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Next time you’re shopping around for an American Express credit card, you may be able to know your odds of approval before applying. After softly launching the "apply with confidence" feature earlier in 2022, AmEx has officially announced that it's piloting this option on its website.
“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,” said Sara Milsten, American Express executive vice president of U.S. consumer marketing, in a news release.
In some ways, the feature is similar to the pre-qualification process available from other credit card issuers, but it also has important differences.
Here’s what you can expect when using the feature.
How it works
The "apply with confidence" feature is available to select applicants, including existing AmEx cardholders and those who don’t have any AmEx card. You can find it online at AmEx's credit cards page, and AmEx cards that offer the option will feature an “apply with confidence” box near them. You can also call AmEx for options.
To use the "apply with confidence" feature, you must go directly to AmEx's website, or call the issuer specifically. Applications through other channels, including NerdWallet, may not take you to the feature.
There is no initial impact to credit scores when using the feature, but if you’re approved and accept the offer, your credit scores may be impacted when the issuer runs a hard inquiry. This process is typical for most credit card applications.
In this way, the “apply with confidence” feature is similar to the pre-qualification process offered by other issuers. Unlike that option, though, AmEx provides a final decision when using the feature, and there is no additional form or information required after receiving a decision.
The application process is quick and involves three steps.
1. Submit your personal information
You’ll have to add your personal information such as full name, address, email, phone number, income, and a Social Security number or alternative information.
You can still use the feature if you don’t have a credit history in the U.S., as long as you check the appropriate box under the Social Security number field and provide the requested information. AmEx makes it possible to qualify without a Social Security number through Nova Credit if you have a credit history in a qualifying country.
2. Review the credit card’s terms
Once you submit your personal information, you’ll get to see the general terms and conditions for the credit card. For instance, you’ll see the card’s annual percentage rate — or APR — range, but not necessarily the APR that is specific to your credit.
You’ll then get to submit the application without any impact to your credit scores. If the card offers it, you may have the option to add authorized users, but you can skip this step if you’ll be the only cardholder.
3. Get a decision and accept or decline the offer
Last, you’ll get a decision. If approved, you'll have the option to either accept the offer or withdraw the application. If declined, the application process is over, but American Express will send you more information about the decision by email or mail.
Your credit scores may be impacted if you’re approved and choose to accept, but you'll be able to make that decision knowing the outcome.
A small temporary drop in credit scores is not unusual whenever you open a new credit card application. They can eventually bounce back with a good payment history, but it is something to note if you’re planning to apply for new credit elsewhere or are just generally working on shoring up your credit.