American Express Co. is making a push to increase its presence in one of the fastest-growing markets in Latin America.
The company this week announced that it is introducing a revolving American Express Card in Argentina, where its market share falls well behind that of MasterCard or Visa.
Its 19.6% interest rate is one of the lowest in the region.
"It's a market full of potential for American Express," said Toby Usnick, a spokesman for the company.
An improving economy has fueled the rise of credit cards in Argentina, said David Robertson, president of The Nilson Report, an industry newsletter.
"Argentina is a marketplace that has been growing over the past couple of years as that country's problems with hyperinflation have waned," Mr. Robertson said. Argentina and Brazil are the most attractive markets in the region, he said.
American Express already offered its traditional green charge card, Gold Card, and Corporate Card in Argentina, but last year it captured just 12% of the $15.05 billion market, according to The Nilson Report's data. That compares with Visa's 53% and MasterCard's 29%. Citicorp's Diners Club brings up the rear with 6%.
Still, American Express could do well in Argentina, Mr. Robertson said, adding that it has more sophisticated systems than do the institutions issuing Visa and MasterCard in the region.
"With little credit data available, the more sophisticated systems for evaluating cardholders better mitigate the risk," Mr. Robertson said. And American Express' interest rate is competitive.
It compared its annual percentage rate with those of five other card issuers. The average of these was 24.4% when calculated in dollars. The company said it believes the interest rate "will be of extreme importance" in attracting customers, Mr. Usnick said.
The card carries a $95 fee, which is waived for the first year.
To promote the product, American Express will begin a direct mail campaign and advertise on television and in print during the next few weeks, Mr. Usnick added.
The Argentine product is American Express' first revolving credit product in Latin America. It is part of the Membership Rewards program and offers other common American Express enhancements.
American Express' rollout came as it awaited a decision on a lawsuit that would prohibit Visa International from barring its member banks from issuing American Express cards in Argentina.