33 American Express Facts: A Multinational Financial Services Company!

Devangana Rathore
Jan 11, 2023 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Jan 25, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
American Express is one of the most valuable brands in the world.

The American Express Company is primarily recognized as a financial company because of its credit card operations.

These credit cards, often known as Amex cards, account for approximately a quarter of all credit card payments in the United States.

American Express is a credit card company based in Billed company $1.01 trillion American Express cardholders spent $1.01 billion by 2020 on their Amex cards. Berkshire Hathaway acquires American Express.

American Express is headquartered in New York and has 24 locations around the United States. Amex has 110 million cards, with each card averaging $17,216 in annual spending. This equates to a total of $1.9 trillion spent on American Express cards alone in 2016.

The Early History Of American Express

American Express is the world's 25th most valuable brand, according to Interbrand. In reality, the American Express brand is worth nearly $18.4 billion on its own.

Warren Buffett is a huge supporter of American Express because a strong brand offers a company pricing power and a 'broad economic moat' that may assist it avoid losing market share. All of this, however, would not have been possible without its extensive past.

  • It was an 'express business' when the American Express Company was started in 1850. It was a private firm whose business was to transport money, parcels, or valuables from one location to another. The United States Postal Service had only recently been established. Letters were delivered, but not huge packages.
  • It is one of the reasons why some people formed modest 'express enterprises'. In 1850, the American Express Company started as a freight forwarder, acquiring a reputation as a company that people could trust with their most essential belongings. The company launched new financial products, including travel services, in the late 19th to early 20th centuries to assist our consumers in their daily lives.
  • William G. Fargo and Henry Wells were two of the most influential figures in the express industry. In 1844, they established a joint venture. The headquarters of American Express was found at a skyscraper in Manhattan, New York.
  • The new company was formed through the merger of three existing businesses. They quickly purchased numerous more structures in the area to serve as stables for the horses. For many years, it was the most profitable firm globally when it came to moving products, stocks, money, and other valuables (known as 'express shipments').

Mid History of American Express

In 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', Ford Prefect always carries an American Express card with him in order to pay his bar bills. Tina Turner sings in her song 'Private Dancer' that she will accept American Express.

American Express has a total asset value of $181 billion and 112 million active cards. Facts about the company are varied and go back a long way - with a big role in the World Wars.

  • When First World War broke out in 1914, many individuals who occurred to be traveling couldn't access their money. Still, American Express branches in Europe were among the few companies to respect letters of credit, allowing American travelers to return home with cash.
  • American Express entered the travel industry as a result of the conflict. They built a luxurious steamboat to ferry visitors around the globe in 1922. They were a big success thanks to the traveler's check industry for many years.

The Later History Of American Express

American Express jumped headfirst into the advertisement world. The first promotion began in 2004. It was part of the 'My Life, My Card' campaign. It successfully engaged viewers by providing a glimpse of the extravagant and interesting lifestyle that cardmembers might be able to enjoy.

The second promotion began in 2007. The campaign was called 'Are You a Cardmember?' and it encouraged viewers to join the exclusive card club alongside the celebrities who endorsed it.

  • Although the concept of a trip charge card was suggested as early as 1946, American Express did not offer their first cards till 1958. In 2020, the typical American Express card customer in the United States paid $18,090 to their card.
  • The first ones were made of paper. Plastic cards were first launched in 1959. To appeal to the elite strata of business travel, the corporation launched its first gold card in 1966. Its Platinum Card was first issued in 1984. The Platinum Card is still a prominent Amex product today. The annual fee for the Platinum Card was $250 (it is now $550). It was exclusively available to loyal clients.
  • The Centurion Card, sometimes known as the 'black card', was established by American Express in 1999 and catered to an even more wealthy consumer demographic.
  • The Centurion credit card, which has a $7,500 initial fee and a $2,500 annual fee, is regarded as the world's most prestigious credit card. This black card was a response to urban mythology, and it was only available to Platinum cardholders who were elite and chosen.
  • The American Express Black Card allows cardholders access to various privileges and perks, including round-the-clock concierges, Equinox gym membership, access to airport lounges, credit redeemable at high-end retailers, and premium hotel status.
  • The Centurion Card was introduced to the company's diverse portfolio of consumer cards due to the rumors. The Optima card was created by American Express around 1987. Customers were not required to pay in whole every month. However, they might now postpone payment.
  • American Express gave businesses and restaurants a rebate if they took only  American Express but not any other credit or charge cards from the early '80s through the early '90s. However, several eateries in Boston began taking Visa and MasterCards in 1991 and even encouraged their patrons to use them.
  • These cards had a substantially lower cost than American Express, which charged 4% for every transaction at the time. As a result, American Express cards are no longer accepted at several establishments.
  • The 'Boston Fee Party' was the name given to this uprising. The uprising extended to more than 250 restaurants throughout the United States, including Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles. Finally, American Express decided to lower its fees.
  • Kenneth Chenault is the current director of American Express. American Express remains one of the world's largest banking institutions. The firm established an extensive network of travel-focused offices throughout Latin America, Asia, and Europe, which provided new prospects for both the company and its clients.
  • American Express started in March 2014 when it had struck a partnership deal for business travel and had split off its corporate travel division like American Express Global Business Travel.

Important Details About American Express

On the Illinois Canal, American Express used to operate packet boats. These boats aided in the delivery of goods to Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio.

Steamship lines on the Illinois River connected the states. In the 18th and 19th centuries, packet boats were medium-sized vessels used to transport passengers, domestic mail, and freight. And all of this makes the essential history of American Express.

  • When its director, J. C. Fargo, went to Europe in 1890, he had difficulty getting money. He was irritated as he held letters of credit, which he believed should have been no issue because he was the chairman of American Express.
  • Fargo approached Marcellus Flemming Berry and urged him to develop a better way to receive money. Berry created the Traveler's Cheque. While traveling, a traveler's check was a reasonably safe way to obtain cash from a bank.
  • The American Express Traveller's Cheque, introduced in 1891, was used globally for over a century until being replaced by credit cards. The company's road to a new business model included travel services, Travelers Cheques, and foreign currency conversion.
  • In 1850, American Express began as a freight forwarding and postal service corporation. A money order component was added to the firm a few years later, allowing it to grow into the financial services market.
  • It began issuing charge cards in the '50s and since then has grown to be one of the world's most well-known credit card businesses. Aside from credit cards, American Express provides various additional digital services.
  • It was compelled to accommodate funds for stranded Americans during First World War. Shortly after, it began providing around-the-world luxurious steamer travel—thus its foray into the travel services industry.
  • The duty of unifying railway lines for the military effort was given to Secretary Of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo. As a result, all express company contracts with railways were voided, and McAdoo advocated that all current express companies be merged into a single entity to service the country's requirements.
  • An electronic payment card, usually known as an 'AmEx', is issued by American Express. It was founded by American Express, a publicly listed financial services firm (AXP). Charge, p Prepaid, and credit cards are all issued and processed by AXP.
  • An American Express card, usually known as AmEx, offers a variety of perks to its customers. American Express Credit Cards offer a variety of customizable benefits and incentives to help you get the most out of your money.
  • American Express had expanded to over 40 nations by the early twenty-first century. Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine were among the publications produced by the company's publication department. It was, however, sold to Time Inc. in 2013.
  • American Express is a registered trademark of the American Express Company. This card was created by ICICI Bank using an American Express license. Although not every business accepts the American Express card, it is broadly acknowledged in the United States and across the globe.
  • Visa, Mastercard, and Discover are American Express's primary direct credit card rivals. Although American Express, as well as Mastercard, have distinct business models, they all vie in the credit card market. In addition, American Express competes for customer business with financial organizations that provide credit cards.
  • American Express is a primary credit card provider for small businesses, individuals, and corporations. In addition, credit cards, traveler's checks, business, and personal trip planning services, travel deals, and agencies with hotel and car rental bookings are among the company's travel-related facilities.
  • The industry developed the small business alliance, an advisory board of top small business advocates because we recognize that small businesses have specific needs.
  • American Express credit cards offer a variety of customizable benefits and incentives to help you get the most out of your money. In addition, an American Express credit card gives you access to a world of luxury shopping, eating, travel, and much more. Kabbage, a small business loan, was bought by American Express in 2020.
  • In a 1983 campaign, American Express promised to donate one penny for every transaction done with an American Express Card to repair the Statue of Liberty.

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi Raturi picture

Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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