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Personal loans have become a popular option for covering a variety of major expenses, such as home renovations, weddings, unexpected expenses, funerals and more. In some cases, it may actually be more affordable to use a personal loan than to use a credit card, as personal loans generally carry lower interest rates.
It’s even better when a personal loan, like American Express® Personal Loans, doesn’t charge an application fee or origination fee. American Express is also one of the few big names in banking to offer personal loan products to everyday customers.
Of course, however, you should always do your research before applying for any financial product and ensure that you are comfortable with the terms of that product before signing on the dotted line.
To help you out, Select has looked at Amex’s APR, benefits, fees, loan amounts and terms. (Learn more about our methodology below.) Read on to find out if American Express is the right lender for you.
American Express Personal Loan Review
American Express® Personal Loans
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Purpose of the loan
Debt consolidation, home improvement, moving expenses, wedding or vacation
- No setup fees, no prepayment fees
- Same day decision in seconds (in most cases)
- Ability to pay creditors directly
- Funds can be disbursed by direct deposit
- $39 late fee
- No automatic payment discount
- No co-signers or joint applications
- Only American Express cardholders can apply
- The payment due date cannot be changed
- Funds cannot be used to pay American Express credit cards
APRs range from 6.91% to 19.97% for American Express personal loans. Unlike most other personal lenders, American Express does not offer interest rate discounts for making payments using autopay (typically a 0.25% discount is applied for signing up so that your payments are automatically applied to your balance).
The APR range for these personal loans is a bit higher than some other lenders, but Amex personal loans carry fixed interest rates that won’t fluctuate for the life of your loan. Also keep in mind that generally the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate is likely to be. American Express does not disclose the exact minimum credit score required to qualify for its personal loan products.
Although you must be an existing American Express card member to apply for a personal loan, you are not eligible for Membership Rewards® points or insurance benefits (or other benefits) that are generally available with Amex cards.
There is, however, some flexibility when it comes to how you pay your monthly installments. You can make payments online, via Autopay or by sending a check to the appropriate address. Again, keep in mind that while Autopay is an option to pay off your loan, there is no discount for using the service.
American Express doesn’t charge an application fee or origination fee, and there are no prepayment penalties for making extra payments to pay off your loan early.
However, a late fee of $39 will be charged to your account if a payment is made after the due date indicated on your account or invoice, or if you do not have sufficient funds in your bank account to make the payment. of the entire month.
As with any other loan or credit product, failure to make full payment on time may result in the lender notifying a credit reporting agency, which may affect your credit score.
Amount of the loan
Loan amounts range from $3,500 to $40,000, making this lender an attractive option for those in need of medium-sized loans (personal lenders can offer up to $100,000). Keep in mind, however, that not all applicants will qualify for the maximum loan amount. Qualification can usually depend on factors such as your creditworthiness.
Most application decisions can be made in seconds, which can be a plus if you’re hoping for a faster turnaround. However, if additional information is required or if incomplete information and documents have been submitted, this may delay your decision.
Once your application is approved, you can expect the funds to be released to your bank account within three to five business days. You also have the option of having the funds sent directly to up to four creditors (you will only need to provide American Express with the credit card numbers and the amount to be paid to each).
And while American Express personal loans can be used for everything from debt consolidation to financing home repairs, there are some things you can’t use an American Express personal loan for, including post-secondary education expenses. , real estate, business expenses, vehicle purchases other than a deposit, to pay balances on American Express credit cards or for any unlawful purpose.
Applicants can choose from terms ranging from 12 to 36 months.
At the end of the line
American Express® Personal Loans are a great, easy option for those who are already American Express Card members and familiar with the company’s products.
Some lenders charge a penalty for prepaying your personal loan because it means they would miss these interest charges, but American Express allows you to avoid these charges.
If you’re looking for slightly lower interest rates and the ability to get an automatic payment discount, check out LightStream Personal Loans, which offers this 0.25% APR deduction to automatically pay your bill each month.
And if you need a personal loan under $3,500, there are other options like PenFed personal loans, which start at just $600.
To determine which personal loans are best, Select analyzed dozens of US personal loans offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks, including major credit unions, that have no origination or enrollment fees, from APRs to fixed rate and flexible loan amounts. and terms tailored to a range of financing needs.
When selecting and ranking the best personal loans, we focused on the following characteristics:
- No creation or registration fees: None of the lenders on our top list charge borrowers an upfront fee for processing your loan.
- Fixed APR: Variable rates can go up and down over the life of your loan. With a fixed-rate APR, you fix an interest rate for the life of the loan, which means your monthly payment won’t vary, making it easier to plan your budget.
- Flexible minimum and maximum loan amounts/terms: Each lender offers a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long you need to pay off your loan.
- No prepayment penalties: The lenders on our list do not charge borrowers for prepaying loans.
- Simplified application process: We looked at whether lenders offered same-day approval decisions and a fast online application process.
- Customer service: Every loan on our list offers customer service available by phone, email or secure online messaging. We have also opted for lenders that have a resource center or an online advice center to help you learn about the personal loan process and your finances.
- Disbursement of funds: The loans on our list provide funds quickly by electronic transfer to your checking account or in the form of a paper check. Some lenders (which we have noted) offer the option of paying your creditors directly.
- Automatic payment discounts: We’ve noted lenders who reward you for signing up for autopay by reducing your APR by 0.25% to 0.5%.
- Creditor Payment Limits and Loan Sizes: The lenders above offer loans of varying sizes, ranging from $500 to $100,000. Each lender advertises their respective payment limits and loan amounts, and completing a pre-approval process can give you an idea of what your interest rate and monthly payment would be for such an amount.
After reviewing the features above, we’ve sorted our recommendations based on overall financing needs, debt consolidation and refinance, small loans, and overnight financing.
Note that advertised rates and fee structures for personal loans are subject to fluctuation in accordance with the Fed rate. However, once you have accepted your loan agreement, a fixed rate APR will guarantee the interest rate and the monthly payment will remain constant for the duration of the loan. Your APR, monthly payment, and loan amount depend on your credit history and creditworthiness. To take out a loan, lenders will do a credit check and ask for a full application, which may require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more.
Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff only and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.