Posted by William Charles on August 16, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on August 16th, 2016 | by William Charles


What Credit Bureau Does American Express Pull?


In this post we will look at what credit bureau (consumer reporting agency) American Express pulls for credit cards that they issue (the credit bureau that is used for third partner American Express cards/cards that run on the American Express payment network will depend on who issues those cards).

With American Express the bureau they use is normally Experian, but in some cases they will use another bureau depending on what state you live in largely depends on what state you live in, we’ve compiled the following information from the start of 2014.  Feel free to add your data points in the comments and we’ll add them to this post.

You can also read other posts in this series by clicking below:

Table Key & Combined Stats

To keep things easy, we will use the following acronyms.

EX = Experian
EQ = Equifax
TU = TransUnion
NI = No information

The number next to the acronym represents the number of data points we have. In total we have 390 data points sourced from the Credit Boards Credit Pull page. Of those applications:

  • 372 or ~95% of all applications pulled an Experian credit report
  • 9 or ~2.5%  of all applications pulled an Equifax credit report
  • 9 or ~2.5% of all applications pulled an TransUnion credit report

It was also interesting in that with data points where a TransUnion/Equifax credit report was used, the applications were usually denied. I assume this is because these secondary reports were pulled when there was significantly doubt on whether an applicant should be approved or not.

The Table

AbbrevationState NameCredit Bureau Pulled
ALAlabama EX: 2
AKAlaska NI
AZArizona EX: 6
ARArkansas EX: 3
CACalifornia EX: 41 TU: 2 EQ: 1
COColorado EX: 16
CTConnecticut EX: 4 TU: 1
DEDelaware EX: 5
FLFlorida EX: 27 TU: 1 EQ: 1
GAGeorgia EX: 18 TU: 2
HIHawaii NI
IDIdaho EX: 2
ILIllinois EX: 19
INIndiana EX: 2
KSKansas EX: 1
KYKentucky EX: 5
LALouisiana EX: 1
MEMaine NI
MDMaryland EX: 7
MAMassachusetts EX:12
MIMichigan EX: 9
MNMinnesota EX: 4
MSMississippi EX: 2 EQ: 2
MOMissouri EX: 3
MTMontana NI: 0
NENebraska NI: 0
NVNevada EX: 2
NHNew Hampshire EX: 4
NJNew Jersey EX: 16
NMNew Mexico EX: 2
NYNew York EX: 38 TU: 2
NCNorth Carolina EX: 12
NDNorth Dakota NI
OHOhio EX: 8
OKOklahoma EX: 3
OROregon EX: 6
PAPennsylvania EX: 9
RIRhode Island NI
SCSouth Carolina EX: 6
SDSouth Dakota NI
TNTennessee EX: 7
TXTexas EX: 43 TU: 1 EQ: 1
UTUtah EX: 3
VTVermont NI
VAVirginia EX: 4 EQ: 2 TU: 1
WAWashington EX: 15 EQ: 1
WVWest Virginia NI:
WIWisconsin EX: 4
WYWyoming NI:
DCCapital EX: 3 EQ: 1

What Happens If Your Experian Report Is Frozen?

American Express does not allow frozen credit reports unfortunately. So you would need to unfreeze that report first.

Our Verdict

American Express will almost always pull your Experian credit report. It looks like in some fringe cases they’ll pull Equifax or TransUnion, but there are no states where that is the normal. If you want to learn more about American Express credit cards, I’d read our piece on things everybody should know about their cards. You might also be interested in our credit card reference page.

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Adam D
Adam D

I researched heavily into this before pulling the trigger on an Amex Platinum personal card with 75,000 MR bonus. It is 100% Experian Fico 8. This is the same free “Fako” score that you can get with a number of free services. I was surprised by this because the Experian Fico 8 was higher than Fico 5 (mortgage), Fico Auto, Fico Bankcard, and all the other scores by about 60-70 points.

If you have an Amex card, you can confirm this in your Amex portal under your “Get your free credit score” tab. It specifically states “the Fico 8 score is the credit score that American Express uses to make credit decisions”.

Just wanted to save everybody an hour of looking around the interwebs!


Are you calling it FAKO just because it was higher than other models? Because it’s still a FICO score and many lenders will look at it, being free doesn’t mean it’s a FAKO.


I live in Hawaii and Amex has always pulled Experian for all my applications.


DoC this is slightly off topic, but you don’t seem to have a working link for a discounted FICO trial. I might apply for an auto loan soon and I would like to have a more comprehensive understanding of my scores, rather than just the generic FICO 8, but I would also like to avoid paying full price. Do you know of any good deal?


$1 Experian trial through ebates for $10 bonus. search DoC for more info.


There’s a lot of data points in the /r/churning spreadsheet as well.


If you freeze EX will it be denied or fallback to TU?


DI: I’m from MT. When I opened an Amex Gold Rewards in Jan 2016, the Experian was pulled.


I’m not surprised, since majority credit cards issuers pull Experian. During the past 6 months I’ve applied CSP, BOA BBR, AMEX plat & EDP and Capital One. All of them only pulled Experian except Capital One, which pull all 3 of them.


3 cards in the last 6 months opened from Iowa, all Experian. SPG, MB Platinum, and a targeted PRG.

Rob Rex
Rob Rex

I want to add, not a state, but a US territory – for Puerto Rico, Amex pulls Transunion. I opened 4 accounts while I lived in PR, and every single time they pulled TU.

Jeff H
Jeff H

I applied on line and live in Nebraska which you show no info for in this list.
Data Point
3/21/2016 AMEX has requested a copy of your Credit Report — Experian


Applied for two different AMEX cards at different times and different addresses, both in California.

AMEX card – EX


Another for EX in CO in June.

Diamond Vargas
Diamond Vargas

In New York, EX every time over about 20 cards in the past 4 years.


Colorado here, longtime AmEx customer with 800+ credit score. Had Experian frozen. AmEx pulled TU and did a manual review, asked for a letter from my bank verifying my identity and address, and approved. No Experian pull.

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