American Express

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One of the four major credit card brands, American Express was originally - and still is - an issuer of charge cards. American Express can also act as both the credit card issuer and its own payment systems network to handle merchant transactions. Since 2004 it has partnered with other financial institution issuers of credit cards (generally banks) to brand their credit cards and to process the merchant transactions. American Express is a public company that also provides travel-related services including issuing travelers checks. See Discover Card, MasterCard, and Visa.