American Express Introduces New Credit Card Approval Process

For some consumers, applying for a new credit card can be anxiety-inducing as there’s a chance that they could not only be declined for the product but also have their credit impacted by the credit inquiry. To give these applicants better peace of mind, American Express is rolling out a new approval process.

Amex has announced a new pilot program for its U.S. Personal Cards (meaning non-business cards) that will allow applicants to see if they’re approved without impacting their credit. Personal card applicants will be able to see their status and accept the card. Only after this acceptance will their credit be affected. This new option is currently available on Amex’s credit card site or by calling the company. However, it is not yet available for existing members who are logged in.

In a statement announcing the new feature, American Express EVP of U.S. Consumer Marketing Sara Milsten said, “We know that consumers value transparency and certainty. With our new application experience, prospective Card Members can apply for a specific Card — and know if they are approved — without having to worry about whether their application will change their credit score until they accept the Card.” Milsten added, “We hope this new, more transparent application experience encourages anyone with an interest in American Express membership to apply.”

Of course, this change comes just ahead of the 2022 holiday shopping season, which could see consumers searching for a new rewards credit card that could benefit them as they complete their shopping list. For example, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday offers 3% back on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 in annual spending) among other perks. Speaking of online shopping, that card also currently features a unique welcome bonus, allowing customers to earn 20% back (up to $150 total) as statement credits on purchases made using PayPal during their first 6 months as cardmembers. This bonus comes in addition to the $100 cashback customers can earn when they spend $2,000 on the card in their first six months.

Incidentally, pre-approval offers have caused some issues in the past. In fact, the popular site Credit Karma recently reached a settlement with the FTC regarding allegedly misleading consumers about their approval odds for cards that many were ultimately rejected for. In contrast, Amex states that, following the soft pull that will be performed during the application process, customers will be “told with 100% certainty” if they are approved.

There’s no doubt that American Express’s update to its application process is good news for consumers. Regardless of whether or not applicants were concerned about their approval odds to begin with, it’s nice to not have to worry about possibly being rejected while also potentially hurting your credit. Hopefully Amex will continue to expand this pilot program and we’ll see other issuers following suit with this positive change.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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