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Amex quietly rolled out a new “Apply with Confidence” feature to its application process a few months ago. Now, after months of preventing us from writing about it, Amex is ready to publicly share this exciting new development.
Apply With Confidence informs you whether or not Amex will approve you for a new card before Amex performs a hard credit inquiry on your credit report. That can give you certainty about the result of your application before a hard credit pull negatively impacts your credit score.
How Amex Apply With Confidence Works
The new Amex Apply With Confidence feature isn't available on every Amex card or through every application platform. However, if the card you are applying for has the Amex Apply With Confidence feature, these are the application steps:
- Submit a complete application accepting the terms and conditions and giving your full details.
- Amex will complete a soft inquiry of your credit report.
- You will receive a decision from Amex on whether or not you will be approved.
- If so, you can then choose to proceed with the application knowing that you will be approved.
- At this point, Amex will complete a hard inquiry of your credit report — which will negatively affect your credit score.
Limitations on Amex Apply With Confidence
Currently, American Express is restricting Apply With Confidence to U.S. consumer Amex card applications made through its website. That means you won't see Apply With Confidence on business cards. And Apply With Confidence is not available through co-branded partner websites (e.g. applying directly on Hilton's website).
Another important limitation is that Amex Apply With Confidence is not available to applicants that apply for a card after logging into an existing cardmember account. So, make sure that you're logged out of your Amex account before applying for a new Amex card if you want to Apply With Confidence.
How Amex Apply With Confidence Helps Protect Your Credit Score
Hard credit pulls can hurt your credit score a bit, although your overall credit history determines the degree of impact. By avoiding a hard credit pull, you'll avoid a small and temporary ding to your credit portfolio.
For lenders, the most important aspect when judging creditworthiness is payment history and credit utilization. Payment history looks at whether or not you pay your bills on time every single month without fail. The more reliable and predictable you are, the more favorable lenders look upon you.
Credit utilization/usage is how much of your combined credit line you have already used. Lenders are typically looking for people with under 25% usage. A high percentage indicates that you are struggling to pay off your current credit, and extending you further credit could be a bad decision.
A hard credit pull indicates that you are applying for new credit. That can be a red flag to lenders. Why are you applying for new credit? Have your circumstances changed? Will you max out the new credit and default on it? All these questions cause a small degree of uncertainty in your creditworthiness and slightly reduce your credit score — generally for a few months.
Related: How Your Credit Score is Calculated
Taking a small, temporary hit on your credit score can be worth it to score a large sign-up bonus or score perks like hotel elite status from a credit card. However, you don't want to take that hit if you aren't going to get any reward. Amex Apply With Confidence gives you the ability to know whether or not you'll be approved before you decide to take that credit hit.
The new Apply With Confidence feature is an excellent innovation from Amex. Having the peace of mind that you will be accepted without a hard inquiry on your credit report is a great tool when you are planning your travel rewards credit card strategy.
In the credit card world, nothing is worse than applying for a card and getting the double whammy of being rejected and your credit score taking a hit which would jeopardize your chance of being approved for other cards. Hopefully, Amex will roll out this feature to more cards and other financial institutions will adopt a similar one!
If you're looking for a new Amex card, check out All of the Cards that Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points.
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