This guide aims to explain the range of credit scores you likely need to qualify, as well as steps you can take to improve your chances.
American Express has some of the best rewards and travel credit cards on the market today, yet getting approved may not be that easy. After all, the best credit cards tend to go to people with good credit and high incomes. Also, keep in mind that due to Amex limitations on the number of cards you can have, it’s possible to miss out on an American Express credit card you really want, regardless of how good your credit score is.
Either way, the credit score needed for American Express should be at the top of your mind before you apply. This guide aims to explain the range of credit scores you likely need to qualify, as well as steps you can take to improve your chances of getting approved for an Amex card.
What score do you need to qualify for an American Express credit card?
While Amex has a larger range of products now than it did in the past (including personal credit cards, business credit cards, charge cards and corporate cards), it still doesn’t offer any secured credit cards or cards designed for people with poor credit.
In other words, the minimum credit score you need to qualify for an American Express card likely falls in the good, very good or excellent credit range. This means your FICO score is within the following ranges:
- Good: FICO score of 670 to 739
- Very good: FICO score of 740 to 800
- Excellent: FICO score of 800-plus
Cash back credit cards are typically easier to qualify for, so the easiest American Express card to get if your FICO credit score is in the good range may be a card like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card* or the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
While standards are higher, remember that premium cards also tend to come with more lucrative perks, such as travel credits, airport lounge membership, dining credits and more. Top cards from this issuer also let you earn American Express Membership Rewards points instead of generic rewards. This means you can redeem your rewards for travel, point transfers to airlines and hotels, merchandise and more – instead of just statement credits or cash back.
Keep in mind that Amex looks at other factors beyond credit scores when approving consumers for its products. According to an American Express representative, additional factors can include spending and repayment patterns on previous Amex products, a consumer’s overall level of debt relative to their financial resources and reported income.
How to improve your credit score to get an Amex card
To find out if you have the credit score needed for an American Express card, you should first check to see where you stand. Fortunately, you can use plenty of tools to check your current credit score, and most of them are free.
Once you know how your credit looks right now, you can take steps to improve it if it’s not up to par. These tips can give you a chance for a higher credit score in a short period of time:
- Make sure all your payments are early or on time. Since payment history is the most important FICO score factor at 35%, you should make sure you don’t have any late payments. Always strive to pay your bills early so you don’t take a hit to your credit over an avoidable incident.
- Pay down revolving debt balances. The second most important FICO score factor (at 30%) is the amount of debt you have in relation to your credit limits. To have the best results in this category, you should pay down any revolving debt balances you have until your credit utilization is at 30% or below.
- Avoid opening or closing accounts while you try to improve your credit. While you’re trying to get your credit score moving in the right direction, it can help to keep old accounts open and to avoid opening new ones. Doing so can help extend your credit history’s average length while preventing new hard inquiries on your credit report.
Use CardMatch to find prequalified offers without damaging your score
With CardMatch, all you have to do is enter some basic information like your name, address, income and the last four digits of your Social Security number. From there, the CardMatch tool can help you gauge your ability to be approved for an Amex credit card without a hard inquiry on your credit report.
The credit score needed for an American Express card is an important factor to consider, but don’t forget about all the other details card issuers look at. To get approved for the top rewards credit cards you want, it’s important to keep your credit utilization on the low end and pay your bills on time.
With some diligent planning and responsible credit use, the American Express credit card you want the most could be yours.
*All information about the American Express Cash Magnet Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. The American Express Cash Magnet Card is no longer available through CreditCards.com.