What credit score is needed for an American Express card?
American Express® has traditionally been associated with more upscale marketing and higher-income customers. However, the company has begun reaching out to a more diverse group of applicants, and many people today can qualify for an American Express® card who might have been turned away a few years ago. The type of American Express® card for which you are applying will largely determine the credit score you need to qualify; some card versions still require very high scores, but others allow those with average credit scores to obtain an American Express® card.
What Credit Score Do I Need for an American Express® Card?
The score you need to obtain any type of American Express® card depends on which version you choose. The following examples of American Express® cards give you an estimate of the credit score you need to acquire them; however, remember that those who are just starting to build credit may receive more positive consideration than those who have filed bankruptcy in the past or have other damaging information on their credit reports.
Green, Gold, and Platinum Charge Cards
If you are simply seeking a charge card rather than a credit card, you can probably get the American Express® Green card with a relatively average or even slightly below average credit score. This is because a charge card does not allow you to carry a balance. Cardholders must pay their balance in full every month, making the risk less for the company issuing the card. You will also be required to pay a yearly fee for the card, so you are actually paying simply for the privilege of charging rather than paying cash. Many customers with a score of 600 or better might qualify for the American Express® Green card.
The Green card does carry some extra benefits, as well. You will receive some protection for your purchases, and American Express® will help you with merchant disputes for activity on your card.
Similarly, the American Express® Gold and Platinum versions are charge cards, but they require slightly higher credit scores than the Green card. This is because these cards have extra benefits and higher annual fees. A score of 700 or better is required for the Gold card, while Platinum card holders generally need a score of at least 750.
If you are seeking a true credit card, you will have to have a higher credit score than you need for a charge card. This is because the company is taking a chance that you will pay
at least the minimum on your bill each month and make your payments on time. You will probably still pay an annual fee, but you will also be paying interest on the money. Your interest rate may be higher or lower than others with the same card, depending on your credit rating.
The American Express® Blue card is the premier card of the American Express® credit line, and you will need a credit score of at least 720 to be considered. However, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate and the higher your initial credit limit will be.
There are also other versions of the American Express® credit card such as the Delta® Skymiles American Express® card. Partnering with another large company allows American Express® to target customers in certain income brackets or those who frequently use certain services such as airline flights. The requirements for these cards are usually much less strict; a score of 650 will probably get you an airline miles card, although your initial credit limit will probably be relatively small. If you handle your account well, your credit limit will increase and your interest rate may decrease.
How Can I Get A Better American Express® Card?
If you have a lower credit score, you will have to build it up the old-fashioned way: through careful use of credit. You will need to curb your spending and pay off your existing cards. You should also give careful attention to the timing of your payments; even one late payment on one account can hurt your score.
Your handling of your American Express® account will also count for a great deal in the company’s attitude toward increasing your credit line, decreasing your interest rate, or both. You will find that if you handle your account well by making on-time payments and paying your balance off regularly, American Express® will be more willing to work with you and allow you more credit. On the other hand, if your payments are late or you run your card up to the limit and keep it there, it is likely that you will not have much leverage with the company to increase your credit limit or to lower your interest rate.
If you want a higher credit limit and lower interest, you also have the option of seeking other types of cards. With so many credit cards available on the market today, you are sure to find one that meets your requirements for interest rate and credit limit, no matter what your credit score.