American Express Business Loans Review
- No origination fee
- Reasonable terms and fees
- Suited for small businesses
- Only available to American Express customers
- Some products are unsuited to large businesses
American Express is a financial service company based in New York City. You’ve probably heard of the company’s credit cards. What you may not know is that American Express provides a number of other financial services, including loans to businesses.
Currently, American Express offers three types of business financing, called Merchant Financing, Working Capital Terms, and Business Loans. Although its rates are competitive and its products versatile, these loan products are only available to merchants who have an American Express business credit card or accept American Express card payments.
Table of Contents
American Express offers the following loan products:
These are the preferred prerequisites to qualify for funding through Amex:
|Time In Business||24 months|
|Personal Credit Score||Unknown|
|Business Revenue||$50,000 per year|
You’ll also need to be an American Express business credit card holder for Working Capital and Business Loans. For Merchant Financing, you’ll need to accept American Express cards. Depending on the product, you may also need to do at least $12,000 in card-based sales annually.
Terms & Fees
Here are the terms for Amex’s Merchant Financing loans:
|Borrowing Amount||$5,000-$2 million|
|Term Length||6, 12, or 24 months|
|Fixed Fee||1.75%-20% of the borrowing amount|
|Collateral||None; personal guarantee for loans of $35,000 or less|
Merchant Financing resembles a merchant cash advance in several ways, but Amex’s product is not a purchase of your future receivables. It’s a true short-term loan.
If you qualify for Merchant Financing, you’ll be quoted a fixed fee in the form of a percentage. This percentage is multiplied by the amount you’re borrowing. So if you accept a $10,000 loan with a 10% fee, you’ll owe $11,000. Amex also provides an early payoff incentive in the form of a rebate. Here’s how that works:
- 6-Month Term: 25% rebate if you pay in full within 90 days; 10% if you pay in full within 135 days.
- 12-Month Term: 25% rebate if you pay in full within 180 days; 10% if you pay in full within 270 days.
- 24-Month Term: 25% rebate if you pay in full within 360 days; 10% if you pay in full within 540 days.
You have four repayment options for Merchant Financing:
- Amex Receivables: You can have Amex hold back a percentage of your daily American Express receivables (similar to a merchant cash advance).
- Split-Funding: In this case, you’ll be sharing a percentage of your total daily receivables through a partnership with your payment processor.
- Transfer Account: Amex will open a temporary transfer account with Wells Fargo. Your total receivables will be sent to that account. Wells Fargo will then send a percentage of your receivables to Amex.
- Automated Clearing House: A fixed amount will automatically be deducted from your business bank account each day.
Late fees, when applicable, are $39 or 2.99% of the past due amount, whichever is greater.
Working Capital Terms
Here are the terms for loans through Amex’s Working Capital Terms:
|Term Length||30, 60, or 90 days|
|Fixed Fee||0.6%-5.25% of the borrowing amount|
Amex’s Working Capital loans are unusual financial products offered exclusively to business credit cardholders. Essentially, they allow you to take out a very short-term loan, make no payments for the term length, and repay the entirety of the loan plus your fixed fee at the end of the term.
There are a couple of catches. The money you’re borrowing is paid directly to a third-party vendor; it never passes through your hands. Secondly, your repayment is automatically debited from your bank account, so you’ll want to be sure you have the full amount you borrowed plus your fee deposited in that account when that happens.
Here are the terms for Business Loans:
|Term Length||6,12, 24, or 36 months|
Amex business credit card members looking for medium-term loans can tap the company’s aptly named Business Loan product. You can check your pre-approved rate online through your American Express account and then apply for the loan at the quoted terms at any time.
Unlike the other two products, Amex’s Business Loans use a traditional APR rather than a fixed fee to calculate your interest. The better your credit, the better your APR will be. And the shorter your term, the less interest your loan will accrue. Payments are monthly, and, as is the case with Amex’s other products, there are several payment methods to choose from.
To apply for Merchant Financing, your business has to accept American Express cards. To begin the application process, you can visit American Express’s site.
To apply for a Working Capital Term or Business Loan, you’ll have to have an American Express business credit card. In the case of the latter, you’ll also need to have an account on American Express’s website and be pre-approved for the loan. For Working Capital Terms, you can enroll in the program on Amex’s website. Once approved for an amount, you can tap that money to make a vendor payment at your discretion.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Just about all the information you need is available on Amex’s website so long as you’re willing to navigate through a page or two. There are even loan calculators available that you can use to estimate your payment. The one criticism I’d have is that the Business Loan product doesn’t have as extensive documentation as the other two.
Customer Service & Technical Support
American Express has a generally positive reputation where customer service is concerned.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
American Express has maintained an A+ rating with the BBB. As you might expect of a company of its size, however, there are plenty of criticisms to go around. Here are a few:
- Unclear Terms: Mostly related to Amex’s charge cards, these complaints cited credit limits and fees that went up without notice.
- Technical Difficulties: A few customers complained about funds being routed to the wrong account or vendor.
- Unresponsive: Some customers found Amex slow to respond to their issues.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Here are some of the positive qualities reviewers have assigned to American Express’s loan services:
- Fast: Amex can typically get your funds to you or your vendor within a couple of days.
- Good Customer Service: Most customers found American Express’s customer service to be helpful and knowledgeable.
- Good Rates: As alternative loans go, American Express offers competitive rates to businesses that use its products.
American Express offers a convenient and competitive service to business cardholders and merchants who accept Amex cards at their point of sale. If you don’t already fall into one of those categories, I wouldn’t suggest getting involved with American Express’s infrastructure just to access its loans. On the other hand, if you’re already a customer who qualifies for these loans, you should definitely give this lender a look.