These days some people (like in USCardForum and MyFICO) are starting to notice a new AmEx feature: “Apply With Confidence”. This feature means, if you can see the “Apply With Confidence” box in the application page, then AmEx will do a soft pull based on your info, give you a decision whether they will approve your application, and then let you decide whether to accept the card. AmEx will only do a hard pull (and this will affect your credit score) after you accept the card.
It seems this feature is rolling out slowly, and currently you won’t always see this box. I myself can see this box using iPhone Safari incognito mode and desktop Chrome incognito mode, but I can’t see it using some other browsers. YMMV.
Actually AmEx is not the first issuer that has the feature “Apply With Confidence”. Apple Card has this feature since it launched. To be honest, for AmEx, this feature generally won’t have much effect to us. As long as you have at least one AmEx card, AmEx usually don’t do a hard pull for new application even after approval. Also, it is so easy to get approved by AmEx, basically as long as you have a heartbeat you will get approved. However, I am still glad to see this change. I hope the “decision first hard pull later” mode will become more and more a standard practice among credit card issuers. It would be really useful if some difficult issuers like Capital One and US Bank can have this feature in the future.