The bottom line:
American Express Business Blueprint™ is a good option for business owners with fair credit who want access to working capital.
Pros & Cons
- 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.
- 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.
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. Keep in mind that all businesses are unique and subject to approval and review when applying for a line of credit.
How Much Do You Need?
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.
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.
$2,000 to $250,000.
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:
6, 12 or 18 months.
» MORE: Compare working capital loans
Where American Express Business Blueprint™ stands out
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.
Streamlined application process
The application process for the American Express® Business Line of Credit 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:
Repayment toward principal
Total monthly payment
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 to 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™
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 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.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, as part of the application process, American Express will perform a hard credit pull on your personal and business credit scores.
No, American Express does not currently file UCC liens on its business line of credit borrowers.
Kabbage rebranded to American Express Business Blueprint™ in February 2023. Business Blueprint incorporates the American Express® Business Line of Credit and American Express® Business Checking account, among other products, into one platform.
The American Express® Business Line of Credit maintains the same features and qualifications as the now-defunct Kabbage line of credit.