American Express is one of the oldest companies in the United States with roots dating back to 1850. Since that time it has evolved into one of the most recognized names for credit card services in the world. You can also find out more about the company in another American Express review.
American Express started in 1850 as an express mail business with headquarters out of Albany, New York. Over the years, the company has been involved in the transport of goods and starting in 1882, financial services. It was not until 1958 that American Express finally entered the credit card business, one that the company is most famous for today.
American Express offers three types of credit cards for consumers. The first, and most commonly used, is the personal card. These cards provide benefits to customers such as purchase protection, extended warranties, roadside assistance, entertainment benefits, and more.
Next, is the American Express Small Business Cards. These cards offer benefits such as cash back, extra purchasing power, no annual fee, concierge benefits, and more. Finally, there is the Corporate line of cards. These offer added benefits such as flex spending, travel insurance, membership rewards, as well as travel and reservation services.
American Express is a credit card that is designed for those that are highly responsible with their finances. As such, it is typically tougher to get an American Express card. You have to have strong credit, but if you are able to qualify, there are several benefits using the card. Its benefits, including travelers checks, are accessible just about anywhere in the world.. Also as a whole, members get a higher average credit limit over other credit cards.
However, with some of the advantages, there are definitely some factors one should consider. First, there is usually an annual fee with most cards, and the fee is somewhat high. The fee can be as much as $175 a year. Sometimes this is waived for the first year, but considering that many fees range in the $50 range for cards that charge this, American Express is one of the higher annual fee companies.
Next, unless you have a corporate card or certain small business options, you must pay your balance in full each month unless you meet certain terms. However, with that said, you are not charged interest on your purchases if you pay them by the time your statement is due. For those that have the means to afford to pay off balances monthly, this could actually turn out to be an advantage.
Finally, not all companies accept American Express. The reason behind this is that they charge a higher merchant fee than most credit card companies. For some businesses, there is not enough of a demand from American Express customers for them to pay the high fee. However, many of you larger and higher end businesses are likely to accept American Express as they deal with more volume and higher priced purchases.
American Express is a solid company with a long rich history. Their credit cards are among the most sought after by those with strong credit and in the corporate world. With strong benefits, higher spending limits, and no interest if balances are paid by the due date, American Express becomes the choice for many responsible credit users.