My second chance with American Express after charge offs

American Express forum. Talk about AmEx credit cards like Blue, Gold, Platinum, Centurion, and more.
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MemberSince99
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My second chance with American Express after charge offs

Postby MemberSince99 » Sun May 20, 2012 5:10 pm

I'd like to post about my personal experience with Amex. I hope that by doing this, I can help others to get in with Amex, and maybe offer hope to those who for whatever reason lost their way with the company and would like to find their way back in.

Many years ago, in 99, I got my first Amex. A green. In 2002 when the Blue was new I got one of those as well. Due to a combination of job loss and poor credit handling on my part (I don't want to make excuses) these cards ended up being charged off. At the time I had bigger worries than this, but in hindsight I wish I had done more to see that this didn't happen.

About the time the statute of limitations kicked in, Amex sent me in my mail an offer for me to pay the amount due, in exchange for increasing my credit with them. At the time, I thought this is ludicrous as I have to be a total deadbeat in your eyes, why would you ever extend me credit again? I thought about it, but I guess I just didn't believe I had a chance to get back with them.

Fast forward to last year. My credit which had certainly been horrible, was actually pretty good once the baddies fell off. Amex sent me a "pre-approval" for Green in the mail. I couldn't believe it. But I thought wow, maybe this is my chance to get in with them. I called the number, talked with a really nice CSR and applied. I was immediately declined. I thought so much for "pre-approval".

About 3 months later, I applied online. Guess what? Same thing - immediate decline. I called and spoke with another CSR and asked why. I got a huge laundry list of reasons, some of which (derogs which I didn't see at the time as I checked all reports)

I didn't follow, but ok, maybe these guys just don't want my business, I understand. He told me you are really close, just keep working on it and you'll be a member soon I would bet. I thought yeah sure, I had pretty much given up. (I should have known they don't BS you).

That summer I started a new job and they asked that I apply for the corporate card (Amex). I thought oh great I bet they shoot me down again, it doesn't matter what my credit is like now, I heard about the Amex memory of an elephant. Sure enough, it was declined, reason being previous COs, I was asked to call their collections department, but I thought why bother, shot down in flame again. I didn't call. (It was highly embarrassing by the way, I deserved it but I wouldn't wanna do that just for fun...)

Now, April of this year, I was reading the credit forums, had gotten some nice cards, which I PIF and don't carry a balance on, scores were high, things are looking up, and for some reason, one of the posts caused me to go to the Amex site just for kicks and giggles, and I checked for "pre-approvals" which I had never had before. To my total shock, I had a lot of cards pre-approved including 2 of the Blue cards. I started thinking well maybe things have changed. I had read that Zync is the easiest to get approved for, so I filled in the info, and kept chickening out finally I hit the submit button. I couldn't bear to sit and watch the results which I figured is yet another hard pull and decline, so I walked into the other room kicking myself for being an idiot, and when I got back I fully expected to see the thumbs down. Guess what? INSTANT APPROVAL. After almost falling out of the chair, and re-reading it to be sure I wasn't delusional, it was just a great feeling to be back in with Amex again.

I had hoped that as some mentioned the Zync would backdate and guess what? It reported soon after, and it was backdated.

Soon after this, I got an invitation in the mail to apply for the Gold card, with the offer of MR points if you spend so much in 3 months (1000 dollars). I thought wow well I just got Zync, but the Gold was still showing in the pre-approvals. I got to thinking, that I like the Zync for the packs, but that full MR points might be a good thing too as well as the Gold perks, and frankly, since it would surely backdate, I'd pay the 125 a year in a heartbeat for another account with 13 years on it for just that reason alone. I had also heard how if they decline you, it's a SP so I figured there is little to lose (they also waived the first year's fee). I went online, pulled the trigger, expected the worst, and again INSTANT APPROVAL.

Wow, this is great, and mind you this is only a couple of weeks later.

At this point, I had only one other card on my wish list, the BCP for obvious reasons. I was going to wait 6 months or a year to apply, but then I got to thinking (dangerous I know) that what is there to lose? If I am declined it's a SP, and I'll take the HP to get it, as it will be my "go-to" card for gas and groceries. So I went on, and app'd for it, mind you less than a month after getting Zync, and pulled the trigger, and got the 7-10 day message. I figured this meant decline which I was expecting I know this is a difficult card to get, much harder than the charge cards, and you know what? If they had declined me, I'd have still felt great because I'm in with Amex which to me is the best company period to do business with as a consumer.
I didn't check the status for a couple of days as I figured it was a decline and I didn't want to see it, but finally I thought ok let's get this over with, I can take it I'll just wait 6 months or so and try then. I went to the application status site, put in my info, and lo and behold, Approved!

I was just floored.

Personally I'm on cloud 9 to be back in with Amex. These are my cards of choice these days, if I could use them everywhere I would, but unfortunately not everyone takes Amex. But I have gotten cards I never thought I had a prayer of getting again. And frankly I could not be happier or more grateful. To me the annual fee when it kicks in even if I didn't get rewards would not be a big deal in my eyes. This is a company that stands behind you if the merchant shafts you (99.99% are honest, but when you get that one crook it's great to know Amex is in your corner), the backdating, the outstanding customer service, to me it's worth every penny.

I hope by sharing this, that I can give hope to others who may have been where I was. There is hope that you can someday get back in. It won't be quick or easy, but nothing worthwhile in life is. Hang in there, if the CSR tells you that you are close and to keep trying, they aren't BSing you, no matter how much it sucks to hear that, keep working on your credit, and keep trying. To me this is a fantastic company, and I'm just thrilled to be a member again. I can appreciate what that means far more than when I was younger.

Thanks for reading and hope it was informative and worth your time!


Alex_cc
 
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Postby Alex_cc » Tue May 29, 2012 8:40 pm

Great post, thank you... i actually share almost the exact same story as you (Amex charge off, dates, current scores, current credit limits).. the only difference is that i haven't yet responded to any of the offers i keep getting from AMEX, and i really want one... However, i called them today, and i wanted to ask about the SP in case i get declined, but the representative told me that any inquiry will be a HP, there is no SP !?

I know it is not just you who have mentioned the SP incident in case of a decline, but the representative affirmed me that it will be a HP... how can i make sure my next applications will be a SP? is there a link that says that? .... Thanks.

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Wed May 30, 2012 5:07 am

Alex_cc wrote:Great post, thank you... i actually share almost the exact same story as you (Amex charge off, dates, current scores, current credit limits).. the only difference is that i haven't yet responded to any of the offers i keep getting from AMEX, and i really want one... However, i called them today, and i wanted to ask about the SP in case i get declined, but the representative told me that any inquiry will be a HP, there is no SP !?

I know it is not just you who have mentioned the SP incident in case of a decline, but the representative affirmed me that it will be a HP... how can i make sure my next applications will be a SP? is there a link that says that? .... Thanks.


Oh, that SP is only the case if you currently have a card with them. The rep is correct. So in your case not having an open account with them it would be a HP if you are approved or declined. Once you have a card then my understanding is, if they decline you, then it's just a SP, though if they approve you it's a HP (I know that from the 3 HPs I have for my cards with them recently).

Hope this helps!

And good luck getting back into the fold it is possible. Just hang in there.

Crashem
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Postby Crashem » Wed May 30, 2012 8:05 am

Alex_cc wrote:Great post, thank you... i actually share almost the exact same story as you (Amex charge off, dates, current scores, current credit limits).. the only difference is that i haven't yet responded to any of the offers i keep getting from AMEX, and i really want one... However, i called them today, and i wanted to ask about the SP in case i get declined, but the representative told me that any inquiry will be a HP, there is no SP !?

I know it is not just you who have mentioned the SP incident in case of a decline, but the representative affirmed me that it will be a HP... how can i make sure my next applications will be a SP? is there a link that says that? .... Thanks.


I believe he is talking about the pre selector. Go to website and look for find my offers. Don't think the old soft pull pre selector exists like it used to.
Amex Centurion, Amex Platinum, Amex BCP 8k->24k (5/23/12), Amex TE 15k, Cap One 1.5% 15k->20k (8/7/13), CSP 25k, Chase Palladium 100k, Citibank AA 35k (AU), Firestone 1.8k->2.2k->2.4k (8/20/12), JFCU Jloc 30k, PenFed Plat Rewards 30k, SF Fire 30k, US Bank Cash+ 25k

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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Wed May 30, 2012 1:17 pm

Congrats and well done on building your life back!!! Good story for us all.
Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero!

CC Deville
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Postby CC Deville » Wed May 30, 2012 3:47 pm

I was wondering why you had Amex's from 1999 and the rest of your credit was so new. Why two Associated Bank cards (really Elan and then really US Bank)? Just wondering.

Congrats on your rebuilding success.

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Wed May 30, 2012 4:05 pm

CC Deville wrote:I was wondering why you had Amex's from 1999 and the rest of your credit was so new. Why two Associated Bank cards (really Elan and then really US Bank)? Just wondering.

Congrats on your rebuilding success.


Thanks FastSRT8 and CC.

Associated is the bank I've had my checking account with for many years now. Last year I was getting what seemed like every other week at least a letter from them wanting me to apply for their card. At the time I wasn't really interested, but finally when I realized my credit scores were simply not going any higher without credit cards (I only had a long positive installment history) I bit the bullet and figured ok you say you want my business, let's see. Applied online, instant approval. At the time, I knew better than to apply for the Signature Visa because I basically had little revolving history so I got the Platinum.

Fast forward to today - my apartment does not take Amex (yeah that sucks!). So I can't use it to build points. I could use the Platinum Visa but sadly it has no rewards. Seeing this, I called and asked if they could upgrade me to a Signature or rewards card so I could get points with my Visa, and was informed they could (or would) not. So I bit the bullet and applied for the Signature, just basically so I can get rewards points paying my rent.

I keep the Platinum open because it has a nice credit line and silly as it may sound out of loyalty to my bank. It just doesn't get much use these days I put a 15 dollar monthly charge on it and that's it. I can't even say I care much about utilization as I don't carry balances. But not a bad card to have laying around.....

Hope that's not too crazy!

CC Deville
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Postby CC Deville » Wed May 30, 2012 4:11 pm

That's cool and I totally understand. Those are very good credit limits so no reason to shut them down. I guess what piqued my interest was because Associated doesn't really service them, they are owned by Elan which itself is owned by US Bank. Nothing wrong with that, I was just curious (ie being nosey) LOL.

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Wed May 30, 2012 4:17 pm

CC Deville wrote:That's cool and I totally understand. Those are very good credit limits so no reason to shut them down. I guess what piqued my interest was because Associated doesn't really service them, they are owned by Elan which itself is owned by US Bank. Nothing wrong with that, I was just curious (ie being nosey) LOL.


Nothing wrong with that, that's what we're here for is to share!

And you are right it is Elan which is US Bank, I've called the customer service and when I do I talk with Associated Bank customer service but on the back end it's Elan's financial network. I've called them a couple of times and they are good solid US based support. Interestingly, the Signature card has the same support number as the Platinum which was a surprise to me - all Amex cards I have, each have a different CS number to call.

CC Deville
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Postby CC Deville » Wed May 30, 2012 4:26 pm

MemberSince99 wrote:Nothing wrong with that, that's what we're here for is to share!

I've called them a couple of times and they are good solid US based support. .



+1 This is huge. With as important as credit is, I feel that we should be able to understand the CSR's. I always hate when I have to ask to be transferred to an American representative.



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