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Higher-than-usual marketing and operations expenses cut into robust second-quarter revenues for American Express Co.'s International Card Services division, as the company shifted some resources from U.S. to international operations to support its thriving business outside the U.S.. Though U.S. card revenue increased less than 1%, revenues for AmEx's international cards for the quarter ended 30 June grew by 20%, to $1.26 billion from $1.05 billion for the same quarter a year earlier (CardLine Global, 23 July). Income for the quarter fell 2%, to $115 million from $117 million for international cards, primarily because of higher expenses, Daniel T. Henry, AmEx executive vice president and chief financial officer, told analysts during a conference call Monday. AmEx boosted marketing expenses for international cards by nearly 38%, to $404 million from $293 million during the same period a year earlier, to support more promotional activity and rewards from increased cardholder spending. The company also boosted its spending on human resources and operations for international cards by 19%, to $537 million from $453 million as the company increased staff and consulting services. Its provision for loan losses increased 15%, to $242 million from $211 million. Total billed business for international cards grew 20%, to $28.3 million from $23.6 million. The net write-off rate for international cards fell slightly, to 5.2% of receivables from 6% for the same period a year ago. "We have shifted dollars to international, and that's helping our spending levels there, which are very good," Henry told analysts.

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