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Spent too Much on an American Express Card? Be Ready For a Financial Review

We applied for quite a few American Express Credit Cards two weeks ago. Some of those cards were the The Platinum Card from American ExpressThe Business Platinum Card from American Express OPENThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPENSimplyCash Business Card from American Express and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. While we got approved for almost all the cards, the real challenge is to complete the spending requirements in a timely manner. Here is the App-O-Rama report and here is how we do our spending.

And then BOOM! The dreaded call from a blocked number. Instant account lockout, and all charges suspended. We were unable to make any charges on ANY account. This is known as a ” Financial Review “.

This is how a account under F/R looks. Notice Charging Suspended.

What is a “Financial Review”?

Although Financial Review does not sound dreadful, it really is. The bark is worse then the bite! American Express is looking to verify your salary. They need to confirm that the credit they extend to you can be supported by your income. Mostly they are looking to see your tax returns, and hopefully that will validate what you are spending. If they feel you are not providing them with adequate information, or you don’t comply with their  requests, they may close your accounts, or limit the amount you could spend.

What do you need to provide Amex?

American Express will request you to fill out the IRS form 4506-T. This form gives them access to a transcript of your tax return. (The same form is used by your school to verify your FAFSA). For people who get F/R’ed prior to establishing a credit card, or after they have a credit card and got closed down, but want to apply again Amex has been know to give you a 4506 form. This form does the same thing, except at a cost of $57 to you.

Many times bank statements are also good enough to pass a F/R. It depends on the agent representing your case.

Does everyone “pass” financial reviews?

In our experience if you have a tax return with any amount of business income – for a business, or a standard tax return  for a consumer card, you will pass the financial review. Although you may be allowed to keep your cards active, American Express may lower your credit limit on credit cards or charge cards. On the charge cards the limit is usually removed after a year.

What should people avoid to refrain from getting a financial review?

Do other banks have F/R

Yes. From what I have heard Chase also has some type of financial review. I am not very familiar with their process, as I have no experience with a review from Chase. I do know that it is called Adverse Action (A/A) and it is a complete shut down of all accounts. More then this I do not know.

What to do when you get F/R’ed?

Call American Express Right Away

Call American Express right away. The F/R phone number is 800-230-1289. Speak to your case agent and see what is going on. Any delay can result in a complete shut down of all your cards.

I know I can’t pass, what should I do?

Having cards closed by the issuing bank is a really nasty mark on your credit report. Instead of having Amex close your cards, be proactive and shut them yourself. Cards closed by the consumer fare better then cards shut by the bank.

When you get a Financial Review you will need to fill out a 4506-T form. Once the forms are received, they will be processed in 5-7 business days. If you have questions regarding your review, call American Express Financial Review Department 1-800-230-1289 and enter your account manager’s five digit extension. Do not procrastinate.

What does the dreaded email look like?

In truth, before you get the email, they will call you. However, the email still isn’t fun.

From the Desk of: xxxxxxxxxx
Extension: xxxxx
Office Hours: xxxx
Office Number: 1-800-230-1289

 American Express recently requested that you complete and return a tax form called the 4506T in order to conduct a financial review. The 4506T authorizes American Express to retrieve tax information. We find the review process to be a necessary requirement in order to conduct our business in a prudent and successful manner.

Detailed instructions on how to fill out the 4506-T are attached, as well as in the American Express Fax Cover Sheet. In order to avoid closure of the account, it is critical that this information be completed correctly and faxed back to us within the deadline discussed by theAmerican Express representative.

 Instructions to help ensure a faster review:

  1. Print out the American Express Fax Cover Sheet
  2. Print out the Blank 4506T Form

 Instructions for completing this American Express Fax Cover Sheet

  1. Fill out the FROM field with your name as it appears on your card.
  2. Fill out your 15 digit account number (this is used for internal processing; your account number is not given to a third party).

Fill out the form correctly or you will have to do it again.

Instructions for completing the Blank 4506T Form

  1. Please refer to your copy of the tax return you filed for accuracy.  Information you provide must match IRS files, or the documents obtained may be insufficient and your account could be canceled. 
  2. Typed forms are preferable.  Do not make corrections by whiting or crossing out.  These will cause the 4506T to be rejected and could result in cancellation. Please make changes by creating a new form.  Do not write or type your account number anywhere on the 4506T form.
  3. Complete lines 1-4 per the instructions on the 4506T for those lines.
  4. Line 5 may be prefilled with “American Express c/o Equifax Verification Services, 11432 Lackland Road, St. Louis, MO 63146”.  If line 5 is blank, please leave blank.
  5. Complete line 6. Line 6 must contain the name of the form you filed.  Box 6A should be checked.
  6. Leave lines 7 and 8 blank.
  7. Line 9 must be completed as requested.  Do not add years not requested.  Use mm/dd/yyyy format for each year requested.  Place each year on separate lines.
  8. If you filed using a Tax ID instead of your Social Security Number, please put your Tax ID number in the Social Security Number field.  Names and socials must be on corresponding lines for the IRS to accept this document.
  9. Sign and date the 4506T.  If completing for your business, please write your title under your signature.  You must check the box above the signature line to acknowledge you have the authority to sign and request the information.  The form cannot be processed if the box is unchecked. 
  1. After completing instructions for the American Express Cover sheet and Blank 4506T Form, return BOTH of the completed forms to 1800 219 8549.

 Once the forms are received, they will be processed in 5-7 business days. If you have questions regarding your review, please call 1800-230-1289 and enter your account manager’s five digit extension (listed at the top of this email) to avoid long wait times.

Thank you,

The American Express Financial Review Team

Here are what the F/R forms look like:

AmEx Fax Cover Sheet.pdf
4506t.pdf

Keep in mind, when an account is under F/R you are still responsible for all charges that you made. Make sure to pay all your bills on time.

To View the current American Express card offers visit our credit card page.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to be entered into our $50 Giveaway!

In Summary:

A Financial Review from American Express is extremely likely if you spend too much on your cards in a short period of time.

If you like what you read keep updated, and share what you learned with friends.
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