American Express network statistics and comparatives

The Amex network

The American Express Company (a.k.a Amex), is an American international financial corporation with headquarters located in New York City. The company was established in 1850 and is one of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Amex is best recognized for its debit charge card, credit card, and traveler’s check businesses.

The network is recognized as 23rd most valuable brand in the world with estimated brand value of US $24.5 billion. For the fiscal year of 2017, Amex reported net-income of of US $2.634 billion, with an annual revenue of US $35.583 billion. As of recent statistics, American express had 112.8 million cards in use.

Identification markers:

  • FIGI BBG000BCR153
  • Share Class FIGI BBG001S5P034
  • Composite FIGI BBG000BCQZS4
  • FIGI ID EQ0010006100001000
  • Website:
  • Founded: 1850
  • Founders: William Fargo, Henry Wells, and John Warren Butterfield
  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Valuation $78,170,000,000
  • Employees 56,000+/-
  • Stock Symbol BCBA:AXP

Amex timeline

At formation, American Express was based on an express mail delivery business in Buffalo, NY. Soon after successful establishment it initiated its expansion in financial services arena in 1857 by starting a money order business that effectively competed with the USPS money orders.

The first charge card initiative was proposed by the Amex executives in 1946 but only officially launched in 1957. The first credit cards were produced of paper with the account number and cardholder name typed. The first plastic credit cards were issued in 1959.

american express card testing

Network statistics

Amex competes with the transaction volumes by all other major networks – globally. It’s financial reach so far achieved the following by 2018:

  • Number of American Express cards in force: 114 million
  • Number of employees: 59 ,000
  • Amex revenue, annually: $40.338 billion
  • Net income: $6.921 billion
  • In the United States, there were approximately 53.7 million credit cards in circulation in 2018
  • U.S. cardholders spent $776 billion in 2018, up from $708 billion the year before

Amex Purchase Volume Comparrison

Reference: SEC filings from Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. Nilson Report data up to 2018

A prominent financial services corporation

Global Presence and Acceptance

American Express operates a vast and robust payment network that spans across the globe. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the American Express network was accepted in more than 160 countries and territories worldwide. This widespread acceptance makes it a preferred choice for both travelers and businesses seeking reliable payment solutions across borders.

Cardholder Base

American Express has a diverse and extensive cardholder base. While it may not have as many cardholders as some of its competitors, such as Visa and Mastercard, it targets a more affluent demographic. Amex cards are often associated with premium services, exclusive benefits, and higher spending limits. This focus on high-income consumers has allowed the company to maintain a strong position in the market and cater to the needs of its niche customer base effectively.

Transaction Volume and Value

In terms of transaction volume and value, American Express has consistently demonstrated solid performance. While specific figures may vary from year to year, the company’s transactions typically reach billions of dollars annually. However, it’s worth noting that American Express’s transaction volume might not match that of its main competitors, which are more widely accepted and used for everyday purchases.

Merchant Fees and Cost of Acceptance

American Express is known for charging higher merchant fees compared to other payment networks. This is due to the premium services, rewards, and customer benefits it provides to cardholders. While this might deter some merchants from accepting Amex cards, many businesses still find value in doing so because of the potentially higher spending power of Amex cardholders.

Rewards and Membership Benefits

One of the significant advantages of holding an American Express card is the rewards and membership benefits offered to cardholders. American Express is famous for its Membership Rewards program, which allows cardholders to earn points for every eligible purchase made using their Amex cards. These points can be redeemed for various rewards, such as travel, merchandise, or statement credits. Additionally, Amex offers exclusive perks like airport lounge access, travel insurance, and concierge services, further enhancing the value proposition for its customers.

Security and Fraud Protection

American Express places a strong emphasis on security and fraud protection. Its advanced security measures, such as tokenization and encryption, help safeguard cardholder data during transactions. Furthermore, the company offers robust fraud monitoring and protection services to ensure the safety of its cardholders’ accounts.


American Express has established itself as a formidable player in the financial industry, thanks to its extensive payment network and premium services. While its cardholder base might not be as extensive as some of its competitors, it has a loyal following of high-income consumers who appreciate the exclusive benefits and rewards offered by the company. As the financial landscape evolves, American Express continues to innovate and adapt to meet the changing needs of its customers, solidifying its position as a leader in the payment industry.


The American Express Company From Wikipedia edited on edited on 1 February 2020, at 11:10 (UTC).

Amex Statistics, Market Share & Benefits