American Express has finally teamed up with a VISA-MasterCard issuing bank to issue a consumer card in North America. Yesterday Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and American Express launched the ‘Banco Popular American Express Card’ in Puerto Rico. The new credit card to be issued by Banco Popular features a six-month intro rate of 9.75% and an annual fee waiver for the first year. The go-to rate is 15.95%. The standard card annual fee is $35 while the gold version has been set for $55. Other card benefits include ‘American Express Retail Protection’, ‘American Express Emergency Assistance’ and ‘American Express Travel Accident Insurance’. Banco Popular American Express cardholders may also enroll in the ‘Exclusive Rewards’ program for an annual fee of $25. Banco Popular has more than 350,000 VISA and MasterCards in-force.
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and American Express announced Tuesday the launch of the Banco Popular American Express Card in Puerto Rico. This general purpose revolving credit card is issued by Banco Popular and accepted on the American Express global merchant network. This is the first time that American Express has teamed up with a bank to issue a consumer card in North America.
“For Banco Popular, as the leading issuer of credit cards in Puerto Rico, it is a great honor to establish this alliance with such a prestigious company as American Express. At the same time, it strengthens our strategy for the expansion of products and services,” said Richard L. Carrion, Banco Popular president and chief executive officer. “Banco Popular is committed to provide our clients new and innovative products for added value and convenience. The Banco Popular Amercian Express Card is a perfect example of the implementation of our commitment,” he added.
“We are delighted to be working with Puerto Rico’s largest bank, which is among the 40 largest banks in the U.S., to issue a credit card on the American Express global merchant network,” said James Li, president, American Express Global Network Services. “The launch of the Banco Popular American Express Card represents our first bank issuer relationship in Puerto Rico and the expansion of our global network strategy in North America.”
The Banco Popular American Express Card features a low introductory interest rate of 9.75% for balances during the first six months, and is fee-free for the first year. Following the introductory period, balances carry a 15.95% interest rate, with an annual fee of $35 for the Banco Popular American Express Card and $55 for the Banco Popular American Express Gold Card. Supplemental cards are available for a $15 fee.
Cardholders will enjoy a wide variety of benefits, including American Express Retail Protection*, which protects merchandise against accidental damage or theft and doubles the manufacturers’ warranty. Other core benefits offered include: American Express Emergency Assistance and American Express Travel Accident Insurance*. In addition, cardholders will have access to 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week customer service, more than 1,700 American Express Travel Services Offices in more than 130 countries, and access to over 190,000 automated cash machines in American Express’ global “Express Cash” network, and 750 ATMs in Banco Popular’s “ATH” network. American Express Credit Card Registry is also available free of charge for the Banco Popular American Express Gold Card.
Holders of Banco Popular American Express Cards may enroll in the “Exclusive Rewards” program for an annual fee of $25. Subscribers earn one point for each dollar charged on the card. Points may be redeemed for cash, merchandise, airline tickets from American Airlines, vacation packages at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel chains, and cruises.
The launch of the Banco Popular American Express Card is the latest development in American Express’ strategy of opening its merchant network to other card issuers around the world. In 1998 alone, American Express has announced business partnerships with institutions including AMP Banking in Australia, Credit Suisse in Switzerland, Filanbanco in Ecuador, K&H Bank in Hungary and Generale Bank in Belgium.
Founded in 1893, Banco Popular is the largest financial institution in Puerto Rico, with more than 200 branches throughout Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is the main subsidiary of the $20.0 billion-asset Popular, Inc., which ranks among the 40 largest bank holding companies in the United States.
American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company — a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It provides card, Travelers Cheque, travel and financial services in over 160 countries.