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American Express Personal Loan Review

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An American Express personal loan might be a good option for borrowers interested in a personal loan with decent interest rates. If you already have a relationship with American Express, it may make sense to get a personal loan with them to consolidate high-interest credit card debt, pay for home improvements or cover another large expense. Keep reading to learn more.

American Express personal loan highlights

  • No origination fee: Borrowers who take out an American Express loan won’t pay any origination fees.
  • Choose your repayment period: American Express offers repayment periods ranging from 12 to 48 months. Applicants can choose which repayment period makes the most sense for them.
  • Pay off up to four credit cards: The American Express personal loan can be used to directly pay off up to four different credit cards. This can be an efficient way for you to eliminate credit card balances without having to pay each account yourself.
  • Must be preapproved: The personal loans from American Express are only available to cardholders who have received a preapproval offer. To receive an offer you must have at least nine months of account history with American Express and meet other standards.

American Express at a glance

  • APR range: 6.98%– 18.99%
  • Minimum credit score: Fair to excellent
  • Terms: 12 to 48 months
  • Origination fee: No origination fee
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Terms Fees and penalties
  • Terms: 12 to 48 months
  • APR: 6.98% to 18.99%
  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Time to funding: Three to five business days
  • Credit check: Soft Pull
  • Origination fee: No origination fee
  • Prepayment fee: $0
  • Late payment fee: $39

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Fair to excellent.
  • Minimum credit history: 9 months of credit history with American Express.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.

American Express only extends personal loans to existing American Express cardholders who have been preapproved for a personal loan offer. American Express uses the last nine months of account information, your credit score and other factors when preapproving you for an offer. When you apply, your consumer card account must be in good standing with American Express.

Depending on your preapproved loan offer, you may only qualify to use a personal loan to consolidate high-interest credit card debt. If you are formally approved for a loan and wish to consolidate credit card debt, you can work with American Express to have up to four credit cards with balances over $1,000 paid off with your loan funds.

If you qualify for a more general loan, you’ll still face certain restrictions. The loan cannot be used to:

  • Pay for college or grad school expenses
  • Buy real estate
  • Pay for business assets
  • Take out securities (such as stocks or bonds)
  • Buy a vehicle

It is OK to use the loan to put a down payment on a car or to remodel your existing home. Aside from these restrictions, you can use a personal loan to finance major expenses or consolidate higher interest debt.

Applying for a personal loan from American Express

The online application process takes just a few minutes. It includes questions about how you plan to use the loan. If you plan to use the American Express personal loan to consolidate credit card debt, you’ll have to provide American Express with the credit card account numbers that you’ll consolidate.

Once you complete the online application, American Express will issue an instant approval decision. If you’re approved, you’ll have three days to accept the loan offer. Then, American Express will either pay off your credit cards directly (assuming you qualified for enough funds) or it will deposit the money in a checking account you have on file. Funding takes three to five business days.

Pros Cons
  • No origination fee: American Express doesn’t charge origination fees on its personal loans. This can save you up to a few hundred dollars in loan fees.
  • Decision within minutes: After a quick application, American Express will usually offer an instant decision on your loan. With an actual offer in hand, you can shop for rates from other lenders with ease.
  • Late fee of $39: If you make a late payment, American Express will assess a late fee.
  • Must be an American Express cardholder: American Express only issues personal loans to existing American Express cardholders.
  • Rates may change from preapproval offer: American Express may send you a personalized preapproval offer. However, the rates and terms in the offer may not match your final rates. If your credit profile has changed, American Express may change the interest rate, term or amount you’re allowed to borrow.

Who’s the best fit for an American Express personal loan?

Since American Express places restrictions on the use of its loans, an ideal fit will meet the credit and income requirements set by American Express and want to use the loan for an accepted use. One ideal case is to use the American Express personal loan to consolidate credit card debt at a lower interest rate. Just be sure to compare your existing credit card rates to the rate that American Express offers before you accept the loan.

The American Express personal loan is also a reasonable financing option for people who need to finance home improvements or other major expenses. With a minimum loan amount of $3,500, these loans are ideal for people with major expenses that can’t easily be covered with a few months of savings.

However, American Express forbids certain loan uses. People seeking capital to start a business, pay for college expenses, buy a vehicle or purchase real estate will need to look for other financing options.

Alternative personal loan options


  • APR: 3.99% – 19.99%*
  • Minimum credit score: Hard Pull
  • Terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Origination fee: No origination fee

With low interest rates, no fees and fast funding, LightStream is a great option for borrowers with excellent credit. But what puts LightStream over the top is its “rate beat” guarantee. If you present an approved offer to LightStream, it will beat the offer by at least 0.1%. That makes LightStream a must consider lender for borrowers with excellent credit looking to take out a personal loan.

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

  • APR: 6.99%–19.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 0
  • Terms: 36 to 72 months
  • Origination fee: No origination fee

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans with reasonable rates, but you shouldn’t assume you’re getting a great deal, because some loans may have rates as high as 19.99% APR.

If you’ve got good or excellent credit, be sure to compare the rates at Marcus by Goldman Sachs® to those from other lenders. You can start looking at offers from the lender without affecting your credit score.

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.


  • APR: 6.99%–24.99%
  • Minimum credit score: Not specified
  • Terms: 36 to 84 months
  • Origination fee: No origination fee

Like American Express, Discover doesn’t charge an origination fee for its loans. But Discover offers even more flexibility in terms of loan repayment terms. Discover personal loan terms range from 36 to 84 months, so most people can find a payment that works with their budget.

To apply for a Discover Bank, you need to be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident and have a household income of at least $25,000 per year. You can apply for a personal loan even if you’re currently unemployed.

The APR ranges from 6.99% to 24.99% APR based on creditworthiness at time of application. Loans up to $35,000. Fast & Easy Process. Terms are 36 to 84 months. No prepayment penalty. This is not a firm offer of credit. Any results displayed are estimates and we do not guarantee the applicability or accuracy to your specific circumstance. For example, for a $15,000 loan with an APR of 10.99% and 60 month term, the estimated monthly payment would be $326. The estimated total cost of the loan in this example would be $19,560.


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