American Express Judges You Based On Who Holds Your Mortgage, Where You Shop

Has your credit limit been inexplicably lowered lately? Well, it might not be anything personal. The problem might be with your mortgage lender. Or where you’ve been shopping. Or where you live. American Express, long rumored to judge customers based on this criteria, has admitted that it evaluates who you do business with and where you live when determining how much credit to give you, says MSNBC.

MSNBC says that a consumer whose spending limit on his Platinum Card was reduced shared the letter that Amex sent explaining their decision. Here were their reasons:

“Our credit experience with customers who have made purchases at establishments where you have recently used your card.”
“Our analysis of the credit risk associated with customers who have residential loans from the creditor(s) indicated in your credit report.”

MSNBC says the the experts they contacted confirmed that this is the first time they’ve seen these criteria as justification for a limit reduction. An American Express spokesperson said:

“We are looking at some other factors, too, in light of the economy. We are looking at consumers holding subprime mortgages (and) those living in areas where there has been a greater deterioration in home prices.”

The consumer profiled in the story says his mortgage is a fixed rate loan from Countrywide (now Bank of America) and that he uses the card to to charge travel expenses that are then billed to the clients of his consulting firm.

AmEx rates credit risk by where you live, shop [MSNBC](Thanks, Andrew!)
(Photo: damageinc86 )