What makes American Express different is that it is both a card issuer and a card network. Unlike card issuers such as Chase or Bank of America and card networks such as Visa or Mastercard, American Express serves both the role of servicing accounts and processing transactions. Amex also charges higher interchange fees, better known as swipe fees, than the other major card networks.
On another note, American Express credit cards are unusual in that they’re geared toward individuals who have a high net worth. Similarly, while many card issuers offer credit cards to people of all credit levels, American Express only accepts applicants that have good or excellent credit scores. Also unlike most major credit card companies, Amex issues charge cards, which must be paid in full each month.
Finally, American Express credit cards used to be accepted at far fewer merchants in the United States than Visa or Mastercard cards. This is no longer the case, as Amex is now accepted by practically every U.S. merchant that takes credit cards. However, it is still far behind Visa and Mastercard when it comes to international acceptance.
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