The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express earns high cash back rates at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations and 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.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns high cash back rates at U.S. supermarkets and gas stations and select U.S. streaming services. 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 can help you earn back some of the money spent on food and fuel.
Your credit score is one of the primary determining factors card issuers like American Express use to determine if you qualify for their cards. Keep reading to learn what credit score you need to get approved, other factors that play a part in qualifying, and actions you can take to improve your chances of getting approved for this Amex cash back card.
Why should you get this card?
Despite its high annual fee after the first year, the Blue Cash Preferred card is one of our favorite cards for families. It helps take the sting out of carpool lines and long commutes by offering a generous rewards rate on U.S. gas station spending, and it offers one of the highest cash back bonuses you can get when you use your card at U.S. supermarkets.
Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases within the first six months of card membership (up to $200 back). Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Other things to know
What credit score do you need for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred?
Most credit card issuers keep proprietary credit requirements close to the vest. Amex offers no guidance on specific credit scores needed for any of its credit cards, including the Blue Cash Preferred. It’s likely, though, that you will need at least a good-to-excellent credit score to qualify.
FICO credit scores are broken down into score ranges. If you’re thinking of applying for Blue Cash Preferred, your credit score should fall into one of the following FICO score ranges:
- Good: 670 to 739
- Very Good: 740 to 799
- Exceptional: 800 to 850
How does Amex gauge your creditworthiness?
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
- Hard credit 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 purchases made on your credit card.
How to increase your chances of approval
If your credit score isn’t where it needs to be approved for Blue Cash Preferred, don’t worry. There are steps you can take now to help you qualify for the card in the future.
There are several ways to get your credit score, including free options. You should check it before applying to determine the likelihood of getting approved for a credit card. Here are some other actions you can take to boost your credit score.
- Make on-time payments: Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score, more than any other factor. You can build your payment history by paying all of 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 is the next most important factor in your credit score, accounting for 30% in FICO’s formula. It’s not just about how much money you owe but the percentage of available credit you are 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: Anytime 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 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 affects your credit utilization just as much as paying off debt. Getting rid of old cards may eventually lower the length of your credit history, but 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 Blue Cash Preferred, you could opt for a lower-tier Amex credit card. Each Amex credit card has its own credit requirements, so your current credit score and history might qualify for other cash back credit cards. The Amex cards with the highest cash back rates and perks usually also have the highest requirements. You might not qualify for a credit card 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 Blue Cash Preferred or other Amex credit cards. To use CardMatch, simply enter some basic personal information like your name, address, income and last four digits of your Social Security number.
CardMatch only triggers a soft credit inquiry, which has no impact on your credit score. After entering your info, CardMatch lets you know if you of any special offers or if you prequalify for any Amex or other credit cards.
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred is chock full of cash back value because of its bonus rates in spending categories most people regularly use. The card also comes with beneficial travel and purchase protections and other perks. If you don’t qualify for this cash back card now, work on improving your credit score or choose another Amex card for the time being.