American Express Co. said it is closing two customer service centers, in Madrid and Greensboro, N.C., because they have become too understaffed to maintain.

The New York company also said that with a large number of routine transactions having migrated to mobile phones and the Internet, the centers have grown obsolete.

The move will cost about 550 employees their jobs, and about 3,500 employees will be affected in some way.

Amex said it expects the move to result in roughly $133 million in charges for the fourth quarter of 2010. It said severance and real estate charges from the move would cost the company $60 million to $80 million in 2011. Amex plans to announce its fourth-quarter results Jan. 24.

Amex said it expects the consolidation to save it about $70 million a year beginning in 2012. At midday Wednesday Amex's stock was down 1.18%, to $45.19 a share.

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