American Express is a leading issuer of personal, small business, and corporate credit cards. The company’s travel-related offerings include traveler’s checks, credit cards, corporate and personal travel planning services, tour packages, and agencies for hotel and car-rental reservations. By the early 21st century, American Express operated in more than 40 countries.
The company’s milestones:
– On March 18, 1850 – The three companies consolidated to form the American Express Company, a joint-stock company with an initial capital of $150,000.
– In 1852 – Wells, Fargo & Company was established and began offering the same services as American Express but on the West Coast.
– In 1857 – American Express launched the Overland Mail Company as a joint venture with Wells Fargo, Adams Express Company and United States Express Company.
– In 1860 – The Pony Express was created 1860 to provide fast mail service across the western United States.
– In 1864 – The post office first introduced the postal money order 1864.
– In 1866 – The first raid, by National Bankers Express Company 1866, was thwarted at a relatively low cost.
– In 1868 – The company merged with Merchants Union Express in 1868 to create a money order that would compete with those offered at government post offices.
– In 1881 – William Fargo’s death 1881 and James’ succession to the presidency began a new era for American Express.
– In 1891 – To help adventurous and entrepreneurial customers traveling abroad feel more secure with their money, the company introduced the Travelers Cheque 1891.
– In 1895 – To serve customers as they traveled overseas, the company opened its first office outside of North America, in Paris.
– In 1914 – The outbreak of World War I left 150,000 Americans stranded abroad, and many turned to American Express for help. The company continued to operate, cashing customers’ Travelers Cheques, forwarding their luggage and helping them arrive home safely.
– In 1919 – The American Express Co. is established to expand the company’s international banking operations.
– In 1928 – American Express was especially attractive because its net income had more than doubled in the six years ending in 1928.
– In 1958 – The American Express card was introduced 1958 with no credit limits, but cardholders were required to pay off the balance each month.
– In 1966 – The company issued its first gold card, in an effort to cater to the upper echelon of business travel.
– In 1982 – American Express was reorganized under a holding company called American Express Corporation; its travel services became a wholly-owned subsidiary, American Express Travel Related Services.
– 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.
– In 1992 – American Express’s new products included Cheques for Two, introduced in 1992; a Senior Member card featuring special services and benefits; and a corporate purchasing card.
– In 1993 – American Express won the federal government’s travel and transportation payment system contract—the largest corporate card account in the world.
– In 1996 – The company launched American Express Financial Direct, which offered financial products directly to its customers.
– In 1997 – American Express signed ten new agreements with overseas partners and introduced 20 new card products into foreign markets.
– In 1999 – Another intriguing development in the card wars came in September 1999, when American Express launched Blue, the first ‘smart card’ offered in the United States.
– In 2000 – Although Visa and MasterCard still controlled 75 percent of the overall card market in 2000, innovations in the function of the traditional credit card put American Express in a position to remain very competitive in the 21st century.
– In 2010 – To support local communities and encourage Americans to shop at small, independently owned businesses, the company introduced Small Business Saturday®.
– By 2013 – The Shop Small® movement had spread to a number of other countries including Canada, Australia and the UK.
– In 2017 – The company created American Express app in 2010 to give customers more ways to experience its service.
According to britannica.com; en.wikipedia.org. about.americanexpress.com. SOurce of photo: internet