American Express Small Business Loans Review

About American Express Business Loans

American Express Business Loans

American Express® is a diversified global company that provides innovative payment, travel, and expense management solutions for individuals and businesses. Most of all, we are dedicated to helping our customers - Merchants and partners realize their aspirations through industry-leading benefits, business-building insights and capabilities, and our unique business model. Founded in 1850, we started as an express mail business and are now a recognized leader across multiple payment categories. American Express is unique in the market in that we operate as a payment network, merchant acquirer, and card issuer.


What is American Express?

While it’s one of the largest credit card issuers in the world, American Express Co. is more than just plastic. Founded 168 years ago, American Express has been servicing small businesses for more than 25 years. The New York-based global services company began offering its lending products in 2011, first with merchant financing and then adding business loans and working capital terms for its small business customers. It prides itself on delivering purchasing power, flexibility and financial control as tools to help small business owners succeed. As of 2017, Amex has amassed a total revenue of $33.4 billion.


Lender highlights

American Express only offer lending products to its small business cardholders and merchants that accept its credit cards. Still, that is not always enough to qualify. In some cases, you can only apply for a loan if you are a cardholder and have been pre-approved first by the lender. In other instances, you must enroll in a specific program first before applying for the loan.

American Express is a reputable small business lender that offers borrowers similar security that traditional banks do.


What American Express offers?

Working capital loans. Available to American Express business cardholders, this loan allows American Express to pay your vendor upfront and you repay American Express at a later date. At the end of the loan term, the amount you borrowed plus fees are debited automatically from your bank account.

Business loans. This is the lender’s newest financing product and is only available to pre-approved American Express Business Card members. Once pre-approved, American Express will inform you the maximum amount you can borrow and the maximum annual percentage rate. Interest rates are fixed. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties.

Merchant financing loan. American Express offers merchant financing loans aimed at merchants who accept its credit cards. These loans have flat, fixed fees based on term length and creditworthiness. Your loan is automatically repaid with a percentage of your credit and debit card receivables or from your business bank account. If you repay early, you may be eligible to get a rebate or apply for more funding. These loans are secured by business assets.

Loan product Loan amount Loan term APR range/ factor rate Fees Time to funding
Working Capital Terms $1,000 – $750,000 30-, 60- and 90-day terms No interest rate 0.5% to 1.75% for 30 days; 1% to 3.5% for 60 days; and 1.5% to 5.25% for 90 days Within 2 days
Business Loans $3,500 – $50,000 12-, 24- and 36-month terms Fixed interest rates 6.98% – 19.97% No origination fee or prepayment penalty 3-5 business days
Merchant Financing $5,000 – $2,000,000 6-, 12- and 24-month terms No interest rate Fixed fees from 1.75-7% for 6 months; 3.5-14% for 12 months; and 7-28% for 24 months As fast as one day after approval

Rates current as of 6/8/2018


Eligibility requirements

Working capital. You must have an American Express business card to qualify. Before submitting an application, you must enroll in the company’s Working Capital Terms program. American Express considers information it has about you and your business, including credit history for approval. The company didn’t disclose a minimum credit score, annual revenue or time in business to qualify for working capital. You must be willing to use electronic records, signatures and electronic communication during origination and administration of funds.

Business loans. You must have an American Express business card in good standing to qualify. You must be at least 18 and U.S. citizen or a resident of the U.S. or its territories. Applicants must receive a pre-approval offer from the lender first. But pre-approval doesn’t guarantee approval for a loan. The company didn’t disclose a minimum credit score, annual revenue or time in business to qualify for its business loans.

Merchant financing. Your business must accept American Express cards to apply for merchant financing. It must also generate at least $50,000 in revenue, take in a minimum of $12,000 in annual credit and debit receivables and have been in business for at least 24 months.

Businesses that are not eligible for American Express loans:

American Express only offers financing options to existing business card holders and merchants that accept its credit cards. Some industries are not eligible for merchant financing, such as nonprofit organizations and adult entertainment businesses, according to one customer service representative. To find out if your business is eligible, contact an American Express merchant financing specialist.


How to apply for American Express financing

You can apply for working capital terms online after logging into your American Express account. You must first submit an application to enroll in the working capital terms program. There is no enrollment fee or paperwork involved. Once enrolled, you can request a loan.

You can apply for business loans online only through your American Express account. You must have received a pre-approval from the lender before you can apply. You will need the following:

  • Valid email address
  • Amount you want to borrow
  • Desired repayment period
  • Purpose of loan
  • Contact information
  • Personal income
  • Business revenue

You can apply for merchant financing loans online or over the phone. You will need the following to apply:

  • Tax ID or merchant account number
  • Annual business revenue
  • Annual credit and debit card sales
  • Credit card processor name and number
  • Business bank account details

Pros/Cons

Pros Cons
 Website provides detailed information.   Only available to Amex business card holders and merchants who accept Amex.
  Can apply online and receive a decision quickly.   Doesn’t offer lines of credit independent of its business credit and charge cards.
  Quick disbursement of capital.   Rigid loan requirements.

Who is the best fit?

Small- to medium businesses that are currently American Express business card members or merchants are best suited for this product.


Fine print

Late payments. For working capital terms, the late payment fee is calculated as a percentage of the total amount due. Late payments or insufficient funds to pay your monthly payment amount on business loans results in a $39 fee. You could also accrue additional interest on your loan. If your loan becomes past due on merchant financing loans, you can incur a late fee of $39 or 2.99% of the past due amount, whichever is greater. If the outstanding balance of your 6-,12-, or 24-month loan is not fully repaid at the term’s end, the repayment rate will increase to 100% until it’s repaid.

Early repayment: If you repay your working capital terms or business loan early, you won’t be charged a prepayment fee. If you repay your merchant financing early, you can qualify for the following discounts:

  • 6-month term: 25% rebate if repaid in full within 90 days of disbursement; 10% rebate if repaid in full within 135 days.
  • 12-month term: 25% rebate if repaid in full within 180 days of disbursement; 10% rebate if repaid in full within 270 days.
  • 24-month term: 25% rebate if repaid in full within 360 days of disbursement; 10% rebate if repaid in full 540 days.

▪Terms Apply

▪Rates and fees current as of 6/8/2018


The bottom line: How American Express financing stacks up

American Express is cautious, preferring to lend to businesses it already has an existing relationship with. If your small business already works with American Express, then you have access to short- to medium-term financing that can cover immediate needs such as cash flow shortfalls and seasonal slumps to more long-term goals like expansion or hiring. As always, compare offerings at American Express to other options at different lenders to find the best financing solution for your small business.

Compare small business loan offers

The information related to American Express Small Business Loans has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication.