Reader’s Amex Financial Review – 4 Very Strange & Pointed Questions
I wanted to share a reader’s experience with an Amex financial review. This just happened in the last few days and they said it was very brief but the questions were strange and very pointed questions. Shawn has shared his experience with an Amex financial review in the past as well. This appears to be a business account related review that is triggered once you surpass $25,000 in spend on a newer business card.
What Is An Amex Financial Review?
Most people know what a financial review is, especially an American Express financial review. But if you are in the dark a little bit it is when Amex sees what they feel are irregularities on your account. They sometimes, but not always, will freeze your cards while they dig through your recent purchases. They will then call you to discuss these purchases and the nature of your spending. The thing that most often triggers the reviews is a spike in spending or large purchases. Especially when they are in a bonus earning category.
Our Reader’s Background
Before we get into what happened on the financial review call I will go over what the reader says triggered the call. They recently got the Amex Gold business card which earns an amazing 4X Membership Rewards on select categories. There are a few good options to choose from but they were focusing on the US gas stations option. The reader is pretty big 3rd party gift card reseller and often takes advantage of the numerous Speedway promotions.
There is a $50K limit on the 4X earning and with recent promos they approached that amount in only a few months time. A large spike in spending like this always risks a financial review and that is exactly what it brought.
Financial Review Questions
While the fact that the reader was hit with a financial review is not overly surprising the questions asked were kind of strange and very pointed. (Update: it appears this may be a review that business accounts receive after an increase in spending, $25K+)
- Do you purchase money orders of $1000 or more?
- Do you buy $1000 or more in cashiers items?
- Are you buying store valued products for $1000 or more?
- If I were to come up to you and ask you to cash something for me, would you do that?
Usually with financial reviews they ask about certain purchases etc. This seems to be more about potential threats American Express sees out in the world versus focusing on the specific purchases. Maybe they don’t have level 3 data from gas stations like they get from office supply stores or grocery stores etc.? They just seem like strange questions for 3rd party gift card purchases. It would be one thing it is was a personal Gold card and various grocery purchases fit some of these parameters.
There are similar reports on Flyertalk (comment #7) showing pretty much the exact same questions. The post is from a few years ago so it doesn’t appear this line of questioning is new. It is surprising to see them ask essentially the exact same questions 5 years later. The Flyertalk poster makes a great point, it is hard to tell if this is about rewards abuse or checking for potential money laundering. I would have to go with the latter.
The Amex financial review department is a fear among many in this hobby. Most of the time it is easier to get through than expected, which seems to be the case here as well. The reader’s cards are not frozen and Amex simply said that is all we need after the 4 questions were answered.
It appears that if you have business cards and put a lot of spend on them this call may come your way. From what I can tell it is somewhat regular and shouldn’t cause you too many issues. Just answer the questions honestly and you should be good to go. Something to be aware of for sure though if you use your Amex business cards heavily.