AMEX Personal Loan for Active Duty Military: 0% Interest for 3 Years

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American Express offers a $3500 to $40,000 personal loan to active duty US military servicemembers with 0% interest for up to 3 years.

The interest rate is initially set at whatever rate your credit score qualifies you for. However, after you apply for Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) benefits to be applied to your AMEX loan, the interest rate drops to 0%.

American Express Personal Loan for Active Duty MIlitary

You must be an American Express Card Member before you are eligible for the loan. If you are a military servicemember with good to excellent credit, I recommend the Platinum Card from American Express (learn how to apply for my top recommended card here).

The AMEX Platinum is my top recommended card because:

  • Annual fee of $550 is waived for US military
  • 60,000 point welcome bonus offer
  • $200 annual Uber Credit
  • $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Centurion and Priority Pass lounge access for free

You can learn more about AMEX SCRA benefits on credit cards, including how to get your annual fees waived on all AMEX cards.

How to Get the Military AMEX Personal Loan

Go to AMEX website and click the box in the upper right hand corner to “Check Your Rate.” If you already have an AMEX account, you'll be asked to login and then your rate and loan amount will be presented to you. I was only offered $25,000 at 8.98% interest, but many troops are offered the full $40,000 amount.

The offer is pre-approved so there is no impact to your credit score to apply. There may be an small effect (positive or negative) to your credit score if you take the loan out, as AMEX will report it to the credit bureaus.

AMEX distributes the funds to your bank account within 3-5 business days after you apply. You can also have the loan amount directly post to any credit cards you need to pay off. This is a great way to consolidate your debt and stop being in debt.

As soon as you receive confirmation that your application was successful, call the American Express Military Hotline for SCRA Personal Loans at 1-800-253-1720 or 1-336-393-1111.

Ask for your loan to be reviewed for SCRA military benefits. Be polite and courteous! They may take a few days to review your account and then send you an email.

AMEX Personal Loan for Military SCRA Waived

I've received two data points now about the interest free AMEX personal loans for active duty. Here's what my buddy Dan messaged me in October 2018:

A friend clued me into this, and it worked: Just got a $40k personal loan from Amex, originally for 5.98% interest (36 months). Applied for SCRA benefits (I’m active duty military) on another Amex product (new SPG Luxury) and got this msg from Amex today:

To support the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, we are handling your loan referenced above in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”).

The SCRA provides for a maximum annual interest rate of 6% per year on loans you received before starting active military duty. However, at this time we have chosen to reduce the interest rate on your SCRA eligible balance to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 0.00%.

We have issued credit for the full amount of applicable interest charges and fees to your loan account. This amount will appear as a credit(s) on your loan invoice. The total interest charges and fees you have already paid will be returned to you in the form of a check under separate cover. The check amount will appear as a debit on your loan invoice and will be offset by our credit(s). In addition, we will waive any future late payment and returned payment fees for the duration of your active military duty.

Beginning with your next loan invoice and thereafter, your new Monthly Payment will be $1111.11. We have also adjusted any monthly payment(s) previously billed but not yet paid, to reflect the new Monthly Payment amount.

If you are currently enrolled in AutoPay for this loan, your future AutoPay amount will reflect the new monthly payment amount above and no additional action is required.

If there are any additional accounts you would like to be reviewed for SCRA relief, please call us at 1-800-253-1720. If you are outside the United States, please call us collect at 1-336-393-1111. We are grateful for the service and devotion you have shown to our country.

Sincerely, American Express Customer Care

The other data point I have is from a guy at work buying stocks on margin using personal loans. Don't be that guy. However, he also had a 0% interest rate loan after applying SCRA benefits. He set up himself up to lose his shirt and $100,000+ during the next down turn.

Pre-Approved Loan AmountMonthly Payment at 0% Interest
$40,000$1111.11
$25,000$694.44
$10,000$277.77

What To Do With a No Interest Military AMEX Loan

While taking on dumb debt is never a good idea, a 0% interest loan paid back over 3 years presents some interesting opportunities. This is definitely a better deal than a payday loan or even the USAA Career Starter Loan.

Borrowing to invest almost never makes sense, but if you can borrow at 0% and get a guaranteed 10% return in the Savings Deposit Program, why wouldn't you borrow?

At 0% for 3 years, you have a few options:

The AMEX Personal Loan is an amazing opportunity to get yourself out of debt without accruing additional interest along the way. This is a rare opportunity to out yourself in a better position 3 years from now than you are today.

If you are on the path to financial independence (FI), your debt is an emergency. You need to pay it off ASAP and start investing in appreciating assets that can eventually replace your active income with passive income. The sooner you get out of debt, the closer you are to FI.

I'm sure there are some other ideas I'm not thinking of. Let me know in the comments how you would use $40,000 at 0% interest!

36 thoughts on “AMEX Personal Loan for Active Duty Military: 0% Interest for 3 Years”

  1. Can you take out the full $40k and wait until the end of the 3 years to pay back the full 40k or do you have to pay back some month to month?

    Reply
  2. To anyone that has gotten the 0% rate- Do you have to actually receive the loan prior to the discussion about the rate reduction? I do not want get the loan on hopes that they would reduce the interest rate. Any tips on how to approach the conversation are appreciated.

    Reply
    • Yes, you have to actually open to account before the interest is reduced. It’s very low risk, just pay back the loan if you don’t get the interest rate deduction.

      Reply
  3. I got pre-approved for $30,000 at 7.98%! I have 2 AMEX cards: personal Platinum and Blue Cash Preferred and have been an AmEx cardholder for almost a year.

    Reply
  4. I recently opened a few (additional) Platinum and Gold cards. When I went to check my loan offerings, it said there are no offers available to me at this time. I’m guessing because I just opened cards within the last few months.

    Reply
  5. Has anyone tried this with a 5-year loan option? I was successful with taking the loan and getting 0% for 3 years, but I’d be more interested in the 40,000$ at 5 years rather than 3. Just trying to check it out.

    Reply
  6. Just wanted to provide a recent success story. Following the steps outlined aboved, I applied for the loan on 18 Feb. I immediately called to have my application reviewed to receive SCRA benefits (using the number above). The phone call took roughly 10 minutes and I was transferred from customer service, who in turn transferred me to the personal loans department, who transferred me to someone else. Though the transfers were less than ideal, everyone was very helpful and apologetic for the transfers. On 19 Feb (next day) I received an email saying that my loan was being reviewed for the benefits. On 20 Feb the money was in my account and on 21 Feb I received the email stating that my APR will be reduced to the 0% as published.

    Reply
    • Did anyone tell you prior to getting the loan that your APR would be reduced?

      Is the reduction for the life of the loan or could they change the rate at some point?

      Reply
  7. Has anyone paid some of this loan off in large chunks? For instance, if I pay most of the loan off with my tax return, will it push payments back, or do the monthly payments continue even though I’ve paid that chunk off?

    Reply
  8. Any updates on this from anyone or recent success stories? I applied for an AMEX personal loan on January 7th and subsequently received the full pre-qualified amount of $25,000 at a rate of 5.98%.

    It only took a day or two for the cash to be deposited into my checking account, and on Jan 9th I called and spoke with the AMEX customer service folks. After getting transferred around a couple of times, I was able to have the SCRA inquiry opened to have benefits applied to the loan itself (I already have SCRA benefits on my personal AMEX platinum). They advised that the process could take up to 60 days, but I was hoping to have a resolution quicker than that based on the stories I’ve seen on this blog and others.

    It has now been 11 days since the inquiry was opened, and on the AMEX tracker it still says “in progress”. I’m probably just being impatient, but I really hope they didn’t clamp down on this perk with the personal loans. At 5.98%, while still a (relatively) good rate for personal loans, the calculus for the cost-value/risk-assessment decision matrix is obviously a bit different than the 0% interest we were striving for.

    I will update this post when I hear back from AMEX.

    Reply
    • I understand your anxiety, but hold the line! Reports below indicate people have waited up to 27 days for the review to complete. Please keep us updated on your results.

      Reply
    • Update on this: On Feb 13, 2019 (which was 35 days after making the inquiry with AMEX customer service to have SCRA benefits applied), I received the e-mail I was hoping for.

      “The SCRA provides for a maximum annual interest rate of 6% per year on loans you received before starting active military duty. However, at this time we have chosen to reduce the interest rate on your SCRA eligible balance to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 0.00%.”

      $25k at 0% over 3 years opens up some very nice possibilities, similar to the USAA starter loan…only better. For now, it’s just sitting in a checking account, but my intent is to use it in one way or another to advance my position in the real estate game.

      This was a great find, and I’m thankful I have been able to continue to follow this blog after all these years, picking up many useful tidbits along the way. Thanks for the great work!

      Reply
  9. I tried several times by phone to have them submit the loan directly for SCRA review, and each time was told that the system is set up so that only credit cards can be reviewed. I ended up having them submit a SCRA review through the phone for one of my cards that was already receiving SCRA benefits, and just made sure to have them clearly annotate that I would like the personal loan reviewed in particular. Roughly 1 week later I got the email that Sheraz posted above.

    Reply
  10. With so many restrictions in the terms such as “You agree that you will not use your loan to pay for post-secondary education expenses, for real estate, for business, for securities, for vehicle purchases (other than as a downpayment) or for any purpose prohibited by law or not otherwise permitted under this Loan Agreement.” it is hard to use it for an advantage, unless I am missing something? *I know credit card payment is #1, but what else?

    Reply
    • You should follow the terms and conditions, but once you have received the cash from the loan in your checking or savings account, there is really no way for them to track how you use the loan.

      Reply
  11. Here’s the message I just received when I tried to apply for the personal loan. I’m currently stationed OCONUS, not sure if that has anything to do with it or not.

    “At this time, we do not have any pre-approved offers for a personal loan available to you. Pre-approved offers are based on creditworthiness and other factors and are subject to change over time.
    We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for your interest in American Express Personal Loans.”

    Reply
      • I’m not sure. With that credit score and history of AMEX accounts you should have no problem. I would try calling AMEX and seeing if they can manually review your account if you are still interested in the loan. I am OCONUS and have an APO, AE address on my AMEX profile and was pre-approved.

        Reply
    • My guess is no, as the zero interest offer is being offered under AMEX’s interpretation of the SCRA law, which only applies to the servicemember, not any dependents/spouses.

      Reply
  12. Awesome find. I’m using it to fund some checking/savings account bonuses for awhile and then I’ll probably just invest the rest into my normal brokerage account and backpay the loan with the money that I normally invest each month. I told another friend who is going to use it to renovate his basement.

    Reply
  13. Wow, 1. need to consider amex for personal loans even if non-military and 2. stick that into a 3% bank account with autopay– that’s several grand of free money from amex…

    Reply
  14. This is fantastic! I was pre-approved for $25,000 with a maximum APR of 5.98%. I took a loan for a lesser amount and will use it for a down payment on a house. The lady I spoke to at AMEX put in a request for someone to review my personal loan under the SCRA. The call from start to finish took nine minutes and about 3-4 minutes I was waiting to be connected. I just answered a few questions so they can verify my service. She said it could take up to 60 days to get a response back. Hopefully, it goes a lot sooner than that. Hoping for 2-3 days!

    Side note: I’m wondering if I can do this again in three years. It would be pretty awesome to continually take interest free loans every three years. This can really help jump start some things!

    Reply
    • I wanted to give an update on this:

      This definitely works.

      I winded up taking a $15,300 loan. I figured a $425 per month payment was a good number to pay back each month.

      On 1 November, 27 days after I called in, I received two emails.

      First email:

      To support the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, we are handling your loan referenced above in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”).

      The SCRA provides for a maximum annual interest rate of 6% per year on loans you received before starting active military duty. However, at this time we have chosen to reduce the interest rate on your SCRA eligible balance to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 0.00%.

      We have issued credit for the full amount of applicable interest charges and fees to your loan account. This amount will appear as a credit(s) on your loan invoice. The total interest charges and fees you have already paid will be returned to you in the form of a check under separate cover. The check amount will appear as a debit on your loan invoice and will be offset by our credit(s). In addition, we will waive any future late payment and returned payment fees for the duration of your active military duty.

      Beginning with your next loan invoice and thereafter, your new Monthly Payment will be $437.14. We have also adjusted any monthly payment(s) previously billed but not yet paid, to reflect the new Monthly Payment amount.

      If you are currently enrolled in AutoPay for this loan, your future AutoPay amount will reflect the new monthly payment amount above and no additional action is required.

      If there are any additional accounts you would like to be reviewed for SCRA relief, please call us at 1-800-253-1720. If you are outside the United States, please call us collect at 1-336-393-1111.

      We are grateful for the service and devotion you have shown to our country.

      Sincerely,

      American Express Customer Care

      Second email:

      To support the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, we are handling your account referenced above in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

      The above referenced account was previously adjusted based on the Servicemember’s Military Service dates provided in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Any billed interest or fee credits due have been previously credited to the account. New Card activity on your account is subject to the terms of your Cardmember Agreement, including Standard APRs as applicable. Additionally, we have suppressed the following fees from billing on your account statement for the duration of your active military duty:
      Annual Membership fees
      Overlimit fees
      Late Payment fees
      Returned Payment fees
      Statement Copy Request fees

      This completes our review of this account. If there are any additional accounts you would like reviewed for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act benefits, please call us at 1-800-253-1720. If you are outside the United States, please call us collect at 1-336-393-1111.

      We are grateful for the service and devotion you have shown to our country.

      Sincerely,

      American Express Customer Care

      ————BREAK————
      As you can see, I didn’t exactly get a $425 monthly payment due to how long the review took. Doesn’t matter to me, it is interest free. I’m still wondering if I can do it again in once the loan is fully paid back.

      Let me know if anyone has any additional questions,

      -Sheraz Cedeno

      Reply
      • Which of the numbers in the article did you call? I’ve called a number of times but I always received a rep who didn’t know how to apply SCRA benefits to the personal loan and therefore I kept bouncing around to different departments. I finally gave up and sent in an online request with my credit card and then added my personal loan account number under the “additional accounts to apply SCRA benefits” section. We’ll see if it works that way as well.

        Reply

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