American Express Business Blueprint™ (formerly Kabbage) Small-Business Loans: 2023 Review

American Express offers faster funding than banks, but the monthly fee structure can be confusing compared with other online lenders.
Randa Kriss
By Randa Kriss 

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

American Express Business Blueprint™ is a good option for business owners with fair credit who want quick access to working capital.

American Express Business Blueprint™ - Line of credit
Min. credit score
640
Apply now

on American Express Business Blueprint™'s website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Streamlined application process with minimal documentation required.
  • Financing up to $250,000 available.
  • Accepts borrowers with a minimum credit score of 640.
  • Monthly repayment schedule (as opposed to daily or weekly).
  • No prepayment penalties, account maintenance fees or draw fees.

Cons

  • Must have online checking or PayPal account to verify cash flow.
  • Personal guarantee required.
  • Complex monthly fee structure makes it difficult to compare costs to other lenders.

Full Review

Kabbage rebranded to American Express Business Blueprint™ in February 2023. Business Blueprint includes the American Express® Business Line of Credit, among other products.

The American Express® Business Line of Credit is available to borrowers with a 640 FICO score or higher. This product is known for its streamlined application process in which borrowers can connect their business checking accounts to avoid application paperwork.

How Much Do You Need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

The American Express® Business Line of Credit is best for borrowers who:

  • Don’t have perfect personal credit: While underwriting your loan, American Express focuses on less traditional information like banking, accounting and e-commerce data. That makes it a good fit for business owners with rocky credit histories.

  • Need cash faster than conventional loans: The online application can be completed in minutes.

  • Prefer a short repayment period: American Express Business Blueprint™ offers small-business loans of up to $250,000 with repayment terms of six, 12 or 18 months.

American Express Business Blueprint™ features

American Express Business Blueprint™ offers business lines of credit from $2,000 to $250,000 with repayment terms of six, 12 or 18 months.

Loan amount

$2,000 to $250,000.

Monthly fees

Instead of traditional interest, American Express charges monthly fees depending on your loan's term. Total monthly fees incurred over the loan term range are:

  • 2% to 9% for six-month loans.

  • 7.5% to 18% for 12-month loans.

  • 15.75% to 27% for 18-month loans.

Additional fees

  • No application fee, account maintenance fee or origination fee.

  • No prepayment penalty.

  • Late payment and unsuccessful payment fees may apply based on the information in your loan agreement.

Terms

6, 12 or 18 months.

Repayment schedule

Monthly.

Where American Express Business Blueprint™ stands out

Bonus offer

For a limited time, you may be eligible to earn $250 when you apply and get approved for an American Express® Business Line of Credit. To be eligible for this offer, you must apply for an American Express® Business Line of Credit between 11/21/2022 and 2/28/2023 at 11:59 pm. If approved, you must add and verify your primary funding account on or before 2/28/2023 to earn the $250 bonus.

This offer is provided by American Express® Business Line of Credit (“we”, “us” or “our”). American Express® Business Line of Credit loans are issued by American Express National Bank (AENB). To be eligible to earn the $250 associated with this offer, you must 1) apply and be approved for a line of credit between 11/14/2022 and 2/28/2023 at 11:59pm ET and 2) add and verify your designated business bank account (hereafter defined as “Funding primary account”) on or before 2/28/2023 at 11:59pm ET. AENB will deposit $250 into the Funding primary account you've successfully linked to American Express® Business Line of Credit within 30 calendar days from the date the account is verified. Limit one offer per new American Express® Business Line of Credit account. This offer (i) is not available to existing American Express® Business Line of Credit customers, (ii) is non-transferable, and (iii) cannot be combined with any other offer except as permitted by American Express. We reserve the right to modify or revoke this offer at any time. You may not receive the offer, if we determine in our sole discretion that your account is not in good standing, has a disconnected bank account, and/or you have engaged in abuse, misuse, fraudulent activity, or gaming in connection with the offer in any way or that you intend to do so. We may also cancel your American Express® Business Line of Credit account and other accounts you may have with us. The offer may be taxable income to you and may be reported on IRS Form 1099. You are responsible for any federal or state taxes resulting from the offer. Please consult your tax advisor if you have questions about the tax treatment of the offer. If you have any questions regarding this offer, please call 1-888-986-8263 Monday - Friday 7 A.M. to 9 P.M. EST and Saturday 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. EST.

Faster access to cash compared to traditional lenders

The American Express® Business Line of Credit is a good option for business owners who need cash immediately and don’t mind paying higher rates for the speed. The application process doesn’t require paperwork. Instead, you connect a business checking account, bookkeeping software or payment solution (such as PayPal or Square) to the American Express Business Blueprint™ platform and the company uses data from these accounts to evaluate your eligibility.

Available to startup businesses and business owners with fair credit

Although the American Express® Business Line of Credit may not be as startup-friendly as some competitors (who work with companies with only six months in business), borrowers with just 12 or more months in business can qualify for this product. Startup business lines of credit can be used to manage cash flow gaps, cover short-term expenses or take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

Similarly, if you have fair credit — and can’t qualify for a bank small-business loan — the American Express® Business Line of Credit can be a good choice for access to working capital. Although American Express has a minimum credit score requirement of 640, the company primarily considers data from the accounts you link, your average monthly revenue and the number of years you’ve been in business to evaluate your application, determine your credit limit and set your fees.

No extra fees

Whereas some lenders may charge draw fees or account maintenance fees with their line of credit products, American Express does not charge any extraneous fees. With an American Express® Business Line of Credit, you’ll pay a monthly fee (equivalent to interest) during the months you have an outstanding balance. American Express does not charge application fees, origination fees, annual fees, account maintenance fees, documentation fees or draw fees.

You also have the option to pay back your loan early; American Express does not charge any prepayment penalties.

Where American Express Business Blueprint™ falls short

Complex fee structure

American Express charges a fee each month that you have an outstanding balance — instead of a more traditional interest rate. You’ll pay this fee in addition to your monthly loan principal payments.

The specific fee you receive will vary based on your loan term, as well as your creditworthiness and other factors. Total monthly fees incurred over the loan term range are:

  • Six-month term: 2% to 9%.

  • 12-month term: 7.5% to 18%.

  • 18-month term: 15.75% to 27%.

Let’s say, for example, you draw a $60,000 loan with a 2% fee to be repaid over a six-month term. Your repayment schedule would look like this:

Month

Repayment toward principal

Fee amount

Total monthly payment

1

$10,000.

$1,200.

$11,200.

2

$10,000.

$1,200.

$11,200.

3

$10,000.

$450.

$10,450.

4

$10,000.

$450.

$10,450.

5

$10,000.

$450.

$10,450.

6

$10,000.

$450.

$10,450.

Totals:

$60,000.

$4,200.

$64,200.

Each time you draw from your line of credit, American Express issues you a separate installment loan with its own loan agreement. You’ll then pay fees on each individual loan.

American Express' proprietary fee structure makes it difficult compare their costs to other lenders. You should always calculate these types of fees into an annual percentage rate to understand the total borrowing costs.

Use our calculator below to get a sense of the cost of a business line of credit. Enter a withdrawal amount, repayment term and monthly fee to estimate your total fee amount and total repayment amount.

Not suitable for all businesses

American Express offers small-business loans only in the form of lines of credit and doesn’t offer any other products, such as term loans or invoice financing. If you’d prefer a different type of business loan, you’ll have to consider other lenders.

The American Express® Business Line of Credit is also available only in small amounts — up to $250,000 — with short terms of up to 18 months. Businesses that are looking for larger loan amounts or longer terms will want to explore alternative options.

American Express® Business Line of Credit requirements

Minimum borrower eligibility requirements include:

  • Credit score: 640 or higher.

  • Time in business: One year or more.

  • Average monthly revenue: At least $3,000.

You must be able to link a bank account that shows business revenue to qualify for an American Express® Business Line of Credit. It's also important to keep in mind that all businesses are unique and subject to approval and review.

How to apply for an American Express® Business Line of Credit

You can apply for an American Express® Business Line of Credit online. First, you’ll need to create and log in to your American Express account. Then, you will connect your business checking account and any additional accounts to the American Express Business Blueprint™ platform.

American Express will also ask for basic information about you and your business including:

  • Your name, home address and phone number.

  • Your business name, address and phone number.

  • Your business industry.

  • Your business tax ID.

  • Your Social Security number.

Before you submit your application, American Express will ask you to consent to a hard pull on your credit.

If you are approved for an American Express® Business Line of Credit, you’ll receive a loan agreement that lays out your credit line amount, term length and monthly fees. American Express will also provide a comparable APR so that you have a sense of how much the line of credit will cost.

You will have to sign a personal guarantee as part of your loan agreement.

Keep in mind that when you draw on your credit line, American Express does have minimum withdrawal requirements based on your term length. For six-month terms, the minimum withdrawal amount is $500, for 12-month terms, the minimum is $10,000 and for 18-month terms, the minimum is $20,000.

Alternatives to American Express Business Blueprint™

OnDeck

Like American Express, online lender OnDeck has a streamlined application process. OnDeck offers business lines of credit of up to $100,000 and term loans of up to $250,000. OnDeck lines of credit require weekly repayments, whereas American Express’ repayments are monthly, but the company will accept a minimum credit score of 625. Interest rates on both products run high compared with American Express, however.

For more details on how they compare, read our American Express Business Blueprint™ vs. OnDeck comparison review.

Bluevine

Bluevine offers a business line of credit up to $250,000. And similar to American Express and OnDeck, Bluevine can approve applications in just minutes.

Interest rates on a Bluevine line of credit range from approximately 20% to 50% APR with terms of six or 12 months. You may be able to qualify with a credit score of 625 or higher.

Learn more about these products in our Bluevine small-business loans review.

Compare business loans

To see and compare loan options, check out NerdWallet's list of best small-business loans.

Our recommendations are based on the market scope and track record of lenders, the needs of business owners, and an analysis of rates and other factors so that you can make the right financing decision.

Apply now

on American Express Business Blueprint™'s website

Frequently asked questions