American Express Personal Loans: 2024 Review

American Express offers preapproved cardholders a no-frills personal loan with funding within one week.

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American Express personal loans are a convenient choice for preapproved cardholders but lack some consumer-friendly features.

American Express Personal Loan

American Express Personal Loan

Est. APR

5.91-17.97%

Loan amount

$3,500-$40,000

Min. credit score

None

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No origination fee.
  • Can fund loans within one week.
  • Free credit score access.

Cons

  • Exclusive to preapproved cardholders.
  • No rate discount.
  • No co-sign or joint loan option.
  • No option to choose or change your payment date.

Compare to Other Lenders

SoFi

Happy Money

EST. APR

8.99-25.81%

EST. APR

11.72-24.67%

LOAN TERM

2 to 7 years

LOAN TERM

2 to 5 years

LOAN AMOUNT

$5,000-$100,000

LOAN AMOUNT

$5,000-$40,000

MIN. CREDIT SCORE

None

MIN. CREDIT SCORE

640

American Express personal loans at a glance

Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed.
APR5.91% – 17.97%.
FeesLate fee: $39.Insufficient funds fee: $39.
Loan amount$3,500 to $40,000.
Repayment termsNot disclosed.
Time to fund after approval3 to 5 business days.
Loan availabilityLoans available in all states.

Where American Express personal loans stand out

No origination fee: American Express personal loans do not have an origination fee. These fees are more common among online lenders and typically range from 1% to 10% of the loan amount.

» COMPARE: Personal loans with no origination fee.

Free credit monitoring: American Express offers MyCredit Guide, which shows your TransUnion credit report, alerts you to potential identity theft and provides recommendations about how to help your credit. You can also use the tool to see how paying down debt will affect your score.

Funding time: American Express can disburse funds within three to five business days once you sign the loan documents. Though this isn’t as fast as lenders that promise same- or next-day funding, you can still receive funds within one week of approval.

» MORE: Best personal loans for quick cash

Where American Express personal loans fall short

Exclusive to preapproved cardholders: You must be an existing American Express Card member in good standing to apply for a personal loan. Often the lender notifies you if you are preapproved for a loan, or you can check by logging in to your American Express account.

No rate discount: Unlike other lenders, American Express doesn’t offer a discount on the annual percentage rate. This discount typically ranges from 0.25 to 0.5 percentage points and lowers the interest you pay on the loan.

No co-signed, joint or secured loan options: American Express offers only unsecured personal loans. It doesn’t let you add a co-signer, apply with a co-borrower or secure the loan to potentially qualify for a lower rate or higher loan amount.

» MORE: Best co-signed personal loans

No option to choose or change your payment date: The payment date you’re given at the outset of the loan is the one you’ll have for the loan’s full repayment term. According to the lender, there is no option to change your payment date, so if your payday changes, you can’t adjust your payment accordingly.

Do you qualify for an American Express personal loan

To be eligible for an American Express personal loan, you must be a preapproved cardholder. According to the lender, preapproval is based on several factors, including creditworthiness.

Here are the requirements to apply for an American Express personal loan:

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Must have preapproval and an active American Express card.

Before you apply

  • Check your credit. You can get your free credit report on NerdWallet or at AnnualCreditReport.com. Doing so will help you spot and fix any errors before you apply.
  • Calculate your monthly payments. Use a personal loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you’d need to get a loan with affordable monthly payments.
  • Make a plan to repay the loan. Review your budget to see how the loan’s monthly payments impact your cash flow. If you have to cut other expenses to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.
  • Gather your income information. As an existing cardholder, American Express will have most of your information, but the personal loan application may ask for additional details on your income. Having this handy can speed up the application process.

How to apply for an American Express personal loan

Here are the steps to apply for an American Express loan.

  1. Check for a preapproval offer. You can see if you’re preapproved for a personal loan by logging in to your American Express account. You’ll be able to view how much you can borrow and your potential interest rate.
  2. Submit your application. Once you’ve confirmed you’re preapproved, you can submit a formal personal loan application that includes your desired loan amount and repayment term, plus the loan purpose. You will also be asked to enter your basic contact information and income. American Express can provide an approval decision within seconds.
  3. Stay on top of your loan payments. American Express reports payments to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion), so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.

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Compare American Express to other lenders

Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh other options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.

Happy Money and Discover offer similar loan amounts as American Express, but the lenders have more consumer-friendly features. American Express, however, may have lower rates.

American Express vs. Happy Money

Happy Money is an online lender that offers debt consolidation loans to borrowers with fair to good credit. Unlike American Express, you don’t need to have an existing relationship with the lender, and you can preview potential loan terms and rates by pre-qualifying online. Happy Money loans come with an origination fee, deducted from the loan amount, while American Express has no origination fee.

» MORE: Read our review of Happy Money

American Express vs. Discover

Discover is a strong option for borrowers with good to excellent credit. Like American Express, Discover doesn’t charge an origination fee, and it offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans. Where Discover differs is the lender lets you choose to pre-qualify online with a soft credit check and has a mobile app to help manage your account. For borrowers who are looking for fast cash, Discover also offers same- or next-day funding.

» MORE: Read our review of Discover

How we rate American Express personal loans

NerdWallet writers rate lenders against a rubric that changes each year based on how personal loan products evolve. Here’s what we prioritized this year:

CategoryStar rating
Affordability
Underwriting
Loan flexibility
Transparency
Customer experience
Overall
  • Category definitions

Ready to apply? Select “See my rates” below to compare rates for different lenders on NerdWallet.

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Find the Best Personal Loan

Best personal loansDebt consolidation loansGood credit personal loansFair credit personal loans

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

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