American Express Personal Loans Review

American Express offers personal loan options for eligible cardholders

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American Express

overall rating
3.8

Our Take 

A personal loan from American Express is an excellent option for eligible cardholders who have received an offer and can repay the loan within 36 months. Not only does American Express offer competitive APRs, but it also has high customer satisfaction, making it a great choice.

  • Pros & Cons 
  • Key Takeaways
  • Product Specifications
Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Excellent customer satisfaction

  • No origination fees

  • Funds can be used to consolidate debt

Cons
  • Only offered to eligible cardholders

  • Qualifications not disclosed

  • Repayment terms are short

Key Takeaways
  • American Express has a long history of successful operations dating back to 1850.
  • You’ll complete a simple application online and learn if you’re approved within seconds.
  • Once approved, you can receive your funds in as few as three to five business days.
  • Customer service is readily available online, via chat, and by phone 24/7.
Product Specifications
  • APR Range 7.98% to 19.98% (no autopay discount) (Rates accurate as of Nov. 9, 2021)
  • Loan Amounts $3,500 to $40,000
  • Loan Terms 12 to 36 months
  • Recommended Minimum Credit Score Not disclosed
  • Average Origination Fee 0%
  • Late Fee $39

Pros Explained

  • Excellent customer satisfaction: American Express received top customer satisfaction ratings in recent surveys by J.D. Power, including being ranked as the top credit card issuer for two years in a row and offering one of the best personal loans of 2022. You must be an eligible cardholder to get a personal loan from American Express, making these findings especially relevant.
  • No origination fees: You won’t have to pay an origination fee for an American Express personal loan, which is excellent compared to the competition. Similarly, the average APR of 13.98% charged for these personal loans (based on an estimate of the interest charges you’ll pay and relevant fees) compares favorably to the competition.
  • Funds can be used to consolidate debt: You can use your loan funds for various purposes, including consolidating debt from up to four non-American Express credit cards. Once you’re approved for the loan, loan proceeds can be sent directly to your credit card issuers in increments of at least $1,000.

Cons Explained

  • Only offered to eligible cardholders: You can only get an American Express personal loan if you’re an eligible cardholder who has received a pre-approval offer. These loans are unavailable to cardholders who haven’t received an offer and non-cardholders.
  • Qualifications not disclosed: American Express uses a pre-approval process to identify cardholders eligible for a personal loan. If you decide to apply for a loan, the company will review your financial condition and creditworthiness to confirm that you qualify for the loan. Unfortunately, the specific qualifications it uses in these evaluations (e.g., minimum credit scores or income thresholds) are not disclosed.
  • Repayment terms are short: You can only get personal loans with repayment terms ranging from 12 to 36 months with American Express. Many of its competitors offer personal loans with repayment terms as long as 60 to 84 months.

Introduction

American Express is an established global credit card issuer that also offers personal loans to eligible cardholders. While personal loans from American Express aren’t as large as what you can get with many other providers—its maximum loan amount is $40,000 compared to a typical limit of $50,000 or more—its APRs of 7.98% to 19.98% are excellent. Plus, J.D. Power recently ranked it among top personal loan providers with high customer satisfaction ratings.

Personal loans from American Express are an excellent option for individuals who need funding to cover a variety of personal, family, or household expenses, such as paying for a wedding, covering unexpected medical expenses, or making minor home improvements. They’re also an excellent option if you want to consolidate up to four non-American Express credit cards into a single fixed-rate loan. However, repayment terms are relatively short. So if you can’t repay the loan within 12 to 36 months, you’re probably better off choosing a different provider.

Company Overview

American Express was founded in 1850 and is headquartered in New York City. The company is one of the largest global payment companies, offering a variety of credit cards and financial products. Personal loans of up to $40,000 are available to eligible American Express cardholders. These loans can be used to cover a wide variety of expenses, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, weddings, vehicle down payments, and more. 

You can’t use the proceeds from your personal loan to pay down the balances on an existing American Express card or for business expenses, real estate or vehicle purchases, and post-secondary education expenses. 

Types of Personal Loans Offered by American Express

American Express offers an unsecured personal loan that can be used for several purposes. Some of the eligible uses of American Express personal loans include: 

  • Existing credit card debt consolidation
  • Home renovations
  • Other significant purchases

You can’t use a personal loan from American Express for business purposes or to buy a vehicle (besides making a down payment), purchase real estate, pay for post-secondary education expenses, or buy securities. You also can’t use the proceeds from your personal loan to pay off or refinance an existing American Express credit card.

Only eligible American Express cardholders are eligible for this personal loan. To qualify, you need to have an acceptable level of creditworthiness. While specific criteria aren’t disclosed, in general, this means you have sufficient income to repay your loans and a good credit history

You can apply for a personal loan if you receive a pre-approval from American Express, which has no impact on your credit score. Simply log into your American Express cardmember account and check for offers to see if you’re pre-approved.

Time to Receive Funds

It can take three to five business days to receive funds from a personal loan with American Express after you sign your loan agreement. The funds will be electronically deposited to your bank account, typically through an ACH transfer.

If you don’t have a bank account on record with American Express or want the funds deposited to a different bank account, you’ll first need to verify your bank account, which can take a couple of days. After that, it can take three to five days to deposit funds. This timeline is typical for the industry, though certain lenders may disburse funds more quickly.

American Express Personal Loan Features

One of the key features of an American Express personal loan is that you can use the proceeds to consolidate debt. Plus, you won’t pay any origination fees, something that’s often charged by other providers.

Debt Consolidation

When you’re approved for an American Express personal loan, you can use the loan proceeds to consolidate up to four existing credit cards into a single monthly payment. You can choose to have the funds sent directly to the credit card in amounts of at least $1,000 per card. You’ll need to request at least $3,500 in funding across all of the credit cards you want to consolidate.

Keep in mind that you can’t use the loan proceeds to pay off an American Express card.

You can’t use your American Express personal loan to consolidate an existing American Express credit card.

No Origination Fees

Unlike many other personal loan providers, American Express doesn’t charge any origination fees on its personal loan. This is part of the reason why the APR charged by American Express is lower than some of the competition.

Apply for an American Express Loan

To apply for a personal loan with American Express, you’ll need to:

  1. Login to your account online to see if you’re pre-approved. Personal loans from American Express are only available to eligible cardholders. So, the first step is to log into your American Express cardmember account to see if you’re pre-approved for a personal loan. If you’re pre-approved, you’ll be able to see how much you can potentially borrow—up to $40,000—and an estimate of the interest rate you’ll pay. 
  2. Apply online. You’ll complete a quick application online. Besides providing basic personal information—including the loan’s purpose and your total income—you’ll select how much you want to borrow (up to the pre-approved amount), the monthly payment you desire (terms range from 12 to 36 months), and where you want the funds sent. It usually takes seconds after applying to see if you’re approved.
  3. Review the loan terms, accept the offer, and sign the loan documents. Once your loan is approved, you’ll receive an offer and will need to review the loan terms. If the terms work for you, you’ll then accept the offer and digitally sign the loan documents. You have three days to complete this process, or the offer will be withdrawn. You’ll need to wait at least 60 days to apply for another American Express personal loan if this happens.
  4. Receive your loan funds. Your loan funds will generally be sent to the bank account or credit card accounts specified in your application within three to five business days of signing the loan documents. If American Express hasn’t previously verified the bank account, the company will need to do so before transferring your funds. Take care when entering this information, as your loan will be canceled if your account can’t be verified.

If you want the personal loan offered by American Express, don’t forget to accept it within three days. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait 60 days to apply again.    

Can I Refinance a Personal Loan with American Express?

You can’t refinance a personal loan with American Express. You also can’t change the due date for your payment, which will be set when you are approved for your personal loan. However, you can repay your personal loan early without being charged a prepayment penalty.

Customer Service

American Express has created a comprehensive help center that you can reference if you have questions. If you can’t get your question answered with this resource, you can also chat with a customer service agent by logging into your account or speak with a customer service agent by calling 1-800-528-4800 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Customer Satisfaction

American Express was listed as the highest-ranking personal loan lender (tied with Discover) in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, with a score of 874 points (out of 1,000 possible points and compared to a segment average of 858). The survey included responses from about 2,500 personal loan clients and focused on three primary factors: loan terms and offerings, the application and approval process, and the loan management process. 

In 2020, American Express ranked sixth on the J.D. Power Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, so the ranking improvement on the 2021 survey is notable. It bodes well for the work American Express is doing to offer a streamlined loan application process, since the survey findings suggest customers prefer technology that’s easy to use.

Notably, American Express was also ranked the highest in customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study in 2020 and 2021. American Express personal loans are only offered to cardholders, making these customer satisfaction findings related to credit card issues relevant as well.  

Account Management

You’ll manage the entire personal loan process by logging into your American Express account online. This begins by logging into your account to see if you have a personal loan offer and continues through the entire application and account management process. You’ll generally find out if you’re approved for a personal loan within seconds of submitting your application. 

If you have questions that aren’t answered after reviewing your online account, you can chat with a customer service agent from your dashboard or reach a representative by phone 24/7.

How American Express Compares to Other Personal Loan Companies

While the personal loan offered by American Express is only available to eligible cardholders, you can get an American Express personal loan in all 50 states. The footprint for many other lenders is restricted in some states. 

However, with an American Express personal loan, you can only get up to $40,000 in funding (slightly less than the competition), and the 36-month repayment period is relatively short. Even so, its APRs compare favorably to the competition, and the company is well-regarded by its customers.

American Express vs. Discover

One of the biggest competitors to American Express is Discover, which also offers unsecured personal loans and a simple online application. The companies tied for the number one spot on the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, suggesting both are well-regarded by customers. Plus, neither company charges an origination fee, and both offer relatively low APRs on their loans.

Some of the key differences between personal loans with American Express vs. Discover are:

  • You can only apply for an American Express personal loan if you’re a cardholder who’s received a pre-approval offer. In contrast, U.S. citizens 18 years and older who have at least $25,000 income can apply for a Discover personal loan.
  • You can only borrow up to $35,000 with Discover, while you might be able to borrow up to $40,000 with American Express. 
  • Repayment terms for Discover personal loans are up to 84 months, whereas the maximum repayment term for American Express personal loans is just 36 months.

Both American Express to Discover are excellent lending options. If you’re an American Express cardholder invited to apply, this may be the better option if you want to pay the loan off within 36 months and keep your financing with one lender. However, Discover also offers a great personal loan option if you haven’t received an offer from American Express or want a longer repayment term.

Read our full Discover personal loans review.

  American Express Discover 
APR Range 7.98% to 19.98% (Rates accurate as of Jan. 6, 2022) 5.99% to 24.99% (Rates accurate as of Jan. 6, 2022)
Average Origination Fee  0% 0% 
Loan Amounts  $3,500 to $40,000 $2,500 to $35,000
Loan Terms  12 to 36 months 36 to 84 months
Who Can Apply  Eligible cardholders only U.S. citizens or permanent residents at least 18 years old and with $25,000+ in annual income
Customer Satisfaction Tied as the #1 lender in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study  Tied as the #1 lender in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study
Final Verdict

The biggest drawback to an American Express personal loan is that you can only get it if you are an eligible cardholder who has received a pre-approval offer. However, if you’ve received a pre-approval offer, then a personal loan from American Express is a great option, especially if you can repay the loan quickly (12 to 36 months) and you only need up to $40,000. Plus, its APRs compare favorably to the competition, and the company has an excellent reputation.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. We collected over 25 data points across more than 50 lenders including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their needs.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
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  2. J.D. Power. "Consumer Lending Satisfaction Hingest on Trust, Ease of Access Now More Than Ever Before, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Dec. 8, 2021.

  3. J.D. Power. "While Many U.S. Credit Card Issuers Struggle to Meet Evolving Customer Expectations, Some Bright Spots Exist, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Dec. 8, 2021. 

  4. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Dec. 8, 2021.