Before you apply for the American Express® Business Gold Card, double-check your credit score to be sure it’s in the good to excellent range (ideally the latter). If you’re not quite there yet or had your card application declined, read on to learn what you can do to improve your score and give yourself better odds.
The American Express® Business Gold Card is one of the top travel rewards cards available to small-business owners. It features 4X Membership Rewards points in your business’ top two spending categories each billing cycle, on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each year (then 1X points). Membership Rewards points can be extremely valuable when transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs and redeemed for expensive travel reservations.
But before you can start earning 4X points on your most common business purchases, you still have to be approved for the card. While there’s no way to be 100% sure you’ll get approved for a card, there are a few key steps you can take to give yourself the best odds. Here we cover the basics of getting approved for this popular business rewards card, from the sort of credit score you’ll need to what to do next should your application be declined.
See related: What credit score do you need for a credit card?
What credit score do I need to get the Business Gold Card?
Like most card issuers, American Express doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score that’s needed to be approved for any of their cards. However, you can get a sense of what’s expected based on reports of people who have applied for the Business Gold card.
Based on these reports, having an excellent credit score should give you the best chance at approval, but there are also reports from people with good credit who have been approved for the Business Gold card. In the FICO credit scoring system, excellent credit is considered to be a score of 740 or above, while good credit is a score of 670 to 739.
What can I do if my application for the Business Gold card is declined by American Express?
Believe it or not, you can still be declined for a credit card even with a high credit score due to other factors. However, you can always ask the card issuer why your application was denied and whether there’s anything you can still do to be approved. This is sometimes referred to as a reconsideration call. To contact American Express and speak about your application, call its reconsideration department at 1-800-567-1083 and ask to speak with a representative.
Many factors could lead to your application being denied. There could have been a small problem with your application that can be easily fixed, such as inaccurate personal information (like an incorrect birthdate), or even something as insignificant as a typo in your address or your Social Security number. Or you might have given an incorrect business address if you have recently moved and haven’t updated your account information online.
When you call American Express, you can also ask to have your financial information updated, such as your annual income. By law, you’re able to list all available sources of household income including alimony, child support, disability and retirement benefits, as well as the income of your spouse or domestic partner, as long as you can reasonably expect to have access to that income for the purpose of repaying a loan. This law was created to offer non-working spouses a chance to qualify for new accounts in their own name, rather than relying on their spouse.
Another reason you may be declined for an American Express card is that you already have too many open accounts. American Express generally doesn’t approve new accounts for customers who already have more than four personal Amex accounts with preset credit limits at one time. If this is why your application was initially denied for the Business Gold card, then you can request that one or more of your unused accounts be closed so that your Business Gold application can be approved.
Another reason that your application may have been denied is that your total credit line is already as high as American Express is willing to offer. If it doesn’t want to extend any additional credit to you, then you can request that some of your existing lines of credit be reallocated from one or more existing accounts to your new Business Gold card account. Another option is to ask to close an unused American Express card account, which will also free up credit that can be used to open your new Business Gold account.
If you’ve tried all of these things, and you still aren’t able to be approved, American Express requires that you wait at least 30 days before reapplying.
How can I improve my score to get this card?
If your credit score isn’t as high as it needs to be, then here are several ways you can improve it to increase your chances of being approved for the American Express Business Gold card. One of the quickest ways to increase your credit score is to pay off – or pay down – your outstanding balances on other cards. According to the FICO credit scoring system, 30% of your score is based on your credit utilization (the amount of money you owe relative to your total available credit), so this can have a big impact.
Many credit experts recommend keeping your credit utilization ratio below 30%, but having a lower ratio can raise your credit score even more. Having fewer accounts with outstanding balances is also better for your credit than having more. If you’re unable to pay off all your existing balances, then try paying off your smaller balances first in order to have an outstanding balance on as few of your accounts as possible.
See related: What affects your credit score?
After you’ve taken those steps, you’ll need to wait until each account’s issuer reports to credit bureaus to have your credit history and score reflect your new balances. Remember that your credit card statement balances are always reported to the credit bureaus as debt, even if you eventually avoid interest charges by paying it in full. So if you make a payment to reduce your balance, then you’ll typically have to wait until your statement period ends. At that time, the smaller statement balance will appear on your credit report, or none at all, which will improve your credit score.
That said, the most important factor in your credit score is your payment history, so you should do everything possible to make all your payments on time. The best way to do this is to enable the auto-pay feature on all your accounts, which is offered by nearly all credit card issuers.
You should also take the time to review your credit reports and check for errors or any fraudulently opened accounts. If you can successfully dispute these kinds of errors or fraud from your credit reports, then you can improve your credit score.
Finally, you can sign up for free services such as Experian Boost and UltraFICO, which both provide lenders with additional financial information from sources such as utility accounts and your banking data.
By offering 4X points on your most common small-business purchases, the Amex Business Gold card can be a great way for small-business owners to earn valuable travel rewards. By understanding what credit score you’ll need to be approved for the card and what you can do if your application isn’t immediately approved, you can give yourself the best chance at becoming a Business Gold card member.