Jumat, 20 Juni 2008

American Express Company (1`)


American Express Company, financial and travel services company based in New York City. American Express invented the traveler’s check and introduced one of the first credit cards in the United States. These financial services established American Express worldwide and helped build the company into a multibillion-dollar corporation with dozens of subsidiaries.

American Express began in 1850 in New York City as a company that transported valuables. It resulted from the merger of three rival express transport companies: Wells & Company; Butterfield, Wasson and Company; and Livingston, Fargo and Company. Henry Wells served as the first president of American Express and William G. Fargo was the vice president. In addition to their duties at American Express, Wells and Fargo began a separate company two years later, Wells Fargo & Company, which provided express delivery and banking services to California.
American Express prospered in the 1850s by transporting money and other valuables on rail and steamship lines in areas north and west of New York. The company grew even larger during the American Civil War (1861-1865) by transporting supplies, parcels, and other items for the Union Army.

Fargo became president of American Express after Wells retired in 1868. Fargo died in 1881 and was succeeded as president by his brother, James Fargo, who further expanded the business. He guided the introduction of the money order in 1882 and the traveler’s check in 1891. Most money orders could be issued and redeemed only in banks or post offices, which distinguished them as exceptionally reliable draft notes—or certificates negotiable as money—for a variety of personal and business transactions. The American Express traveler’s check was a draft note purchased from a bank or directly from American Express. It could be redeemed for goods or services in many businesses around the world.
The American Express traveler’s check was an immediate success with travelers who found that the checks were easier to redeem than letters of credit from banks, which were commonly used overseas instead of cash. In addition, travelers preferred American Express traveler’s checks because the company would reimburse them if the checks were lost or stolen. Traveler’s checks provided a substantial infusion of revenue to the company, and helped establish the American Express brand name among American travelers.

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