Business Gold Card from OPEN: The Small Business Network SM
   American Express

   American Express

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Would You Like to Save up to 25% on Business Expenses ?

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American Express


With no finance charges, no pre-set spending limit and the first year fee-free,
The Business Gold Card gives you the flexibility to do business your way. With
this card, you will save automatically at:


Staples®- Save 2%
FedEx®- Save up to 20%
Hertz - Save up to 20%

   You will also enjoy Everyday Savings at Cingular Wireless®,
   Dell™, The Hilton Family of Hotels, Kinkos® and Nextel.*


 
 

  
  Special American Express Gold Reward Card Benefits
 
First year free —No annual fee for the first year for Basic and Additional Credit Cards **
No pre-set spending limit or finance charges
Separate business expenses from personal expenses, and day-to-day expenses from balances you want to pay over time
Expense Management Reports —Track Business Credit Card spending by time period, spending category, or individual Cardmember, with data available for the current year plus two previous fiscal years — at no additional charge.
Everyday Savings —Receive exclusive savings on your everyday business expenses at Cingular Wireless ® , Dell™, FedEx ® , Hertz, The Hilton Family of Hotels, Kinko's ® , Nextel, and Staples ® .

   Savings
 
Offer Zone SM —Save up to 20% on office supplies, corporate gifts, and more when you visit the Offer Zone.
Hertz #1 Club Gold ® —Save time and enjoy priority service with a free membership — a $50 value.
Membership Rewards ® program — When you enroll in the Membership Rewards program, you earn points virtually every time you use your eligible, enrolled Business Credit Card . Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise and other rewards for you or your business, and can also be a great way to save your company money. Sign up today.
 

   Services
 
Online Account Management —Check and pay your bill, access Expense Management Reports, and more
24-hour Customer Service —Service professionals are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Express Cash —Enjoy fast, convenient access to cash at over 500,000 ATMs worldwide
Emergency Card Replacement —Get a replacement Credit Card virtually anywhere in the world, usually during the next business day after you report it missing. In most cases, your replacement Card can be delivered overnight
Emergency Check Cashing Privileges —Get access to cash when you need it most, at more than 1,700 Travel Service locations worldwide

   Resources
 
Balance Payment Option —Provides a convenient short-term financing solution for your Credit Charge Card balance
Card Assured Reservations —Guarantee all your hotel and motel reservations with your Business Credit Card and your room will be waiting for you even if you arrive late
Emergency Check-in —Check into a hotel and charge your stay to your Business Gold Card even if your Card has been lost or stolen
Online Account Management —Check and pay your bill, access Expense Management Reports, and more
 
 

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Finding a business gold reward credit card is as easy as 1, 2, 3...
Use the menu on the left to research which type of business gold reward credit card you are looking for.
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Featured business gold reward credit card
Our featured business gold reward credit card is selected by consumers just like you! Credit cards of in this category have been voted most popular by Your Credit Network users over the past 15 days.
  
 GE Money Earth Rewards MasterCard®

View our blog post about the GE Money Earth Rewards MasterCard 

The GE Money Earth Rewards MasterCard®, issued by GE Money Bank, is an environmentally conscious card for those who want to earn rebates that are automatically contributed to help fund emission reduction projects.

More Info about the GE Money Bank Earth Rewards Card
 
5.0
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0%  12.99%  $0  Rebate
Low Interest Credit Cards
Low interest credit cards are ideal for people with good credit that would like to take advantage of reduced interest rates.

Click here for a complete listing of low interest credit cards.
  
 Capital One® Platinum Prestige

 

The Capital One® Platinum Prestige card is designed for those with excellent credit who want a business gold reward credit card with a very low interest rate.

More Info about the Platinum Prestige card.
 
4.5
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
No Introductory Rate Available  7.4%  $0  n/app
Instant Approval Credit Cards
Instant approval credit cards work well for people that want to use their new line of credit without the usual 2-6 week waiting period.

Click here for a complete listing of instant approval credit cards.
  
 Bank of America Visa Signature® WorldPoints™ Rewards

View our blog post about the Bank of America Visa Signature WorldPoints Rewards 

The Bank of America Visa Signature® WorldPoints™ Rewards, issued by FIA Card Services, N.A., is designed for those with excellent credit who plan to take advantage of the reward program that it offers.

More Info about the Bank of America Visa Signature WorldPoints Rewards
 
5.0
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0% APR for 12 Billing Cycles  9.9%  $0  Point
No Credit / Bad Credit Credit Cards
If you've got a less than perfect credit score, these cards come with programs designed to help you meet your credit goals.

Click here for a complete listing of no credit / bad credit credit cards.
  
 Orchard Bank Platinum MasterCard®

 

The Orchard Bank Platinum MasterCard®, issued by HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., is designed for those with an average or a limited credit history who do not wish to secure a business gold reward credit card account with a deposit, as this is often the case with a secured card.

More Info about the Orchard Bank Platinum MasterCard
 
4.0
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0% APR for 6 Months  14.9%  $39**  n/app
Rewards Credit Cards
Earn points, prizes and other exciting goodies when you make purchases with a business gold reward credit card from this category.

Click here for a complete listing of credit cards with reward programs.
  
 NFL Extra Points™ Platinum Plus® Visa® Card

View our blog post about the NFL Extra Points Rewards Card 

The NFL Extra Points™ Platinum Plus® Visa® Card, issued by FIA Card Services, N.A., is designed for NFL fans with good credit who plan to take advantage of the reward program that is offered.

More Info about the NFL Extra Points card
 
5.0
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0% APR for 12 Billing Cycles  9.99% / 15.99%  $0  Point
Cash Back Credit Cards
Put your purchasing power to work! You can earn cash back rebates and other cash incentives when you use one of these credit cards.

Click here for a complete listing of cash back credit cards.
  
 Capital One® No Hassle Cash(SM) Rewards - Excellent Credit

 

The Capital One® No Hassle Cash(SM) Rewards card for people with excellent credit is ideal for those who are looking for a card that offers a cash back reward program.

More Info about the Capital One No Hassle Premium Cash Card
 
4.0
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0%  13.4%  $0  Rebate
Student Credit Cards
Take advantage of these specially designed reward programs and earn cool prizes that are perfect for the college student lifestyle.

Click here for a complete listing of student credit cards.
  
 Citi® mtvU™ Platinum Select® Visa® Card for College Students

View our blog post about the Citi® mtvU™ Platinum Select® Visa® Card for College Students 

The Citi® mtvU™ Platinum Select® Visa® Card for College Students, issued by Citibank, is a business gold reward credit card designed specifically for students and offers a unique reward program that awards students for using credit wisely and for receiving good grades.

More Info about the Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students
 
3.5
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0% APR for 6 Months  15.74%  $0  Point
Business Credit Cards
If you're looking for a line of credit for a small to medium sized business, these cards are perfect for managing your business expenses.

Click here for a complete listing of credit cards for businesses.
  
 The Business Gold Rewards Card

View our blog post about the Business Gold Rewards Card! 

The Business Gold Rewards Card, issued by American Express®, is a charge card designed for business owners with good credit who plan to pay their business-related expenses in full each month and would like to participate in the Membership Rewards® program for no additional fee.

More Info about the Business Gold Rewards Card
 
4.0
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
No Introductory Rate Available  n/app  $125**  Point
Balance Transfer Credit Cards
Consolidate many business gold reward credit card bills onto one of these credit cards to take advantage of introductory rates and save big!

Click here for a complete listing of balance transfer credit cards.
  
 Citi CashReturns(SM) MasterCard®

View our blog post about the Citi CashReturns MasterCard 

The Citi CashReturns(SM) MasterCard®, issued by Citibank, is designed for those with very good credit who will take advantage of the interest-free introductory offer and the cash back reward program.

More Info about the CashReturns MasterCard from Citi
 
4.5
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0% APR for 12 Months  10.24%  $0  Rebate
Hotel & Airline Credit Cards
Earn points and miles toward future business trips or exotic vacation spots using one of the credit cards from this category.

Click here for a complete listing of hotel & airline credit cards.
  
 Capital One® No Hassle Miles(SM) Rewards - Excellent Credit

 

The Capital One® No Hassle Miles(SM) Rewards card for people with excellent credit is by far one of the best and least costly airline reward cards available.

More Info about the Capital One No Hassle Premium Miles Rewards Card
 
5.0
Intro APR  Regular APR  Annual Fee  Reward Type
0%  13.4%  $0  Mile
Prepaid Credit Cards
Get all the convenience of a regular business gold reward credit card and spend at your own pace using one of the credit cards from the prepaid section.

Click here for a complete listing of prepaid credit cards.
  
 All-Access® MasterCard® Prepaid Card

View our blog post about the All Access MasterCard Prepaid! 

The All-Access® MasterCard® Prepaid Card, issued by MetaBank, is a stored value card designed for those who may have difficulty in obtaining an unsecured credit card.

More Info about the All-Access MasterCard Prepaid Card
 
4.5
Application Fee  Participation Fee  Annual Fee
$0  $0  $0
Your Credit Network Urges You to Use Your Credit Wisely!

When you get your first credit card, it can be very tempting to go on a spending spree buying all sorts of new things that you weren’t able to before. It’s difficult, but you must resist that temptation and use your credit wisely. But how to use it wisely? It’s not difficult - it just takes a little planning.

The first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be spending more than you can afford. To figure that out, you need to have a budget. The details of making a budget are outside the scope of this article but, put simply, take your monthly income and then subtract your monthly expenses. The difference is your disposable income. This number determines how much you can afford to spend. Without a credit card, the only way to exceed this amount for a given month is to save money (spend less) in the previous months. A business gold reward credit card can let you exceed your disposable income by letting you use some of your credit. Keep in mind that this will then increase your monthly expenses in the form of your business gold reward credit card bill.

However, just because you can exceed your disposable income doesn’t mean you should. Eventually, you will reach your credit limit and won’t be able to spend any more on your credit card. This eliminates one of the best uses for a credit card: emergency spending. If you’re on vacation and your car breaks in the middle of nowhere, a business gold reward credit card is a great way to pay for the repairs. Also, maxing out your credit cards isn’t a good idea if you’re trying to obtain other forms of credit, like car or home loan, as the ratio of credit extended to credit used is a factor in determining your eligibility for those loans.

It may sound like you shouldn't use your business gold reward credit card except in emergencies, but that isn't necessarily the case; in fact, you should use your credit cards periodically. Repeatedly using your cards and paying them off in a timely manner demonstrates responsibility to the business gold reward credit card companies which will lead to a higher limit and lower interest rates. A higher limit gives you a bigger cushion to pay for emergencies when they arise. As long as you’re not spending more than you can afford, there’s no reason not to pay with your small business credit card.



Business Gold Reward Credit cards


A business gold reward credit card is a system of payment named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. A business gold reward credit card is different from a debit card in that it does not remove money from the user's account after every transaction. In the case of credit cards , the issuer lends money to the consumer (or the user) to be paid to the merchant. It is also different from a charge card (though this name is sometimes used by the public to describe business gold reward credit cards), which requires the balance to be paid in full each month. In contrast, a business gold reward credit card allows the consumer to 'revolve' their balance, at the cost of having interest charged. Most business gold reward credit cards are the same shape and size, as specified by the ISO 7810 standard.

How business gold reward credit cards work
An example of the front of a typical business gold reward credit card :

   1. Issuing bank logo
   2. EMV chip
   3. Hologram
   4. Card number
   5. Card brand logo
   6. Expiry Date
   7. Cardholder's name

An example of the reverse side of a typical business gold reward credit card :

   1. Magnetic Stripe
   2. Signature Strip
   3. Card Security Code

A user is issued credit after an account has been approved by the credit provider, and is given a business gold reward credit card , with which the user will be able to make purchases from merchants accepting that business gold reward credit card up to a pre-established credit limit. Often a general bank issues the credit , but sometimes a captive bank created to issue a particular brand of business gold reward credit card , such as American Express , Chase, Wells Fargo or Bank of America issues the credit.

When a purchase is made, the business gold reward credit card user agrees to pay the card issuer. The cardholder indicates their consent to pay, by signing a receipt with a record of the card details and indicating the amount to be paid or by entering a Personal identification number (PIN). Also, many merchants now accept verbal authorizations via telephone and electronic authorization using the Internet, known as a Card not present (CNP) transaction.

Electronic verification systems allow merchants to verify that the card is valid and the business gold reward credit card customer has sufficient credit to cover the purchase in a few seconds, allowing the verification to happen at time of purchase. The verification is performed using a business gold reward credit card payment terminal or Point of Sale (POS) system with a communications link to the merchant's acquiring bank. Data from the card is obtained from a magnetic stripe or chip on the card; the latter system is in the United Kingdom commonly known as Chip and PIN, but is more technically an EMV card.

Other variations of verification systems are used by eCommerce merchants to determine if the user's account is valid and able to accept the charge. These will typically involve the cardholder providing additional information, such as the security code printed on the back of the card, or the address of the cardholder.

Each month, the business gold reward credit card user is sent a statement indicating the purchases undertaken with the card, any outstanding fees, and the total amount owed. After receiving the statement, the cardholder may dispute any charges that he or she thinks are incorrect (see Fair Credit Billing Act for details of the US regulations). Otherwise, the cardholder must pay a defined minimum proportion of the bill by a due date, or may choose to pay a higher amount up to the entire amount owed. The credit provider charges interest on the amount owed (typically at a much higher rate than most other forms of debt). Some financial institutions can arrange for automatic payments to be deducted from the user's bank accounts.

business gold reward credit card issuers usually waive interest charges if the balance is paid in full each month, but typically will charge full interest on the entire outstanding balance from the date of each purchase if the total balance is not paid.

For example, if a user had a $1,000 outstanding balance and pays it in full, there would be no interest charged. If, however, even $1.00 of the total balance remained unpaid, interest would be charged on the $1,000 from the date of purchase until the payment is received. The precise manner in which interest is charged is usually detailed in a cardholder agreement which may be summarized on the back of the monthly statement. The general calculation formula most financial institutions use to determine the amount of interest to be charged is APR/100 x ADB/365 x number of days revolved. Take the Annual percentage rate (APR) and divide by 100 then multiply to the amount of the average daily balance divided by 365 and then take this total and multiply by the total number of days the amount revolved before payment was made on the account. Financial institutions refer to interest charged back to the original time of the transaction and up to the time a payment was made, if not in full, as RRFC or residual retail finance charge. Thus after an amount has revolved and a payment has been made that the user of the card will still receive interest charges on their statement after paying the next statement in full (in fact the statement may only have a charge for interest that collected up until the date the full balance was paid...i.e. when the balance stopped revolving).[1]

The business gold reward credit card may simply serve as a form of revolving credit, or it may become a complicated financial instrument with multiple balance segments each at a different interest rate, possibly with a single umbrella credit limit, or with separate credit limits applicable to the various balance segments. Usually this compartmentalization is the result of special incentive offers from the issuing bank, either to encourage balance transfers from cards of other issuers, or to encourage more spending on the part of the customer. In the event that several interest rates apply to various balance segments, payment allocation is generally at the discretion of the issuing bank, and payments will therefore usually be allocated towards the lowest rate balances until paid in full before any money is paid towards higher rate balances. Interest rates can vary considerably from card to card, and the interest rate on a particular card may jump dramatically if the card user is late with a payment on that card or any other credit instrument, or even if the issuing bank decides to raise its revenue. As the rates and terms vary, services have been set up allowing users to calculate savings available by switching cards, which can be considerable if there is a large outstanding balance (see external links for some on-line services).

Because of intense competition in the business gold reward credit card industry, credit providers often offer incentives such as frequent flyer points, gift certificates, or cash back (typically up to 1 percent based on total purchases) to try to attract customers to their program.

Low interest business gold reward credit cards or even 0% interest business gold reward credit cards are available. The only downside to consumers is that the period of low interest business gold reward credit cards is limited to a fixed term, usually between 6 and 12 months after which a higher rate is charged. However, services are available which alert business gold reward credit card holders when their low interest period is due to expire. Most such services charge a monthly or annual fee.

 Grace period

A credit card's grace period is the time the customer has to pay the balance before interest is charged to the balance. Grace periods vary, but usually range from 20 to 30 days depending on the type of business gold reward credit card and the issuing bank. Some policies allow for reinstatement after certain conditions are met. Usually, if a customer is late paying the balance, finance charges will be calculated and the grace period does not apply. Finance charge(s) incurred depends on the grace period and balance, with most business gold reward credit cards there is no grace period if there's any outstanding balance from the previous billing cycle or statement (ie. interest is applied on both the previous balance and new transactions). However, there are some business gold reward credit cards that will only apply finance charge on the previous or old balance, excluding new transactions.

The merchant's side
An example of street markets accepting business gold reward credit cards

For merchants, a business gold reward credit card transaction is often more secure than other forms of payment, such as checks, because the issuing bank commits to pay the merchant the moment the transaction is authorized, regardless of whether the consumer defaults on their business gold reward credit card payment (except for legitimate disputes, which are discussed below, and can result in charge backs to the merchant). In most cases, cards are even more secure than cash, because they discourage theft by the merchant's employees.

For each purchase, the bank charges a commission (discount fee), to the merchant for this service and there may be a certain delay before the agreed payment is received by the merchant. The commission is often a percentage of the transaction amount, plus a fixed fee. In addition, a merchant may be penalized or have their ability to receive payment using that business gold reward credit card restricted if there are too many cancellations or reversals of charges as a result of disputes. Some small merchants require credit purchases to have a minimum amount (usually between $5 and $10) to compensate for the transaction costs, though this is not always allowed by the business gold reward credit card consortium.

In some countries, like the Nordic countries, banks guarantee payment on stolen cards only if an ID card is checked and the ID card number/civic registration number is written down on the receipt together with the signature. In these countries merchants therefore usually ask for ID. Non-Nordic citizens, who are unlikely to possess a Nordic ID card or driving license, will instead have to show their passport, and the passport number will be written down on the receipt, sometimes together with other information. Some shops use the card's PIN code for identification, and in that case showing an ID card is not necessary.

 Parties involved

     Cardholder: The owner of the card used to make a purchase; the consumer.
     Card-issuing bank: The financial institution or other organization that issued the business gold reward credit card to the cardholder. This bank bills the consumer for repayment and bears the risk that the card is used fraudulently. American Express and Discover were previously the only card-issuing banks for their respective brands, but as of 2007, this is no longer the case.
     Merchant: The individual or business accepting business gold reward credit card payments for products or services sold to the cardholder
     Acquiring bank: The financial institution accepting payment for the products or services on behalf of the merchant.
     Independent sales organization: Resellers (to merchants) of the services of the acquiring bank.
     Merchant account provider: This could refer to the acquiring bank or the independent sales organization, but in general is the organization that the merchant deals with.
     business gold reward credit card association: An association of card-issuing banks such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, etc. that set transaction terms for merchants, card-issuing banks, and acquiring banks.
     Transaction network: The system that implements the mechanics of the electronic transactions. May be operated by an independent company, and one company may operate multiple networks. Transaction processing networks include: Cardnet, Nabanco, Omaha, Paymentech, NDC Atlanta, Nova, Vital, Concord EFSnet, and VisaNet.[2]
     Affinity partner: Some institutions lend their name to an issuer to attract customers that have a strong relationship with that institution, and get paid a fee or a percentage of the balance for each card issued using their name. Examples of typical affinity partners are sports teams, universities and charities.

The flow of information and money between these parties — always through the card associations — is known as the interchange, and it consists of a few steps.

Transaction steps

Authorization: In the event of a chargeback (when there's an error in processing the transaction or the cardholder disputes the transaction), the issuer returns the transaction to the acquirer for resolution. The acquirer then forwards the chargeback to the merchant, who must either accept the chargeback or contest it.

Secured business gold reward credit cards

A secured business gold reward credit card is a type of business gold reward credit card secured by a deposit account owned by the cardholder. Typically, the cardholder must deposit between 100% and 200% of the total amount of credit desired. Thus if the cardholder puts down $1000, he or she will be given credit in the range of $500–$1000. In some cases, business gold reward credit card issuers will offer incentives even on their secured card portfolios. In these cases, the deposit required may be significantly less than the required credit limit, and can be as low as 10% of the desired credit limit. This deposit is held in a special savings account. business gold reward credit card issuers offer this as they have noticed that delinquencies were notably reduced when the customer perceives he has something to lose if he doesn't repay his balance.

The cardholder of a secured business gold reward credit card is still expected to make regular payments, as he or she would with a regular credit card, but should he or she default on a payment, the card issuer has the option of recovering the cost of the purchases paid to the merchants out of the deposit. The advantage of the secured card for an individual with negative or no credit history is that most companies report regularly to the major credit bureaus. This allows for building of positive credit history.

Although the deposit is in the hands of the business gold reward credit card issuer as security in the event of default by the consumer, the deposit will not be debited simply for missing one or two payments. Usually the deposit is only used as an offset when the account is closed, either at the request of the customer or due to severe delinquency (150 to 180 days). This means that an account which is less than 150 days delinquent will continue to accrue interest and fees, and could result in a balance which is much higher than the actual credit limit on the card. In these cases the total debt may far exceed the original deposit and the cardholder not only forfeits their deposit but is left with an additional debt.

Most of these conditions are usually described in a cardholder agreement which the cardholder signs when their account is opened.

Secured business gold reward credit cards are an option to allow a person with a poor credit history or no credit history to have a business gold reward credit card which might not otherwise be available. They are often offered as a means of rebuilding one's credit. Secured business gold reward credit cards are available with both Visa and MasterCard logos on them. Fees and service charges for secured business gold reward credit cards often exceed those charged for ordinary non-secured business gold reward credit cards, however, for people in certain situations, (for example, after charging off on other business gold reward credit cards, or people with a long history of delinquency on various forms of debt), secured cards can often be less expensive in total cost than unsecured business gold reward credit cards, even including the security deposit.

Sometimes a business gold reward credit card will be secured by the equity in the borrower's home.[3][4] This is called a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Prepaid business gold reward credit cards

A prepaid business gold reward credit card is not really a credit card, as no credit is offered by the card issuer: the card-holder spends money which has been "stored" via a prior deposit by the card-holder or someone else, such as a parent or employer. However, it carries a credit-card brand (Visa or MasterCard) and can be used in similar ways. As more consumers require a suitable solution to rebuilding credit, recent changes have allowed some business gold reward credit card companies to offer pre-paid business gold reward credit cards to help rebuild credit. They are hard to find and have higher APR fees and higher interest costs.

After purchasing the card, the cardholder loads it with any amount of money and then uses the card to spend the money. Prepaid cards can be issued to minors since there is no credit line involved. The main advantage over secured business gold reward credit cards is that you are not required to come up with $500 or more to open an account. Also most secured business gold reward credit cards still charge you interest even though you are not actually "borrowing" any money. With prepaid business gold reward credit cards you are not charged any interest but you are often charged monthly fees after an arbitrary time period. Many other fees also usually apply to a prepaid card.[5]

Prepaid business gold reward credit cards are often marketed to teenagers for shopping online without having their parents complete the transaction.

Because of the many fees that apply to obtaining and using credit-card-branded prepaid cards, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada describes them as "an expensive way to spend your own money"[6]. The agency publishes a booklet, "Pre-paid cards"[7], which explains the advantages and disadvantages of this type of prepaid card.

Features

As well as convenient, accessible credit, business gold reward credit cards offer consumers an easy way to track expenses, which is necessary for both monitoring personal expenditures and the tracking of work-related expenses for taxation and reimbursement purposes. business gold reward credit cards are accepted worldwide, and are available with a large variety of credit limits, repayment arrangement, and other perks (such as rewards schemes in which points earned by purchasing goods with the card can be redeemed for further goods and services or business gold reward credit card cashback).

Some countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, limit the amount for which a consumer can be held liable due to fraudulent transactions as a result of a consumer's business gold reward credit card being lost or stolen.

Security

A smart card, combining business gold reward credit card and debit card properties. The 3 by 5 mm security chip embedded in the card is shown enlarged in the inset. The gold contact pads on the card enable electronic access to the chip.

The low security of the business gold reward credit card system presents countless opportunities for fraud. This opportunity has created a huge black market in stolen business gold reward credit card numbers, which are generally used quickly before the cards are reported stolen.

The goal of the business gold reward credit card companies is not to eliminate fraud, but to "reduce it to manageable levels"[8], such that the total cost of both fraud and fraud prevention is minimized[citation needed]. This implies that high-cost low-return fraud prevention measures will not be used if their cost exceeds the potential gains from fraud reduction.

Most internet fraud is done through the use of stolen business gold reward credit card information which is obtained in many ways, the simplest being copying information from retailers, either online or offline. Despite efforts to improve security for remote purchases using business gold reward credit cards, systems with security holes are usually the result of poor implementations of card acquisition by merchants. For example, a website that uses SSL to encrypt card numbers from a client may simply email the number from the webserver to someone who manually processes the card details at a card terminal. Naturally, anywhere card details become human-readable before being processed at the acquiring bank, a security risk is created. However, many banks offer systems where encrypted card details captured on a merchant's webserver can be sent directly to the payment processor.

Controlled Payment Numbers are another option for protecting one's business gold reward credit card number: they are "alias" numbers linked to one's actual card number, generated as needed, valid for a relatively short time, with a very low limit, and typically only valid with a single merchant.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are responsible for prosecuting criminals who engage in business gold reward credit card fraud in the United States, but they do not have the resources to pursue all criminals. In general, federal officials only prosecute cases exceeding US $5000 in value. Three improvements to card security have been introduced to the more common business gold reward credit card networks but none has proven to help reduce business gold reward credit card fraud so far. First, the on-line verification system used by merchants is being enhanced to require a 4 digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) known only to the card holder. Second, the cards themselves are being replaced with similar-looking tamper-resistant smart cards which are intended to make forgery more difficult. The majority of smartcard (IC card) based business gold reward credit cards comply with the EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa) standard. Third, an additional 3 or 4 digit code is now present on the back of most cards, for use in "card not present" transactions. See CVV2 for more information.

The way business gold reward credit card owners pay off their balances has a tremendous effect on their credit history. All the information is collected by credit bureaus. The credit information stays on the credit report, depending on the jurisdiction and the situation, for 1, 2, 5, 7 or even 10 years after the debt is repaid.

Profits and losses

In recent times, business gold reward credit card portfolios have been very profitable for banks, largely due to the booming economy of the late nineties. However, in the case of business gold reward credit cards, such high returns go hand in hand with risk, since the business is essentially one of making unsecured (uncollateralized) loans, and thus dependent on borrowers not to default in large numbers.

Costs

business gold reward credit card issuers (banks) have several types of costs:

Interest expenses

Banks generally borrow the money they then lend to their customers. As they receive very low-interest loans from other firms, they may borrow as much as their customers require, while lending their capital to other borrowers at higher rates. If the card issuer charges 15% on money lent to users, and it costs 5% to borrow the money to lend, and the balance sits with the cardholder for a year, the issuer earns 10% on the loan. This 5% difference is the "interest expense" and the 10% is the "net interest spread".

Operating costs

This is the cost of running the business gold reward credit card portfolio, including everything from paying the executives who run the company to printing the plastics, to mailing the statements, to running the computers that keep track of every cardholder's balance, to taking the many phone calls which cardholders place to their issuer, to protecting the customers from fraud rings. Depending on the issuer, marketing programs are also a significant portion of expenses.

Charge offs

When a consumer becomes severely delinquent on a debt (often at the point of six months without payment), the creditor may declare the debt to be a charge-off. It will then be listed as such on the debtor's credit bureau reports (Equifax, for instance, lists "R9" in the "status" column to denote a charge-off.) It is one of the worst possible items to have on your file. [citation needed] The item will include relevant dates, and the amount of the bad debt.[9]

A charge-off is considered to be "written off as uncollectable." To banks, bad debts and even fraud are simply part of the cost of doing business.

However, the debt is still legally valid, and the creditor can attempt to collect the full amount. This includes contacts from internal collections staff, or more likely, an outside collection agency. If the amount is large (generally over $1500 - $2000), there is the possibility of a lawsuit or arbitration.

In the US, as the charge off number climbs or becomes erratic, officials from the Federal Reserve take a close look at the finances of the bank and may impose various operating strictures on the bank, and in the most extreme cases, may close the bank entirely.

Rewards

Many business gold reward credit card customers receive rewards, such as frequent flier points, gift certificates, or cash back as an incentive to use the card. Rewards are generally tied to purchasing an item or service on the card, which may or may not include balance transfers, cash advances, or other special uses. Depending on the type of card, rewards will generally cost the issuer between 0.25% and 2.0% of the spend. Networks like Visa or MasterCard have increased their fees to allow issuers to fund their rewards system. However, most rewards points are accrued as a liability on a company's balance sheet and expensed at the time of reward redemption. As a result, some issuers discourage redemption by forcing the cardholder to call customer service for rewards. On their servicing website, redeeming awards is usually a feature that is very well hidden by the issuers. Others encourage redemption for lower cost merchandise; instead of an airline ticket, which is very expensive to an issuer, the cardholder may be encouraged to redeem for a gift certificate instead. With a fractured and competitive environment, rewards points cut dramatically into an issuer's bottom line, and rewards points and related incentives must be carefully managed to ensure a profitable portfolio. There is a case to be made that rewards not redeemed should follow the same path as gift cards that are not used: in certain states the gift card breakage goes to the state's treasury. The same could happen to the value of points or cash not redeemed.

Fraud

Where a card is stolen, or an unauthorized duplicate made, most card issuers will refund some or all of the charges that the customer has received for things they did not buy. These refunds will, in some cases, be at the expense of the merchant, especially in mail order cases where the merchant cannot claim sight of the card. In several countries, merchants will lose the money if no ID card was asked for, therefore merchants usually require ID card in these countries.

The cost of fraud is high; in the UK in 2004 it was over £500 million.[10] business gold reward credit card companies generally guarantee the merchant will be paid on legitimate transactions regardless of whether the consumer pays their business gold reward credit card bill.

"Soft fraud" is fraud committed by the customer himself: getting a card and using it with no intention ever to repay the balance. Such customers are called "diabolicals" by the business gold reward credit card companies; they try to avoid them at all cost.

Security

An additional feature to secure the creditcard transaction and prohibit the use of a lost creditcard is the MobiClear solution. Each transaction is authenticated through a call to the user mobile phone. The transaction is released once the transaction has been confirmed by the cardholder pushing his/her pincode during the call.

Revenues

Offsetting costs are the following revenues:

Interchange fees

Interchange fees are charged by the merchant's acquirer to a card-accepting merchant as component of the so-called merchant discount rate (also referred to as "merchant service fee"). The merchant pays a merchant discount fee that is typically 2 to 3 percent (this is negotiated, but will vary not only from merchant to merchant, but also from card to card, with business cards and rewards cards generally costing the merchants more to process), which is why some merchants prefer cash, debit cards, or even cheques. The majority of this fee, called the interchange fee, goes to the issuing bank, but parts of it go to the processing network, the card association (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, etc.), and the merchant's acquirer. With a corporate card, the interchange is also often shared by the company in whose name the card is issued as an incentive to use that issuer's card instead of someone else's.

The interchange fee that applies to a particular merchant is a function of many variables including the type of merchant, the merchant's average transaction amount, whether the cards are physically present, if the card's magnetic stripe is read or if the transaction is hand-keyed or entered on a website, the specific type of card, when the transaction is settled, the authorized and settled transaction amounts, etc. For a typical business gold reward credit card issuer, interchange fee revenues may represent about fifteen percent of total revenues, but this will vary greatly with the type of customers represented in their portfolio. Customers who carry high balances may generate low interchange revenue due to credit line limitations, while customers who use their cards for business and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on their cards while paying off balances every month will have very healthy interchange revenues.

Industry jargon for customer categories

Customers who do not pay in full the amount owed on their monthly statement (the "balance") by the due date (that is, at the end of the "grace period") and are not in a promotional period owe interest ("finance charges") are known in the industry as "revolvers." Those who pay in full (pay the entire balance) are known in the industry as "deadbeaters", "transactors," or "convenience users". Those that shift usage of their business gold reward credit cards or transfer balances frequently are known in the industry as "rate surfers", "rate tarts" or "gamers."

Interest on outstanding balances

Interest charges vary widely from card issuer to card issuer. Often, there are "teaser" rates in effect for initial periods of time (as low as zero percent for, say, six months), whereas regular rates can be as high as 40 percent. In the U.S. there's no federal limit on the interest or late fees business gold reward credit card issuers can charge; the interest rates are set by the states, with some states, like South Dakota, having no ceiling on interest rates and fees, inviting some banks to establish their business gold reward credit card operations there. Other states, like Delaware, have very weak usury laws. The teaser rate no longer applies if the customer doesn't pay his bills on time, and is replaced by a penalty interest rate (for example, 24.99%) that applies retroactively. So customers should be wary of these offers, that usually contain some traps. Cash withdrawals will never carry the teaser rate, for example.

Note that some issuers will charge interest even if the balance was paid off in full by the due date. This practice is called double cycle billing, and is becoming rare in the industry.

Fees charged to customers

The major fees are for:

     Late payments
     Charges that result in exceeding the credit limit on the card (whether done deliberately or by mistake), called overlimit fees
     Returned cheque fees or payment processing fees (eg phone payment fee)
     Cash advances and convenience cheques (often 3% of the amount)[11]. Transactions in a foreign currency (as much as 3% of the amount). A few financial institutions do not charge a fee for this.
     Membership fees (annual or monthly), sometimes a percentage of the credit limit. Issuers love monthly fees as it allows them to charge substantial amounts without the customer realizing how expensive the charge really is (a monthly amount is perceived as half the price of the equivalent annual fee)[citation needed]
     Foreign Exchange Premium

Canada

The Government of Canada maintains a database of the fees, features, interest rates and reward programs of nearly 200 business gold reward credit cards available in Canada. This database is updated on a quarterly basis with information supplied by the business gold reward credit card issuing companies. Information in the database is published every quarter on the website of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

Information in the database is published in two formats. It is available in PDF comparison tables that break down the information according to type of credit card, allowing the reader to compare the features of, for example, all the student business gold reward credit cards in the database.

The database also feeds into an interactive tool on the FCAC website. The interactive tool uses several interview-type questions to build a profile of the user's business gold reward credit card usage habits and needs, eliminating unsuitable choices based on the profile, so that the user is presented with a small number of business gold reward credit cards and the ability to carry out detailed comparisons of features, reward programs, interest rates, etc.

History

The business gold reward credit card was the successor of a variety of merchant credit schemes. It was first used in the 1920s, in the United States, specifically to sell fuel to a growing number of automobile owners. In 1938 several companies started to accept each other's cards.

The concept of using a card for purchases was invented in 1887 by Edward Bellamy and described in his utopian novel Looking Backward. Bellamy uses the explicit term "Credit Card" eleven times in his novel (Chapters 9, 10, 11, 13, 25 and 26) and 3 times (Chapters 4, 8 and 19) in its sequel, Equality.

The concept of paying merchants using a card was invented in 1950 by Ralph Schneider and Frank X. McNamara in order to consolidate multiple cards. The Diners Club, which was created partially through a merger with Dine and Sign, produced the first "general purpose" charge card, which is similar but required the entire bill to be paid with each statement; it was followed shortly thereafter by American Express and Carte Blanche. Western Union had begun issuing charge cards to its frequent customers in 1914.

Bank of America created the BankAmericard in 1958, a product which eventually evolved into the Visa system ("Chargex" also became Visa). MasterCard came to being in 1966 when a group of credit-issuing banks established MasterCharge. The fractured nature of the US banking system meant that business gold reward credit cards became an effective way for those who were travelling around the country to move their credit to places where they could not directly use their banking facilities. In 1966 Barclaycard in the UK launched the first business gold reward credit card outside of the US.

There are now countless variations on the basic concept of revolving credit for individuals (as issued by banks and honored by a network of financial institutions), including organization-branded business gold reward credit cards, corporate-user business gold reward credit cards, store cards and so on.

In contrast, although having reached very high adoption levels in the US, Canada and the UK, it is important to note that many cultures were much more cash-oriented in the latter half of the twentieth century, or had developed alternative forms of cash-less payments, like Carte bleue, or the EC-card (Germany, France, Switzerland, among many others). In these places, the take-up of business gold reward credit cards was initially much slower. It took until the 1990s to reach anything like the percentage market-penetration levels achieved in the US, Canada or UK. In many countries acceptance still remains poor as the use of a business gold reward credit card system depends on the banking system being perceived as reliable.

In contrast, because of the legislative framework surrounding banking system overdrafts, some countries, France in particular, were much faster to develop and adopt chip-based business gold reward credit cards which are now seen as major anti-fraud credit devices.

The design of the business gold reward credit card itself has become a major selling point in recent years. The value of the card to the issuer being related to the Customer's usage of the card. This has led to the rise of Co-Brand and Affinity cards - where the card design is related to the "affinity" (a university, for example) leading to higher card usage. In most cases a percentage of the value of the card is returned to the affinity group.

Controversy

There is some controversy about business gold reward credit card usage in recent years. business gold reward credit card debt has soared, particularly among young people. Since the late 1990s, lawmakers, consumer advocacy groups, college officials and other higher education affiliates have become increasingly concerned about the rising use of business gold reward credit cards among college students. The major business gold reward credit card companies have been accused of targeting a younger audience, in particular college students, many of whom are already in debt with college tuition fees and college loans and who typically are less experienced at managing their own finances. A recent study by United College Marketing Services has shown that student credit lines have increased to over $6,000. business gold reward credit card usage has tripled since 2001 amongst teenagers as well. Since eighteen year olds in many countries and most U.S. states are eligible for a card without parental consent or employment, the likelihood of increased balances, unwise use of credit and damaged credit scores increases.

A 2006 documentary film titled Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders deals with this subject in detail.[12]

According to Larry Chiang of United College Marketing Services, an example of a business gold reward credit card class action was where issuers were "rolling back" posting times to extract more late fees.[citation needed] The due dates were "rolled back" from 1pm to 10am because mail was delivered in the afternoon so due dates were actually rolled back to charge more late fees. The following banks are listed (with the amounts penalized) in this one particular class action.

     Providian: US$405 million
     Bank One: US$40 million
     Chase: US$22.2 million
     Citibank: US$15.5 million

Another controversial area is the universal default feature of many North American business gold reward credit card contracts. When a cardholder is late paying a particular business gold reward credit card issuer, that card's interest rate can be raised, often considerably. Universal default allows creditors to periodically check cardholders' credit portfolios to view trade, thus allowing the institution to decrease the credit limit or increase rates on cardholders who may be late with another business gold reward credit card issuer. Being late on one business gold reward credit card will potentially affect all the cardholder's business gold reward credit cards. Citibank has changed and does not practice this anymore, while others do still [citation needed].

Another controversial area is the trailing interest issue. Trailing interest is the practice of charging interest on the entire bill no matter what percentage of it is paid. U.S Senator Carl Levin raised the issue at a U.S Senate Hearing of the woes of millions of Americans who are slaves to hidden fees, compounding interest and cryptic terms. Their woes were heard in a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing which was chaired by Senator Levin who said that he intends to keep the spotlight on business gold reward credit card companies and that legislative action may be necessary to purge the industry.[13]

One fairly recent change in business gold reward credit cards is the annual fee feature, where the card holder will have to pay a certain yearly fee, he must purchase his credit card. In the 1990's some business gold reward credit cards could still be retained for free, there was no annual charge (sometimes as high as $80.00). But with the restructuring of Direct Merchant's Bank, many business gold reward credit card companies switched from free to fee. Wells Fargo, a large banking institute that used MasterCard prior to the Direct Merchant's Bank debacle, switched to Visa for its credit and debit cards. This was coincidental with the Citibank takeoff, an institute who is also Visa..[citation needed]

In the United States, some have called for Congress to enact additional regulations on the industry; to expand the disclosure box clearly disclosing rate hikes, use plain language, incorporate balance payoff disclosures, and also to outlaw universal default. At a congress hearing around March 1, 2007 Citibank announced it would no longer practice this, effective immediately. Opponents of such regulation argue that customers must become more proactive and self-responsible in evaluating and neogotiating terms with credit offerers. Some of the nation's influential top business gold reward credit card issuers, who are among the top fifty corporate contributors to political campaigns, successfully opposed it.


Payment Allotment

business gold reward credit card companies will apply your payment to a balance with a lower interest rate before a balance with a higher interest rate. If you have a balance from a transfer with an interest rate of 2% and a balance from point of sale purchases with an interest rate of 8%, your payment will affect the purchase balance only after the transfer balance has been paid in full.

Hidden costs

Merchants pay a negotiated fee -- typically 1-3% for larger merchants and 3-6% for smaller merchants -- to process credit payments. They must also bear the cost of providing a point-of-sale solution to enable the acceptance of card transactions and other card services related expenses. business gold reward credit card issuers understand full well that if card holders were aware of and made to pay these additional costs with their purchases it would tend to discourage business gold reward credit card usage. As a consequence, businesses who accept business gold reward credit cards often must sign a "merchant agreement" or contract with the acquirer that stipulates that they are not allowed to offer different prices for card and non-card transactions (sometimes referred to as surcharging) despite the additional costs to the business for accepting the cards. The prohibition on surcharging or cash discounts is enforced by law in some countries, although some governments are beginning to lift this restriction (see below).[citations needed]

Some critics have observed that this results in what is effectively a hidden expense on all transactions conducted by merchants who accept business gold reward credit cards since they must build the cost of transaction fees into their overall business expense. Furthermore, cash and other non-business gold reward credit card using customers are in effect made to subsidize business gold reward credit card user purchases. The cost of the convenience and protections enjoyed by card holders and the profits taken from transaction fees by the card industry (which has come to rely increasingly on this revenue stream over the years) is in part borne by the non-card purchaser. Critics further note that the customers most likely to pay in cash are probably the least able to afford the additional expense, the argument going that card holders are more likely to be affluent and non-card holders less so.[citations needed]

A counterargument is that there are also costs to the merchant in other forms of payment. For cash payments these include frequent trips to the bank or use of an armored delivery service, theft, and employee error, such that cash is actually not cheaper for the merchant than business gold reward credit cards. This argument is probably specious under most circumstances, however, considering that many merchants would offer a discount for cash-paying customers were they allowed, and indeed, do so where it is legal. The fact that laws exist or have existed that prohibit such practices and that the major card issuers strongly discourage such practices can be taken as an indicator that cash transactions do not have as much cost associated with them as business gold reward credit card transactions.[citations needed]

To illustrate, some companies offer incentives or bonus coupons for using cash, such as Canadian Tire Money. Australia is currently acting to reduce this by allowing merchants to apply surcharges for business gold reward credit card users.

In the United Kingdom, merchants won the right through The business gold reward credit cards (Price Discrimination) Order 1990[14] to charge customers different prices according to the payment method, but few merchants do so (the most notable exceptions being budget airlines, travel agents and UK government agencies, such as the DVLA). The United Kingdom is the world's most credit-card-intensive country, with 67 million business gold reward credit cards for a population of 59 million people.[15]

In the United States, until 1984 federal law prohibited surcharges on card transactions. Although the federal Truth in Lending Act provisions that prohibited surcharges expired that year, a number of states have since enacted laws that continue to outlaw the practice; California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas have laws against surcharges. Regardless of what state one resides in or purchases a product, however, both Visa and MasterCard have publicly stated that surcharges on business gold reward credit card transactions are against the rules. [16]

There also exists an economic argument that business gold reward credit card use increases the "velocity" of money in an economy. The result, according to the quantity theory of money, is an effective increase in the money supply, as more money is flowing through the economy at a given time.

business gold reward credit card numbering


The numbers found on business gold reward credit cards have a certain amount of internal structure, and share a common numbering scheme.

The card number's prefix, called the Bank Identification Number, is the sequence of digits at the beginning of the number that determine the bank to which a business gold reward credit card number belongs. This is the first six digits for Mastercard and Visa cards. The next nine digits are the individual account number, and the final digit is a validity check code.

In addition to the main business gold reward credit card number, business gold reward credit cards also carry issue and expiration dates (given to the nearest month), as well as extra codes such as issue numbers and security codes. Not all business gold reward credit cards have the same sets of extra codes nor do they use the same number of digits.

business gold reward credit cards in ATMs

Many business gold reward credit cards can also be used in an ATM to withdraw money against the credit limit extended to the card but many card issuers charge interest on cash advances before they do so on purchases. The interest on cash advances is commonly charged from the date the withdrawal is made, rather than the monthly billing date. Many card issuers levy a commission for cash withdrawals, even if the ATM belongs to the same bank as the card issuer. Merchants do not offer cashback on business gold reward credit card transactions because they would pay a percentage commission of the additional cash amount to their bank or merchant services provider, thereby making it uneconomical.

Many business gold reward credit card companies will also, when applying payments to a card, do so at the end of a billing cycle, and apply those payments to everything before cash advances. For this reason, many consumers have large cash balances, which have no grace period and incur interest at a rate that is (usually) higher than the purchase rate, and will carry those balance for years, even if they pay off their statement balance each month.

business gold reward credit cards as funding for entrepreneurs

business gold reward credit cards are a creative, yet often risky way for entrepreneurs to acquire capital for their start ups when more conventional financing is unavailable. It is rumoured that Larry Page and Sergey Brin's start up of Google was financed by business gold reward credit cards to buy the necessary computers and office equipment, more specifically "a terabyte of memory". [17] Similarly, filmmaker Robert Townsend financed part of Hollywood Shuffle using business gold reward credit cards.[18] Director Kevin Smith funded Clerks. in part by maxing out several business gold reward credit cards. Richard Hatch also financed his production of Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming partly through his business gold reward credit cards. Famed hedge fund manager Bruce Kovner began his career (and, later on, his firm Caxton Associates) in financial markets by borrowing from his credit card.

Collectible business gold reward credit cards

A growing field of numismatics (study of money), or more specifically Exonumia (study of money-like objects), business gold reward credit card collectors seek to collect various embodiments of credit from the now familiar plastic cards to older paper merchant cards, and even metal tokens that were accepted as merchant business gold reward credit cards. Early business gold reward credit cards were made of celluloid, then metal and fiber, then paper and are now mostly plastic.

Charga-Plate

The Charga-Plate is an early predecessor to the credit card. They were issued by large-scale merchants, much like department store business gold reward credit cards of today. In some cases, they were kept in the store. When an authorized user made a purchase, the clerk retrieved the plate from the store's files and then processed the purchase. This made it possible for stores to allow more specialized employees of their customers to use the cards, in addition to corporate officers and executives, who would normally have expense accounts and corporate business gold reward credit cards. For example, an art-supply store that opened an account with a research institute might allow graphic artists employed by the institute to buy art supplies for ongoing projects. It would not be necessary for the research firm to issue a business gold reward credit card to the artist: instead, a supervisor would simply say, "Go to Universal Art Supply and buy those supplies." The employee would go to the store and choose the appropriate supplies, and they would be charged to Central Institute for Research's account.

External links

     Choosing and Using business gold reward credit cards - Consumer business gold reward credit card advice from the Federal Trade Commission
     Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud - More advice from the Federal Trade Commission
     Talk Your Way Out of Credit Debt - NPR Story on how to negotiate with creditors
     Steer Clear in College - NPR story on college business gold reward credit card debt
     Secret History of the business gold reward credit card - PBS/Frontline/New York Times documentary on business gold reward credit cards
     business gold reward credit cards at the Open Directory Project

business gold reward credit card associations

     American Express
     Discover
     MasterCard
     Visa

small business credit card
For other uses, go to The small business credit card

 small business credit card and Economics Portal
Companies law
Basic forms:
Sole proprietorship
Partnership
(General · Limited · LLP)
Corporation
(LLC)
Cooperative
United States:
small business credit card trust
LLLP · Series LLC
Delaware corporation
Nevada corporation
United Kingdom / Commonwealth / Ireland:
Limited company
(By shares · By guarantee)
(Public · Proprietary)
Community interest company
Civil law countries:
AB · AG · ANS · A/S · AS
K.K. · N.V. · OY · S.A. · GmbH
SE
Doctrines
Corporate governance
Limited liability · Ultra vires
small business credit card judgment rule
Internal affairs doctrine
De facto corporation and
corporation by estoppel
Piercing the corporate veil
Rochdale Principles
Related areas of law
Contract · Civil procedure

In economics, a small business credit card is a legally-recognized organizational entity existing within an economically free country designed to sell goods and/or services to consumers or other small business credit cardes, usually in an effort to generate profit.

In predominantly capitalist economies, where most small business credit cardes are privately owned, small business credit cardes are typically formed to earn profit and grow the personal wealth of their owners. The owners and operators of a small business credit card have as one of their main objectives the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for their work and their acceptance of risk. Notable exceptions to this rule include cooperative small business credit cardes and government institutions. This model of small business credit card functioning is contrasted with socialistic systems, which involve either government, public, or worker ownership of most sizable small business credit cardes.

The etymology of "small business credit card" relates to the state of being busy either as an individual or society, doing commercially viable and profitable work. The term "small business credit card" has at least three usages, depending on the scope — the singular usage (above) to mean a particular company or corporation, the generalized usage to refer to a particular market sector, such as "the record small business credit card," or the broadest meaning to include all activity by the community of suppliers of goods and services. However, the exact definition of small business credit card, like much else in the philosophy of small business credit card, is a matter of debate.

small business credit card Studies, the study of the management of individuals organizing to maintain collective productivity toward accomplishing particular creative and productive goals (usually to generate profit), is taught as an academic subject in many schools.
Contents


    * 1 Basic forms of ownership
    * 2 Classifications
    * 3 Organization
    * 4 Management
    * 5 Government regulation
          o 5.1 Organizing a small business credit card
          o 5.2 Commercial law
          o 5.3 Capital
          o 5.4 Intellectual property
          o 5.5 Exit plans
    * 6 See also
    * 7 External links
          o 7.1 General

 Basic forms of ownership

Although forms of small business credit card ownership vary by country and local government, there are several common forms of small business credit card ownership:

    * Sole proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a small business credit card owned by one person. The owner may operate on their own or may employ others. The owner of the small business credit card has total and unlimited personal liability of the debts incurred by the small business credit card.

    * Partnership: A partnership is a form of small business credit card in which two or more people operate for the common goal of making profit. Each partner has total and unlimited personal liability of the debts incurred by the partnership. There are three typical classifications of partnerships: general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.

    * Corporation: A small business credit card corporation is a for-profit, limited liability entity that has a separate legal personality from its members. A corporation is owned by multiple shareholders and is overseen by a board of directors, which hires the small business credit card's managerial staff.

    * Cooperative: Often referred to as a "Co-Op small business credit card" or "Co-Op", a cooperative is a for-profit, limited liability entity that differs from a corporation in that it has members, as opposed to shareholders, who share decision-making authority. Cooperatives are typically classified as either consumer cooperatives or worker cooperatives. Cooperatives are fundamental to the ideology of economic democracy.

 Classifications
Wall Street, Manhattan is the location of the New York Stock Exchange and is often used as a symbol for the world of small business credit card.
Wall Street, Manhattan is the location of the New York Stock Exchange and is often used as a symbol for the world of small business credit card.
Commercial Street, Bangalore. India
Commercial Street, Bangalore. India

There are many types of small business credit cardes, and, as a result, small business credit cardes can be classified in many ways. One of the most common focuses on the primary profit-generating activities of a small business credit card:

    * Manufacturers produce products, from raw materials or component parts, which they then sell at a profit. Companies that make physical goods, such as cars or pipes, are considered manufacturers.
    * Service small business credit cardes offer intangible goods or services and typically generate a profit by charging for labor or other services provided to government, other small business credit cardes or consumers. Organizations ranging from house decorators to consulting firms to restaurants and even to entertainers are types of service small business credit cardes.
    * Retailers and Distributors act as middle-men in getting goods produced by manufacturers to the intended consumer, generating a profit as a result of providing sales or distribution services. Most consumer-oriented stores and catalogue companies are distributors or retailers. See also: Franchising
    * Agriculture and mining small business credit cardes are concerned with the production of raw material, such as plants or minerals.
    * Financial small business credit cardes include banks and other companies that generate profit through investment and management of capital.
    * Information small business credit cardes generate profits primarily from the resale of intellectual property and include movie studios, publishers and packaged software companies.
    * Utilities produce public services, such as heat, electricity, or sewage treatment, and are usually government chartered.
    * Real estate small business credit cardes generate profit from the selling, renting, and development of properties, homes, and buildings.
    * Transportation small business credit cardes deliver goods and individuals from location to location, generating a profit on the transportation costs

There are many other divisions and subdivisions of small business credit cardes. The authoritative list of small business credit card types for North America (although it is widely used around the world) is generally considered to be the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS. The equivalent European Union list is the NACE.

 Organization

Most small business credit cardes must accomplish similar functions regardless of size, legal structure or industry. These functions are often organized into departments. Common departments include (but are not limited to):

Accounting
    Typically responsible for financial reporting, financial controls and the raising of the capital necessary to run the small business credit card.
Human Resources
    Typically responsible for hiring, firing, payroll, benefits, etc.
Marketing and sales
    responsible for selling the small business credit card' goods or services to the customer and for managing the relationships with the customer

        Marketing
            Typically responsible for promoting interest in, and generating demand for, the small business credit card' products or services, and positioning them within the market
        Sales
            finding likely purchasers and obtaining their agreement (known as a contract) to buy the small business credit card' products or services

Operations
    makes the product or delivers the service

        Production
            produces the raw materials into the delivered goods, if they require processing
        Customer service
            supports customers who need help with the goods or services

Procurement
    responsible for acquiring the goods and services necessary for the small business credit card. Sometimes organized as:

        Strategic sourcing
            determines the small business credit card' needs and plans for acquiring the necessary raw materials and services for the small business credit card
        Purchasing
            processes the purchase orders and related transactions

Research and Development
    tests to create new products and to determine their viability (e.g. pilot plants)
Information Technology
    manages the small business credit card' computer and data assets
Communications/Public Relations
    responsible for communicating to the outside world
Administration
    provides administrative support to the other departments (such as typing, filing, etc.)
Internal Audit
    an independent control function typically accountable to the Board of Directors for reporting on the proper functioning of the other departments

Management is sometimes listed as a "department" but typically refers to the top level of leadership within the small business credit card regardless of their functional role.

 Management
 Please help improve this article by expanding this section.
See talk page for details. Please remove this message once the section has been expanded.

The study of the efficient and effective operation of a small business credit card is called management. The main branches of management are financial management, marketing management, human resource management, strategic management, production management, service management, information technology management, and small business credit card intelligence.

 Government regulation
 This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.
Please improve this article if you can (August 2007).
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 The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
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The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London, England.
The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London, England.

Most legal jurisdictions specify the forms of ownership that a small business credit card can take, creating a body of commercial law for each type.

 Organizing a small business credit card

The major factors affecting how a small business credit card is organized are usually:

    * The size and scope of the small business credit card, and its anticipated management and ownership. Generally a smaller small business credit card is more flexible, while larger small business credit cardes, or those with wider ownership or more formal structures, will usually tend to be organized as partnerships or (more commonly) corporations. In addition a small business credit card which wishes to raise money on a stock market or to be owned by a wide range of people will often be required to adopt a specific legal form to do so.
    * The sector and country. Private profit making small business credit cardes are different from government owned bodies. In some countries, certain small business credit cardes are legally obliged to be organized certain ways.
    * Limited liability. Corporations, limited liability partnerships, and other specific types of small business credit card organizations protect their owners from small business credit card failure by doing small business credit card under a separate legal entity with certain legal protections. In contrast, unincorporated small business credit cardes or persons working on their own are usually not so protected.
    * Tax advantages. Different structures are treated differently in tax law, and may have advantages for this reason.
    * Disclosure and compliance requirements. Different small business credit card structures may be required to make more or less information public (or reported to relevant authorities), and may be bound to comply with different rules and regulations.

Many small business credit cardes are operated through a separate entity such as a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company. Most legal jurisdictions allow people to organize such an entity by filing certain charter documents with the relevant Secretary of State or equivalent and complying with certain other ongoing obligations. The relationships and legal rights of shareholders, limited partners, or members are governed partly by the charter documents and partly by the law of the jurisdiction where the entity is organized. Generally speaking, shareholders in a corporation, limited partners in a limited partnership, and members in a limited liability company are shielded from personal liability for the debts and obligations of the entity, which is legally treated as a separate "person." This means that unless there is misconduct, the owner's own possessions are strongly protected in law, if the small business credit card does not succeed.

Where two or more individuals own a small business credit card together but have failed to organize a more specialized form of vehicle, they will be treated as a general partnership. The terms of a partnership are partly governed by a partnership agreement if one is created, and partly by the law of the jurisdiction where the partnership is located. No paperwork or filing is necessary to create a partnership, and without an agreement, the relationships and legal rights of the partners will be entirely governed by the law of the jurisdiction where the partnership is located.

A single person who owns and runs a small business credit card is commonly known as a sole proprietor, whether he or she owns it directly or through a formally organized entity.

A few relevant factors to consider in deciding how to operate a small business credit card include:

   1. General partners in a partnership (other than a limited liability partnership), plus anyone who personally owns and operates a small business credit card without creating a separate legal entity, are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the small business credit card.
   2. Generally, corporations are required to pay tax just like "real" people. In some tax systems, this can give rise to so-called double taxation, because first the corporation pays tax on the profit, and then when the corporation distributes its profits to its owners, individuals have to include dividends in their income when they complete their personal tax returns, at which point a second layer of income tax is imposed.
   3. In most countries, there are laws which treat small corporations differently than large ones. They may be exempt from certain legal filing requirements or labor laws, have simplified procedures in specialized areas, and have simplified, advantageous, or slightly different tax treatment.
   4. In order to "go public" (sometimes called IPO) -- which basically means to allow a part of the small business credit card to be owned by a wider range of investors or the public in general -- you must organize a separate entity, which is usually required to comply with a tighter set of laws and procedures. Most public entities are corporations that have sold shares, but increasingly there are also public LLCs that sell units (sometimes also called shares), and other more exotic entities as well (for example, REITs in the USA, Unit Trusts in the UK). However, you cannot take a general partnership "public."

 Commercial law

Most commercial transactions are governed by a very detailed and well-established body of rules that have evolved over a very long period of time, it being the case that governing trade and commerce was a strong driving force in the creation of law and courts in Western civilization.

As for other laws that regulate or impact small business credit cardes, in many countries it is all but impossible to chronicle them all in a single reference source. There are laws governing treatment of labor and generally relations with employees, safety and protection issues (OSHA or Health and Safety), anti-discrimination laws (age, gender, disabilities, race, and in some jurisdictions, sexual orientation), minimum wage laws, union laws, workers compensation laws, and annual vacation or working hours time.

In some specialized small business credit cardes, there may also be licenses required, either due to special laws that govern entry into certain trades, occupations or professions, which may require special education, or by local governments who just want your money. Professions that require special licenses run the gamut from law and medicine to flying airplanes to selling liquor to radio broadcasting to selling investment securities to selling used cars to roofing. Local jurisdictions may also require special licenses and taxes just to operate a small business credit card without regard to the type of small business credit card involved.

Some small business credit cardes are subject to ongoing special regulation. These industries include, for example, public utilities, investment securities, banking, insurance, broadcasting, aviation, and health care providers. Environmental regulations are also very complex and can impact many kinds of small business credit cardes in unexpected ways.

 Capital

When small business credit cardes need to raise money (called 'capital'), more laws come into play. A highly complex set of laws and regulations govern the offer and sale of investment securities (the means of raising money) in most Western countries. These regulations can require disclosure of a lot of specific financial and other information about the small business credit card and give buyers certain remedies. Because "securities" is a very broad term, most investment transactions will be potentially subject to these laws, unless a special exemption is available.

Capital may be raised through private means, by public offer (IPO) on a stock exchange, or in many other ways. Major stock exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq (USA), the London Stock Exchange (UK), the Tokyo Stock Exchange (Japan), and so on. Most countries with capital markets have at least one.

small business credit card that have gone "public" are subject to extremely detailed and complicated regulation about their internal governance (such as how executive officers' compensation is determined) and when and how information is disclosed to the public and their shareholders. In the United States, these regulations are primarily implemented and enforced by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Other Western nations have comparable regulatory bodies.

As noted at the beginning, it is impossible to enumerate all of the types of laws and regulations that impact on small business credit card today. In fact, these laws have become so numerous and complex, that no small business credit card lawyer can learn them all, forcing increasing specialization among corporate attorneys. It is not unheard of for teams of 5 to 10 attorneys to be required to handle certain kinds of corporate transactions, due to the sprawling nature of modern regulation. Commercial law spans general corporate law, employment and labor law, healthcare law, securities law, M&A law (who specialize in acquisitions), tax law, ERISA law (ERISA in the United States governs employee benefit plans), food and drug regulatory law, intellectual property law (specializing in copyrights, patents, trademarks and such), telecommunications law, and more.

In Thailand, for example, it is necessary to register a particular amount of capital for each employee, and pay a fee to the government for the amount of capital registered. There is no legal requirement to prove that this capital actually exists, the only requirement is to pay the fee. This is a typical example of a corrupt government using its power to create laws in order to steal money. Overall, processes like this are detrimental to the development and GDP of a country, but often exist in "feudal" developing countries.

 Intellectual property

small business credit cardes often have important "intellectual property" that needs protection from competitors in order for the company to stay profitable. This could require patents or copyrights or preservation of trade secrets. Most small business credit cardes have names, logos and similar branding techniques that could benefit from trademarking. Patents and copyrights in the United States are largely governed by federal law, while trade secrets and trademarking are mostly a matter of state law. Because of the nature of intellectual property, a small business credit card needs protection in every jurisdiction in which they are concerned about competitors. Many countries are signatories to international treaties concerning intellectual property, and thus companies registered in these countries are subject to national laws bound by these treaties.

 Exit plans

small business credit cardes can be bought and sold. small business credit card owners often refer to their plan of disposing of the small business credit card as an "exit plan." Common exit plans include IPOs, MBOs and mergers with other small business credit cardes.

 See also

    Main lists: List of basic small business credit card topics and List of small business credit card topics

This encyclopedia includes over 1600 small business credit card and economics articles, so not all appear listed here. This lists some of the main branches of small business credit card. For more specific topics, look at the various sublists.

    * Accounting
          o List of accounting topics
    * Advertising
    * Banking
    * Big small business credit card
    * small business credit card broker
    * small business credit card ethics
          o List of small business credit card ethics, political economy, and philosophy of small business credit card topics
          o Social responsibility
    * small business credit card hours
    * small business credit card schools
    * Capitalism
    * Commerce
    * Commercial law
          o List of small business credit card law topics
    * Cooperative
    * Corporation
    * Corporate law
    * Economics
          o Economic democracy
          o Financial economics
          o List of economics topics
    * Electronic commerce
          o E-small business credit card
    * Entrepreneurship
    * Finance
          o List of finance topics

  

    * Franchising
    * Government ownership
    * Human Resources
          o List of human resource management topics
    * Industry
    * Intellectual property
    * International trade
          o List of international trade topics
    * Insurance
    * Investment
    * Limited liability
    * Management
          o List of management topics
    * Management information systems
          o List of information technology management topics
    * Manufacturing
          o List of production topics
    * Marketing
          o List of marketing topics
    * Organizational studies
    * Partnership
    * Sole proprietorship
    * Real Estate
          o List of real estate topics
    * Small small business credit card
    * Strategic Management
    * Strategic Planning

Do you own a business? Would you like to earn great rewards while paying for your business expenses? If this sounds like you, then the American Express Business Gold Rewards card is the card for you. This post covers the basic information about this card and why it is an ideal card for business owners.

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card: The Basics

  • $125 annual fee, waived the first year
  • Enrollment in Membership Rewards Program
  • No pre-set limit
  • Earn one point per dollar spent, with no expiration date or limit on points

The Most Rewarding Business Card

For business owners with good credit who pay off their balances each month, the Rewards Business Gold card cannot be beat. The Gold Rewards Card allows you to accumulate rewards points for each dollar you spend on the card. The American Express Rewards Program is renowned as one of the best in the business for its flexibility and tremendous selection of services and merchandise for which members may redeem their points.

Point Accumulation Made Easy

The Gold Rewards Card by American Express makes it easier than any other card to accumulate reward points. Aside from the points you can earn with your spending, the American Express Gold Rewards card for businesses allows you to earn additional points for your patronage of selected merchants. And, when you sign up for the card, you get 25,000 bonus points to redeem for a round-trip domestic airline ticket, 5,000 bonus points after your first purchase, 5,000 bonus points for hitting $20,000 in spending, 20,000 bonus points for reaching $50,000 in spending, and 10,000 bonus points for renewing the card for a year. In fact, if you spend an average of $5,000 per month, you could earn up to 100,000 bonus points in just the first year!

Other Perks

The benefits of having the Business Gold Rewards card even extend beyond the point redemption program. By being a cardholder, you can get discounts from American Express partners, including AT&T, Hertz, and FedEx. American Express also offers special services to cardholders, like auto rental insurance, purchase protection, emergency and travel assistance, and up to $100,000 in insurance against travel accidents.

American Express is famous for offering two unique credit card types - those with a revolving credit line and those that must be paid in full at the end of the billing period. Cards of the latter type carry a "n/a" value in the Regular APR category as listed with each credit card below, whereas those with a line of credit will have an annual percentage rate listed. Do not mistake a "n/a" to mean that there is no interest rate associated with the corresponding card - this simply means that you must pay your balance in full or you may be subject to a large fee. See the terms and conditions for the credit card you choose before you apply to view the specifics of the payment program.

Credit cards weren't always the defining product/service of American Express; in fact, the company opened its doors in 1850 as a logistics/freight company in New York. This was during a time when the United States Postal Service was unable to deliver packages that were larger than a letter, which presented a business opportunity for companies like American Express to capitalize on a need for a reliable delivery service. Thus, American Express was born - and the relationships they developed with their partner companies early on laid the groundwork for a national financial services firm that would later offer the early versions of credit cards to more than 1 million account holders by the late 1950s. Today, American Express specializes in financial services centralized around a travel-planning background, which gives rise to many of the amazing American Express credit card offers with travel rewards listed below.

 The story of American Express is a fascinating one, filled with interesting and sometimes quirky characters who -- through a combination of brains, perseverance and luck -- shaped the company's development during the past century and a half.

The express company that forwarded freight and valuables evolved into a company that created and sold financial products like money orders and travelers cheques. Following an era of international expansion, the company became an entity perhaps best known for its charge card. Today, American Express is a global payments company.

The attributes that today are the hallmarks of the American Express brand -- trust, integrity, security, quality, customer service -- all have their roots in this compelling story. In this history, as well, are the genesis and development of the company's aspiration to become the world's most respected service brand.

 EXPRESSMEN JOIN FORCES
Established in 1850 in New York, American Express Company was among the first and most successful express delivery businesses to arise during the rapid westward expansion of the United States. The U.S. Postal Service at the time was slow, expensive and nonexistent in many areas. Nothing larger than a letter-sized envelope could be sent by mail, and certainly nothing valuable, as a fair number of deliveries were lost or stolen enroute.

The express companies served as a lifeline to the growing nation. Intrepid expressmen, typically on horseback or driving stagecoaches, traversed from the eastern cities to the western frontier, transporting correspondence, parcels, freight, gold and currency, among countless other goods. American Express quickly earned a reputation as the best in the fledgling industry – the company that delivered, literally.

Although in its early years American Express was not itself a financial services company, its largest and most consistent clients were banks. Delivering the banks’ typically small parcels – stock certificates, notes, currency and other financial instruments – was considerably more profitable than transporting larger freight. Soon the company would scale down its parcel and freight delivery business in favor of creating and selling its own financial products.

 

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION
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 cheques annually.

In the course of building the money order and travelers cheque businesses, the company established correspondent banking relationships with a number of European banks that accepted and encashed the products. As a result, the American Express name became increasingly visible throughout Europe. In 1895, the company established its first European office, in Paris, at 6, rue Halévy, followed by the 1896 opening of an office at 3 Waterloo Place in London. By 1910, American Express had expanded to Southampton, Liverpool, Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Naples and Genoa.

Although foreign exchange transactions were conducted as early as 1895 by the Paris office, the official initiation of the company’s overseas banking operations took place in 1904, when the Rotterdam office opened in Netherlands and began conducting commercial banking services.

Meanwhile, back in New York, millions of immigrants were entering the United States through Ellis Island. After uncovering several examples of flagrant swindling among the independent moneychangers on the premises, the U.S. Immigration Department awarded a contract to American Express in 1905 to provide official currency exchange services. Over the years, countless newcomers completed their first business transactions in the United States at the American Express teller’s window on Ellis Island.

A singular historic event – the outbreak of World War I in Europe – brought about the next dramatic transformation of American Express and more fully shaped it, willingly or unwillingly, into a travel services company.


WAR AND THE AGE OF TRAVEL
During the summer of 1914, approximately 150,000 American tourists were stranded when war engulfed Europe, many without access to funds. Banks had ceased to pay against foreign letters of credit or any other form of foreign paper. Panic-stricken travelers lined up inside and outside the offices of American Express in whatever city they happened to be visiting. American Express was able to cash all travelers cheques and money orders in full, enabling quick passage home for thousands. Many of those remaining were able to book passage home soon after a decision by American Express and a consortium of nine U.S. banks to ship $10 million in gold to Europe so that local banks could once again honor foreign drafts.

Throughout the war, American Express provided other services as well. The company was appointed official agent of the British government to deliver relief parcels, letters and money to British prisoners of war in Germany. Eventually, American Express was delivering 150 tons of packages a day to British prisoners in Bulgaria, Germany, Holland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Employees also went into the prisoner of war camps to cash drafts for British and French prisoners, and made arrangements whereby they could receive money from home.

American Express officially entered the travel business in 1915. As one executive wrote to the company’s president earlier that year, “Already, we supply travelers with the tickets for their European tours; we receive and forward their mail; we provide reading and writing rooms for their convenience; we store and forward their baggage and packages; we engage their return steamship accommodations. In fact, we are doing already for travelers practically everything except that which is most remunerative to ourselves, namely, furnishing eastbound steamship tickets to Europe; providing hotel accommodations and conducting small parties desiring such a service.”

Within the decade, American Express was undertaking tours to Europe, South America, the Far East, the West Indies and other destinations around the globe. The company became synonymous with luxury travel after its successful charter in 1922 of the first around-the-world cruise, a four-month, 30,000-mile voyage of the Cunard liner, Laconia, with stops in Cuba, Panama, Honolulu, Japan, China, Java, Singapore, India, Cairo and the Mediterranean. (The Laconia went on to carry passengers around the world for another 20 years, before being torpedoed and sunk during World War II.)

American Express’ focus on travel continued through the next several decades. The sale of travelers cheques and money orders – and, more specifically, the float on them and the prudent and profitable investment of that float – generated the revenue that supported this phase of the company’s travel endeavors.

 MATTERS OF SURVIVAL
American Express nearly disappeared as an independent company in 1929. Chase National Bank had been quietly buying up shares of the company for several years. Not until Chase completed a tender offer for American Express did it come to light that its prospective buyer already owned 97 percent of the company.

Two unforeseen and unrelated events saved American Express from becoming fully absorbed by Chase. First, the majority of the owners of the remaining 4,702 shares of American Express balked at selling them, either refusing outright or demanding exorbitant prices. Second, in 1933, the U.S. Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited banks from engaging in nonbanking businesses. Chase was left with no choice but to divest the American Express investment it had acquired just a few years earlier.

Roiled by the Chase incident and battered by the Great Depression American Express struggled through the 1930s. Since it was not a financial institution, per se, the company continued operations during the U.S. bank holiday, and in some respects became a de facto banker for the American people. As in Europe at the outbreak of World War I, American Express offices maintained cash reserves that were sufficient to meet the demands of customers who wanted to encash their travelers cheques or money orders. The company even paid against competing products, many of which were otherwise virtually worthless since the issuing institutions had closed.

During 1938 and 1939, as the prospect of another world war loomed over Europe, there was still a sizable group of longtime American Express managers and employees who had worked for the company 25 years before, during World War I. Their past experiences – and their advance planning, in this instance – helped the company survive World War II.

Even before the official declaration of war, American Express had mounted extensive preparations to protect its financial and real estate assets, including its principal offices in Berlin, London, Paris, Rome and Rotterdam. Throughout Europe, American Express offices continued operating until the last possible moment in countries about to be invaded – often long after American embassies and consulates had been ordered to evacuate. Ultimately, the Berlin office at 3 Unter den Linden was destroyed, and the Rotterdam office sustained extensive damages.

In England, the Liverpool office and the company’s London headquarters in the Haymarket were hit by German bombs during the blitz, as was the Cornhill (London) office, which somehow managed to open the morning after a devastating air raid. Amid the wreckage, local employees posted an “Open for Business” sign and continued to work frantically, making travel arrangements for Allied military leaders and diplomats, and for the evacuation of British children to America and Canada.

Throughout the conflict, company officials feared not only for the safety of employees but also for the very underpinnings of the business. There were predictions that the war might prove to be the death knell for travelers cheques, as sales would plummet when the public ceased to travel. The exact opposite proved to be true. As U.S. soldiers joined the war effort, they were encouraged by the U.S. government to carry their accumulated pay in travelers cheques. Soldiers and sailors used millions of dollars’ worth of cheques; and despite the dire predictions, American Express’ business did not crumble.

Between the end of the war (when the company had 1,500 employees and 50 offices) and 1950, American Express rebuilt its business and enjoyed tremendous growth. By the time of the company’s centennial celebration in 1950, the American Express family had grown to include more than 5,500 employees working in 173 offices worldwide, and reported net income of more than $3 million.

As travel within and beyond the United States blossomed, the company’s volume of travel business grew and set new records.

What could not be overlooked, however, was consumers’ increasing use of a new device – the credit card – for travel and entertainment expenses. Opinions within American Express’ ranks differed about whether or not the company should issue a card. Aware that doing so could cannibalize travelers cheque sales, the company’s leaders eventually agreed that it was a better option than losing cheque sales to competitors’ cards.

THE CARD ERA
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. Within ten years, the card business was growing steadily and generating a healthy profit. And, to the surprise of many, so was the company’s travelers cheque business.

In the late 1970s, American Express – like many other large companies of the era – was intent on becoming a global conglomerate, with huge, multifaceted businesses and diversified income streams that could protect the company in the event of hard times in one of its core businesses. During the next several years the company acquired several large acquisitions toward that end, including Shearson Loeb Rhoades, First Data Resources, Trade Development Bank, Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, and Investors Diversified Services (rebranded American Express Financial Advisors in 1995 and spun off as Ameriprise, Inc. in 2005).

The synergies between the subsidiaries that American Express’ leaders had envisioned didn’t come to pass, however. By 1985, following the string of expensive acquisitions, American Express embarked on a somewhat different strategy – to continue to build the company’s core businesses from within and shed the noncore activities.

A few investments were unloaded, and it appeared as though the plan was working. American Express had a banner year in 1986, with earnings exceeding $1 billion for the first time in its history. Each of the company’s operating units posted record-breaking profits. Reflecting the triumphant mood was the cover of the 1986 annual report, which showed the new American Express Tower amid the fireworks of the nearby Statue of Liberty’s centenary celebration.

 TRYING TIMES
In 1987, American Express Bank added $950 million to its reserves against outstanding loans in Latin America. Later the same year, the U.S. stock market experienced its largest drop since the Great Depression; and in the aftermath, Shearson was rocked by a series of serious missteps and setbacks. The situation ultimately became so dire that in 1990, American Express repurchased all of Shearson’s remaining publicly traded stock for more than $1 billion and provided a critically necessary capital infusion.

Continuing problems at Shearson masked an ultimately more disturbing development. Serious problems were developing in the core American Express Card business. Despite the introduction in 1987 of a new revolving credit product in the United States, the company’s share of the U.S. card market fell during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Trouble was also brewing on the merchant front. In Boston in 1991, a group of restaurateurs, upset about what they felt were American Express’ unfairly high rates, staged a revolt that came to be known as the Boston Fee Party. Outside the United States, card suppression – when merchants try to dissuade customers from using the American Express Card – began to rise.

Years later, the company’s chief executive would say, in retrospect, “If not for the strength of our brand name, American Express would have collapsed by the late 1980s.”

 TURNAROUND AND GROWTH
American Express divested several businesses to strengthen the company’s balance sheet and concentrated on shoring up its core payment, travel and financial planning businesses. The 1984 acquisition of IDS (Investors Diversified Services) – which had initiated American Express’ transformation from what had become known as a card and travel company into a true financial services power – proved to be a valuable investment, particularly as other parts of the enterprise underwent major reengineering efforts to overhaul business processes and slash operating costs. The company eventually lopped $3 billion from its cost base, freeing up money to invest in a number of new products and services.

Rebuilding relationships with merchants became a top priority, as did significantly increasing American Express Card acceptance across a wide range of industries and geographical markets. The company also began forming a number of strategic partnerships with selected airlines, banks, retailers and other key businesses around the world. Proving highly successful, these alliances have enabled American Express and its partners to efficiently leverage their brands and business strengths while providing premium products and services to their mutual customers.

Within the decade, American Express was again operating from a position of strength. As the company celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2000, its earnings, market share, core businesses and share price were strong. Even so, the company began taking steps to counter several external economic issues on the horizon.

No one could have predicted the magnitude of the challenges to come.

 FULL CIRCLE
More than 4,000 American Express employees were in Lower Manhattan the morning of September 11, 2001. Eleven of them lost their lives that day. Eight were hospitalized with injuries, and dozens more lost family members, friends and loved ones.

Even as the horrifying events of that day unfolded, American Express business operations continued without interruption. People quickly shifted into emergency mode, adjusting schedules and procedures to meet the urgent needs of hundreds of thousands of travel customers, cardmembers and financial services clients – plus countless others the world over who needed help and had nowhere else to turn.

Directly across the street from ground zero, American Express’ headquarters building sustained considerable damage. Thousands of employees would work from interim locations for the following eight months, some longer.

The company’s mettle was tested time and time again in the months after 9/11, but employees pushed ahead with great focus, determination and resourcefulness. When it mattered most, American Express employees acted instinctively to help their customers, colleagues, neighbors and community.

Within a year of the tragedy, most of the New York workforce had reunited in Lower Manhattan. The company’s improved financial performance – despite the persistently harsh economic climate – was enabling it to step up growth initiatives to further strengthen its competitive position in the coming years. And while battling the toughest crisis in American Express’ history, employees had not only honored the company’s long-established commitment to providing extraordinary customer service, they had raised the standard.

Today, American Express has never been more competitive. It is a world leader in providing charge and credit cards to consumers, small businesses and corporations. It is the world's largest travel agency, offering travel and related consulting services to individuals and corporations around the world.

As it has throughout its long and varied past, American Express continues to deliver valuable and innovative services to its customers. It remains committed to its longstanding core values. And, as it was in 1850, it is poised to seize new opportunities in a rapidly changing industry and world.

 

American Express


American Express Company
American Express logo
Type  Public (NYSE: AXP)
Founded  1850
Headquarters: New York, New York
Key people Kenneth Chenault, Chairman & CEO
Industry:  Finance and Insurance
Products: Financial services
Revenue: $27.136 billion USD (2006) [1]
Net income: $3.707 billion USD (2006) [2]
Employees: 65,800 (2005)
Slogan  Do More
Website  
www.americanexpress.com

American Express (NYSE: AXP), sometimes known as " AmEx " or " Amex ", is a diversified global financial services company, headquartered in New York City. The company is best known for its credit card , charge card and traveler's cheque businesses .

The company's common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "AXP." It is one of the 30 stocks that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is ranked as the 74th largest company by Fortune. In 2007, Business Week and Interbrand ranked American Express as the 15th most valuable brand in the world, estimating the brand to be worth US$20.87 billion.

The current CEO is Kenneth Chenault, who took over in 2001.
  
History:
Early history

American Express was founded in 1850, in Buffalo, New York, as a joint stock corporation that was a merger of the express mail companies owned by Henry Wells (Wells & Company), William Fargo (Livingston, Fargo & Company), and John Butterfield (Butterfield, Wasson & Company), as an express business American Express first established its headquarters in a building at the intersection of Jay Street and Hudson Street in the TriBeCa section of Manhattan, and 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.

  American Express Buildings

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. 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.

In 1880, American Express built a new warehouse business behind the Broadway Credit Building at 46 Trinity Place, between Exchange Alley and Rector Street. 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 terra cotta 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 Card Street.

By 1903, the company had assets of some $28 million but had not begun its credit card business , and was 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.

The 23-story, neo-classical, American Express Co. Building, was constructed in 1916-17 to the design of James L. Aspinwall, of the firm of Renwick, Aspinwall & Tucker, the successor to the architectural practice of the eminent James Renwick, Jr.. The building consolidated the two lots of the former buildings with a single business address: 65 Broadway. 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 credit plan employed from the 1880s through the 1910s to provide offices with maximum light and air. 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 Gold Eagle adorns the building twice: there is an asymmetric eagle on the lower arch, while a symmetric gold eagle adorns the arch atop the building. The Broadway entrance features a double-story Corinthian colonnade with large arched windows. The building completed the continuous masonry wall of its block-front and assisted in transforming Broadway into the " credit card canyon" of neo-classical masonry office towers familiar to this day.

American Express sold this building in 1975, but retained travel services here, but relocating its gold business credit card services elsewhere. 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 & Poors, who has renamed the building for itself.

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[2]. In 1882, American Express started its expansion in the area of financial services by launching its money order business[2]. to compete with the US Post Office's money orders. This product quickly spread to Europe where no such financial product existed.

 American Express today

Current CEO Kenneth Chenault took over leadership of American Express from Harvey Golub, CEO from 1993 to 2001. Prior to that, it was headed by James D. Robinson III from 1977 to 1993.

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, he found it difficult to obtain cash anywhere except in major cities. Mr. Fargo went to Marcellus Flemming Berry and asked him to create a better solution than the traditional letter of credit. Mr. Berry created the American Express Travelers Cheque which was launched in 1891 in denominations of $10, $20, $50, and $100.[6]

The travelers cheque established American Express as a truly international company. In 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, 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 travellers.

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.[2]. 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. 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 radar. The result was a new company called the American Railway Express Agency company 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 of railroad lines, and had 10,000 offices, with over 30,000 employees).

 Travel Division

American Express established a Travel Division in 1915 that tied together all of the earlier efforts at making travel easier, and soon established its first travel agencies.

 Charge card services history
 This article or section may contain text that is an inappropriate mixture of prose and timeline.
Please help convert this timeline into prose or, if necessary, a list.

American Express executives discussed the possibility of launching a travel charge card as early as 1946, but it was not until Diners Club launched their own 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 actually issued 250,000 cards prior to the official launch date. 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 7810 plastic cards, an industry first.

In 1966, American Express introduced the Gold Card and in 1984 the Platinum Card, clearly defining different market segments within 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). It was offered by invitation only to American Express customers with at least 2 years of tenure, significant spending, and excellent payment history.

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, 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 Optima is no longer heavily promoted, Optima and Optima Platinum cards are still available on the American Express website. Today American Express offers a wide range of other credit card products including co-branded cards like the JetBlue Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Card, as well as other credit cards promoting customer rewards like the Blue from American Express Card and the Blue Cash Rebate Card.

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.) The card was discontinued a few years later; however, the currently-available One from American Express card offers a similar feature called "Interest Protection."

In 1999, American Express introduced the Centurion Card which is often referred to as the "black card," catering to an even more affluent and elite customer segment. The card charged a $1,000 annual fee at the time of its introduction (today, it is $2,500 with an additional one-time initiation fee of $5000) and offered (and continues to offer) a variety of exclusive benefits. There have always been rumors of a super-exclusive card that gives American Express' richest and most powerful customers special perks. It was this rumor that caused Amex to profit off the word-of-mouth and sparked the launch of Centurion.[7]

The company made another addition to its products in 1999 by introducing Blue from American Express, which quickly became a popular card among young adults due to an appealing marketing campaign directed towards a youthful demographic. Based on a successful product for the European market, Blue had no annual fee, a rewards program, and a multi-functional onboard chip. A cashback version, "Blue Cash", quickly followed.

American Express also launched an exclusive agreement with Costco in 1999, replacing an earlier agreement with Discover Card. Under the agreement, American Express cards replaced Discover as the only credit/charge card accepted at the warehouse club in the US, and American Express became the first and only credit/charge card accepted at Costco's locations outside the US. To introduce Costco members to American Express, a no-annual-fee co-branded cashback credit card was also introduced. An added benefit of the agreement for the Costco member is the annual Costco membership fee is billed the American Express card. The agreement was highly successful and was renewed in 2004 for an additional 10 years.

As of 2005, the US Centurion card has a $2500 annual fee, while other 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, while Gold card annual fees start at $125.

In 2005, American Express introduced Clear, advertised as the first credit card with no fees of any kind. It also incorporates the ExpressPay technology premiered with the Blue card. Also in 2005, American Express introduced One, a credit card with a "Savings Accelerator Plan" that contributes 1% of eligible purchases into an FDIC-insured High-Yield Savings Account. 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. They have also introduced City Reward Cards that earn INSIDE Rewards points to eat, drink, and play at New York, Chicago and LA hot spots.

Also in 2005, American Express introduced ExpressPay, a MasterCard PayPass clone, based on a wireless RFID payment method, that requires a card to simply be waved in front of a special reader and not swiped. This technology replaced the smart chip on the Blue card. Many US merchant and restaurant partners including 7-Eleven, CVS/pharmacy, McDonald's, Regal Entertainment Group, and Ritz Camera, now offer ExpressPay at most or all of their locations. The technology was tested on the ski bus from Salt Lake City to local resorts.

In 2006, the UK division of American Express licensed the Product Red brand and began to issue a Red Card. With each card member purchase the company contributes to good causes through The Global Fund to help African women and children suffering from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

In 2007, American Express again raised the annual fee for their American Platinum charge cards, moving the Personal cards fee to $450, and the Business division to $395. With the increase, customers now receive four complimentary companion coach tickets per calendar year. Additionally, a long rumored "relationship" fee of $5,000 to establish a Centurion card was added. The annual fee of $2,500 remains the same, however. In late 2007, they announced their new Plum Card as the latest addition to their card line. The card provides a 2% early pay discount or up to two months defer pay on purchases. The first 10,000 cards will be issued to members on December 16.[8]

Features: Some versions of the card include various features such as Damage waiver on cars rented with the card, and accident insurance during travel bought with the card.

 The "Boston Fee Party"

From the 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. This prompted competitors such as Visa and MasterCard to cry foul for a while as the tactics "locked" restaurants into American Express.

However, in 1991, 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's fees at the time (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" in reference to the Boston Tea Party, quickly spread nationwide to over 250 restaurants across the US, including restaurants in other cities such as New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In response, American Express decided to reduce its discount rate gradually to compete more effectively and add new merchants to its network such as supermarkets and drugstores. Many elements of the exclusive acceptance program were also phased out so American Express could effectively encourage businesses to add American Express cards to their existing list of payment options.

Currently, American Express' average US merchant rate is about 2.5%, while the average Visa/MasterCard credit card US merchant rate is about 2% (Visa/MasterCard signature debit cards are at 1.7%). Some merchant sectors, such as quick-service restaurants including McDonald's, have special reduced rates to accommodate business needs and profit margins.

Not all the changes from 1991 have taken wind: A very small number of restaurants in major cities still exclusively accept American Express because the vast majority of their customers primarily use Amex cards. Likewise, Neiman Marcus accepts only American Express and their store card; however, the current exclusive agreement with American Express is due to expire soon and may not be renewed as an exclusive agreement. Costco also has an exclusivity agreement with American Express; however, Costco's agreement with Amex was the result of a long negotiation process for exclusive acceptance with multiple parties that also included Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.

 Financial services history

During the 1980s, American Express embarked on its dream to become a financial services supercompany. In mid-1981 it purchased Shearson Loeb Rhoades Inc the second largest securities firm in the US. In 1984 it purchased the 90-year old Investors Diversified Services, bringing with it a fleet of financial advisors and investment products. Also 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 1988, the Firm acquired E.F. Hutton, forming Shearson Lehman Hutton until 1990, when the Firm's name became Shearson Lehman Brothers. When Harvey Golub took the reins in 1993 he negotiated the sale of Shearson's retail brokerage and asset management business to Primerica and in following year, spun-off of the remaining investment banking and institutional businesses as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

In April 1992, American Express spun off its subsidiary, First Data Corp., in an IPO. 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 December 2000, American Express agreed to acquire the credit card portfolio of Bank of Hawaii, then a division of Pacific Century Financial Corp. Bank of Hawaii, along with its sister bank, Pacific Century Bank, became the first U.S. banks to issue American Express cards when the deal was completed the following year. In January 2006, American Express sold its Bank of Hawaii card portfolio to Bank of America (MBNA). Bank of America will issue Visa and American Express cards under the Bank of Hawaii name.

In January 2004, American Express reached a deal to have its cards issued by a U.S. bank, MBNA America. Initially decried by MasterCard executives as nothing but an "experiment", these cards were released in October of 2004. Some said that the relationship was going to be threatened by MBNA's merger with Bank of America, a major Visa issuer and original developer of VISA. However, an agreement was reached between American Express and Bank of America on December 21, 2005. Under the terms of the agreement, Bank of America will own the customer loans and American Express will process the transactions. Also, American Express will dismiss Bank of America from its antitrust litigation against Visa, MasterCard and a number of U.S. banks. 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, 2006.

Since then, Citibank, GE Money, and USAA have also started issuing American Express cards. Citibank currently issues several American Express cards including an American Airlines AAdvantage co-branded card, while GE is currently issuing a co-branded card for Dillard's. HSBC Bank USA is currently testing both HSBC-branded and Neiman Marcus co-branded American Express rewards credit cards, with a full rollout scheduled for late 2007 or early 2008. Also, UBS launched its Resource Card program for US Wealth Management clients issuing Visa Signature credit cards and American Express charge cards linked to their customers accounts and employing a single rewards program for the two cards.

In 2005, American Express released the American Express Travelers Cheque Card, a stored-value card that serves the same purposes as a traveler's cheque, but can be used in stores like a credit card. The card has since been discontinued as of October 31, 2007, due to "changing market conditions". All cardholders were issued refund checks for the remaining balances.

On 30 September, 2005, American Express spun off its American Express Financial Advisors unit as a publicly traded company, Ameriprise Financial, Inc.. Due to this, American Express revenues for 2005 are down around $5 billion, however, like-for-like they are up 10.5% in 2005. Also, on September 30, 2005, RSM McGladrey acquired American Express Tax & Business Services (TBS).

 Advertising

In 1975, David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mather developed the highly successful "Don't Leave Home Without It" ad campaign for American Express Traveler's Cheques, featuring Oscar-award-winning actor Karl Malden. Karl Malden served as the public face of American Express Travelers Cheques for twenty-five years. His television ads were a combination of suspense, excitement, news, and a compelling call to action. First, you would see a thief stealing money from some poor unsuspecting tourist's wallet or beach bag or hotel room. Then Karl would arrive on the scene looking like the cop he played in the famous television series, Streets of San Francisco. He would say, "This could happen to you!" And then the call to action: "Don't let a thief spoil your vacation. Get American Express Travelers Cheques. Don't leave home without them." After Karl Malden's departure, and the card was promoted over the traveller's cheques, American Express continued to use celebrities. A typical ad for the American Express Card showed a celebrity saying "Do you know me?", giving some hints, but the person's name was never mentioned except as imprinted on an American Express card. The "Don't Leave Home Without It" slogan was revived in 2005 for the prepaid American Express Travelers Cheque Card.

    * Sesame Street parodied the "Do you know me?/Don't Leave Home Without It" ad campaigns with two skits involving holding a grownup's hand while crossing the street. One skit had Forgetful Jones and the other had Bert and Ernie. Both skits ended with their names being embossed onto a card looking like an American Express card, and a voiceover saying "A grownup's hand. Don't cross the street without it."

The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman
The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman

To this day, American Express continues to use celebrities in their ads. Some notable examples include a late 1990s ad campaign with comedian Jerry Seinfeld, including the two 2004 webisodes in a series entitled "The Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman." In late 2004, American Express launched the "My life. My card." brand campaign (also by Ogilvy & Mather) featuring famous American Express cardmembers talking about their life. The ads have featured actors Kate Winslet, Robert De Niro, Ken Watanabe, Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Comedian and talk show hostess Ellen DeGeneres, Professional golfer Tiger Woods, US Open tennis pros Venus Williams and Andy Roddick, Chelsea Football Club manager José Mourinho, and film directors Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, M. Night Shyamalan and most recently superstar Beyonce Knowles. In 2007, a two-minute black-and-white ad entitled "Animals" 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 F Frost" on the front. This is not a fabricated name, as Charles F. Frost was an advertising executive.[9]

In addition, American Express was one of the earliest users of cause marketing, to great success. A 1983 promotion advertised that for each purchase made with an American Express card, American Express would contribute one penny to the renovation of the Statue of Liberty. The campaign generated contributions of $1.7 million to the Statue of Liberty restoration project. What would soon capture the attention of marketing departments of major corporations was that the promotion generated approximately a 28% increase in American Express card usage by consumers. Building on its earlier promotion, American Express later conducted a four-year Charge Against Hunger program, which generated approximately $22 million for a charity addressing poverty and hunger relief. In 2006, as part of Bono's Product Red, American Express launched the American Express Red Card. The card, currently available only in the United Kingdom, makes a donation to fight AIDS with every purchase made using the card. In May of 2007, American Express launched an initiative called the "membersproject" [3]. Cardholders were invited to submit ideas for projects and American Express is funding the winning (provide clean drinking water) project $2 million.

 Workplace

 Offices
American Express Tower (tallest, left) in New York City
American Express Tower (tallest, left) in New York City

In April 1986 American Express moved its headquarters to the 51-story Three World Financial Center in New York City. After the events of September 11, 2001, American Express had to leave its headquarters temporarily as it was located directly opposite to the World Trade Center and was damaged during the fall of the towers. The company began gradually moving back into its rehabilitated building in 2002.

The company also has major offices in Fort Lauderdale, FL; Salt Lake City, UT; Greensboro, NC and Phoenix, AZ. The main data center is located in Phoenix, with a secondary back-up facility in the Boston area.

Amex Canada is based just north of Toronto, in the City of Markham.

American Express has a European Service Center in Brighton, England. It is a large 1970s-built white tower block, surrounded by several other smaller offices around the city. The official UK HQ is located in London at Belgrave House on Buckingham Palace Road, SW1; other important UK offices are based in Sussex at Burgess Hill.

The Asia-Pacific Headquarters is located in Singapore, at 16 Collyer Quay.

The headquarters of the Latin America & Caribbean division is in Miami.

 Diversity

American Express was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers living in the U.S. in 2006 by U.S. based Working Mothers magazine.

 Acquisition of American Express Bank Ltd. by Standard Chartered plc

On 18th of September 2007, it was announced that Standard Chartered plc agreed to acquire American Express Bank Ltd, a commercial bank, from American Express Co, for an estimated $1.1 billion, through a friendly divestiture process. The transaction is currently subject to regulatory approvals. Lehman Brothers is advising American Express in this deal.

 Management and corporate governance

Key executives include:[10]

    * Kenneth Chenault: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    * Edward Gilligan: Group President - Global Corporate Services and International Payments
    * Alfred Kelly, Jr.: Group President - U.S. Consumer and Small Business Services
    * Dan Henry: Executive Vice President and acting Chief Financial Officer[11]
    * Jonathan Linen: Vice Chairman - American Express Company
    * L. Kevin Cox: Executive Vice President Human Resources and Quality
    * John D. Hayes: Executive Vice President Global Advertising & Brand Management, and Chief Marketing Officer
    * Louise Parent: Executive Vice President and General Counsel
    * Steve Squeri: Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer
    * Thomas Schick: Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs and Communications

Current members of the board of directors of American Express include:[12]

    * Daniel F. Akerson: Managing Director of The Carlyle Group
    * Charlene Barshefsky: Former United States Trade Representative
    * Ursula M. Burns: Senior Corporate Vice President and President of Business Group Operations Xerox Corporation
    * Kenneth I. Chenault: Chairman and CEO of American Express Co.
    * Peter Chernin: President and COO, News Corporation
    * Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.: Senior Managing Director with Lazard Freres & Co. LLC
    * Jan Leschly: CEO of Care Capital LLC
    * Richard C. Levin: President, Yale University
    * Richard A. McGinn: Former CEO of Lucent Technologies, Partner, RRE Ventures
    * Edward D. Miller: Former President and CEO of AXA SA
    * Frank P. Popoff: Chairman Chemical Financial Corp
    * Robert D. Walter: Chairman and CEO Cardinal Health
    * Ronald A. Williams: Chairman, CEO and President, Aetna, Inc.

 References

- Business Week/Interbrand 2006 Global Brand Survey 
- a b c d Kenneth T. Jackson: The Encyclopedia of New York City: The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. P. 23. 
-  a b c New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; December 12, 1995, Designation List 269; LP-1932 
-  White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot; AIA Guide to New York City, 4th Edition; New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. 2000. ISBN 0-8129-31069-8; ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. p.23. 
-  a b White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot; AIA Guide to New York City, 4th Edition; New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. 2000. ISBN 0-8129-31069-8; ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. p.22. 
American Express Investor Relations, accessed 04 November 2006 
-   Business Wire: American Express Names Dan Henry as Acting CFO 
-   American Express Investor Relations, accessed 27 January 2007


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