One of the great things about American Express is that previously when they report the account opening date of a new credit card to consumer reporting agencies they report your member since date, rather than when the new credit card was actually opened (they actually report a bit of a hybrid, they use the year of your member since date and the month of when you applied for the card).
This means that if you’ve been a member of American Express (e.g had one of their credit cards) since 1990 and applied for a card this year, they would report the opening date of the new credit card as 1990. Age is important when it comes to credit scores, as one of the scoring criteria is average age of all accounts (which is a sub section of length of credit history – which accounts for 15% of your FICO score).
That being said, I now have multiple reports from readers who’s cards have reported to the credit bureaus after this March 21st, 2015 date and they have all stated that their cards were not backdated to their original member since date.
Other users at my FICO have also reported the same.
My understanding is that they were legally able to do this because they honored American’s letters of credit (traveller’s cheques and money orders) at the start of World War 1 in 1914 (don’t ask me how these two are related if anybody can provide more background that would be fantastic).
There are a number of theories on why American Express made this change (something to do with trying to keep Costco cardholders – which makes little to no sense to me).
A little over a week ago a user on the my FICO forums was told by American Express Credit Bureau Unit that as of March 21st, 2015 (this date is based on when American Express first reports your credit card and not when you were approved/received your card) new credit card accounts would not be backdated and the actual approval date would be used.
I’ve been reluctant to post anything, as customer service representatives often tell cardholders the wrong information.