What credit scores do you need for American Express credit cards?

American Express (Amex) credit cards are coveted for their generous rewards programs, travel benefits, and premium perks. But with such prestige comes a question that lingers for many: what credit score do you need to qualify?

American Express doesn’t disclose specific credit score requirements for their credit cards, as approval decisions are based on various factors beyond just credit scores. Generally, American Express cards are known for being more exclusive and typically require good to excellent credit scores, which typically range from 670 to 850. However, some cards, like the ones with no annual fees, may be more accessible to those with fair credit scores, which generally range from 580 to 669. Ultimately, factors such as income, credit history, and debt-to-income ratio also play significant roles in the approval process.

Generally, American Express favors applicants with good to excellent credit scores, typically ranging from 670 or above on the FICO scale. But here’s a breakdown for different card categories:

  1. Premium Cards (e.g., The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card):
    • These cards are designed for individuals with excellent credit scores (typically 780 or above).
    • They offer a wide range of premium benefits, such as airport lounge access, travel credits, concierge services, and exclusive hotel perks.
    • While they often come with higher annual fees, the value of the benefits can outweigh the cost for frequent travelers and those who take advantage of the rewards offered.
  2. Rewards Cards (e.g., Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card):
    • Rewards cards provide attractive perks and benefits while catering to individuals with good credit scores (usually in the range of 670 to 739).
    • They offer rewards such as cashback, points, or miles for various spending categories like groceries, dining, and travel.
    • Although they may have annual fees, they are typically lower than those of premium cards, making them a more accessible option for many consumers.
  3. Starter Cards (e.g., Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express):
    • Starter cards are ideal for individuals who are new to credit or are working on building their credit history.
    • These cards often have more lenient credit score requirements, with approval possible for individuals with fair credit scores (ranging from 601 to 669).
    • They may offer introductory bonuses, cashback rewards, or other benefits tailored to individuals who are just starting their financial journey.

So, what exactly does American Express look for beyond credit scores? Here are some key factors:

  1. Income: Your income plays a significant role in the approval process. American Express wants to ensure that you have the financial means to repay your credit card balance each month. A higher income demonstrates your ability to handle credit responsibly.
  2. Credit History: Your credit history provides insight into your past credit behavior. American Express evaluates factors such as your payment history, length of credit history, and the types of credit accounts you have. A solid credit history with no missed payments or derogatory marks enhances your chances of approval.
  3. Debt-to-Income Ratio: This ratio compares your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly income. A lower debt-to-income ratio indicates that you have more disposable income available to manage additional credit responsibly.
Related Article: Best 7 Credit Card Tips You Should Know

For those with lower credit scores or limited credit history, American Express offers options to help build credit. Cards like the American Express Green Card or the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card may be more accessible to individuals with fair credit.

To increase your chances of approval for an American Express card, consider the following tips:

  1. Check Your Credit Report: Review your credit report for any errors or inaccuracies that could negatively impact your credit score. Correcting these issues can improve your overall creditworthiness.
  2. Pay Bills on Time: Consistently paying your bills on time is one of the most effective ways to improve your credit score. Set up automatic payments or reminders to ensure you never miss a due date.
  3. Reduce Debt: Paying down existing debt can lower your debt-to-income ratio and improve your credit utilization ratio, both of which are factors that influence credit card approvals.
  4. Apply Selectively: Be strategic about which American Express card you apply for based on your credit profile. Applying for multiple cards within a short period can temporarily lower your credit score due to the resulting hard inquiries.

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