This is not breaking news, but something that’s been known since late March. I never wrote about it actually, but two recent emails from readers pushed me to clear up the confusion, if there’s is any left.
Two readers, Andrew and Kate, emailed me saying that their new cards from Amex have the backdated year on the card. Andrew had it on his new SPG card and Kate on her SPG and PRG cards. I answered to their email with the bad news, that there’s no more backdating on Amex cards.
What is backdating?
Amex was the only issuer that backdated cards. My first Amex card was opened in 2004, so if I applied for a card in 2014, then new card would report as a 10 year old card, inaccurately increasing my average age of account on my credit reports. Age of accounts has some weight on the FICO credit score, so it made Amex cards more enticing.
What is the year printed on the card?
The year that’s printed on an Amex card is the “Member since date”, which will still show the year when you first started your relationship with Amex. This date will always show the year you first opened an Amex card but thats different from the account opening date.
No more backdating
American Express stopped backdating new card on March 21st of this year. All card that reported for the first time after that date, even if they were opened earlier, show on credit reports as opened in 2015. This was bad news but it does make sense as it corrects a reporting error from Amex.
So never close your old Amex cards and do not open new Amex cards to boost your score. Wait for the best offers available, since you can only get bonuses on personal Amex cards once per lifetime.