What credit score do I need to get an American Express card?
AmEx is known for being a ‘luxury card’ that caters to a well-off clientèle. However this is not strictly true, as it all depends which card you apply for, and Zync or Green Card applications are often offered to people with quite modest credit scores.
While I hope the following information is helpful, and will prove a useful guide to whether applying for a given AmEX card is a good idea (each application will result in a hard enquiry which will lower your FICO score), it comes with a number of important reservations. Firstly, American Express, more than most such companies, is likely to make approval decisions based more on analysis of your whole credit history than just your raw FICO score. They are, for example, more likely to be lenient with a few old negatives than some recent ones. Also, AmEx does not ever disclose details of their application selection process and credit score requirements to the public, so these estimates have been derived from information disclosed in online forums of people’s actual experiences, together reviews of AmEx services and variety of other sources. A further note in regard to these figures being just approximations is that all such numbers are subject to continual fluxation, dependent on current economic conditions.
So with the above reservations in mind, let’s have a look at the likely credit scores you will need for different cards. One thing to remember is that all the following cards, except the Blue Card, are charge cards not credit cards. This means that you have to pay the balance each month, which can be a good thing as there are no interest rates, and you cannot build up debt with them. This also means that these cards are easier to qualify for, as there is less risk to AmEx.
Still fairly new, this is the lowest level charge card offered by American Express and has proved very popular thanks to its loose score requirements. People with scores as low as the mid-500s have reported being accepted for this card, and a score of 600+ should mean that you will accepted without any problems (if acceptance is based on credit score alone).
The ‘basic’ AmEx card, this card has been around since 1958. To get one you will probably need a FICO score in the mid-to-high 600s. As noted above, a negatives in the past will be less damaging to your application that more recent ones, but if you are unsure then it may be worth applying for the lower-requirement Zync Card instead.
An incremental step up from the green card, with more prestige and better benefits, you are unlikely to be accepted with a score lower than 700, or around 730 for the premium version.
For many, the value in possessing this charge card lies in its value to impress, rather than the benefits that paying $450 per year will bring. That said, businesspeople who travel a lot may well find this card good value. If you are even considering applying for this card then it is likely you have a good credit score and a failed application is unlikely to do it much harm, so go ahead! In general, you will be looking at scores of over 730 (similar to those needed for the Gold Card Premium) for a successful application
Unlike the other cards listed here, the Blue Card is a credit card, and is therefore quite difficult to quality for. Usually a score of at least 700, and preferably over 720, will be needed to qualify for this card (although some people have reported receiving one with scores as low as 680!)
Please remember that these figures are for guideline purposes only, and that there always seem to be some people who defy any generalizations. For example, while rare, I have found reports of people with scores as low as 580 obtaining Gold Cards!
By Douglas Crawford.