Amex to review allegations that it misled small-business customers

Register now

American Express plans to conduct a review of its foreign-exchange transactions following a news report that said the firm routinely and without notification charged higher rates than it initially quoted to small-business customers.

“We will be conducting a review with an external party in order to determine whether all of our standards are being met,” Amex spokeswoman Marina Norville said in a statement. “If we find that we fell short of the mark, we will fix the problems and take appropriate actions to make sure it doesn’t recur.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the New York-based credit card issuer used offers of low currency-exchange rates to attract customers, but later charged higher prices that generated larger commissions for salespeople.

Small and mid-sized customers were frequently targeted, according to the article, which relied on the accounts of anonymous current and former Amex employees.

The foreign exchange international payments business at American Express accounts for less than half of one percentage point of the firm’s total revenue, according to the company.

Norville said that Amex takes seriously the allegations described in the article. At the same time, she said the company believes that its customers are being treated fairly.

“We have training, control and compliance oversight and believe that our transactions are completed and reported in a fair and transparent manner at the rates which the client has authorized,” she said.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.