February 5, 2023

American Express Rolls Out Credit Card Approval Based on Soft Credit Check

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If you’re looking for a new credit card from American Express, you may be able to find out if you’re approved with only a soft credit check thanks to a new application process the company announced last month.

The new application is available to eligible consumers who apply for a U.S. personal card by calling American Express or by submitting an application online at AmericanExpress.com/us/credit-cards. If you are approved, American Express will run a hard credit check only after you accept the card.

How Does This Affect the American Express Application Process?

When you apply for a credit card, the card issuer typically runs a hard credit inquiry, which can lower your credit score by between zero and five points. With this new feature from American Express, you won’t have to risk taking a hit to your credit only to get denied. Instead, you’ll only incur a hard inquiry if you accept the card after being told you are approved.

In order to benefit from this new feature, you’ll need to apply by phone or online at AmericanExpress.com/us/credit-cards, choosing one from among 17 cards. If you are logged into an existing cardholder account or if you apply through one of American Express’ co-branded partners, you won’t be able to get approved this way, at least for the time being.

What Are Other Ways to Check Your Approval Odds?

With this new application feature, American Express says you can get approved with certainty before the company does a hard credit check. But there are ways to get a sense for whether you’ll be approved before submitting an application.

Many credit card issuers offer preapproval and prequalification. Unlike this new feature from American Express, preapproval and prequalification do not guarantee that you will ultimately qualify for the card.

You can also review the credit score you need to get different kinds of credit cards. You can use websites to check your credit score, and there are also apps that can help you monitor your score.

Should You Use the New American Express Approval Process?

If you are applying for a U.S. personal credit card from American Express, this new application process can help you avoid unnecessary hard pulls on your credit.

Be sure to evaluate whether you need a new credit card and whether the American Express card you are considering is the best choice for you.

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