American Express : History

American Express

popularly known as AmEx is a global financial services company headquartered in New York. They are best known for their credit cards and traveler’s cheques.

NYSE: AXP

Founders:  Henry Wells , William Fargo , John Warren Butterfield

History of American Express 

AmEx was started as an express mail business in Albany, New York, in 1850. It was founded as a joint stock corporation by the merger of the express companies owned by Henry Wells (Wells & Company), William Fargo (Livingston, Fargo & Company), and John Warren Butterfield (Wells, Butterfield & Company, the successor earlier in 1850 of Butterfield, Wasson & Company)

American Express Trivia

1) AmEx’s mascot, adopted in 1958, is a Roman gladiator whose image appears on the company’s travelers’ cheques and charge cards.

2) The founers of the company also started Wells, Fargo & Co

3) Amex started as an express mail service (faster delivery postal service) before becoming a financial conglomerate.

4) History of Traveler’s Cheque: 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 AmEx and that he carried with him traditional letters of credit, he found it difficult to obtain cash anywhere except in major cities. Fargo went to Marcellus Flemming Berry and asked him to create a better solution than the traditional letter of credit. Berry introduced the AmEx Traveler’s Cheque which was launched in 1891 in denominations of $10, $20, $50, and $10

5) Expressing grief over the high merchant fees that Amex used to charge, some merchants revolted and the revolt was called ‘The Boston Fee Party’

6) American Express formed a joint venture with Warner Communications in 1979 called Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, which created MTV, Nickelodeon, Star Plus, Aaj Tak, Sony, Max, IBN-7, Star News and The Movie Channel. The partnership only lasted until 1984. The properties were sold to Viacom soon after.

7) Amex publishes the Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Executive Travel, and Departures magazines.

Famous Advertising:

In 1975, David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mather developed the highly successful Don’t Leave Home Without Them ad campaign for American Express Traveler’s Cheques, featuring Oscar-award-winning actor Karl Malden.

 

American Express is one of the most popular brands in the World

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