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02-22-2012, 12:04 PM #1
Help! I've Been Selected for an American Express Financial Review
When you sign up for an American Express card, you give them permission to request a financial review at any time. They also have permission to raise your interest rates, lower your credit limit, or close your account. Those are just some of the rules of using someone else’s money. And unfortunately, American Express holds most of the power. You have the power to choose whether or not to get an AMEX card, but if you use one, you play by their rules.
It makes some sense why they do financial reviews. When you apply for a card, how often does the credit card issuer verify your income? Some student cards don’t even always verify that applicants are students. Whether they should check up on this information in the first place is a different story, but a financial review gives American Express the chance to make sure you’re not going to take the money and run. This is especially true when you have unusual charges that give them cause to be suspicious. This may include opening several new cards, making a large purchase, or increasing your spending out of the blue.
How does it work?
A financial review can be a bit of a hassle. When you’re selected, you must provide your federal tax information, and you may be asked to provide recent bank statements as well. Another frustrating detail: your accounts are frozen until the review is over, which means you can’t make any new charges.
If you’re at this point, you’ve probably either received a phone call, email, or letter in the mail. If this card is one that you don’t use frequently and is not your oldest open account, there is the option of closing your account so that you don’t have to deal with the financial review. Otherwise, the best option is to just provide the necessary documents. If you don’t, they will close your account anyway. Better to do it yourself and avoid any negative implications with your credit score.
If you were notified by email, you should receive instructions in the email. American Express may request that you fill out a 4506T form, which can be found at the IRS website here. If they requested copies of your bank statements, most banks allow you access online if you haven’t been holding on to your old statements (which you should be!).
Once you have faxed over all of the necessary documents, it should take about a week to process them. If everything comes back as satisfactory (such as, you didn’t lie about your household income), your account will be unfrozen and you will be able to begin charging again. Otherwise, your account may be closed.
If you have decided to close your account or American Express closed it for you, you have a certain amount of time to use or transfer your points. Although I could not find how much time you have before they expire (an old thread said 90 days, but this may have changed), you should use or transfer them as soon as possible. If you plan to close the account yourself, use the points before you close it. Look through the rewards website and see if there is anything you need or want. If you travel a lot, consider transferring them to a frequent flier program. Make sure you do this in time and don’t lose any of your points!
02-24-2012, 03:13 PM #2
This is why you always give *accurate* information when applying for a credit card. I have heard of people who bs'd their way into American Express only to have this happen to them and American Express decided to close their account. The worst part is you are pretty much then blacklisted and it is very hard to ever get another card with them.
02-24-2012, 04:09 PM #3
Very true. The chance at being caught isn't worth the extra $1000 on your credit limit that you're hoping for. You'll lose your account, which will hurt your credit score.
03-13-2012, 01:02 PM #4
Just the thought of this scares me, even though I always provide accurate information. What happens to your rewards if they deem you are no longer fit for an American Express card?
03-20-2012, 11:45 AM #5
- The high desert
@CreditDave I think they go bye bye along with your account!