An excellent choice for American Express cardholders who want a small, short-term loan with a simple application and no fees.
Our Two Cents — If you're already swiping your credit card with American Express, the financial servicer expresses gratitude through easy-to-apply loans and great rates.
American Express personal loans at a glance
|Lender||Loan Amount||APR||Terms||Key Benefit|
|American Express||$3,500–$40,000||5.91%–19.98%||12, 24, or 36 months||Easy 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
To apply for an American Express personal loan:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
American Express personal loans vs. the competition
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 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%.
Too long, didn’t read?
If you’re an American Express cardholder with good credit who wants to borrow less than $40,000 and repay it in three years or less, this is a fast, easy lending option for you. However, if you want a bigger loan or a longer repayment term, there are better opportunities.
- Best Personal Loans for 2020
- Best Credit Cards of 2020
- The Best American Express Credit Cards of 2020
The SimpleScore is our proprietary scoring metric to compare products and services at The Simple Dollar in a transparent, evidence-based way. Our editorial team identifies five quantifiable aspects to compare for every brand, determines the rating criteria for each aspect score, then averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore. For personal loans, we compared interest rates, loan amounts, customer satisfaction, support and fees for every major lender. Our ratings are meant to be a directional tool to help you in the process of choosing a personal loan provider. Be sure to continue your research and shop around for the best personal loan that fits your specific needs.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.