American Express Company, also known as AmEx, is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Three World Financial Center, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Founded in 1850, it is one of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Compaq Presario CQ42-228LA Laptop Keyboard
The company is best known for its credit card,charge card, and traveler's cheque businesses. Amex cards account for approximately 24% of the total dollar volume of credit card transactions in the US.
BusinessWeek and Interbrand ranked American Express as the 22nd most valuable brand in the world, estimating the brand to be worth US$14.97 billion. DELL Precision M4500 Laptop Keyboard
Fortune listed Amex as one of the top 20 Most Admired Companies in the World.
The company's logo, adopted in 1958, is a Roman gladiator whose image appears on the company's travelers' chequesand charge cards.
American Express was started as an express mail business in Buffalo, New York, in 1850. DELL Latitude D620 Laptop Keyboard
It was founded as a joint stock corporation by the merger of the express companies owned by Henry Wells (Wells & Company), William G. Fargo (Livingston, Fargo & Company), and John Warren Butterfield (Wells, Butterfield & Company, the successor earlier in 1850 of Butterfield, Wasson & Company). HP Pavilion dv5-1104tu Laptop Keyboard
The same founders also started Wells Fargo & Co. in 1852 when Butterfield and other directors objected to the proposal that American Express extend its operations to California.
American Express first established its headquarters in a building at the intersection of Jay Street and Hudson Street in what was later called the Tribeca section of Manhattan. DELL 454RX Laptop Keyboard
For years it enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the movement of express shipments (goods, securities, currency, etc.) throughout New York State. In 1874, American Express moved its headquarters to 65 Broadway in what was becoming the Financial District of Manhattan, a location it was to retain through two buildings. TOSHIBA PK130260100 Laptop Keyboard
In 1854, the American Express Co. purchased a lot on Vesey Street in New York City as the site for its stables. The company's first New York headquarters were in an impressive[..marble Italianate palazzo at 55–61 Hudson Street between Thomas Street and Jay Street (1857–58, John Warren Ritch), which had a busy freight depot on the ground story with a spur line from the Hudson River Railroad. SONY VAIO VGN-N11S laptop keyboard
A stable was constructed nearby at 4–8 Hubert Street, between Hudson Street and Collister Street (1866–67, Ritch & Griffiths), five blocks north of the Hudson Street building.
The company prospered sufficiently that headquarters were moved in 1874 from the wholesale shipping district to the budding Financial District, SONY VAIO VGN-FS215Z laptop keyboard
and into rented offices in two five-story brownstone commercial buildings at 63 and 65 Broadway, between Exchange Alley and Rector Street, and between Broadway and Trinity Place that were owned by the Harmony family.
In 1880, American Express built a new warehouse behind the Broadway Building at 46 Trinity Place, between Exchange Alley and Rector Street. HP Pavilion dv5-1120ez laptop keyboard
The designer is unknown, but it has a façade of brick arches that are redolent of pre-skyscraper New York. American Express has long been out of this building, but it still bears a terracotta seal with the American Express Eagle. In 1890–91 the company constructed a new ten-story building by Edward H. Kendall on the site of its former headquarters on Hudson Street. HP Pavilion DV7-3067cl laptop keyboard
By 1903, the company had assets of some $28 million, second only to the National City Bank of New York among financial institutions in the city.]To reflect this, the company purchased the Broadway buildings and site.
At the end of the Wells-Fargo reign in 1914, an aggressive new president, George Chadbourne . ASUS M70 laptop keyboard
Taylor (1868–1923), who had worked his way up through the company over the previous thirty years, decided to build a new headquarters. The old buildings, dubbed by the New York Times as "among the ancient landmarks" of lower Broadway, were inadequate for such a rapidly expanding concern. In March 1914, Renwick, HP Pavilion DV6-1110eg laptop keyboard
Aspinwall & Tucker filed for the construction of a 32-story concrete-and steel-framed office tower in which all of the company's operations, then in four separate buildings, were to be consolidated. The building proposal of 1914 was abandoned, probably due to the war in Europe, but was resurrected two years later in a reduced form, at an estimated cost of $1 million. IBM ThinkPad T42 laptop keyboard
The 21-story (plus basement), neo-classical, American Express Co. Building, was constructed in 1916–17 to the design ofJames L. Aspinwall, of the firm of Renwick, Aspinwall & Tucker, the successor to the architectural practice of the eminentJames Renwick, Jr.. The building consolidated the two lots of the former buildings with a single address: 65 Broadway. Lenovo 3000 Y500 laptop keyboard
This building was part of the "Express Row" section of lower Broadway at the time. The concrete-and-steel-framed building has an H-shaped plan with tall slender wings arranged around central light courts, a type of plan employed from the 1880s through the 1910s to provide offices with maximum light and air. ASUS X88S laptop keyboard
Faced in white brick and terra cotta above a granite base, both facades employ the tripartite composition of base-shaft-capital then popular for the articulation of skyscrapers, with a colonnaded base and upper portion. The famous American Express Eagle adorns the building twice: there is an asymmetric eagle on the lower arch, while a symmetric eagle adorns the arch atop the building. Lenovo 04W2236 laptop keyboard
The Broadway entrance features a double-story Corinthian colonnade with large arched windows. The building completed the continuous masonry wall of its block-front poda nae and assisted in transforming Broadway into the "canyon" of neo-classical masonry office towers familiar to this day Lenovo 04W0872 laptop keyboard
American Express sold this building in 1975, but retained travel services here. The building was also the headquarters over the years of other prominent firms, including investment bankers J.& W. Seligman & Co. (1940–74), the American Bureau of Shipping, a maritime concern (1977–86), and currently J.J. Kenny, and Standard & Poor's, who has renamed the building for itself. TOSHIBA Satellite L750-ST4N02 laptop keyboard
American Express extended its reach nationwide by arranging affiliations with other express companies (including Wells Fargo – the replacement for the two former companies that merged to form American Express), railroads, and steamship companies. Acer eMachines E640 laptop keyboard
In 1882, American Express started its expansion in the area of financial services by launching a money order business to compete with the United States Post Office's money orders.
Sometime between 1888 and 1890, J. C. Fargo took a trip to Europe and returned frustrated and infuriated. Despite the fact that he was president of American Express and that he carried with him traditional letters of credit, TOSHIBA K000009780 laptop keyboard
he found it difficult to obtain cash anywhere except in major cities. Fargo went toMarcellus Flemming Berry and asked him to create a better solution than the traditional letter of credit. Berry introduced the American Express Traveler's Cheque which was launched in 1891 in denominations of $10, $20, $50, and $100. HP G56 laptop keyboard
Traveler's cheques established American Express as a truly international company. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, American Express offices in Europe were among the few companies to honor the letters of credit (issued by various banks) held by Americans in Europe, despite other financial institutions having refused to assist these stranded travelers. HP Mini 210-1073TU laptop keyboard
American Express became one of the monopolies that President Theodore Roosevelt had the Interstate Commerce Commission 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. IBM Lenovo ThinkPad X300 6478 laptop keyboard
The solution to this problem came as a coincidence to other problems during World War I.
During the winter of 1917, the US suffered a severe coal shortage and on December 26 President Woodrow Wilson commandeered the railroads on behalf of the US government to move US troops, their supplies, and coal. Compaq 6720s Laptop Keyboard
Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo was assigned the task of consolidating the railway lines for thewar 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. GATEWAY MT6730 Laptop Keyboard
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 1918. The new entity took custody of all the pooled equipment and property of existing express companies (the largest share of which, 40%, came from American Express, who had owned the rights to the express business over 71,280 miles (114,710 km) of railroad lines, and had 10,000 offices, with over 30,000 employees). HP Mini 210-2004sa Laptop Keyboard
During the 1980s, American Express embarked on an effort to become a financial services supercompany and made a number of acquisitions to create an investment banking arm. In mid-1981 it purchased Sanford I. Weill's Shearson Loeb Rhoades, the second largest securities firm in the United States to formShearson/American Express. Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard
After the purchase of Shearson, Weill was given the position of president of American Express in 1983. 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 1985. ASUS M70 Laptop Keyboard
In 1984, American Express acquired the investment banking and trading firm, Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, and added it to the Shearson family, creating Shearson Lehman/American Express. It was Lehman's CEO and former trader Lewis Glucksman who would next lead Shearson Lehman/American Express. IBM Thinkpad R61i Laptop Keyboard
In 1984 Shearson/American Express purchased the 90-year-old Investors Diversified Services, bringing with it a fleet of financial advisors and investment products. In 1988, Shearson Lehman acquired E.F. Hutton & Co., a brokerage firm founded in 1904, this was merged with the investment banking business and the investment banking arm was renamed Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc. Lenovo 3000 Y500 Laptop Keyboard
However, when Harvey Golub became CEO of American Express in 1993, 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. Lenovo 0A62039 Laptop Keyboard
Ultimately, the Shearson name was dropped in 1994.
In 1994, American Express spun off of the remaining investment banking and institutional businesses as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc which after almost fifteen years of independence would file for bankruptcy protection in 2008 as part of the Late-2000s financial crisis. ASUS X88S Laptop Keyboard
Current CEO Ken I. Chenault took over leadership of American Express in 2001 from Harvey Golub, CEO from 1993 to 2001. Prior to that, the company was headed byJames D. Robinson III from 1977 to 1993.
American Express executives discussed the possibility of launching a travel charge card as early as 1946, Lenovo 63Y0047 Laptop Keyboard
but it was not untilDiners Club launched their card in March 1950 that American Express began to seriously consider the possibility. At the end of 1957, American Express CEO Ralph Reed decided to get into the card business, and by the launch date of October 1, 1958 public interest had become so significant that they issued 250,000 cards prior to the official launch date. Lenovo 04W0872 Laptop Keyboard
The card was launched with an annual fee of $6, $1 higher than Diners Club, to be seen as a premium product. The first cards were paper, with the account number and cardmember's name typed. It was not until 1959 that American Express began issuing embossed ISO/IEC 7810 plastic cards, an industry first. Lenovo 63Y0047 Laptop Keyboard
In 1966, American Express introduced the Gold Card and in 1984 the Platinum Card, clearly defining different market segmentswithin its own business, a practice that has proliferated across a broad array of industries. The Platinum Card was billed as super-exclusive and had a $250 annual fee (it is currently $450). HP G62-225NR Laptop Keyboard
It was offered by invitation only to American Express customers with at least 2 years of tenure, significant spending, and excellent payment history; it is now open to applications on request.
In 1987, American Express introduced the Optima card, their first credit card product. Previously, all American Express cards had to be paid in full each month, HP 519265-001 Laptop Keyboard
but Optima allowed customers to carry a balance (the charge cards also now allow extended payment options on qualifying charges based on credit availability). Although American Express no longer accepts applications for the Optima brand of cards, since July 13, 2009, Optima cards are still listed on the American Express website, as a reference to existing members only. IBM Lenovo Thinkpad X201 Laptop Keyboard
According to American Express, Optima accounts were not converted or closed. However, Blue from American Express has prevailed as the replacement for the original Optima style of credit card. Blue includes multiple benefits free of charge, unlike Optima, including the Membership Rewards program. HP COMPAQ NX6325 Laptop Keyboard
In October 2012, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an enforcement action with orders requiring three American Express subsidiaries to refund an estimated $85 million to approximately 250,000 customers for illegal card practices. This action was the result of a multi-part federal investigation which found that at every stage of the consumer experience, TOSHIBA 9J.N7482.901 Laptop Keyboard
from marketing to enrollment to payment to debt collection, American Express violated consumer protection laws. American Express did send letters to some previous customers: "We invite you to apply for the Optima Card from American Express. This opportunity is in connection with a settlement solicitation, HP Mini 210-1073TU Laptop Keyboard
which did not clearly disclose that a settlement could prevent you from being approved for a new account with us in the future. This is in response to an enforcement action by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding this issue. Lenovo Thinkpad T520 Laptop Keyboard
Your attached application will be approved unless we determine that you do not have the financial capacity to make the minimum payment on this new Optima Card account, or we receive the application after 04/25/2013."
In April 1992, American Express spun off its subsidiary, First Data Corp., in an IPO. IBM Lenovo ThinkPad X300 Laptop Keyboard
Then, in October 1996, the company distributed the remaining majority of its holdings in First Data Corp., reducing its ownership to less than 5%.In 1994, the Optima True Grace card was introduced. The card was unique in that it offered a grace period on all purchases whether a balance was carried on the card or not (as opposed to traditional revolving credit cards which charge interest on new purchases if so much as $1 was carried over). HP 519265-001 Laptop Keyboard
The card was discontinued a few years later; the now discontinued One from American Express card offered a similar feature called "Interest Protection."
From early 1980s until the early 1990s, American Express was known for cutting its merchant fees (also known as a "discount rate") to merchants and restaurants if they accepted only American Express and no other credit or charge cards. HP G61-400SP laptop keyboard
This prompted competitors such as Visa and MasterCard to cry foul for a while as the tactics "locked" restaurants into American Express. The practice ended in 1991, as several restaurants in Boston started accepting and encouraging the use of Visa and MasterCard because of their far lower fees as compared to American Express' fees at the time SONY VAIO PCG-F50/BP laptop keyboard
(which were about 4% for each transaction versus around 1.2% at the time for Visa and MasterCard). A few even stopped accepting American Express credit and charge cards. The revolt, known as the "Boston Fee Party" (alluding to the Boston Tea Party), was orchestrated by a PR firm hired and paid by Discover Card. SONY VAIO VGN-NW320F/T laptop keyboard
The campaign spread to over 250 restaurants across the United States, including restaurants in other cities such as New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In response, American Express reduced its discount rate gradually to compete more effectively and add new merchants such as supermarkets and drugstores to its network. TOSHIBA MP-06863US-9308 laptop keyboard
Many elements of the exclusive acceptance program were also phased out and American Express pursued other programs to effectively encourage businesses to add American Express cards to their existing list of payment options.
American Express formed a joint venture with Warner Communications in 1979 called Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, TOSHIBA NB100 laptop keyboard
which created MTV, Nickelodeon, and The Movie Channel. The partnership lasted only until 1984. The properties were sold to Viacom soon after.
On November 10, 2008, during the financial crisis of 2008, 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. SONY Vaio PCG-K33 laptop keyboard
At that time, American Express had total consolidated assets of about $127 billion. In June 2009, $3.39 billion in TARP funds were repaid plus $74.4 million in dividend payments, and in July 2009 they ended their obligations under TARP by buying back $340 million in Treasury warrants. ACER Extensa 5235 laptop keyboard
In November 2010 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. The regulator said that the company was one of four companies who were encouraging customers to turn their unsecured credit card debts into a form of secured debt. HP Mini 110-1150LA laptop keyboard
In March 2011, American Express completed a $685m purchase of Loyalty Partner, which operates the Payback loyalty program in Germany and Poland, and the i-Mint loyalty program in India.
When a consumer makes a purchase using a credit or charge card, a small portion of the price is paid as a fee (known as the merchant discount), with the merchant keeping the remainder. HP AE0P7U00010 laptop keyboard
There are typically three parties who split this fee amongst themselves:
- Acquiring bank: the bank which processes credit card transactions for a merchant, including crediting the merchant's account for the value charged to a credit card less all fees.
Issuing bank: the bank which issues the consumer's credit card. SONY VAIO VGN-NW110D laptop keyboard
- This is the bank a consumer is responsible for repaying after making a credit card purchase. The issuer's share of the merchant discount is known as the interchange fee.
Network: the link between acquiring banks and issuing banks. These banks have relationships with a network, rather than with each other, for fulfilling card purchases. TOSHIBA Satellite P300-1AO laptop keyboard
This allows a card issued by a community bank in Peru to be used at a shop in South Africa, for instance, without requiring the banks to have a direct relationship with each other. The two largest networks in the world are Visa and MasterCard. American Express operates its own network. HP Mini 210-2015la laptop keyboard
The average merchant discount in the United States is 1.9%. Of this, approximately 0.1% goes to the acquirer, 1.7% to the issuer, and 0.09% to the network.
Most Prime and Superprime card issuers use the majority of their interchange revenue to fund loyalty programs like frequent flyer points and cash back, and hence their profit from card spending is small relative to the interest they earn from card lending. HP G42-272BR laptop keyboard
American Express is best known for its iconic Green, Gold, and Platinum charge cards, and offers credit cards of similar color levels in most countries.
In the 1950s, American Express issued its first credit card, which caught on quickly in the booming postwar economy and signaled the company's transition to a wider consumer base. HP Pavilion dm3-1080EF laptop keyboard
In 1966, the company issued its first gold card, in an effort to cater to the upper echelon of business travel. Its platinum card debuted in 1984 and continues to be immensely popular as it is second in exclusivity only to the Centurion Card.
In 1999, American Express introduced the Centurion Card, often referred to as the "black card," DELL 454RX laptop keyboard
which caters to an even more affluent and elite customer segment. The card was initially available only to select users of the Platinum card. The annual fee for the card is $2,500 (up from $1,000 at introduction) with an additional one-time initiation fee of $5,000. American Express created the card line amid rumors and urban legends in the 1980s that it produced an ultra-exclusive black card for elite users who could purchase anything with it. HP Pavilion dm1-1002tu laptop keyboard
American Express cards range between no annual fee (for Blue and many other consumer and business cards) and a $450 annual fee (for the Platinum card). Annual fees for the Green card start at $95 (first year free), while Gold card annual fees start at $125. SAMSUNG R522 laptop keyboard
American Express has several co-branded credit cards, with most falling into one of three categories:
Airlines: e.g., Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Qantas,Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, among others. HP 519265-001 laptop keyboard
- Hotels: e.g., Hilton Hotels. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
- Retailers: e.g., Costco, David Jones, Holt Renfrew, Harrods, Macys, Bloomingdales, Lowe's, Mercedes Benz, and others.
Their card aimed at young adults is called Blue from American Express. SONY VAIO VGN-N110G laptop keyboard
A television media campaign for Blue adopted the 1979 UK Synthpop hit "Cars" by Gary Numan as its theme song. Based on a successful product for the European market, Blue had no annual fee, a rewards program, and a multi-functional onboard smart chip. A cashback version, "Blue Cash", quickly followed. SAMSUNG NP-NB30-KP01 laptop keyboard
Amex also targeted young adults with City Reward Cards that earn INSIDE Rewards points to eat, drink, and play at New York, Chicago and LA hot spots. American Express began phasing out the INSIDE cards in mid-2008, with no new applications being taken as of July 2008.
In 2005, American Express introduced Clear, advertised as the first credit card with no fees of any kind. HP Pavilion dv5t-1200se CTO laptop keyboard
Also in 2005, American Express introduced One, a credit card with a "Savings Accelerator Plan" that contributes 1% of eligible purchases into a High-Yield Savings Account insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Other cards introduced in 2005 included "The Knot" and "The Nest" Credit Cards from American Express, co-branded cards developed with the wedding planning website theknot.com. SAMSUNG Q320 laptop keyboard
In 2006, the UK division of American Express joined the Product Red coalition and began to issue a Red Card. With each card member purchase the company contributes to causes through The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to help African women and children suffering from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. HP Pavilion dv6-2155dx laptop keyboard
In 2009, American Express introduced the ZYNC charge card. White in color, this card was created for people in their 20s and 30s. American Express is no longer taking applications for the ZYNC charge card.