Is There An American Express Credit Card for Bad Credit

Jordan Wathen is a personal finance expert with a deep professional and personal expertise on credit cards. His articles have appeared on sites such as MSN, CNBC, and Yahoo.

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American Express is one of the few issuers with a limited lineup of credit cards for people with limited credit histories or bad credit. Case in point, there's one American Express credit card for bad credit. Learn more below and see if the card is a fit for you.

Ratings Methodology
Rewards

1x points on all purchases

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: N/A
Balance Transfers: N/A

Ongoing APR

25.74% variable APR on purchases.

Bonuses & Perks

Free ShopRunner Membership

Highlights
  • Earn 1X Membership Rewards® point for every eligible dollar you spend.
  • No annual fee.
  • Free ShopRunner Membership.
  • Online Year-End Summary of Purchases.

Blue from American Express® has not been reviewed by the issuer and card details may be out of date.

Top perks

Historically speaking, American Express was a company that favored people who had high incomes, high credit scores, and used credit cards solely for convenience and rewards. In recent years, with products like Blue from American Express®, it has started to compete more aggressively in mass-market credit cards.

Here are some of the features that help Blue from American Express® stand out in cards for people who have bad credit:

  • Rewards program -- Blue from American Express® rewards cardholders with 1 point for every $1 in spending. Points are most valuable when redeemed for airfare or Uber ($0.01 per point), but they can also be redeemed for Amazon purchases ($0.007 per point) and statement credits ($0.006 per point). While it isn’t the most lucrative rewards card, not many cards in the bad credit category even have rewards programs in the first place.
  • No annual fee -- You won’t pay anything just to have a Blue from American Express® account. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, so it’s a card you can open and keep forever, helping you establish a long record of good credit history without paying a fee each year just to keep the account open and reporting to the credit bureaus.
  • Free ShopRunner membership -- While this isn’t exclusive to Blue from American Express®, it is a rare benefit in the bad credit category. Having the card gets you a free ShopRunner membership, which scores you free two-day shipping on purchases from participating retailers. This perk is valued at $79 per year.
  • Lower credit score requirements -- Blue from American Express® is the least selective card in American Express’s roster, making it a good way to build a relationship with a card issuer that has many other lucrative cards you may qualify for in the future.

How to build your credit score with Blue from American Express®

Building credit with Blue from American Express® is as simple as managing the card so that it reports the best possible view of your activity to the credit bureaus every month. Here’s the three-step guide to building credit with this credit card.

  1. Always pay on time -- Yes, it may be obvious, but paying on time is crucial for having good credit. Making payments more than 30 days late will result in derogatory marks on your credit report. Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, making it the most important component of having good credit.
  2. Keep your balances low -- The balance you have on your card at any point in time can affect your credit score in a big way. Strive to keep your balance at less than 30% of your credit limit to get the best possible score. Credit utilization, or the percentage of your credit limits you are currently using, makes up 30% of your credit score. Keep in mind that your balance is reported once per month, so having an $800 balance on a card with a $1,000 credit limit just for one day can hurt you if that day happens to be the day your balance is reported to the credit bureaus. If you need to make a big purchase with the card, consider logging in shortly thereafter to make a payment to reduce your balance.
  3. Don’t apply for more credit -- Having more credit cards won’t necessarily help you build or rebuild your credit score any faster, but it can increase the risk that you forget to make a late payment or make another credit-damaging mistake. After opening the account, consider taking a year off from new card applications and focus on keeping this card in good standing. Besides, after a year of good credit management, you will probably qualify for better cards than you qualify for right now.

Alternatives to consider

Blue from American Express® can be beat by other card in the market, including Discover it® Secured or Petal Visa® Credit Card.

Discover it® Secured is a secured credit card that requires a refundable deposit that acts as your credit limit.

Importantly, both cards include rewards programs that beat Blue from American Express® and no annual fee. Here's a side-by-side comparison to learn more.

As of Jan. 28, 2020
Discover it® Secured Petal Visa® Credit Card
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Apply Now

On Discover's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Petal's Secure Website.

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Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement: Fair/New to Credit: Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Fair/New to Credit: Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: Double cash back in the first year Bonus: N/A
Rewards Program: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, 1% cash back on all else Rewards Program: 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on purchases right away
Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: 10.99%, 6 months Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Regular APR: 24.49% Variable Regular APR: 14.49% - 25.49%
Annual Fee: $0 Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • INTRO OFFER: We automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.

Highlights:

  • Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on purchases right away
  • No fees whatsoever. No late fee, international fee, annual fee, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fee
  • Build credit alongside tens of thousands of Petal Card members
  • Cash flow technology can help applicants without credit history get approved
  • $500 - $10,000 credit limits
  • Petal's mobile app makes it easy to manage your money, track your spending, and automate payments
  • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • No deposits required.

Show More Arrow graphic to expand and collapse content
Apply Now

On Discover's Secure Website.

Show More Arrow graphic to expand and collapse content
Apply Now

On Petal's Secure Website.

This card is right for you if:

Cardholders building credit that are loyal to the American Express brand will find value with Blue from American Express®. But potential applicants may be better off the best credit cards for bad credit to find better options with higher rewards programs and more robust feature sets.

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