CONVENIENT repayment, low, flat interest and a loan ceiling of $300,000 are attractive features in the American Express (AmEx) tax loan package. AmEx's clients need not shop for tax loans, the bank's senior director, Anthony Lee Kiang-peng, said. 'Differences in interest rates between banks this year are minimal, so borrowers should stay with the banks they know and trust,' Mr Lee said. 'They also should look at the range of additional services that come with packages. 'Some banks have built in additional charges to interest rates instead of charging insurance fees. 'Our interest rate to AmEx clients is 0.35 per cent and, on top of that, we charge a one per cent flat annual fee for insurance.' Only AmEx card members and clients borrowing more than $40,000 were eligible, Mr Lee said. Non-card members would be charged at 0.4 per cent for the same loan ceiling, he said. For loans less than $40,000, AmEx would charge 0.45 per cent for card members and 0.5 per cent for non-members. However, the AmEx salary tax loan brochure set out a table showing monthly flat interest rates for different amounts and monthly repayments in dollar terms over six, nine and 12 months. In fine print, the brochure also sets out flat annualised percentage rates and successful applicants eligible for 0.35 per cent interest rates effectively would be charged at 7.94 per cent over a year, Mr Lee said. AmEx's strategy was different, he said. 'While non-American Express customers will enjoy attractive rates, our clients will receive even better rates,' he said. 'We want to build a long-term relationship with our clients and, once they have applied for the package and given us information about their financial standing, we can look into extending other lines of credit.' AmEx had sent out pre-approved offers to existing card members, Mr Lee said. 'All customers have to do is tell us over the phone if they want to accept our offer,' he said. 'Clients just have to sign a document and then fax it back to the bank.' Repayment could be made through direct credit and applicants did not have to open an account with American Express, Mr Lee said. Payments also would be handled by AmEx. 'Customers who want automatic credit repayments have to notify American Express and our staff, then make arrangements with the client's bank,' Mr Lee said. 'AmEx also writes to clients who pay taxes in phases and tells them when their tax payments are due. 'We also send cheques to the taxation authorities on behalf of the customer, which is convenient.' An additional 50 per cent credit was available on top of the 100 per cent loan needed. 'This margin gives borrowers more flexibility in planning their year-end cash flow,' Mr Lee said. 'Applicants can credit the 50 per cent extra loan to any bank account in Hong Kong and use it for repayment.' Another benefit was a loan of up to $300,000. 'We will take into account any existing overdrafts clients have with the bank but the $300,000 ceiling is one of the highest in Hong Kong,' Mr Lee said. 'Most banks only offer up to $150,000 but, because our customers are from the top tier in the market, many need to borrow large amounts. 'However, some of our customers may not want to borrow that much even if they qualify. 'For loans under $40,000, our package is most competitive for our clients.' Customers could make a loan request by phone, by mail or in person. Approval would be given in a day, Mr Lee said.