buy the filthy rag.

  • Nigel W says:

    The irony of this article coming out today as I just bought and picked up my car (Seat) earlier this morning.

    Annoyingly the garage only could accept 1K from credit card (so I paid the deposit part of my car on this), but then paid the rest with my Tesco Bank debit card so I shall be earning a nice bounty of points on that!

  • Lady London says:

    I think I’m going to be sick. This is beyond saccharine. Even Waitrose doesn’t get near to this.

    Clearly big gap for Lord Rothermere public and private. I wish that world really existed.

  • Bob says:

    A very close friend of mine bought from Cazoo and he cannot recommend enough. He was very happy with the car and the customer service. They really do care their customers.

  • Tom says:

    Due to a change in circumstances (home working!) I’m seriously considering buying myself out of the PCP on our runaround (3.5 year old A1) – for circa £12K – then selling the car, potentially via ‘Motorway’. Anyone have any experience of using them? Example price was coming out approximately £14,000 (£500 better than Reviews look good online. And I can’t be bothered to sell it privately!

    • Tariq says:

      No experience, but personally I wouldn’t bother settling the finance and then selling it – take it to Motorway straight away to get them to confirm their price and then they should be able to settle the outstanding finance directly and give you the remainder in cash…

      The risk with buyers like WBAC, etc is that they give you an inflated price on their website and then try and knock it down when you take the car in to have it assessed/purchased.

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

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