200 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10285
CEO: Kenneth Chenault
Stock Symbol: AXP
Best known for its upscale charge card,
American Express provides financial, banking and travel services
in over 130 countries.
American Express cards are used by many
large corporations for their employees to make payments and track
expenses. Card holders tend to be more affluent and charge more
with American Express than using Mastercard or Visa. American
Express also charges a higher processing fee to merchants than
Mastercard and Visa.
In 2017, American Express reported revenues of $33.4 billion, a 4% increase from the previous year. Net income was $8.83 billion, a 49% decline. The company cited a loss of $1.19 billion in the fourth quarter due to changes in the U.S. tax code.
More than half of American Express card users are outside of the U.S.
American Express lost its branded credit card deal with Costco stores to Citibank in 2017.
CEO Kenneth Chenault said he plans to retire in 2018 after 17 years as the company's top executive. Vice Chairman Stephen Squeri will take over as the new CEO.
American Express began in New York in 1850
as an express delivery service and quickly became one of the
most successful to operate during a time of intense US westward
expansion. As a majority of their clients were banks, American
Express began to create and sell their own financial products
such as money orders and travelers cheques.
In 1882, American Express launched the
money order business, which proved an almost instant success.
The company introduced the world's first travelers cheque in
1891 and within ten years was selling more than $6 million in
American Express issued its first charge
card in 1958. Within five years, more than 1 million cards were
in use at approximately 85,000 establishments within and outside
the United States. Soon, the company began introducing local
currency cards in markets outside the United States, adding programs
that made it possible for cardmembers to extend payment on large
travel expenditures, and launching additional products, such
as the American Express Gold Card in 1966.
American Express spun off its financial
advisory unit in 2005 which now operates independently as Ameriprise
On November 10, 2008, American Express became a bank holding company regulated by the Federal Reserve Board.
In January 2009, American Express received a $3.4 billion investment from the U.S. Treasury Capital Purchase Program. The company paid back the investment in 2009.
The company offers medical, dental and
Employees receive a base salary and merit
increases yearly along with lump sum payments for oustanding
performers. Incentive pay is also provided for departments that
exceed their yearly goals.
A 401(k) plan is offered that matches dollar-for-dollar
up to the first 3% of employee contributions along with 1% in
a company stock fund. Vesting for this portion is immediate.
Profit-sharing contributions are offered after one year of service
which can be up to 7% depending upon company performance. Vesting
for profit-sharing is 100% after five years of service.
The company also provides a retirement
plan after one year of service with contributions ranging from
2.5-10% depending on age and years of service. This plan vests
100% after five years of service.
American Express offers employees a pool of days for time off each year. The pool represents vacation, holiday and personal days.
An additional week of vacation can be purchased
from the company after one year of service.
Educational assistance is also offered
for job-related courses. The company will reimburse 90% of tuition
and fees up to a maximum of $5,000 per year.