American Express Co. remains cautious about the economy and the current regulatory environment, but the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act will affect the company more than the financial reform, executives said.
The Credit CARD Act is "more significant for us because of the nature of our business model, which is not impacted by many aspects of the reform, such as potential debit-pricing adjustments," Dan Henry, Amex's chief financial officer, told analysts during a conference call on July 22 to discuss its second-quarter earnings.
Sanjay Sakhrani, an equity analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, said in a June 28 research note that experts agree Amex will suffer the least from regulatory reform, compared to other card issuers.
However, the issuer will still feel some effect from the financial reform because "there is a component to the Dodd-Frank Act giving merchants the ability to offer discounts for different payment types, to encourage the use of one over the other," said Beth Robertson, the director of payments research at Javelin Strategy and Research in Pleasanton, Calif.
Amex would be affected if merchants offered discounts to consumers who pay for purchases with debit cards or even cash — basically any payment that is not a credit card, Robertson said.