Does Amex do a hard pull if denied?

American Express is one of the largest credit card issuers in the United States. When you apply for an Amex card, the company will check your credit report to evaluate your creditworthiness. This is known as a “hard pull” and can temporarily lower your credit score. So what happens if your Amex application gets denied – will they still do a hard pull? Here are the quick answers:

– Yes, American Express will do a hard pull even if you are denied for the card.

– The hard pull will show up on your credit report and may cause a small drop in your score.

– Amex will only do a hard pull if you complete the full application process and submit it for review.

– Getting denied for an Amex card does not mean you can’t reapply and get approved later.

Does American Express do a hard credit check for denied applications?

Yes. If you submit a full application for an American Express credit card and get denied, Amex will still perform a hard credit check and report it to the credit bureaus. This hard inquiry will appear on your credit report and may cause a small drop in your credit score.

Amex does not do a “soft pull” or “pre-qualification check” when you apply for their cards. They only do hard pulls once the application is completed and submitted for processing. So even if the application gets rejected in the end, the hard inquiry will still take place.

When does Amex do the hard pull?

American Express performs the hard credit check after you have submitted the full application, not when you are pre-qualifying or filling out an initial form. Here is the general process:

  1. You provide basic information like name, address, income for a pre-qualification check.
  2. If pre-qualified, you can choose to apply and provide your Social Security Number to allow a credit check.
  3. Amex runs a hard inquiry when you officially submit the application.
  4. If approved, you get the new card. If denied, the hard pull still occurs but you don’t get the card.

So the hard pull happens after step 3 when the application is processed, regardless of the decision. Pre-qualification only uses soft pulls that don’t affect your credit.

How long do Amex application inquiries stay on your report?

Hard inquiries from credit card applications generally remain on your credit report for 12 months, although their impact on your scores fades over time. An Amex application inquiry will show on your report for a full year.

The inquiry itself will be visible. Any score drops from the hard pull will diminish around 6 months. With good credit management, your score can recover within a few months.

Why does Amex do a hard pull for denied applicants?

American Express does a complete review of your credit profile when you apply for one of their cards. Here are some key reasons why they run hard checks even if ultimately denying the application:

  • To verify identity and prevent fraud – A hard check helps validate the application is legit.
  • To determine precise creditworthiness – Soft checks provide limited information.
  • For legal and regulatory compliance – A hard inquiry provides detailed documentation.
  • To add context for approval/denial decisions – Thorough checks prevent lawsuits over unfair denials.

Essentially, the hard pull gives Amex full transparency into your credit history and ability to pay. This protects them from risk and provides process documentation if the decision is disputed.

Can you get approved without a hard credit check?

No, American Express will not approve an application without running a hard credit check first. The detailed inquiry provides information they need to extend credit responsibly.

Pre-qualification and soft credit checks only offer a partial snapshot. Amex requires a complete credit review before issuing a new card. Approving applicants without hard pulls could lead to defaults when people’s actual creditworthiness is unknown.

Are there exceptions to the hard pull with Amex?

In some cases, American Express may be able to make a decision without running new credit checks, such as:

  • Existing cardholders applying for a new Amex card – A new hard inquiry may not always be needed.
  • Pre-approved offers based on past hard checks – Pre-approvals use recent hard inquiries.
  • Applicants with frozen credit reports – Cannot check until unfrozen.

However, most applicants will undergo standard credit checks. It’s rare for American Express to stray from their normal underwriting practices.

How much does an Amex denial drop your credit score?

The hard pull from an Amex denial will cause a small drop in your credit score – typically less than 5 points. Here are some factors that influence the score impact:

  • Your starting credit score – Higher scores see smaller drops from inquiries.
  • Number of recent hard inquiries – Too many pulls in a short span have a larger effect.
  • Your overall credit profile – Extensive history helps offset new inquiries.

For example, someone with a long credit history and 750 score may only drop 2-3 points from the denied Amex app. But someone with a thin profile and 680 score could potentially drop 8-10 points. The inquiry impact fades over 6 months as long as no more pulls occur.

Will one Amex denial ruin my credit?

No, a single Amex denial will not severely damage your credit or scores. The hard inquiry itself will only cause a small drop of a few points at most. As long as you have reasonable credit, one denial should not have a major negative impact.

If you keep your utilization low and continue to make on-time payments, your credit will recover within a few months. Just be sure to limit new credit applications for awhile to avoid excessive hard inquiries.

How long do Amex hard inquiries impact an applicant’s score?

Here is a general timeline of how long an Amex denial’s hard inquiry will impact your credit scores:

  • 1-2 months – Maximum score drop immediately after the hard pull.
  • 3-6 months – The score begins to rebound and inquiry impact decreases.
  • 6-12 months – The inquiry remains on report but has minimal score impact.
  • 12+ months – The inquiry drops off the report and has no impact.

So while Amex hard pulls stay on your report for a full year, they only negatively influence scores for about 6 months. Responsible credit management will offset the effects within half a year.

Will an Amex denial prevent approval in the future?

Getting denied for an Amex card does not necessarily prevent you from getting approved in the future. Here are some tips if you get rejected initially:

  • Wait at least 6 months before reapplying – Let scores recover from the hard pull.
  • Review your credit report and resolve any errors.
  • Pay down balances and keep utilization low.
  • Continue making timely payments.
  • Consider starting with a lower-tier Amex card.
  • Improve your credit before applying again.

Meeting Amex’s approval criteria and demonstrating responsible credit use will give you the best chance on your next application. While being denied can be discouraging, it’s definitely possible to get approved down the road.

Does getting denied for one Amex card prevent approval for a different card?

No, getting denied for one American Express card does not automatically disqualify you from getting approved for a different Amex product. Each application is evaluated separately based on eligibility.

For example, you could get denied for the Platinum Card but still get approved for an EveryDay Card on a subsequent application. Amex makes each decision based on the specific card’s criteria and your profile at that time.

How soon can you reapply after being denied by Amex?

After a denial, it’s best to wait at least 6 months before applying again, based on these factors:

  • Let the hard inquiry’s credit score impact fade – Takes around 6 months.
  • Demonstrate responsible credit management during the wait period.
  • Give yourself time to improve creditworthiness for better approval odds.

While you can technically apply again sooner, your chances will be lower if you don’t let some time pass. Be patient and focus on strengthening your credit before reapplying.

Tips for getting approved for Amex after denial

Here are some helpful tips for improving your chances of getting approved for an American Express card after an initial denial:

Wait at least 6 months between applications

Let the previous hard inquiry drop off your credit reports and give your scores time to rebound. American Express is less likely to approve new applicants who were just denied.

Pay down revolving balances

High balances and credit utilization rates can sabotage approval chances. Pay down cards to 30% or less of the limit before applying again.

Continue responsible card usage

Make all credit card and loan payments on time each month. Keep usage low and don’t apply for other new credit before reapplying.

Check reports and resolve errors

Review your credit reports closely and dispute any inaccurate or fraudulent items that may be weighing down your scores.

Start with a lower-level Amex card

Getting approved for an entry-level card can help build your Amex relationship over time. Charge card options like the Green Card are also easier to qualify for.

Improve your credit before reapplying

The higher your scores and the lower your debts, the better your approval odds will be. Give yourself time to demonstrate creditworthiness.

Sample credit score impact from Amex denial

Here is a sample scenario to demonstrate the potential credit score impact of getting denied for an Amex card:

Time Period Credit Score Change
Pre-Application 720
1 Month After Denial – 10 points
3 Months After Denial – 5 points
6 Months After Denial – 2 points
12+ Months After Denial 0 points

As you can see, the hard pull decreases the score quickly at first. But with responsible credit use, the impact fades over 6 months and is gone after a year. An applicant’s starting score and credit profile will affect the severity of the drop.


In summary, American Express will conduct a hard credit check and report the inquiry even if your application gets denied. This will result in a small temporary drop in your credit scores. However, a single Amex denial should not tank your credit long-term. Being patient and maintaining good financial habits can help you qualify if you decide to reapply down the road.

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