The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express earns high cash back rates at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and on select U.S. streaming services. Keep reading to learn what credit score you need to get approved and how you can improve your chances.
Cash back rewards are a great way to get paid back for everyday purchases. Suppose your family has a large grocery bill, or you spend considerable time in your car commuting to work or shuffling kids to various practices and other activities.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can help you earn back some of the money you spend on food and fuel: It offers high cash back rates at U.S. supermarkets (6% on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%), U.S. gas stations and transit (3%) and select U.S. streaming services (6%).
Your credit score is one of the primary factors card issuers use to determine if you qualify for their cards. Keep reading to learn what credit score you need to get this Amex card, other factors that play a part in qualifying and what you can do to improve your chances of getting approved.
What credit score is needed for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred?
Most credit card issuers keep proprietary credit requirements close to the vest, and Amex offers no guidance on specific credit scores you must have to get any of its credit cards. It’s likely, though, that you will need at least a good-to-excellent credit score to qualify for the Blue Cash Preferred.
- Good: 670 to 739
- Very Good: 740 to 799
- Exceptional: 800 to 850
FICO’s traditional scoring model is the one most widely used by credit card companies. So, when an issuer reviews your credit score and credit reports, the items that typically come under scrutiny include:
- Number of credit card accounts
- Average age of accounts
- Late payments and other negative marks on your credit report
- Number of hard inquiries
- Credit card utilization ratio
Credit card issuers use these and other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio, to determine your creditworthiness, or how likely you are to pay off your debt.
What if my application is denied?
If American Express denies your application you can try to appeal the decision, but there’s no guarantee you’ll prevail. To appeal it, call the Amex reconsideration line at 1-800-567-1083 and ask them to manually review your application and the decision.
If that doesn’t work, wait at least 30 days after receiving a decline letter before applying for another Amex card.
How can I improve my score to get this card?
If your credit score isn’t where it needs to get approved for Blue Cash Preferred, don’t worry. There are steps you can take now to boost your credit score, which will help you qualify in the future.
- Make on-time payments: Payment history counts for 35% of your FICO credit score, which is more than any other factor. You can build your payment history by paying all your monthly bills on time or early. Use a calendar to keep tabs on payment due dates or set up automatic payments to ensure your payments are never late.
- Pay off debt: Credit utilization, which counts for 30% in FICO’s formula, is the next most important factor in your credit score. It represents the percentage of your total available credit you’re using. Paying down your revolving debt balances will lower your credit utilization and give your credit score a boost. Try to keep your credit utilization ratio as low as possible.
- Avoid unnecessary credit inquiries: Any time you apply for credit or a loan, a hard credit inquiry occurs, which might cause your credit score to drop temporarily. One inquiry won’t affect your score significantly but several hard pulls may give an issuer the impression that you’re accumulating debt you can’t afford to pay off.
- Hold onto your other credit cards: Closing old credit cards decreases your total credit limit, which also affects your credit utilization ratio. Keep in mind that accounts in good standing stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. If you don’t plan to use a card after paying off the balance, sock it away in a safe place, unless it carries an annual fee you want to avoid.
- Choose a different Amex card: If you’re still unable to meet the credit requirements for the Blue Cash Preferred, you could opt for a lower-tier Amex card. Each Amex card has its own credit requirements, so your current credit score and history might qualify for one of its other cash back cards. The Amex cards with the highest cash back rates and perks typically have the highest credit requirements, so keep in mind that you might not qualify for another option that offers as much value as Blue Cash Preferred.
You can also use a tool called CardMatch to see if you can get preapproved for the Blue Cash Preferred or other Amex credit cards. To use CardMatch, you simply enter some basic personal information like your name, address, income and last four digits of your Social Security number.
CardMatch triggers only a soft credit inquiry, which has no impact on your credit score. After entering your info, CardMatch lets you know about any special offers available to you or if you prequalify for any Amex or other credit cards.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card is chock-full of cash back value because of its bonus rates in spending categories most people use regularly. it also comes with beneficial travel and purchase protections – and other nice perks. If you don’t qualify for this card now, work on improving your credit score and apply in the future, or choose another Amex card for the time being.