American Express Personal Loans Review

An excellent choice for American Express cardholders who want a small, short-term loan with a simple application and no fees.

APR Range
5.91%–19.98%
Loan Amount
$3,500–$25K
Term
12–36 months
SimpleScore
4.3 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore American Express 4.3
Rates 5
Loan Size 3
Customer Satisfaction N/A
Support 5
Fees 4

American Express personal loans are a good option for Amex cardholders who want fast cash without a lot of effort. Amex offers a painless application process, automatic payments and reasonable rates. However, you can only apply if you’re an existing American Express cardholder. The limit of $40,000 and a maximum term of 36 months might be a poor fit for some borrowers. If you’re already swiping your credit card with American Express, the financial servicer expresses gratitude through easy-to-apply loans and great rates.

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In this article

    American Express personal loans at a glance

    LenderLoan AmountAPRTermsKey Benefit
    American Express$3,500–$40,0005.91%–19.98%12, 24, or 36 monthsEasy approval for Amex cardholders

    *Rates accurate as of June 15, 2020

    What we like about it

    If you’re an American Express customer looking for an effortless application process and quick approval, you’ll find it with this loan. Since Amex already has your information and credit history in hand, applying is simple and you can find out what your payments might be without putting an inquiry on your credit report. Answer a few simple questions and your approval could be instant.

    Once you’re approved, you can set up an automatic repayment plan with just a few clicks, too — making this one of the breeziest loan processes you’ll ever experience. Rates are competitive with similar unsecured personal loans, and there are no fees.

    [Read: Best Online Lenders of 2020]

    Things to consider

    The biggest downside to Amex’s personal loans is that you may not be able to get funding when you need it. If you’re not an American Express customer, you’ll need to establish a relationship with the company before you can apply. And even if you are an existing customer, you can’t always apply. Loans are offered at the company’s discretion, and there’s no way to request one when an offer isn’t being extended to you.

    The loan amount is limited to $40,000, with a maximum term of three years. If that doesn’t cover your situation, you may want to look elsewhere.  Some of the best personal loans have comparable rates with much higher limits and longer repayment terms.

    You are explicitly prohibited from using the funds from an Amex loan for college, real estate, business, securities, vehicle purchases or to pay off your American Express card balance.

    What you need to know

    American Express loans are available in amounts ranging from $3,500 to $40,000 and carry rates from 6.99% to 18.99%, with no fees except for a $39 late fee if you miss a due date.

    In general, the rates follow a stepped structure based on credit score:

    •  6.99% APR for scores of 801+
    •  8.99% APR for scores of 751–800
    • 11.99% APR for scores of 701–750
    • 14.99% APR for scores of 681–700
    • 18.99% APR for scores of 660–680

    [Related: Can Personal Loans Improve Your Credit Score?]

    To apply for an American Express personal loan:

    1. Sign in to your account and click the “View Lending Options” link on your dashboard. You may see a message that says no offers are available. If that’s the case, check back periodically. 
    2. If an offer is available, you’ll see a simple form with just two questions. Enter the amount you’re interested in borrowing and choose the credit score range that applies to you. You’ll immediately see an estimate of your monthly payments for terms of 12, 24 and 36 months.
    3. Choose your options and proceed to the full application. Remember that when you submit that application, you’re authorizing a hard inquiry that could impact your credit score.

    Collateral and criteria

    American Express Personal Loans are unsecured loans, so no collateral is needed.

    You need to be an Amex cardholder in good standing with a credit score of at least 660 to qualify for the loan. You also need a connected checking account to your Amex account in order to make loan payments.

    The lender will look at your debt-to-income ratio in addition to your FICO score in making its decision. Your rate will depend mostly on your credit score, although other factors may come into play.

    You can use American Express personal loans for personal, family, or household purposes. For instance, you can use the funds to consolidate non-Amex credit card debt or to finance emergencies, car repairs, home renovation and other personal needs. You cannot use these loans to for higher education, real estate, business, investments or vehicle financing.

    [More: Secured Personal Loans vs. Unsecured Personal Loans]

    American Express personal loans vs. the competition 

    Discover

    SimpleScore: 4.4/5

    Discover offers a similar loan program, except you don’t have to be a cardholder to apply. Both programs provide a simple online application, quick approval and funding within a few days. Additionally, both Discover and American Express work primarily with borrowers who have a FICO score of 660 or above.

    Discover offers loan amounts from $2,500 to $35,000, which is very close to the amounts offered by Amex, and the interest rates are almost identical, but repayment terms are more flexible through Discover. If you want to repay your loan over a more extended period, Discover’s personal loan offerings may be a better fit for you.

    OneMain Financial

    SimpleScore: 3/5

    OneMain Financial also offers small personal loans, from $1,500 to $20,000. Both lenders have streamlined applications and instant approval processes. OneMain Financial can often put cash in your hand the same day you apply, while American Express gives instant approval and delivers funds in three to five days.

    However, One Main Financial specializes in borrowers with lower credit scores and issues loans at much higher rates, varying between 18.00% and 35.99%.

    We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best personal loans of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare NetCredit’s personal loans according to our criteria for the best personal loans, it scores a 2.3 out of 5. But when we compare NetCredit according to the criteria for the best bad credit personal loans, it scores considerably higher, since the criteria for the latter review are more lenient (lenders who serve borrowers with bad credit will always offer higher rates, so we needed to adjust our category methodology to account for different industry standards).

    Questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    Rates

    We looked at the maximum APR for each lender — the lower their maximum rate, the higher their score.

    Loan Size

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with more generous loan sizes.

    Customer Satisfaction

    We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Personal Loan Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each lender. (If a lender wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

    Support

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

    Fees

    We looked at the three most common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — and penalized lenders for each fee charged.

    Lauren Haas

    Contributing Writer

    Lauren Haas is a freelance writer who covers personal finance, health, and business topics. She’s a serial entrepreneur who enjoys travel, dance, and yoga.

    Reviewed by

    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik
      Editor

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.