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Can I Get a Corporate AmEx Card After Bankruptcy?

Although your bankruptcy filing will do away with most of your unsecured debts and allow you to begin a new chapter in your financial life, it probably won't completely eliminate your need for credit. If you have a job that requires you to book flights and hotels with regularity, you'll certainly require some type of credit facility during and after your bankruptcy process. Unfortunately, most credit card companies deny their customers' new-card applications without exception for several years following the discharge of their bankruptcy.

Compared to its peer companies, American Express is known for holding its customers to especially high credit-score standards. Long-term customers rarely receive special treatment: Former cardholders routinely tell stories of decades-long relationships negated by a single bankruptcy filing. Years after their discharge, they're often still unable to secure an entry-level AmEx membership.

If you're applying for one of the issuer's corporate cards, you'll find it even more difficult to maintain your relationship with American Express. These cards tend to have higher spending limits and offer more attractive perks relative to less-exclusive products. While most corporate cards are backed by their customers' employers, American Express views this backstop with some suspicion.

The reason for this should be obvious: Cardholders who have demonstrated serious lapses in judgment with their finances present an unnecessary risk. After all, there are plenty of credit-hungry consumers whose credit scores aren't tarnished by a past bankruptcy filing. Cost-conscious companies may not reimburse insolvent cardholders who make dubious or extravagant charges with their corporate cards, leaving the issuer liable for payment. For similar reasons, American Express has demonstrated a reluctance to issue corporate cards even when the cardholder's employer has agreed to settle each statement directly.

You'll have to wait a long time to get a corporate AmEx card after bankruptcy. A record of your filing will remain on your credit report for 10 years and all but disqualify you from consideration during that period. If you've endured other financial setbacks or experienced a long stretch of joblessness in the meantime, your credit score may reflect your bankruptcy beyond this initial decade.

While there are few exceptions to this general principle, it may be possible to soften AmEx's strict standards in certain situations. This often requires a personal appeal and a negotiation for a special higher interest rate. It may also hinge on whether your bankruptcy filing affected American Express to any significant degree.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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