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Note: Information conveyed in this post is based off of the experiences of several friends along with experiences of others that I have read in a number of forums over the past year. I don’t have specific links, but a Google search for the term “American Express Blacklist” will result in much of the information presented here.
I start with this, because I have not linked to any specific resources. Additionally, American Express does not publish any rules for getting off of their blacklist nor do they acknowledge that such a list exists.
The American Express Blacklist Explained & Strategies For Removal
The other day I wrote about how to get a Chase credit card with a bankruptcy on your credit. Today I am going to talk about a problem that many people with past bad debts (bankruptcy or otherwise) have with American Express.
American Express has a number of tremendous credit card products. Unfortunately if you ever screw up and “cross them” you may find yourself on the so called “blacklist”. While they have never officially confirmed such a list exists, many people have their social security numbers flagged and are not able to get American Express products.
How to Get On the American Express Blacklist
According to reports, suing American Express or defaulting on any sort of debt with them will gain you a spot on their blacklist. Once on the list, you aren’t able to get any sort of credit card product from them, although it appears you are able to get cards like Bluebird or Serve.
Since American Express has many generous products and sign-up bonuses, it can be very damaging to find yourself on the list. Fortunately some people have figured out ways to get themselves off, although there is no certain set of rules.
How to Find Out If You Are on the American Express Blacklist
If you are on the American Express blacklist then it will become evident pretty quickly. When your social security number is on the list you will be automatically declined for any credit application without American Express even running your credit.
While the denial message varies based on why you are on the list, it generally talks about a past negative relationship with American Express.
How to Get Off the American Express Blacklist
Pay off your old American Express debt
There are many reports from people who have past bad debt with American Express that they were offered to get off of the list by paying it back. Unfortunately even after the money is paid back, there is no guarantee American Express will issue you credit.
If you do go the route of paying off the debt, reports are that you won’t immediately find yourself eligible for all products. Many people have reported that you are only eligible for an entry level card based on credit approval. After proving your worthiness, you can then eventually go on to get some of the more premium cards.
Wait It Out
I have read probably 50 or more reports from people and each one tells a different story, but some people have been dropped off the list without doing anything. The only catch is that it takes somewhere between 10-30 years. Once again that is based on a wide range of reports, so take it with a grain of salt.
I personally know someone who was on the list for 15 years. It was only after employing the following method that this person was able to get an American Express card again.
Have Someone Add You As An Authorized User
Since American Express requires a social security number for authorized users, it may be possible to get yourself dropped from the list by being added to someone else’s card. I know a few people who were removed from the blacklist within a few months of being added as authorized users on other people’s cards.
The theory is that once you are accepted as an AU, you once again become an active cardholder in their system and your social security number is no longer blocked. Again, I know of several people who this has worked for and I highly suggest at least trying this.
There are a select group of people on a super-blacklist that aren’t even allowed to become authorized users. These people normally have enormous unpaid debts or other severe problems with American Express. Fortunately this doesn’t represent most people on the blacklist, but if this is you, then your only option is to wait it out.
How to Check If You Have Been Removed from the American Express Blacklist
The easiest way to find out if you have been removed from the American Express blacklist is to apply for a card. Since blacklisted people don’t have their credit checked, there really is no harm in applying once a month or so to see if things have changed. If you are still on the blacklist, then no inquiry will show up on your credit. You can find the latest Amex credit card offers here.
If you have been removed from the American Express blacklist, then your application will be processed normally and you will either receive and approval or a denial based on your credit profile.
If you now have good credit and find yourself on the outside looking in with American Express, there may still be hope of eventually getting another American Express card. I would suggest you start asking your friends and family to see if anyone is willing to add you as an authorized user. If not, then waiting it out may be an option as well.
One other benefit of getting a new American Express card is that they backdate the account on your credit to when you opened your first American Express account. Getting off the blacklist not only means access to new products and sign-up bonuses, it also can help your average age of accounts!
Are you on the blacklist or have you been removed from it? Let me know in the comments. I can also answer any specific questions you may have!
Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.