Facts about American Express

American Express Company

Fact: American Express Company started out as a shipping company.

Abstract: American Express stands tall today as a provider of financial services. Since the company was founded in 1850, it has travelled through business ventures such as foreign exchange services, the money order service, and many more. It wasn’t until 1915 that the company travelled into traveler’s services. But little is known of its original venture. American Express Company was founded as an express shipping company with a fitting logo – a watchdog. Read about the facts below.

Interested in facts about pop culture? Check out our pop culture facts section!


American Express’ story

Today, American Express is known by its cards and financial services. It stands as a prestigious company and supports many businesses across the world. But there are some little known facts about American Express that perhaps nobody knows. Coming from their own “Story,” the full version being available here, we present to you some facts and explanations of American Express.

The Facts, in Order

  1. The three founders of American Express Company were John Butterfield, Henry Wells and William G. Fargo. The two latter may be recognized today by putting their last names together. Henry Wells and William G. Fargo organized Wells Fargo & Company, today standing as the largest bank in the world according to market value.
  2. Today the logo of American Express Company is the recognizable blue box on all of their cards. However, when the company was founded in 1850, a watchdog was the logo used to stand for their values – security, vigilance, and service.
  3. American Express was created in 1850 in the great city of New York, now standing to be known as the financial capital of the country. But little do most know, American Express Company did not start out in financial services at all. In fact, it was established as an express delivery business, and a successful one at that. After this fact about American Express we can see why the watchdog logo made sense – valuable goods were to be delivered quickly and securely.
  4. After its success in the delivery business, American Express began to venture out. In 1882 it entered the business of money orders. In 1895 it expanded overseas and became an international company. It dealt with foreign exchange transactions and worked closely with the biggest banks in the world.
  5. With the inflow of immigrants into New York through Ellis Island, in 1905 American Express Company ventured into the currency exchange services officially. It had already been doing so for its overseas transactions. However, the First World War in Europe forced American Express to enter the travel business.
  6. Travelers were all the sudden becoming acquainted with American Express as a travel company. In 1915 they could utilize their services in money orders, foreign exchange, and now be provided with luxuries while on the road. American Express soon expanded to serve Europe, South America, the Far East, and the West Indies among other places. Traveler’s cheques and money orders were being sold, trips were being taken, and people were satisfied by the ability of American Express to adhere to the customer. This fact stands to be true today, which is why after all these years American Express Company has maintained its great reputation.

Want to hear the story and more facts surrounding it in video form? Check it out here.

You may also want to know about:

  • facts about AOL
  • facts about U.S. debt
  • facts about Nike