One Mile at a Time shared something I didn’t know about American Express’ approval process.
Apparently if you are an existing American Express cardmember and apply for another Amex card, your credit won’t initially be pulled. Instead Amex uses whatever data they have on file for you at first to do a soft pull to determine if you qualify. Then after you’ve been conditionally approved for a new card they actually do a hard pull, to confirm that there haven’t been any major changes (at which point you could still be denied, but it’s unlikely unless there have been major changes).
This suggests that most of the time, if you’re an existing American Express cardmember and you apply for another American Express card, you won’t have your credit pulled unless you’re going to be approved.
I’m not sure that I much care. My credit score is good, I’m not about to go into the mortgage market, I’m not “maxing out my hard pulls” as it were. But for people who worry about have their credit pulled, or ‘wasting’ a pull, this seems good to know.
As I’ve written, each time your credit gets pulled it may fall a few points. Of course signing up for credit can increase your score by giving you more available unused credit (and thus reducing your ‘utilization ratio’). Getting a new account can also reduce your score by reducing the average age of your accounts. Whether a new card has a positive or a negative affect on your credit depends on several things about your existing credit profile.
Fundamentally though, pay your bills on time and over time you’ll simply have a good score. In fact I consider my score to be in many ways ‘too high’ after all I don’t get better mortgage rates than if it were in the high 700s.