American Express Randomly Cut My Credit Limit From $25,000 to $1,800

Reader Pierre is a small business owner who has an American Express Business Account that used to have a $25,000 limit, but has now been cut to $1,800. He says his company’s bill is usually around $12,000 a month, and it is always paid in full — on time. While Pierre is clearly upset with American Express, the Wall Street Journal says that all banks are cutting access to credit.

Pierre says:

I just received a shocking call from American Express.

My small business has had an American Express Business Account for the past two years. Our credit limit was around $25,000 and our average bill was approximately $12,000/month.

We have NEVER had a single late payment and, according to Amex’s customer service reps, our spotless payment history is considered “perfect.” In fact, most of the time, we pay our full bill prior to the date it is due.

So imagine our surprise when Amex called us today to inform us that our new credit limit on the account was $1,800. When pressed for details, the Amex rep made some vague references to a credit report.

However, our credit report is spotless. The only possible factor could be the fact that, since we are a private company, we do not share our financial information with Dun & Bradstreet.

Our company has bank lines worth several millions of dollars. We have been a loyal Amex customer. In an era where defaults are soaring through the roof, we have consistently paid our bill in full and prior to its due date. Doesn’t that count for anything anymore?

Maybe not. The Wall Street Journal says:

Credit-card issuers have been decreasing credit limits in the wake of the subprime meltdown. Folks with good credit scores and solid credit histories are now getting caught in the fray.

“Most banks are cutting their credit limits,” says Carol Kaplan, spokeswoman for the American Bankers Association. “They’re doing it to everyone.”

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Suttin says:

    Sad…
    I guess you could sign up for an Amex gold card and have no limit.

    For some reason, REM’s “End of the World as we Know it” song is so fitting right now.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Suttin:
      WRONG! We have had an Amex Gold with no pre-set limits. They have now set a preset limit on it which is lower than our monthly average. We decided to close our account and will use our Mastercard for day to day expenses.

  2. ecwis says:

    Try calling American Express back and get someone with some intelligence on the phone. Some parts of AMEX’s operations are outsourced. If you talk directly with AMEX, they should increase your credit limit.

  3. ct_price says:

    Can’t wait til the Amex Open Business Card loses its benefits. I love a 5% discount on gasoline, cell phone services, and office supplies.

  4. GTI2.0 says:

    The D&B reports are huge – it’s a business’ only credit report in many cases. You should seriously consider sharing at least minimal info with them to calm AMEX’s nerves.

    Given the current state of the economy and how fragile small businesses are, they’re going to be a bit skittish about a business choosing to not share it’s financial information. For all they know you’re a cash business – cash in, cash out, and you use that cash to pay the bill. You could up and disappear next month with your balance.

    Also, have you asked for a Financial Review from AMEX’s Executive Customer Service? You’d be entitled to one.

  5. spyz88 says:

    Thats very sucktastic, they did the same to me…

  6. HonestNigerian says:

    Amex cut my limit earlier this year. when I called to ask what I need to do to get back to my previous limit, I was told I needed to get a score from Transunion and fax it to them, or wait a few months and see if they do a review and increase my limit.

  7. shorty63136 says:

    Aw, man…that totally sucks for Pierre! :( (and everybody else this is happening to)

    I really hope he can get this straightened out. Man’s gotta make a living!

  8. emona says:

    “Most banks are cutting their credit limits,” says Carol Kaplan, spokeswoman for the American Bankers Association. “They’re doing it to everyone.”

    Odd, I just got my limit raised $300 by Chase. Maybe it’s a consolation prize for buying my bank. I got the letter literally the day the news broke. Of course, they also raised my finance charge for no good reason. Nice try, jerks.

  9. methamp says:

    For those of you not following AmEx lately, they’ve been decreasing the credit limits of a lot of people. This has been happening for a few months now. They’ve been slashing the limits of people who pay in full each month and have been “balance chasing” people paying down balances on their card.

    • DeafChick says:

      And this is news?? What methamp said; they been doing this for months now.

      Creditboard is full of AMEX credit slashing threads.

    • juri squared says:

      @methamp: Uh-oh. I don’t like the sound of that, since we’ve been paying down a modest balance on my AmEx, but I still put major purchases on it – things like hotel stays and the like. I just put a hotel reservation on it today; hopefully my balance will still be there when I actually go on my trip.

  10. cleo159 says:

    It’s funny, Amex just tripled my credit limit last week. Not three weeks prior I had requested and been denied for a very modest increase ($500) because I was “high risk.” Last week they changed their minds and decided to give me enough credit to buy a new car.

  11. sleepydumbdude says:

    Happened to mine also. Mine was at 20,000. Now its at 7500. I’ve never came close to even 7500 so I didn’t bitch too much.

  12. humphrmi says:

    Makes me glad I don’t have an Amex card (well, the corp card from my employer doesn’t count). So far I haven’t seen this at Citibank or Wamu (my two main cards) – although I suspect WaMu will soon.

  13. holocron says:

    I has this happen to be a few years back. I’ll have to check and see if anything has changed again.

  14. Farquar says:

    I had the same thing happen with a BOA business line of credit within the past month. It was reduced from 30k to 12,200. It’s not limited to AmEx.

    I’d never used more than 16k, but that wasn’t the point. How do you decrease the credit limit of someone who had never been late, and has significantly better credit now, then when the account was opened. I was more insulted than anything. I called and they increased it to 15k, but that was as far as they go.

    • econobiker says:

      @Farquar: To them, a customer who pays on time and pays off each month is not a profitable customer. They want the customer who misses an occasional payment for those $39 late fees and increased percentage rate. Even a customer who calls in a check with their $15 phone charge is profitable than someone ontop of the charges and payments…

  15. weave says:

    Is this an Amex credit or charge card? With the latter, one is obligated to pay in full each month and doesn’t have a published (ie, one you can see) credit limit.

  16. sleze69 says:

    It’s definately time to get an Amex card without a limit.

    • scoobydoo says:

      @sleze69:

      There is no such thing as an Amex without a limit. All cards have a limit, it is just not a pre-determined limit. I have several Amex cards “with no limit”, but at the time of the purchase they will still run my exposure and determine whether the purchase will go through or not. And in this day and age, every card “with no limit”, will have a substantially lower ability to be used limitless.

      This bad economy is making companies like Amex take credit away from good paying customers to lower their own market exposure. Not a good thing :(

    • juri squared says:

      @DirtyBits: There are a couple reasons. AmEx has awesome purchase protection/extended warranties, for one. Other cards that offer cash back or points mean that you’re racking up perks without paying the interest that usually eats up the benefit of such programs.

      Also, it’s handy to have a credit card on file for a business to handle, say, automatic delivery of supplies or to purchase stuff online.

    • FLConsumer says:

      @sleze69: Even Amex’s Centurion (black card) has a limit. They may not tell you flat-out what it is, but it’s there.

      Generally, the Amex charge cards’ unspoken limits are approx 3x the highest balance you’ve ever carried.

      Easy way to find out ‘though.. Call up Amex and tell them you’re planning on making a purchase of __________ (furniture, etc) and want to know if a charge of $xx,xxx will go through.

  17. anonymousanonymous says:

    Same thing just happened with my personal Visa. I have been a loyal customer for 15 years with the bill being paid in full every month. They just cut my available credit in half due to bank restructuring reasons. I guess cash will be king in this brave new world we are entering.

    • 420greg says:

      @anonymousanonymous:

      If you pay your bill in full every month how are they making
      any money off your account?

      They are losing money on your account for why take a risk by giving you a high limit?

      They will save the high limits for customers that use them, and let them roll over month to month.

      You are not considered a ‘good’ customer if you pay in full every month.

  18. DirtyBits says:

    I’m not a credit card user so take it easy on me here. For those who are using credit cards and paying them off in full monthly why not just use cash for your transactions instead?

    • Yurei says:

      @DirtyBits:

      Because you can’t? I do all the ordering for a small business, and we paya bout 95% of our orders through credit card because that’s what our suppliers accept. Using “cash” costs a lot more. If you use COD (assuming your supplier even still allows it as a form of payment) you’re paying a nasty COD tag charge on the shipping.

      With most suppliers, you call them, place an order and they immediately authorize it on your card or you tell them COD. There is no other option really. It’s not like I can walk down the street to my supplier who’s 3,000 miles away and make a payment like I could with a local utility, perhaps.

      It’s one thing to go buy a new light bulb for your store at your local home depot, sure then you can pay cash. It’s another thing entirely to try ordering 6 cases of whatever from Texas when you’re in NH.

    • TracyHamandEggs says:

      @DirtyBits: four main advantages.

      1. Warranties. Many credit cards provide a guarantee for consumer goods/electronics that are purchased on them. Sometimes as much as a year or two over the manufacturers warranty.

      2. Chargeback. Obviously no one anticipates having to fight to get their money back for a bad product/service that was delivered as promised. If the company refuses to deal with you honestly then you ask for a chargeback (credit) from the credit card company

      3. Building your credit. Sadly, wracking up debt is the only way to improve your credit score. Have a couple credit cards with a decent revolving balance (even if you pay before interest) really can jump your credit score.

      4. Cashback/Mileage. Many credit cards provide incentives for using them. If you can take advantage of those discounts/promotions while not accruing interest then its like you are collecting interest on your own spending.

      Again, all of this is moot if you don’t learn how to budget and control your spending.

    • narf says:

      @DirtyBits: It’s safer to carry around plastic which isn’t one’s money until the bill is paid. Lose a credit card, and the worst one would be out is $50. Lose a debit card, and it’s a major fight to get back what’s in your account.
      Lose a wad of cash, and all of it will be gone, no ifs/ands/buts.

    • FLConsumer says:

      @DirtyBits: Why would you want anyone who can key in 16 digits to be able to extract cash from your bank account with *NO* federal laws protecting you? That’s what using debit cards does. There’s NOTHING other than your bank’s good will that’ll reverse fraudulent charges to your debit card. Even at that, while they’re investigating you’re out the cash.

      Add in travel expenses or other places where holds are frequently put on cards. Do you really want to be out $10,000 of your checking account until the hold drops off? Even some of the lesser hotels have been known to hold $50-300/day ON TOP OF the amount on hold for the actual room rate.

      TracyHamandEggs has it right. Credit cards FTW.

      I use them to build up my credit score (800+ on all of mine so far, still building), my credit limit, and credit history. Credit scores aren’t a great system, but it’s the system we have so you might as well learn how it works and profit from it.

      Miles & cash back is a huge benefit to me. I’m running about 3-4% back overall. Needless to say, any time I get the opportunity to charge something, I do! I LOVE charging in business expenses and getting reimbursed for it. That new conference room video projector’s worth $120 cash to me and that doesn’t include the interest I earn on the money I’m reimbursed.

    • Kevin says:

      @DirtyBits:

      Vendor leverage, expense tracking, and cash back. Cash back is the biggie. I get about $500 a year from Discover just for using their card.

    • @DirtyBits: Yeah, I don’t have any credit cards either and yet I own a house and a car and manage to order shit off the internet with my debit card (and get great protection from my Credit Union). IMHO some people have to qualify their credit card debt as necessary in order for them not to feel guilty when they think about how much they spend that they don’t have. You know with all the credit slashing it seems as though the people who haven’t relied on credit are the only ones not getting burned.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      @DirtyBits:

      I use my (AmEx) credit card like a debit card and pay in full each month (yep, it’s a revolving credit card, not a charge card, but I don’t want to carry a balance or pay them any interest, even though my APR is currently 0% anyway) – in fact, I pay several times per month. And I earn cash back for my troubles. I’ve earned plenty of money for credit card companies in my time, now it’s time for them to earn me some money. ;)

  19. frari489 says:

    we have consistently paid our bill in full and prior to its due date. Doesn’t that count for anything anymore?

    No. Sadly it doesn’t. Banks/CC companies hate people that pay in full before it’s due. They make no money from good people like you. All their profit comes from interest charges.

    • Girish Rane says:

      @frari489:
      Not really true, people who pay there bill on time are the assets to the company and company does not have risk of writing off any balances. These firm receivables are considered as assets and sold as credi card receivable backed securities into the market.

  20. Suulia says:

    Another “me too.”

    I was doing a balance transfer in August, moving away from a card that randomly upped my rate from 4% to 28% interest. They not only denied my transfer, but also lowered my credit line from 15k to 3k.

  21. pal003 says:

    Is it Blackmail? Extortion? Hmmmm.

    I don’t get my big Wall Street Bailout – YOU don’t get no loan or credit!

  22. johnva says:

    My issuers have raised my credit limits recently.

  23. Suulia says:

    DirtyBits:

    For large purchases, you have more protection on your purchase in case something goes wrong.

    For instance, I purchased a mattress years ago that had a 100% 90-day refund guarantee. Turns out, the mattress hurt my back, so after two weeks of constant pain, I asked for my refund. They refused. I tried several times over the course of a week to get the refund, and pointed to the 90-day refund policy. Finally I called the credit card company, who asked me to document everything in a letter and fax it to them. The card reversed the charge and the mattress company came and picked up the mattress.

  24. acasto says:

    I’m definitely not in the best of moods right now. We’re going on vacation in two weeks and reserved the hotel room with our AmEx…. so… typically we’ll put everything on it then make a couple large payments each month, but I’m definitely hoarding a little more cash in my checking right now so I don’t throw it all at the AmEx only to find my line of credit chased down and be stuck with no options.

    • BuddyGuyMontag says:

      @acasto: You do have options. If Amex reduces it, call them. Then escalate.

      I find it weird that Amex called him directly to tell him this. It sounds kind of phishy to me.

  25. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I have slowly been building up my balance on Amex while still making more than minimum payments. Last month they said that I can still spend but must pay for new purchases in full each month.

  26. maztec says:

    Bank of America obviously missed the memo that all banks are cutting credit. This morning I received a notice that my credit limit was being raised by another $5,000 from an already ridiculous amount.

  27. That they were apparently asked for their financials implies that they were subjected to a financial review. AmEx is pretty cool about that if you send the requested information. If you don’t, you’re lucky to even have an account when they’re through with you.

    AmEx is pretty notorious for similar stunts, but there’s usually more rhyme and reason to it than this. It just seems like there’s a little more to this story.

  28. hals000 says:

    Funny…same thing happened to me, except i went from no limit to 25,000 dollar limit… i received a letter referring to some credit report as well despite a spotless record

  29. Snarkysnake says:

    The OP is a microscopic example of whats going to happen on a much grander scale soon. Since he can’t buy as much as he needs to do business,the whole chain of suppliers,employees and vendors will have less to work with. This is because the big financial center companies (like Amex) have pissed away good capital on bad loans to people that cannot/will not /never intended to pay.Thats the hell of this mess: The guy down the street (that got a liars loan) that took out a $650,000 loan based on a crooked appraisal from a mortgage broker who faked the numbers and then sold the loan to an equally duplicitous Wall Street firm will stick this guy and everyone else with the bill,bailout or no bailout.

    When things get a little more settled,theOP needs to diversify his investing AND his credit. Line up other backup credit before you need it and keep current (like he is already doing with Amex) then you have some options.

  30. kaylabear says:

    Strangely enough, my credit limits for my Discover and Amazon.com Visa cards have been raised over the past few months. The form letter sites my on-time payments, despite the fact that I’m currently paying the minimum amount and that I still carry a balance over to the next month.

    • stpauliegirl says:

      @kaylabear: I’m currently paying the minimum amount and that I still carry a balance over to the next month.

      You are their favorite kind of customer. It’s not at all strange that they raised your limits! You pay your bills but also plenty of interest.

  31. The end is near.

  32. TheronHapkido says:

    My Amex card was lowered from 11,500 to 4,300 (just above my balance at that time.) I never missed a payment for Amex or any other card. Emailing the president resulted in no help whatsoever.

  33. psychos says:

    Amex cut both my personal and small business cards severely (about 65 – 75% overall.) No reason given, good credit, absolutely perfect history with Amex itself. They cut limits on some cards to much less than I’ve spent on those cards many months. Several of my cards (I have 2 charge cards and about 8 credit cards) have had their limits reduced all the way down to $500. A couple cards that were in the $20 – 25k range are < $5k now.

    I’m guessing the “secret” limits on my charge cards have like

    Not happy at all. Will call back and speak to Account Services later, since the regular CSR couldn’t do anything and I didn’t feel like spending more time on the phone.

    • psychos says:

      @psychos:

      …mis-click action there. To finish what I was saying, I’m guessing the “secret” limits on my charge cards have likely been severely lowered as well. (For those with Amex charge cards and unaware, if you talk to Account Service they’ll actually give you a reasonable approximation of what your actual secret limit is with a little pressuring. A regular CSR can do it too, if you want to play guessing games: you can ask for a $5k test transaction, then a $10k, etc, until you figure out your approximate limit.)

  34. The great culling is happening as we speak. I think we all got used to giant credit limits over the past 10 years and finally the companies are having to realize the amounts offered shouldn’t be nearly as high.

  35. I found Pierre’s credit limit – it’s been added to my card.

    Seriously, I went from $15,500 to $25,000 a few months ago…I do have excellent credit though, and it’s a personal card, not business.

    Weird how they’re raising some people, but lowering a majority.

  36. ezacharyk says:

    This is nothing new.

    The biggest reason I see the OP’s credit limit reduced is the fact that he pays in full every month. AMEX is not making very much money off of him. So they don’t want him using a lot of their resources.

    On the other hand a person who sits with the credit card close to the limit will have their limit raised so that person will spend more and the CC company will make more money off them.

    That is about all there is to it. It has very little to do with the credit crunch. That may have only sped up the process.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      @ezacharyk:

      No… it works like this with some lenders (particularly the more bottom-feedery ones that WANT to see you get into more debt than you can handle), but not with AmEx. AmEx offered nothing but charge cards (that needed paying in full each month if you didn’t want the account cancelled) until very recently. Now they offer credit cards that give you the ‘option’ to pay over time & pay less than the full balance each month, but they’d really, REALLY rather you didn’t. Carrying a high balance close to the limit is not going to get you a credit line increase from AmEx, it’s going to have them balance-chasing you down to zero. They seem to work on the assumption that if you’re not paying in full, it’s because you can’t afford to – and if you can’t afford to, they really don’t want to be doing business with you.

      Also… paying in full does NOT mean that AmEx are making no money off you. They won’t make money off you if you don’t use the card, but if you’re using it regularly and paying in full, they are making a very nice cut in transaction fees – retailers are charged a higher percentage per transaction for accepting AmEx than they are for Visa/Mastercard purchases. There are credit card companies out there that make their living off people paying large interest payments (and over-limit fees, and late fees, etc) – some actively WANT this type of customer. But AmEx is not one of them – they want you to use the card lots (so they get their percentage of each transaction) and then give them back their money, ASAP.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      @xtc46:

      Some credit card companies want that… AmEx really, really doesn’t. There are definitely companies out there that don’t want your business if you’re not going to do them the favor of carrying a balance and paying interest, but AmEx… no. They get jittery about that stuff, and even though their revolving cards offer you the option to carry a balance over time, but… they don’t like it. It’s not really very fair of them to even offer those products when that’s the case, but there you go.

  37. XTC46 says:

    “we have consistently paid our bill in full and prior to its due date.” see thats your problem. Paying in full before the due date means no interest to pay to them. Credit card companies want people to carry balances, not pay them off!

    • @xtc46: No…each transaction is charged a merchant fee, which can be from 1-5% – the merchant pays that for the “privilege” of accepting the card. There’s plenty of profit in that – the per month interest is an additional bonus.

  38. marzak says:

    this is weird, citibank increased my credit limit by $900 not even a week ago

  39. modelchick8806 says:

    I’ve always wondered this, but if your card issuer cuts your credit limit and you now have a balance higher than the new lower limit does that harm your credit score as it looks as if you went over your limit? Also, does this mean the issuer can immediately charge you an over the limit fee for going over your new lower limit?

    • silver-bolt says:

      @modelchick8806: I think the second part would fall under anti-consumer/anti-usury laws, and would open up a credit card company to lawsuit, because they are acting under bad faith.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well I work for Amex, so I can tell you that no, we do not charge an overlimit fee if we lower your limit below your balance– however, my knowledge is limited with your other question since I work in one position of thousands and don’t handle the limit setting on accounts.

  40. MrEvil says:

    I’m personally glad that credit is getting cut back. Makes the actual dollars that people possess worth more.

    Except in the case of most AmEx accounts since they’re revolving.

    Still though, easy credit has severely deflated the dollar’s value globally and has led to the price of everything going up, oil especially.

  41. johnnya2 says:

    I am guessing they are wary of a business account that has no D&B rating. It would be like a person not having a credit score at all. It isn’t bad, it isn’t good, but they just ain’t giving you money. back when credit was free flowing like tap water it was fine, not anymore.

  42. MsAnthropy says:

    AmEx is doing this to a massive amount of customers right now – both business and personal ones. They’ve not done it to me yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

    They’re also putting monthly limits on some charge cards.

    If you Google “AmEx credit line decrease” you’ll get hundreds of similar stories. With many of them, you can see AmEx’s point – but others are just baffling. They’re cutting the limits of long-time customers with perfect track records who charge (and pay in full) thousands per month, have never missed or been late on a payment, etc… often because of their zip code, or because they see a balance report on another credit card (not a missed payment or anything like that, just a balance – a balance that might have been paid off within days of being charged, for all AmEx knows).

    From what I’ve read, they’re not open to negotiation on this, either – I’ve not read of anyone having any luck getting them to see things differently and reverse their decision.

  43. durkzilla says:

    Amex just bumped me up on my card – I guess I’m super-awesome!

  44. goodkitty says:

    To those who are saying that paying off in full every month is the problem… doesn’t AmEx (and other card processors) get a hefty cut of the purchase price, like 1.5-3%? That alone should be incentive enough to let anyone charge away as long as they pay it off like clockwork.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      @goodkitty:

      Yup. They do – and that’s how they like to earn their money, rather than from customers revolving balances and paying interest. Using your card a lot and paying the balance in full, all the time, is what AmEx likes best, and what gives you the best chance of AmEx NOT reducing your credit line etc – but it seems that in some cases (people who have any kind of ‘flag’ pop up on their credit report, including revolving balances elsewhere, people who live in declining markets, people who have a home equity line of credit… the list goes on), even that isn’t enough.

  45. parrotuya says:

    Never leave home without it!

  46. oldheathen says:

    So what effect will this have on everyone’s FICO score? If you suddenly have half the available credit you did a month ago (through no fault of your own), wouldn’t your score plummet?

    Say you’re carrying $6,000 in balances, but no worries, you got $24,000 in available credit on top of that, except OOPS, a could of banks have decided to slash you limits and you now only have $4,000 in available credit. It looks like you’re maxing out your cards when in fact, you may just be putting all normal home and business expenses on them as you have been all along.

    These shenanigans would definitely bring a pending mortgage to a screeching halt, no?

  47. dragonfire81 says:

    Welcome the new economy…better get used to view, it’s going to be like this for awhile.

  48. LiC says:

    That’s why I keep all my cards maxed out. Don’t give ‘em the chance to lower MY credit limit.

  49. Several million dollars of lines of credits (from which you could be drawing money and you are running up $12k Amex purchases per month on a card you only have had for two years and you refuse to share info with D&B.

    Sounds negative doesn’t it?

    Oh, that credit report? It wasn’t YOUR company. It was somebody in your business segment, related company, or secondary supplier (like your landlord) that just got a sloppy credit report and you are getting dinged because ….. ” Several million dollars of lines of credits (from which you could be drawing money and you are running up $12k Amex purchases per month on a card you only have had for two years and you refuse to share info with D&B. “.

    Ask for an appeal. There is a way to get your credit info removed from other related businesses. It is a bitch and might not even be completely possible.

    And YES, your credit worthiness for a corporate loan, CC etc is very much based upon your competition as much as your own credit report.

  50. CMU_Bueller says:

    Of course renting makes more sense than buying if you’re some toolbag from NYC that thinks you’re God.

  51. mmmsoap says:

    I get that the OP is talking about a business account, but how do these practices affect retail customers? My understanding is that credit limits are getting slashed left, right, and sideways, and I’m just waiting for it to hit me. I don’t usually carry a balance on my card(s), and when I do it’s for no longer than two months total, so my day-to-day spending wouldn’t be affected. But what about my credit score? Will changes to that precious debt-to-available-credit ratio affect my credit scores?

  52. theblackdog says:

    *sigh* I hope USAA doesn’t do this to me with their card. I got it and used it to transfer a balance, which I have been paying down since I get 0% for a year.

  53. bsjone says:

    Bank of America just did the same thing to me even though I pay on time every month. Oddly, I still have others that are increasing my limit without me asking.

  54. Amex closed both my accounts with no provocation last year. I was a month late on my Macy’s bill and that was the only negative item on my credit report so I assume that freaked them out. My balance on both AMEX cards was $0 at the time, but I try to warn people that AMEX can freak out on you and screw you with no warning. Also I didn’t get a letter from them about it for over a month.

  55. jimv2000 says:

    If you pay your bill every month in full…two things:

    1. You aren’t making the bank any money.
    2. Why do you need a credit card?

    • KStrike155 says:

      @jimv2000:
      1) True.
      2) Lots of reasons. It can be used as a safety net in case of emergency. You can use it to build good credit so you can take out loans for things such as cars, houses, and businesses. Or you can use it for rewards, such as travel points, cash back, or gift cards.

      I’m sure other smart cookies in here could come up with some more ideas.

    • theblackdog says:

      @jimv2000: Easy, just read all the horror stories on Consumerist of people who got screwed because they made a large purchase on their debit card or with cash and the company fails to deliver the product or honor a warranty.

      Using a credit card can mean that you get an extended warranty from your credit card company, and you have the power of the chargeback if you have a legitimate complaint and the merchant fails to remedy the problem.

  56. KStrike155 says:

    I just received a notice from Chase increasing my credit line by $2,000. No word from Bank of America, or my other card from Chase, yet.

  57. JustineLagniappe says:

    Tender spot hurting a lot? Other side too? bruises on your face and body throbbing? Is that blood running out your nose, skirt above your head in the wind, panties torn and soiled, titties swelling and turning blue by the minute, lost on the roadside, hoping not to die? Did you recognize the tail lights of the limo that threw you off? Was it the same limo that picked you up at election time, promising a good decent clean ride? Will you ever learn? Last time these guys did this to you, your babies were killed in Iraq and your retirement fund spent to do it, your taxes went up, you did not get destroyed by the weapons of mass destruction, they were never found. Poor little America. Our heart-felt prayers from Canada go out to you!

  58. lunacity says:

    On a semi-related note, a few years ago, after a heated exchange with a BoA “account specialist” over the bank’s refusal to lower the interest rate on either of the two cards I had at the time, the credit limits on both cards were mysteriously lowered by 30-40% apiece. I received notification by mail two weeks after the phone conversation. “Funny” thing about said conversation is the rep was being as sarcastic and snotty as I was. I guess she thought she’d exact a little revenge.

  59. xman31 says:

    On one of my cards that I expected my limit to go down (crappy first card, non-major bank), it went up by 100% ! It was no small increase. Silly silly bank. Eh, after pretty much every purchase posts, I transfer that amount from my checking to the credit card companies, anyway.

  60. SaramaIno says:

    You can’t just ‘share’ with D&B. You have to pay them money to share with them. They won’t take anything but your name and number for free so to get them to show your lines of credit you have to pay them (this was the promo price for September) $499 to ‘share’ 6 of your creditors with them.

    Seriously. Just got off the phone with them this afternoon. They have messed up a lot for our company because, like this one, despite millions in loans they show our highest credit limit as $2,000.

  61. bwcbwc says:

    I’m starting to think “new software formula at AmEx.” They’ve changed the rules in their little black box and it’s slowly being rolled out. It doesn’t sound like it’s purely the credit crunch, since some people are having their limits raised.

  62. george_washington says:

    That is unbelievably inconsiderate. But with rough time comes rough measures and credit companies all over and tightening the credit they have gave to customers as they are afraid that they will not be able to pay it back. After all, American is the greatest debt nation in the world.

  63. AikenCheetah says:

    Same thing just happened to me. Customer since 1986 with a Platinum Card. Cut unlimited credit limit to $1300 credit limit. I have cashed out my 181,000 membership award points and am cancelling ALL cards with AMEX. It will be a cold day in hell when they get my business back.

  64. Anonymous says:

    They did the same thing to me. I’ve been an American Express card holder since the ’80’s with a perfect payment record. I have had a Platinum card (for over 10 years) that is paid in full 100% and NEVER late and, recently (last year) got a ‘Starwood’ points Business card that had over a $40K limit on it that I pay in full for the most part (and had a low balance on it).

    They slashed my credit limit two times (with no explanation – I actually make MORE income since I applied for this card) since June on the new Starwood card. Now it is at a useless $2,500. available credit (I travel a lot for biz and that barely covers a trip). AND – worst of all, I hear that when a card company does this, it lowers ones credit score! I am thinking of canceling this useless card and will never use this type of card (where you can carry a balance) at AmEx ever again.

    What a bunch of idiots to do this to loyal customers. When good times come back, rest-assured they will have lost many loyal customers by treating them so poorly. They’ve lost me, a loyal customer for over 20 years at least….

  65. cfargo says:

    I was upset with American Express because they had lowered my limit by 75% over the past 3 months and had flat out lied to me trying to justify their actions. As a small business I have used American Express as my working capital over the past 10 years, so their reduction in my working capital was a real slap in the face and really hurt. At first I took it real personal and thought they were picking on me but have since learned that they are doing this to most of their customers. In September alone they lowered the credit limits of 20% of their card holders and day by day they are doing it to more and more. If you have some extra time and want to be stunned, Google “American Express credit limit” and you too can read horror story after horror story.

    Just last night my sister went to use her AMX card at CostCo and it was denied. She got home and called American Express (1/2 hour on hold) to find out that her cards limit was dropped to $600 (just above her balance) from $16,200. This girl has impeccable credit and they did this to her. The customer service rep told her that it was lowered because of a “Public Record” input on her credit report. She immediately pulled her credit reports and found no such entry on any of the credit reports. Funny thing is that an American Express customer service rep tried that line on me too yesterday morning and I too immediately pulled my credit reports. Not finding this “Public Record” entry on any of my credit reports, I called American Express back and ask them what they were talking about and of course the representative tells me he has no idea why the last representative told me this as he sees nothing in my file like that.

    So be prepared to have your credit limited dropped drastically for no reason or to have it chase down your balance with no warning. When you do call them to find out why, be prepared for a long hold time and have your credit reports in hand so that you can call them on their mistruths. It is a very sad day when the employees of an icon like American Express have to tell you flat out mistruths to try to justify their higher-ups actions. But they are only trying to get you off the phone so that they can answer the next call in the very long queue of callers wanting to know why their limits were reduced too.

    Sorry for the very long rant but maybe this will save you some embarrassment while trying to use your card. It is no wonder that American Express announced yesterday that they will be laying off 7,000 employees (10% of their workforce) as they don’t want us using our cards.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I thought I did something wrong! Each Bank card one at a time, changed my interest rate up, and cut my lines. All of them of the last 4 weeks. Great! We bail them out, then they take all our credit away & raise our rates. Wish some of the big guys would see what they are doing to all of us. They should have negotiated for the customer/consumer before they gave them all that money! Take it from both ends, that’s what they did!

  67. Anonymous says:

    I have a similar story, only on my personal account. I had the American Express One Card with no limit. Yesterday, I went to buy my wife a Christmas gift at a store where the people knew me. My card was declined. Confused, I called Amex to discover that my credit limit had been reduced to $5,000 without my prior knowledge. I run a balance between $4-7,000 every month, pay my bill in full, and have never been late. I talked to over 10 people at Amex who informed me that they are changing the way they handle their cards. They have sent over 1.5 million letters in the past week alone telling people that their credit limits have been decreased. To beat all, I have over $5,000 in my Amex high yield savings account, so my card is not even as good as my check card! Way to go Amex, way to piss off the good customers.

  68. Anonymous says:

    It happened to me too. I had perfect credit for over five years with Amex. I have a 721 credit from experian (which btw is also the excuse Amex used when I called).
    I had a 35K credit on my platinum card, with a rolling credit. Now, every time I put money towards the card, they just reduce the credit, mumbling some lie about experian scores. Even claimed I had an “bad credit with another credit card company” – which I don’t have.

    I guess the bottom line is: “I realize there’s a credit crunch, and that Amex has no money” virtually almost bankrupt. But I am disappointed in the poor way of communicating with loyal customers, who they have made fat and reliable interest from for years.

    That’s just not ok.

  69. Jay Paul says:

    I just got the same notice. I use this card to pay for travel expenses that are reimbursed by my customers at a later date. They are applying the same logic to small business customers as they are consumers who pile up bad debt. I use this card for business purposes only and this reduction in credit will hamper my ability to do business. Take that logic and apply it to all small business’ in America and the result will be less business being done resulting in less jobs and more financial failures. American Express is lying when they say they want to help small business owners grow. This shotgun approach is a typical corporate knee jerk reaction to the credit crisis that will only make things worse. Why not go after bad debts that are real rather than limiting the ability of their best customers to do business. My choice is to take my business elsewhere where it is appreciated.

  70. Anonymous says:

    AMEX put a credit limit on my account of $1,500 on my gold account. I don’t believe I had one before.

    I’ve had an account with them for almost 40 years.

    I was late last year so I don’t blame them in today’s environment. I do object to the heavy handed way that they did it with no notice.

    They turned dow a charge, 3 days later I got and email with may credit limit and a week later a letter in the mail.

  71. Billy Harless says:

    This just happened to me today. I have a great credit score and have always paid my AMEX Gold Card balance off each month. I tried to pay my taxes online with my AMEX Gold card today. It was declined, so I called AMEX and was told by a credit manager that I have gone over my average monthly spending (along with the tax payment charge and a charge for a vacaction). I have never had this issue in the past, so I can only assume this is because AMEX is in financial trouble and is attempting to get customers to pay their balances down before filing bankruptcy.

  72. Anonymous says:

    i too have been hit by random credit limit slashing ony they said there were things on my credit report that helped with the decison, i printed out my report and could find nothing,. so they arbitrationly just cut me. i plan to fight

  73. Anonymous says:

    Happened to mine also last night, reduced it from 20,000 to 1000, what i found upsetting was that i have been a customer for 15 years, charge around 10k each month for my buiness on it, and almost always pay it off each month. i’m canceling my card, who treats their good customers this way?

  74. Anonymous says:

    I am so infuriated at AMEX I don’t know what to do! I have been a loyal, on time paying customer for 25 years.

    In my business, they, for no reason, cut my credit limit to $200.

    I had a $15,000 credit limit.

    WARNING to anyone out there using AMEX: DON’T! Don’t use them! They are driving good paying customers out of business.

    I detest them now! How could they do this to my company after all these years? It doesn’t pay to be honorable any more.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I was mad, upset and angry as they did this with no notification. When i called to question I was told it had to do with my credit. My credit score si 780. Whatever. do not get made, get even. Pay them off, cancel the cards and tell them to hit the road. That is what I did. Never again American Express. Live cash and try as hard as you can to pay everything off. They only care about profits and themselves, not taking care of you.

  76. ByeByeAMEX says:

    AMEX is screwed up in Australia too. Two years ago I voluntarily reduced my AMEX limit from $33K to $10K – I no longer needed a $33K limit. Then last week AMEX decided to clip my limit from $10K to $8500 – without warning, notice or reason (I called them and no one seemed to know the reason). Like others, my card was always paid on time. Their petty $1500 adjustment just cost them a customer. I just reduced my AMEX limit to zero as in I dumped them and have gone across to Visa – Visa is accepted in way more places anyway.

    AMEX need to understand the deal. Don’t mess with a paying customer’s limit without notice when they are abroad on biz.