American Express Co. will assess "dormancy" fees on certain cardholders in the United Kingdom who seldom use their cards, a British representative of the company said.

The 20-pound fee ($32.60) will apply to Platinum credit-card holders who fail to spend with their cards over a 12-month period. The fee applies immediately for new cardholders and takes effect Oct. 1 for existing cardholders, payable on the anniversary of the card's issuance, the representative said, declining to say how many Platinum cardholders Amex has in the United Kingdom.

At least one other U.K. issuer charges a similar fee. Banco Santander SA of Spain, which owns the British banks Abbey National PLC and Alliance & Leicester, charges a 10-pound dormancy fee for its Zero credit card. The MasterCard-branded card has no annual fee.

Peter Harrison, credit card expert at the U.K. financial-comparison Web site, said he expects more issuers to charge the fees.

"This new dormancy charge from American Express is no great surprise," Harrison said. "It costs card firms money to issue and maintain cards, and they are required to set capital aside to cover your credit limit. We expect to see more providers introduce similar charges."

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