It took decades for American Express Co. to break into certain regions of Russia with basic credit cards, but just a few years after their introduction Amex is adding commercial and business cards to the mix.

The Bank of Georgia, which began issuing Amex cards in 2009, earlier this month launched two Amex-branded business credit cards for corporate customers. Its goal is to distribute up to 20,000 cards by the end of this year.

Amex’s deal with the Tbilisi-based Bank of Georgia marks the first corporate credit cards offered in the region, an Amex spokesperson tells PaymentsSource.

Offering cards in both a basic and a gold version, the issuer is targeting a broad range of companies, according to a Feb. 13 press release. Annual fees range from 100 lari (US$60 or 46 euros) for the basic business card and 200 lari for the Gold card, Amex says.

Corporations may earn Amex’s Membership Rewards points at a rate of one point per Georgian lari their employees spend, the release says.

The Bank of Georgia is targeting businesses by touting the opportunity to track expenditures and obtain discounts more easily and earn AmexA rewards, Amex says.

Amex sees significant growth opportunities in helping corporations in the region shift payments from cash to electronic channels, responding to “the growing demand for cashless payments across both Central and Eastern Europe,” the spokesperson says.

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