You’ll likely need a good to excellent score to qualify for the American Express Blue Business Cash card. Here’s what to do if you’ve been denied this card and how you can improve your credit to qualify in the future.
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is a solid small-business card that offers 2% cash back on all purchases up to $50,000 in a calendar year (then 1%) without charging an annual fee. New cardholders can also earn a $250 cash back bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Its simplicity and generous cash back rewards make this a card worth considering for small businesses.
Approval odds on this card are best with a good to excellent credit score. If you’ve been denied and you’re not sure why, there are some smart moves you can make to reverse that decision and boost your score to qualify in the future.
What credit score is needed for the Blue Business Cash Card?
A good to excellent credit score gives your business the best chance at approval. For individuals using their personal credit to apply for a business card, this equates to a score above 670 on a FICO scale from 300 to 850. For individuals who have established a credit score for their businesses, this score should be above 50 on a scale of 1 to 100. These scores represent the lowest risk to credit issuers and are most likely to be approved.
Your credit score isn’t the only factor that will be considered. Approval also hinges on your other debts, income and business history. You don’t need to have employees or a formal business structure to qualify for a business card. Freelancers, gig workers and home-based businesses all qualify, but cardholders must agree to use the card for commercial or business purposes only.
When you’re ready to apply for the card, be prepared with this information to submit to American Express:
- Business name, address and phone number
- Annual revenue
- Years in business
- Trade or industry
- Number or employees
- Federal tax ID (either your EIN or SSN)
Business cards generally require you to personally guarantee payment on charges made on the card – including those made by employees and other authorized users. This means a delinquent business account could affect your personal credit score.
What can I do if my application is denied by Amex?
If you’ve been denied for this card, American Express is required by law to disclose the reason to you. Some common reasons for denial include these factors:
- No credit history
- Too many recent card applications
- Missing details, such as business name or address
- Insufficient income
- Late payments
- Too much debt
- A frozen credit report
- Recent bankruptcy
- Mistakes made filling out the application
When applying online, decisions are often made automatically by the application software. If you want to have your application reviewed by a customer service agent to possibly reverse the decision, you can try calling the reconsideration line: 1-800-567-1083.
Before getting on the phone, you’ll want to prepare your case for reconsideration. You may find the reason for denial is something you can fix immediately over the phone. If you filled out your address incorrectly or mistyped the amount of revenue brought in, for example, you may be able to have that adjusted by a customer service agent.
If you were denied because of your credit, American Express will send you a letter with the exact reason, credit score and credit bureau used to obtain that score. Don’t fret if you were denied because of your credit score. You can apply again after taking steps to improve your score.
How can I improve my credit score to get this card?
To improve your credit score, it’s helpful to know how it’s calculated. Your credit score is likely a FICO score, which 90% of top lenders use to make decisions. FICO scores are calculated using the information in your credit report. This information is weighted across five categories:
- Payment history: 35%
- Amounts owed: 30%
- New credit: 10%
- Length of credit history: 15%
- Credit mix: 10%
The most heavily weighted category – your payment history – says the most about your repayment habits to a lender. Paying on time, every time, is one of the best things you can do for your credit score. If you haven’t already, consider automating your payments. Before you know it, you’ll have a long history of perfect, on-time payments that will boost your score.
Here are a few other tips for increasing your score:
- Do have credit cards – and manage them carefully. If you don’t have any credit cards, your business is viewed as a greater risk to the lender than a business that has managed credit responsibly for a longer period of time. Applying for a card that requires a lower credit score may get your foot in the door.
- Use a smaller percentage of your credit limit. Your credit utilization ratio, or how much of your credit you’re actually using in relation to your limit, has a large impact on your score. If you currently have a credit card, try to keep the amount used as low as possible (or pay off your balance more frequently to keep it low).
- Keep older accounts, even if you’re not using them. Because an older account affects your payment history and length of credit history, keeping an account open (even if you no longer need it) can help your credit score. Just be sure to pay it off to keep your credit utilization nice and low.
FICO also recommends consumers find and fix errors on their credit reports, if they exist. This may be the fastest way to improve your credit score.
It takes a little time and effort to get the credit score needed for the American Express Blue Business Cash card, but if you want the rewards from the card, it could be well worth your effort.
American Express encourages applicants who have previously been denied to apply again. It states that applicants who were denied the card at one time could qualify in the future, even as soon as 30 days from receiving your decline letter. Once you’ve upped your credit score, your odds of approval are much greater.