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In , at the onset of World War I , American Express in Europe was among the few companies to honor the letters of credit issued by various banks held by Americans in Europe, because other financial institutions refused to assist these stranded travelers.
The British government appointed American Express its official agent at the beginning of World War I. They were to deliver letters, money, and relief parcels to British prisoners of war.
Their employees went into camps to cash drafts for both British and French prisoners and arranged for them to receive money from home.
By the end of the war they were delivering tonnes of parcels per day to prisoners in six countries. American Express was one of the monopolies that President Theodore Roosevelt had the Interstate Commerce Commission ICC investigate during his administration.
The interest of the ICC was drawn to its strict control of the railroad express business. However, the solution did not come immediately to hand.
During the winter of , the United States suffered a severe coal shortage and on December 26 President Woodrow Wilson commandeered the railroads on behalf of the United States government to move federal troops , their supplies, and coal.
Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo was assigned the task of consolidating the railway lines for the war effort. All contracts between express companies and railroads were nullified and McAdoo proposed that all existing express companies be consolidated into a single company to serve the country's needs.
This ended American Express's express business and removed them from the ICC's interest. The result was that a new company called the American Railway Express Agency formed in July During the s, American Express embarked on an effort to become a financial services supercompany, and made a number of acquisitions, creating an investment banking arm.
In mid it purchased Sanford I. After the purchase of Shearson, Weill was given the position of president of American Express in Weill grew increasingly unhappy with responsibilities within American Express and his conflicts with American Express' CEO James D.
Robinson III. Weill soon realized that he was not positioned to be named CEO and left in August In , Shearson Lehman acquired the brokerage firm E.
Hutton was merged with the investment banking business and the investment banking arm was renamed Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc. When Harvey Golub became CEO of American Express in , American Express decided to get out of the investment banking business and negotiated the sale of Shearson's retail brokerage and asset management business to Primerica.
The Shearson business was merged with Primerica's Smith Barney to create Smith Barney Shearson.
Ultimately, the Shearson name was dropped in In , American Express spun off of the remaining investment banking and institutional businesses as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc , ending what ' The New York Times' called "a nettlesome foray into the brokerage business.
Former CEO Kenneth Chenault took over leadership of American Express in , from Harvey Golub , CEO from to Robinson III from to , Howard L.
Clark Sr. Current CEO: Stephen Joseph Squeri since February 1, Seconds-in-command: . American Express executives discussed the possibility of launching a travel charge card as early as , but it was not until Diners Club launched a card in March , that American Express began to seriously consider the possibility.
At the end of , American Express CEO Ralph Reed decided to get into the card business, and by the launch date of October 1, , public interest had become so significant that , cards were issued prior to the official launch date.
The first cards were made of paper, with the account number and cardmember's name typed. In , American Express introduced the Gold Card.
It was offered by invitation only to American Express customers with at least two years of tenure, significant spending, and excellent payment history; as of [update] , it is open to applicants on request.
In , American Express introduced the Optima card, its first credit card product that did not have to be paid in full at the end of the month.
American Express formed a venture with Warner Communications in , called Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment , which created MTV, Nickelodeon , and The Movie Channel.
The partnership lasted only until The properties were sold to Viacom soon after. In April , American Express spun off its former subsidiary, First Data Corp.
In , the Optima True Grace card was introduced. The ONE card, introduced but since discontinued, innovated in cash back rewards described then as "have become staples of credit card reward programs" which are "deposited in an interest bearing savings account"  The rewards account was a high-yield FDIC-insured savings account.
The ONE from American Express card offered a feature similar to Optima True Grace which it called "Interest Protection.
From the early s until the early s, American Express was known for cutting its interchange fee also known as a "discount rate" to merchants and restaurants if they accepted only American Express and no other credit or charge cards.
This prompted competitors such as Visa and Mastercard to cry foul for a while as the tactics "locked" restaurants into American Express.
Capitalizing on this elitist image, American Express frequently mentioned such exclusive partnerships in its advertising.
Aside from some holdouts including Neiman Marcus which continued exclusivity until , the practice largely ended in The revolt, known as the "Boston Fee Party" alluding to the Boston Tea Party , spread to over restaurants across the United States, including restaurants in other cities such as New York City , Chicago , and Los Angeles.
Kenneth Chenault, then head of Travel Related Services prior to becoming American Express CEO, cut fees to bring these restaurants back into the fold.
On November 10, , during the financial crisis of — , the company won Federal Reserve System approval to convert to a bank holding company , making it eligible for government help under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
In November , the UK division of American Express was cautioned by the Office of Fair Trading for the use of controversial charging orders against those in debt.
Allegations included that American Express made misleading statements regarding signup bonuses, charged unlawful late fees, discriminated against applicants due to age, and failed to report consumer complaints to regulators.
Beginning in , Costco issued co-branded American Express cards which also doubled as a membership card. Costco ended this arrangement in , in the United States and in , in Canada.
The cards did not have annual fees and offered cash back in form of in-store rebates on certain tiers of purchases. The TrueEarnings cards issued by Costco in the United States were an extension of an exclusive credit card network deal between Costco and American Express dating from Costco was the last major U.
In November , Neiman Marcus , which gave similar general-purpose card exclusivity to American Express since , began accepting Visa and Mastercard.
Costco's Canadian stores ended its exclusive deal with American Express in January , in favor of one with Capital One and Mastercard. On February 12, , it was announced that the partnership between American Express and Costco in the United States would dissolve March 31, , which was later extended to June 19, By March 2, , Costco announced that Citigroup would become the exclusive issuer of Costco's credit cards and that Visa Inc.
The Costco deal with Visa began on June 20, , and in addition to the new Citi card, Costco accepted all other Visa cards.
Concurrent with the switch to Visa, Costco no longer accepts American Express in stores, at Costco. American Express operates a network of Centurion Lounges at major airports which are available to their Platinum and Centurion card members.
In , American Express acquired LoungeBuddy,  a provider which proves pay-per-use access to select airport lounges worldwide.
As of December , there are twelve Centurion Lounges in operation, all located in the United States with the exception of one in Hong Kong. On March 1, , Australia's fourth-largest bank ANZ announced that it was no longer issuing American Express cards, with the support phased out entirely by August 5, American Express is the fourth largest general-purpose card network on a global basis based on purchase volume, behind China UnionPay, Visa and MasterCard.
American Express is one of the partner banks to both Google and Apple 's mobile wallet systems Google Pay and Apple Pay , respectively meaning that cardholders can use their American Express-issued cards to pay at establishments where NFC payments are accepted.
American Express offers various contactless credit cards. American Express is best known for its Green, Gold, and Platinum charge cards.
The Gold Card has recently [ when? In , American Express issued its first charge card , which required payment at the end of every month.
In , American Express introduced the Centurion Card , often referred to as the "black card," which caters to an even more affluent customer segment.
The card was initially available only to select users of the Platinum card. American Express created the card line amid rumors and urban legends in the s that it produced an ultra-exclusive black card for elite users who could purchase anything with it.
American Express has several co-branded credit cards, with most falling into one of three categories:. A credit card aimed at young adults is called Blue , which has no annual fee and a loyalty program.
A television media campaign for Blue adopted the UK Synthpop hit " Cars " by Gary Numan as its theme music.
A cashback reward program version, "Blue Cash", quickly followed. American Express also targeted young adults with City Reward Cards that earn INSIDE Rewards points to eat, drink, and play in New York, Chicago, and LA hot spots.
American Express began phasing out the INSIDE cards in mid, with no new applications being taken as of July In , American Express introduced Clear, advertised as the first credit card with no fees of any kind.
Other cards introduced in , included "The Knot" and "The Nest" Credit Cards from American Express, co-branded cards developed with the wedding planning website theknot.
In , American Express introduced the ZYNC charge card. White in color, this card was created for people aged 20— In late , American Express and Walmart announced the launch of Bluebird, a prepaid debit card similar to that of Green Dot.
The card can also be used as a substitute for a traditional checking account. Unlike other such cards, Bluebird is FDIC -insured. American Express credit cards are noted by travel guides, including Rough Guides and Lonely Planet , as being less commonly accepted in Europe than Visa or Mastercard.
The company logo, a gladiator or centurion, appears at the center of the iconic Zync, Cobalt, Green, Gold, Platinum, and Centurion cards.
The figure and his pose evoke classical antiquity. These cards also feature intricate border and background designs that read "American Express.
In , American Express introduced ExpressPay, similar to Mastercard Contactless and Visa payWave , all of which use the symbol appearing on the right.
It is a contactless payment system based on wireless RFID , where transactions are completed by holding the credit card near a receiver at which point the debt is immediately added to the account.
All three contactless systems use the same logo. The card is not swiped or inserted into a smart card reader and no PIN is entered.
Many merchants, in the U. American Express OPEN, the small-business branch of American Express, offers various types of charge cards for small businesses to manage their expenses.
In late , the company announced the new Plum Card as the latest addition to their card line for small business owners. The 1.
The first 10, cards were issued to members on December 16, In , American Express closed all Business Line of Credit accounts.
This decision was reached in tandem with the Federal Reserve's approval of American Express's request to become a commercial bank. These include SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card.
Cashback earned is automatically credited to the cardholder's statement and other benefits are included.
Other cards include the Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN, the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, the Blue for Business Credit Card from American Express, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and the Plum Card from American Express OPEN.
These cards have return protection, year-end summaries and other tools to help with the business accounting and control.
In , American Express acquired the Corporate Payment Services business of GE, which primarily focused on providing Purchasing Card solutions for large global clients.
V-Payment is unique in that it enables a tightly controlled, single-use card number for increased control. The online "American Express Work" function gives corporations a site on which to apply for, cancel or suspend cards, monitor policy compliance and track expenses.
The cardholder company can create and generate reports for a corporate expense account program, including analytics and data consolidation or integration.
Through a Standard Expense Reporting feature in its "Manage Your Card Account site", American Express corporate cards provide cardholders access to pre-populated expense reports.
The cardholder needs to annotate expenses and add out-of-pocket charges upon completion of which the report can be downloaded in electronic or paper format.
American Express Corporate Card program can be used with a third-party on-demand expense management tool by Concur, a provider of integrated travel and expense management services.
This tool simplifies the creation of expense account reports and the corporate approval process. Corporate card activity, including viewing statements, making payments, setting up alerts and making inquiries and disputing charges, can be managed through an account online or via a mobile device through this service.
The corporate cards have benefits including discounts and rebates for travel and transportation, travel and emergency help, travel insurance and baggage protection.
American Express has a specialized corporate meeting credit card. Reconciliation and accounting services are available to make these functions easier for the corporation.
Bank of America will issue Visa and American Express cards under the Bank of Hawaii name. Until , Visa and Mastercard rules prohibited issuers of their cards from issuing American Express cards in the United States.
This meant, as a practical matter, that U. These rules were struck down as a result of antitrust litigation brought by the U.
Department of Justice , and are no longer in effect. However, an agreement was reached between American Express and Bank of America on December 21, Also, American Express will dismiss Bank of America from its antitrust litigation against Visa, Mastercard, and a number of U.
Finally, both Bank of America and American Express also said an existing card-issuing partnership between MBNA and American Express will continue after the Bank of America-MBNA merger.
The first card from the partnership, the no-annual-fee Bank of America Rewards American Express card, was released on June 30, Since then, Citibank , Wells Fargo , First National Bank of Omaha , USAA , Navy Federal , Synchrony Financial , and US Bancorp have started issuing American Express cards.
Citi issues the Macy's and Bloomingdale's American Express cards along with Citi-branded cards. Wells Fargo issues American Express cards under their own brand and for Dillard's.
US Bancorp issues American Express-branded cards for US Bank along with Elan Card Services, a subsidiary that issues credit cards on behalf of small to midsize banks.
Some credit unions , including PenFed , also issue American Express cards. JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank and the only Big Four bank in the US that does not partner with American Express.
Instead, JPMorgan made the decision in , to partner with Visa on the ChaseNet closed-loop network that is similar in terms of functionality to the American Express network.
Many retailers do not accept American Express cards. American Express Co. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that American Express could block merchants that accept its cards from steering customers to other cards, like those offered by Visa and Mastercard.
Supreme Court affirmed the 2nd Circuit Court's ruling. American Express is the largest provider of traveler's checks in the world. In , American Express released the American Express Travelers Check Card, a stored-value card that serves the same purposes as a traveler's check, but can be used in stores like a credit card.
AmEx discontinued the card in October , due to "changing market conditions" and issued refund checks to cardholders for the remaining balances. On September 30, , American Express spun-off its American Express Financial Advisors unit, Ameriprise Financial , to its shareholders.
American Express established a Travel Division in , that tied together all earlier efforts at making travel easier, and soon established its first travel agencies.
In the s, the Travel Division had grown widely. Albert K. Dawson was instrumental in expanding business operations overseas, even investing in tourist relations with the Soviet Union.
During World War I , Dawson was a photographer and film correspondent with the German army. In March , American Express announced that it signed an agreement to create a joint venture for business travel and spun off its corporate travel business as American Express Global Business Travel.
American Express FSB federal savings bank is a direct bank offering a standard savings account to individuals. Malden served as the public face of American Express Travelers Cheques for 25 years.
In the UK, the spokesman was the television personality Alan Whicker. After Malden's departure, and as the card assumed importance over the traveler's cheques, American Express continued to use celebrities, such as Mel Blanc and ballerina Cynthia Gregory.
American Express continues to use celebrities in their ads. In late , American Express launched the "My life. My card.
In , a two-minute black-and-white ad, entitled "Animals" and starring Ellen DeGeneres , won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial.
Many American Express credit card ads feature a sample American Express Card with the name "C. Frost" on the front.
This is not a fabricated name; Charles F. American Express was one of the earliest users of cause marketing , to great success.
In May , American Express launched an initiative called the Members Project. American Express supports initiatives to enhance the architectural and cultural heritage, with the aim of raising awareness on the importance of historical and environmental conservation, through the restoration of historical monuments.
American Express is a founder sponsor of the global program "World Monuments Watch", launched in , by World Monuments Fund. During the first edition of Corporate Art Awards , in , American Express received by pptArt the Corporate Art Award for its international restoration program.
In April , American Express moved its headquarters to the story Three World Financial Center in New York City. After the events of September 11, , American Express had to leave its headquarters temporarily because it was located directly opposite the World Trade Center and was damaged during the fall of the towers.
The company began gradually moving back into its rehabilitated building in The company maintains major offices in Sunrise, Florida , Salt Lake City , and Phoenix, Arizona , with its main data centers in North Carolina and Phoenix.
AMEX Bank of Canada was founded in , in Toronto. It currently [ when? The company began operations as a bank on July 1, , following an order-in-council made by the Brian Mulroney government on November 21, This decision was not without controversy as federal banking policy at the time would not ordinarily have permitted American Express to operate as a bank.
American Express has several offices in the UK, including a European Service Center in the Carlton Hill area of Brighton , England. The building was completed in It replaced American Express's former building, Amex House, a large white tower block built in and surrounded by several other smaller offices around the city.
Official Europe, Middle East, and Africa HQ is located in the Belgravia district of Westminster, in central London , at Belgrave House on Buckingham Palace Road, SW1; other UK offices are based in Sussex at Burgess Hill.
In November , Brighton and Hove City Council granted planning permission for American Express to redevelop the Amex House site.
Japan, Asia-Pacific, and Australian Headquarters is co-located in Singapore, at 16 Collyer Quay , and in Sydney 's King Street Wharf area.
The headquarters of Latin America and Caribbean division is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. American Express also has a significant presence in India.
Its two centers are located at Gurgaon , Haryana and on Mathura Road in New Delhi. In , American Express was named the 62nd best company to work for in the United States by Fortune , ranking it number one for bank card companies.
Officers of the company are listed on the company's website. As of [update] , American Express shares are mainly held by institutional investors Berkshire Hathaway , Vanguard group , BlackRock , State Street Corporation and others.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see AMEX. American multinational financial services corporation. Traded as.
New York City, New York. Operating income. Net income. See also: Centurion Card and Accolades Card. Banks portal. Securities and Exchange Commission.
February American Express: The Unofficial History of the People Who Built the Great Financial Empire. New York: Crown Publishers, Loomis, Wells Fargo.
New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. Archived from the original on February 15, Retrieved February 15, CNN Money.
Archived from the original on October 14, Retrieved October 20, The New York Times. Wallet Hub. Archived from the original on April 8, Retrieved April 8, Archived from the original on March 8, Business Insider.
Retrieved April 1, Company Logos. Archived from the original on September 20, Retrieved June 25, The initial trademark of described the gladiator in the American Express logo as a gladiator on a shield whereas the current American Express website lists the logo character as a Gladiator Head Design.
However, there are many who believe that the gladiator is a centurion Archived from the original PDF on November 16, Retrieved July 25, In , three men—Henry Wells, William G.
Fargo and John Butterfield—founded an express company in Buffalo, New York, to forward freight and valuables across the united States. The Encyclopedia of New York City.
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