0000004962--12-312021Q1false1.6671.667us-gaap:AccountingStandardsUpdate201613Member00000049622021-01-012021-03-31xbrli:shares00000049622021-04-19iso4217:USD0000004962us-gaap:CreditCardMerchantDiscountMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:CreditCardMerchantDiscountMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:CreditCardMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:CreditCardMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:FinancialServiceOtherMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FinancialServiceOtherMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:OtherNonInterestRevenueMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:OtherNonInterestRevenueMember2020-01-012020-03-3100000049622020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:OtherLoansMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:OtherLoansMember2020-01-012020-03-31iso4217:USDxbrli:shares00000049622021-03-3100000049622020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMember2020-12-310000004962axp:OtherLoansMember2021-03-310000004962axp:OtherLoansMember2020-12-3100000049622019-12-3100000049622020-03-310000004962us-gaap:PreferredStockMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:CommonStockMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:CommonStockMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:SeriesBPreferredStockMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:SeriesBPreferredStockMemberus-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:SeriesCPreferredStockMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMemberus-gaap:SeriesCPreferredStockMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:PreferredStockMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:CommonStockMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:PreferredStockMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2019-12-3100000049622019-01-012019-12-310000004962srt:CumulativeEffectPeriodOfAdoptionAdjustmentMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMembersrt:CumulativeEffectPeriodOfAdoptionAdjustmentMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:CommonStockMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:SeriesBPreferredStockMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:SeriesBPreferredStockMemberus-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:SeriesCPreferredStockMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMemberus-gaap:SeriesCPreferredStockMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:PreferredStockMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:CommonStockMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2020-03-310000004962srt:CumulativeEffectPeriodOfAdoptionAdjustmentMember2019-01-012019-12-310000004962axp:AccountingStandardsUpdateNumber201401Membersrt:CumulativeEffectPeriodOfAdoptionAdjustmentMember2021-01-012021-01-010000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2020-12-310000004962axp:OtherLoansMemberaxp:SmallBusinessAdministrationSBACARESActPaycheckProtectionProgramMember2021-03-310000004962axp:OtherLoansMemberaxp:SmallBusinessAdministrationSBACARESActPaycheckProtectionProgramMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FinancingReceivables30To59DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivables60To89DaysPastDueMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberus-gaap:FinancingReceivablesEqualToGreaterThan90DaysPastDueMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-12-31xbrli:pure0000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalSmallBusinessServicesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:NetwriteoffrateprincipalinterestfeesMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:GlobalCorporatePaymentsMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-03-31axp:account0000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodOneMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962srt:MinimumMemberaxp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodOneMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodOneMembersrt:MaximumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMemberaxp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodOneMember2021-03-310000004962srt:MinimumMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMemberaxp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodOneMember2020-12-310000004962axp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMemberaxp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodOneMembersrt:MaximumMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMembersrt:MaximumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMembersrt:MaximumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMembersrt:MaximumMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodTwoMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMembersrt:MaximumMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMembersrt:MaximumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMembersrt:MaximumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMembersrt:MaximumMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodThreeMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMembersrt:MaximumMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMembersrt:MaximumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMembersrt:MaximumMemberaxp:USUnemploymentRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMembersrt:MaximumMember2021-03-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMembersrt:MinimumMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMember2020-12-310000004962axp:FinancingReceivableMeasurementInputPeriodFourMemberaxp:USGDPGrowthContractionRateInputMembersrt:MaximumMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMember2019-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:ProvisionsForFinancingReceivableDeductionsNetWriteOffsPrincipalMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:ProvisionsForFinancingReceivableDeductionsNetWriteOffsPrincipalMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:ProvisionsForFinancingReceivableDeductionsNetWriteOffsInterestAndFeesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMemberaxp:ProvisionsForFinancingReceivableDeductionsNetWriteOffsInterestAndFeesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberLoansMember2020-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2019-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:USStatesAndPoliticalSubdivisionsMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:USStatesAndPoliticalSubdivisionsMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:USStatesAndPoliticalSubdivisionsMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:USStatesAndPoliticalSubdivisionsMember2020-01-012020-12-310000004962us-gaap:USGovernmentAgenciesDebtSecuritiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:USGovernmentAgenciesDebtSecuritiesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:USGovernmentAgenciesDebtSecuritiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:USGovernmentAgenciesDebtSecuritiesMember2020-01-012020-12-310000004962us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember2020-01-012020-12-310000004962us-gaap:MortgageBackedSecuritiesIssuedByUSGovernmentSponsoredEnterprisesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:MortgageBackedSecuritiesIssuedByUSGovernmentSponsoredEnterprisesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:MortgageBackedSecuritiesIssuedByUSGovernmentSponsoredEnterprisesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:MortgageBackedSecuritiesIssuedByUSGovernmentSponsoredEnterprisesMember2020-01-012020-12-310000004962us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember2020-01-012020-12-310000004962us-gaap:OtherDebtSecuritiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OtherDebtSecuritiesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OtherDebtSecuritiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:OtherDebtSecuritiesMember2020-01-012020-12-3100000049622020-01-012020-12-31axp:security0000004962axp:RatioOfFairValueToAmortizedCostBetweenNinetyAndOneHundredPercentMember2021-03-310000004962axp:RatioOfFairValueToAmortizedCostLessThanNinetyPercentMember2021-03-310000004962axp:AmericanExpressLendingTrustMember2021-03-310000004962axp:AmericanExpressLendingTrustMember2020-12-310000004962axp:AmericanExpressChargeTrustMember2021-03-310000004962axp:AmericanExpressChargeTrustMember2020-12-310000004962axp:CardmemberCreditBalancesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CardmemberCreditBalancesMember2020-12-310000004962country:US2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:NonUsMember2021-03-310000004962country:US2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:NonUsMember2020-12-31axp:state0000004962axp:ViolationOfFederalAntitrustLawAndConsumerLawsClassActionCaseMember2019-01-290000004962srt:MinimumMember2021-03-310000004962srt:MaximumMember2021-03-310000004962axp:ExposureAssociatedWithCardMemberPurchasesOfGoodsAndServicesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherAssetsMemberus-gaap:InterestRateContractMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherAssetsMemberus-gaap:InterestRateContractMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:InterestRateContractMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:InterestRateContractMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherAssetsMemberus-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherAssetsMemberus-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherAssetsMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherAssetsMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:DesignatedAsHedgingInstrumentMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:OtherAssetsMemberus-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMemberus-gaap:NondesignatedMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OtherAssetsMemberus-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMemberus-gaap:NondesignatedMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMemberus-gaap:NondesignatedMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:ForeignExchangeContractMemberus-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMemberus-gaap:NondesignatedMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:OtherAssetsMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OtherAssetsMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OtherLiabilitiesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueHedgingMemberaxp:FixedRateDebtObligationsMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueHedgingMemberaxp:FixedRateDebtObligationsMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueHedgingMemberus-gaap:InterestRateContractMemberus-gaap:InterestExpenseMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueHedgingMemberus-gaap:InterestRateContractMemberus-gaap:InterestExpenseMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:NetInvestmentHedgingMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:NetInvestmentHedgingMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:NetInvestmentHedgingMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:NetInvestmentHedgingMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:OtherExpenseMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OtherExpenseMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:CarryingReportedAmountFairValueDisclosureMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Memberus-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:CarryingReportedAmountFairValueDisclosureMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Memberus-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberus-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberus-gaap:EstimateOfFairValueFairValueDisclosureMemberaxp:CardmemberReceivablesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberus-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberaxp:CardmemberLoansMemberus-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberus-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:VariableInterestEntityPrimaryBeneficiaryMemberus-gaap:PortionAtOtherThanFairValueFairValueDisclosureMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsNonrecurringMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsNonrecurringMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsNonrecurringMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsNonrecurringMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedNetUnrealizedInvestmentGainLossMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedTranslationAdjustmentMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedDefinedBenefitPlansAdjustmentMember2020-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedNetUnrealizedInvestmentGainLossMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:AccumulatedForeignCurrentlyTranslationAdjustmentAttributableToParentMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:AccumulatedNetInvestmentHedgesAttributableToParentMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedDefinedBenefitPlansAdjustmentMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedTranslationAdjustmentMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedNetUnrealizedInvestmentGainLossMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedTranslationAdjustmentMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedDefinedBenefitPlansAdjustmentMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedNetUnrealizedInvestmentGainLossMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedTranslationAdjustmentMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedDefinedBenefitPlansAdjustmentMember2019-12-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedNetUnrealizedInvestmentGainLossMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:AccumulatedForeignCurrentlyTranslationAdjustmentAttributableToParentMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:AccumulatedNetInvestmentHedgesAttributableToParentMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedDefinedBenefitPlansAdjustmentMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedTranslationAdjustmentMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedNetUnrealizedInvestmentGainLossMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedTranslationAdjustmentMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:AccumulatedDefinedBenefitPlansAdjustmentMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:StockOptionMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:StockOptionMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalMerchantAndNetworkServicesMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962axp:CorporateAndEliminationsMember2021-01-012021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalMerchantAndNetworkServicesMember2021-03-310000004962axp:CorporateAndEliminationsMember2021-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalMerchantAndNetworkServicesMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962axp:CorporateAndEliminationsMember2020-01-012020-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalConsumerServicesGroupMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalCommercialServicesMember2020-03-310000004962us-gaap:OperatingSegmentsMemberaxp:GlobalMerchantAndNetworkServicesMember2020-03-310000004962axp:CorporateAndEliminationsMember2020-03-31

Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-Q
QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Quarterly Period Ended March 31, 2021
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES
EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Transition Period from ____ to ____
Commission file number 1-7657
AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
New York 13-4922250
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization) (I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
200 Vesey Street, New York, New York
10285
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code                                          (212) 640-2000        
None
Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report.
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class Trading Symbol(s) Name of each exchange on which registered
Common shares (par value $0.20 per share) AXP New York Stock Exchange
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes þ      No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Yes þ      No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.   o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Yes ☐      No þ
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.
Class Outstanding at April 19, 2021
Common Shares (par value $0.20 per share) 803,302,859  Shares




Table of Contents

AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY
FORM 10-Q
INDEX
Page No.
34
35
36
37
38
39
1
66
66
67
67
68
69
70
Throughout this report the terms “American Express,” “we,” “our” or “us,” refer to American Express Company and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis, unless stated or the context implies otherwise. The use of the term “partner” or “partnering” in this report does not mean or imply a formal legal partnership, and is not meant in any way to alter the terms of American Express’ relationship with any third parties. Refer to the “MD&A― Glossary of Selected Terminology” for the definitions of other key terms used in this report.


Table of Contents
PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION
ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (MD&A)
Business Introduction
We are a globally integrated payments company that provides our customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Our principal products and services are credit and charge card products, along with travel and lifestyle related services, offered to consumers and businesses around the world. Our range of products and services includes:
Credit card, charge card and other payment and financing products
Merchant acquisition and processing, servicing and settlement, and point-of-sale marketing and information products and services for merchants
Network services
Other fee services, including fraud prevention services and the design and operation of customer loyalty programs
Expense management products and services
Travel and lifestyle services
Our various products and services are sold globally to diverse customer groups, including consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations. These products and services are sold through various channels, including mobile and online applications, affiliate marketing, customer referral programs, third-party vendors and business partners, direct mail, telephone, in-house sales teams, and direct response advertising. Business travel-related services are offered through our non-consolidated joint venture, American Express Global Business Travel (the GBT JV).
We compete in the global payments industry with card networks, issuers and acquirers, paper-based transactions (e.g., cash and checks), bank transfer models (e.g., wire transfers and Automated Clearing House (ACH)), as well as evolving and growing alternative payment and financing providers. As the payments industry continues to evolve, we face increasing competition from non-traditional players that leverage new technologies, business models and customer relationships to create payment or financing solutions.
The following types of revenue are generated from our various products and services:
Discount revenue, our largest revenue source, primarily represents the amount we earn on transactions occurring at merchants that have entered into a card acceptance agreement with us, or a Global Network Services (GNS) partner or other third-party merchant acquirer, for facilitating transactions between the merchants and Card Members;
Interest on loans, principally represents interest income earned on outstanding balances;
Net card fees, represent revenue earned from annual card membership fees, which vary based on the type of card and the number of cards for each account;
Other fees and commissions, primarily represent Card Member delinquency fees, foreign currency conversion fees charged to Card Members, loyalty coalition-related fees, service fees earned from merchants, travel commissions and fees, and Membership Rewards program fees; and
Other revenue, primarily represents revenues arising from contracts with partners of our GNS business (including commissions and signing fees less issuer rate payments), cross-border Card Member spending, ancillary merchant-related fees, earnings (losses) from equity method investments (including the GBT JV), insurance premiums earned from Card Members, and prepaid card and Travelers Cheque-related revenue.
1

Table of Contents

Refer to the “Glossary of Selected Terminology” for the definitions of certain key terms and related information appearing within this Form 10-Q.
Effective for the first quarter of 2021, we have changed the way we describe our volume metrics. Throughout this Report:
Where we previously used the term “billed business” to describe our total volumes, we now use the term “network volumes.”
Where we previously used the term “proprietary billed business” to describe transaction volumes from cards and other payment products issued by American Express, we now use the term “billed business.”
Where we previously used the term “GNS billed business” to describe transaction volumes from cards issued by GNS partners and joint ventures, we now use the term “processed volumes” and have now included in this category transactions associated with certain alternative payment solutions that were not previously reported in our volume metrics.
Where we previously used the term “Non-T&E-related volume” to describe spend in merchant categories other than T&E-related merchant categories, we now use the term “Goods & Services (G&S)-related volume.”
We believe that these changes provide better differentiation and descriptors for the volumes that run across the American Express network. Prior period amounts have been recast to conform with current period presentation.
Forward-Looking Statements and Non-GAAP Measures
Certain of the statements in this Form 10-Q are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Refer to the “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” section. We prepare our Consolidated Financial Statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). However, certain information included within this Form 10-Q constitutes non-GAAP financial measures. Our calculations of non-GAAP financial measures may differ from the calculations of similarly titled measures by other companies.
Bank Holding Company
American Express is a bank holding company under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 and The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Federal Reserve) is our primary federal regulator. As such, we are subject to the Federal Reserve’s regulations, policies and minimum capital standards.
Business Environment
Our results for the first quarter continued to reflect the steady improvement towards pre-pandemic spending levels that started during the second half of last year with the continuing positive signs of recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic driven by vaccination and government stimulus programs, particularly in the U.S. At the same time, certain international countries around the globe continue to face challenges with renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions and there remains uncertainty relating to the ongoing spread and severity of the virus. While we are encouraged by the trends we saw in the first quarter, to the extent that the pandemic continues to have negative impacts on economies, our results will be affected, with credit trends, spending volumes and our marketing investments to rebuild growth momentum, being the key drivers of our financial performance.
We are starting to lap the early impacts of the pandemic on our business, which caused a significant decline in our network volumes starting in March 2020 as a result of the sharp contraction of the global economy. Year-over-year comparisons for this quarter thus reflect two months of pre-pandemic results in last year’s first quarter.
Worldwide network volumes decreased 6 percent year-over-year (8 percent on an FX-adjusted basis1) for the quarter, reflecting a 17 percent year-over-year decline for the first two months of the year followed by a 23 percent year-over-year increase in March. While U.S. network volumes declined 4 percent versus the prior year, international volumes declined by 10 percent (15 percent on an FX-adjusted basis1) due to the slower pace of recovery from the pandemic in certain international countries. Billed business, which accounted for 84 percent of our total network volumes in the first quarter of this year and drives most of our financial results, decreased 7 percent (9 percent on an FX-adjusted basis1)
1The foreign currency adjusted information assumes a constant exchange rate between the periods being compared for purposes of currency translation into U.S. dollars (i.e., assumes the foreign exchange rates used to determine results for the current period apply to the corresponding prior year period against which such results are being compared).
2

Table of Contents

and continued to show different recovery trends for G&S and T&E spend. G&S spend, which accounts for the majority of our billed business and had recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of 2020, increased 8 percent year-over-year. Consumer G&S spend saw continued strong online and card-not-present growth, even as the recovery in offline spending accelerated, and commercial G&S spend growth was driven by small and mid-sized enterprises reflecting continued growth in business to business spending. T&E spend remained significantly impacted, although we continued to see signs of improvement, primarily driven by consumer T&E spend in the U.S.
Revenues net of interest expense decreased 12 percent compared to the prior year, reflecting a decline of 21 percent during the first two months of the year, followed by an increase of 10 percent during the month of March. Discount revenue, our largest revenue line, decreased 10 percent year-over-year due to the decline in network volumes and a decrease in the average discount rate, which was driven by a shift in spend mix to G&S merchant categories. Other fees and commissions and Other revenues declined year-over-year, primarily driven by a reduction in travel-related revenues. Net card fee revenues, which are recognized over a twelve-month period and therefore are slower to react to economic shifts, continued to grow as compared to the prior year. While Card Member retention remained high, net card fee growth continued to decelerate due to the slowing of new card acquisitions during the second quarter of 2020 as we managed through the peak of the pandemic. Net interest income declined by 21 percent year-over-year, which was a larger decline than loan balances due to a decrease in net interest yield on average Card Member loans driven by higher paydown rates from revolving Card Members.
Card Member loans declined 10 percent, which was a larger decline than the decrease in billed business due to higher paydown rates driven in part by the continued liquidity and financial strength in our customer base. We expect recovery in loan balances to continue to lag the improvement in spend volumes. Provisions for credit losses decreased and resulted in a net benefit, primarily due to a reserve release in the current year versus a reserve build in the prior year and lower net write-offs. The reserve release in the current quarter was driven by improving macroeconomic indicators, including unemployment and gross domestic product (GDP), and improved credit performance. However, we maintain a cautious view of the macroeconomic outlook due to continuing uncertainty regarding the pace of recovery in the economy. Our improved credit performance was driven by our strong risk management practices and the record levels of government stimulus and the broad availability of forbearance programs in the current environment.
The total balance of loans and receivables in our financial relief programs (FRP) saw a moderate sequential reduction as compared to the prior quarter; however, they remain significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels. The majority of FRP balances are in twelve-month programs and Card Members will be exiting these programs in the coming quarters. The credit performance of these balances post-FRP remains uncertain.
Card Member rewards, Card Member services and business development expenses are generally correlated to volumes or are variable based on usage, and were lower year-over-year due to a decline in spend and lower usage of travel-related benefits. During the quarter, we remained focused on controlling operating expenses, while investing in marketing initiatives to rebuild growth momentum. We continued to increase new card acquisitions and the additional value on several of our premium products is helping to drive increased Card Member engagement. Our attrition rates and customer satisfaction scores remain better than pre-pandemic levels.
Our liquidity levels and capital position remain strong, with capital ratios that are well above our targets and regulatory requirements. These robust liquidity and capital levels provide us with significant flexibility to maintain the strength of our balance sheet, invest in future growth opportunities and return capital to shareholders through share repurchases and dividend payments, subject to regulatory considerations.
As we continue to manage through the effects of the pandemic, our results in the first quarter are encouraging. We view 2021 as a transition year where we are focused on maximizing investments that will enable us to rebuild growth momentum.
See “Certain Legislative, Regulatory and Other Developments” and "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" for information on legislative and regulatory changes, additional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
3

Table of Contents

Results of Operations
The discussions in both the “Consolidated Results of Operations” and “Business Segment Results of Operations” provide commentary on the variances for the three months ended March 31, 2021 compared to the same period in the prior year, as presented in the accompanying tables. These discussions should be read in conjunction with the discussion under “Business Environment,” which contains further information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the related impacts on our results.
Consolidated Results of Operations
Table 1: Summary of Financial Performance
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021 vs. 2020
(Millions, except percentages and per share amounts) 2021 2020
Total revenues net of interest expense $ 9,064 $ 10,310 $ (1,246) (12) %
Provisions for credit losses (675) 2,621 (3,296) #
Expenses 6,746 7,237 (491) (7)
Pretax income 2,993 452 2,541  #
Income tax provision 758 85 673  #
Net income 2,235 367 1,868  #
Earnings per common share — diluted (a)
$ 2.74 $ 0.41 $ 2.33  #
Return on average equity (b)
22.6  % 24.4  %
Effective tax rate 25.3  % 18.8  %
# Denotes a variance of 100 percent or more
(a)Represents net income, less (i) earnings allocated to participating share awards of $15 million and $2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively, and (ii) dividends on preferred shares of $14 million and $32 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
(b)Return on average equity (ROE) is computed by dividing (i) one-year period of net income ($5.0 billion and $5.6 billion for March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively) by (ii) one-year average of total shareholders’ equity ($22.2 billion and $22.8 billion for March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively).
4

Table of Contents

Table 2: Total Revenues Net of Interest Expense Summary
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021 vs. 2020
(Millions, except percentages) 2021 2020
Discount revenue $ 5,242  $ 5,838  $ (596) (10) %
Net card fees 1,253  1,110  143  13 
Other fees and commissions 520  720  (200) (28)
Other 219  312  (93) (30)
Total non-interest revenues 7,234  7,980  (746) (9)
Total interest income 2,192  3,046  (854) (28)
Total interest expense 362  716  (354) (49)
Net interest income 1,830  2,330  (500) (21)
Total revenues net of interest expense $ 9,064  $ 10,310  $ (1,246) (12) %
Total Revenues Net of Interest Expense
Discount revenue decreased due to a year-over-year decrease in worldwide network volumes of 6 percent. Network volumes were not significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic until March 2020 and therefore, in the first quarter of 2021, network volumes for January and February were down year-over-year, but increased for the month of March compared to the prior year, which contributed to a more moderate year-over-year decline than we have seen in recent quarters.
Additional network volumes highlights for the quarter:
U.S. network volumes decreased 4 percent and non-U.S. network volumes decreased 10 percent (15 percent on an FX-adjusted basis2) as compared to the prior year, reflecting a slower pace of recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in certain international countries.
Billed business decreased by 7 percent as compared to the prior year.
Consumer billed business decreased by 4 percent, driven by continued year-over-year decreases in T&E and offline G&S spend, which were partially offset by increased online and card-not-present spend at G&S merchants.
Commercial billed business decreased by 10 percent, primarily driven by year-over-year decreases in T&E spend by large and global corporate card customers, with less pronounced billed business declines from small and mid-sized enterprises, where T&E volumes made up a lower proportion of spend.

See Tables 5 and 6 for more details on network volume performance.
The decrease in discount revenue was also driven by a decrease in the average discount rate, primarily due to the shift in spend mix to G&S categories. The average discount rate was 2.26 percent for the first quarter of 2021 and 2.34 percent for the first quarter of 2020.
Net card fees increased, primarily driven by our premium card product portfolios. Net card fees, which are recognized over a twelve-month period, are slower to react to economic shifts, such as those arising from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other fees and commissions decreased, primarily due to a decline in late fees due to lower delinquencies, lower foreign transaction fees primarily related to decreased cross-border travel and lower travel commissions and fees driven by decreased consumer travel.
Other revenues decreased, primarily driven by a net loss in the current year, as compared to net income in the prior year, from the GBT JV, lower revenue earned on cross-border Card Member spending and lower travel insurance revenue due to the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interest income decreased, primarily driven by a reduction in benchmark interest rates and lower average Card Member loan volumes.
Interest expense decreased, primarily driven by lower interest rates paid on deposits and a reduction in outstanding debt.


2Refer to footnote 1 on page 2 for details regarding foreign currency adjusted information.
5

Table of Contents

Table 3: Provisions for Credit Losses Summary
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021 vs. 2020
(Millions, except percentages) 2021 2020
Card Member receivables
Net write-offs
$ 53  $ 258  $ (205) (79) %
Reserve (release) build (a)
(63) 339  (402) #
Total
(10) 597  (607) #
Card Member loans
Net write-offs
304  625  (321) (51)
Reserve (release) build (a)
(877) 1,251  (2,128) #
Total
(573) 1,876  (2,449) #
Other
Net write-offs - Other loans (b)
14  29  (15) (52)
Net write-offs - Other receivables (c)
8  33
Reserve (release) build - Other loans (a)(b)
(96) 69  (165) #
Reserve (release) build - Other receivables (a)(c)
(18) 44  (62) #
Total
(92) 148  (240) #
Total provisions for credit losses $ (675) $ 2,621  $ (3,296) #
# Denotes a variance of 100 percent or more
(a)Refer to the “Glossary of Selected Terminology” for a definition of reserve (release) build.
(b)Relates to Other loans of $2.3 billion and $2.9 billion, less reserves of $143 million and $238 million, as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively; and $5.2 billion and $4.8 billion, less reserves of $241 million and $152 million, as of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively.
(c)Relates to Other receivables included in Other assets on the Consolidated Balance Sheets of $2.4 billion and $3.0 billion, less reserves of $67 million and $85 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively; and $2.9 billion and $3.1 billion, less reserves of $71 million and $27 million, as of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively.
Provisions for Credit Losses
Card Member loans and receivables provisions for credit losses decreased and resulted in a net benefit due to reserve releases in the current year versus reserve builds in the prior year and lower net write-offs driven by improved credit performance. The reserve releases in the current quarter were driven by improving macroeconomic indicators, including unemployment and GDP, as well as improved credit performance. The significant reserve builds in the prior year were due to the deterioration of the global macroeconomic outlook, including unemployment and GDP, as a result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other provision for credit losses decreased, primarily driven by a reserve release in the current year versus a reserve build in the prior year, due to improved credit performance and lower balances on non-card loans. The reserve build in the prior year was due to the previously mentioned deterioration of the global macroeconomic outlook.

Refer to Note 3 to the "Consolidated Financial Statements" for the range of key variables in the macroeconomic scenarios utilized for the computation of our reserves for credit losses.
6

Table of Contents

Table 4: Expenses Summary
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021 vs. 2020
(Millions, except percentages) 2021 2020
Marketing and business development $ 1,766  $ 1,705  $ 61  %
Card Member rewards 2,243  2,392  (149) (6)
Card Member services 317  456  (139) (30)
Total marketing, business development, and Card Member rewards and services 4,326  4,553  (227) (5)
Salaries and employee benefits 1,550  1,395  155  11 
Other, net 870  1,289  (419) (33)
Total expenses $ 6,746  $ 7,237  $ (491) (7) %
Expenses
Marketing and business development expense increased, primarily due to incremental marketing investments, partially offset by decreases in corporate client incentives due to lower corporate card billed business.
Card Member rewards expense decreased, primarily driven by the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Membership Rewards decreased by $96 million and co-brand rewards decreased by $86 million, both of which were primarily driven by lower billed business, partially offset by an increase in cashback rewards of $33 million due to increased spend on cashback cards. In addition, changes in redemption mix due to a decline in higher cost travel redemptions since the onset of the pandemic contributed to a decrease in the Membership Rewards weighted average cost (WAC) per reward point and expense.
The Membership Rewards Ultimate Redemption Rate (URR) for current program participants was 96 percent (rounded up) at both March 31, 2021 and 2020.

Card Member services expense decreased, primarily due to lower usage of travel-related benefits as a result of the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salaries and employee benefits expense increased, primarily driven by higher deferred compensation expenses and higher incentive compensation.

Other expenses decreased, primarily driven by net unrealized gains of $377 million in the current year related to our Amex Ventures equity investments as well as lower employee-related operating costs, partially offset by foreign exchange losses in the current year as compared to gains in the prior year.
7

Table of Contents

Income Taxes
The effective tax rate was 25.3 percent and 18.8 percent for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The increase primarily reflected the prior period impact of discrete tax benefits in relation to lower pretax income. The current period effective tax rate also reflects the implementation of the Proportional Amortization Method (PAM) to account for investments in qualified affordable housing projects in the current period. Refer to Note 1 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.
Table 5: Selected Card-Related Statistical Information
As of or for the
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021
vs.
2020
2021 2020
Network volumes: (billions)
U.S. $ 186.2 $ 193.4 (4) %
Outside the U.S. 83.1 92.0 (10)
Total $ 269.3 $ 285.4 (6)
Billed business $ 225.4 $ 242.6 (7)
Processed volumes 43.9 42.8
Total $ 269.3 $ 285.4 (6)
Cards-in-force: (millions)
U.S. 54.1 54.9 (1)
Outside the U.S. 58.8 58.7 — 
Total 112.9 113.6 (1)
Proprietary 69.0 70.4 (2)
GNS 43.9 43.2
Total 112.9 113.6 (1)
Basic cards-in-force: (millions)
U.S. 42.4 43.1 (2)
Outside the U.S. 49.8 49.2
Total 92.2 92.3 — 
Average proprietary basic Card Member spending: (dollars)
U.S. $ 4,723 $ 4,922 (4)
Outside the U.S. 3,170 3,505 (10)
Worldwide Average $ 4,270 $ 4,497 (5)
Average discount rate 2.26  % 2.34  %  
Average fee per card (dollars)(a)
$ 73 $ 63 16  %
(a)Average fee per card is computed based on proprietary net card fees divided by average proprietary total cards-in-force.
8

Table of Contents

Table 6: Network Volumes-Related Statistical Information
Three Months Ended
March 31, 2021
Year over Year Percentage
Increase (Decrease)
Year over Year Percentage Increase (Decrease) Assuming No Changes in FX Rates (a)
Worldwide
Network volumes (6) % (8) %
Total billed business (7) (9)
Consumer billed business (4) (6)
Commercial billed business (10) (12)
Processed volumes 3  (1)
U.S.
Network volumes (4)
Total billed business (5)
Consumer billed business (2)
Commercial billed business (8)
Outside the U.S.
Network volumes (10) (15)
Total billed business (14) (20)
Consumer billed business (10) (17)
Commercial billed business (20) (26)
Asia Pacific network volumes   (7)
Latin America & Canada network volumes (19) (18)
Europe, the Middle East & Africa network volumes (21) (27)
Merchant Industry Metrics
Worldwide billed business
T&E-related (14% of worldwide billed business) (49) (50)
G&S-related (86% of worldwide billed business) 8  6 
Airline-related (2% of worldwide billed business) (72) (73) %
U.S. billed business
T&E-related (14% of U.S. billed business) (43)
G&S-related (86% of U.S. billed business) 7 
Airline-related (2% of U.S. billed business) (67) %
(a)The foreign currency adjusted information assumes a constant exchange rate between the periods being compared for purposes of currency translation into U.S. dollars (i.e., assumes the foreign exchange rates used to determine results for the current period apply to the corresponding prior year period against which such results are being compared).
9

Table of Contents

Table 7: Selected Credit-Related Statistical Information
As of or for the
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021
vs.
2020
(Millions, except percentages and where indicated) 2021 2020
Worldwide Card Member loans:
Card Member loans: (billions)
U.S. $ 61.6 $ 69.0 (11) %
Outside the U.S. 8.5 8.7 (2)
Total $ 70.1 $ 77.7 (10)
Credit loss reserves:
Beginning balance
$ 5,344 $ 4,027 33
Provisions - principal, interest and fees (573) 1,876 #
Net write-offs — principal less recoveries (241) (518) (53)
Net write-offs — interest and fees less recoveries (63) (107) (41)
Other (a)
$ $ (42) #
Ending balance $ 4,467 $ 5,236 (15)
% of loans 6.4  % 6.7  %
% of past due 723  % 406  %
Average loans (billions)
$ 70.7 $ 83.4 (15)
Net write-off rate — principal only (b)
1.4  % 2.5  %
Net write-off rate — principal, interest and fees (b)
1.7  3.0 
30+ days past due as a % of total
0.9  % 1.7  %
Worldwide Card Member receivables:
Card Member receivables: (billions)
U.S. $ 30.1 $ 32.6 (8)
Outside the U.S. 11.9 12.1 (2)
Total
$ 42.0 $ 44.7 (6)
Credit loss reserves:
Beginning balance $ 267 $ 126 #
Provisions - principal and fees (10) 597 #
Net write-offs - principal and fees less recoveries (53) (258) (79)
Other (a)
(2) (6) (67)
Ending balance $ 202 $ 459 (56) %
% of receivables 0.5  % 1.0  %
Net write-off rate — principal and fees (b)(c)
0.5  % 1.9  %
# Denotes a variance of 100 percent or more
(a)Other includes foreign currency translation adjustments.
(b)We present a net write-off rate based on principal losses only (i.e., excluding interest and/or fees) to be consistent with industry convention. In addition, as our practice is to include uncollectible interest and/or fees as part of our total provision for credit losses, a net write-off rate including principal, interest and/or fees is also presented.
(c)Refer to Tables 10 and 13 for Net write-off rate - principal only and 30+ days past due metrics for Global Consumer Services Group (GCSG) and Global Small Business Services (GSBS) receivables, respectively. A net write-off rate based on principal losses only for Global Corporate Payments (GCP), which reflects global, large and middle market corporate accounts, is not available due to system constraints.
10

Table of Contents

Table 8: Net Interest Yield on Average Card Member Loans
Three Months Ended
March 31,
(Millions, except percentages and where indicated) 2021 2020
Net interest income $ 1,830 $ 2,330
Exclude:
Interest expense not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (a)
236 395
Interest income not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (b)
(96) (264)
Adjusted net interest income (c)
$ 1,970 $ 2,461
Average Card Member loans (billions)
$ 70.7 $ 83.4
Net interest income divided by average Card Member loans (c)
10.4  % 11.2  %
Net interest yield on average Card Member loans (c)
11.3  % 11.9  %
(a)Primarily represents interest expense attributable to maintaining our corporate liquidity pool and funding Card Member receivables.
(b)Primarily represents interest income attributable to Other loans, interest-bearing deposits and the fixed income investment portfolios.
(c)Adjusted net interest income and net interest yield on average Card Member loans are non-GAAP measures. Refer to “Glossary of Selected Terminology” for the definitions of these terms. We believe adjusted net interest income is useful to investors because it represents the interest expense and interest income attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio and is a component of net interest yield on average Card Member loans, which provides a measure of profitability of our Card Member loan portfolio. Net interest yield on average Card Member loans reflects adjusted net interest income divided by average Card Member loans, computed on an annualized basis. Net interest income divided by average Card Member loans, computed on an annualized basis, a GAAP measure, includes elements of total interest income and total interest expense that are not attributable to the Card Member loan portfolio, and thus is not representative of net interest yield on average Card Member loans.
11

Table of Contents

Business Segment Results of Operations
Global Consumer Services Group
Table 9: GCSG Selected Income Statement Data
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
(Millions, except percentages) 2021 2020
2021 vs. 2020
Revenues
Non-interest revenues $ 3,690 $ 3,894 $ (204) (5) %
Interest income 1,807 2,411 (604) (25)
Interest expense 187 328 (141) (43)
Net interest income 1,620 2,083 (463) (22)
Total revenues net of  interest expense 5,310 5,977 (667) (11)
Provisions for credit losses (504) 1,810 (2,314) #
Total revenues net of interest expense after provisions for credit losses 5,814 4,167 1,647  40 
Expenses
Marketing, business development, and Card Member rewards and services 2,582 2,702 (120) (4)
Salaries and employee benefits and other operating expenses 1,108 1,234 (126) (10)
Total expenses 3,690 3,936 (246) (6) %
Pretax segment income $ 2,124 $ 231 $ 1,893  #
# Denotes a variance of 100 percent or more
GCSG primarily issues a wide range of proprietary consumer cards globally. GCSG also provides services to consumers, including travel and lifestyle services and non-card financing products, and manages certain international joint ventures and our partnership agreements in China.
Non-interest revenues decreased, primarily driven by lower discount revenue and other fees and commissions, partially offset by higher net card fees.
Discount revenue decreased 7 percent, reflecting a decline in consumer billed business of 4 percent.

See Tables 5, 6 and 10 for more details on volume metrics.

Net card fees increased 14 percent, driven by year-over-year increases in the average fee per card of our premium card products.

Other fees and commissions decreased 35 percent, primarily due to a decline in late fees due to lower delinquencies, lower foreign transaction fees primarily related to decreased cross-border travel and lower travel commissions and fees driven by decreased consumer travel.

Net interest income decreased, primarily due to lower average Card Member loan volumes and a reduction in benchmark interest rates.

Card Member loans and receivables provisions for credit losses decreased and resulted in a net benefit due to reserve releases in the current year versus reserve builds in the prior year and lower net write-offs driven by improved credit performance. The reserve releases in the current quarter were driven by improving macroeconomic indicators, including unemployment and GDP, as well as improved credit performance. The significant reserve builds in the prior year were due to the deterioration of the global macroeconomic outlook, including unemployment and GDP, as a result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other provision for credit losses decreased, primarily driven by a reserve release in the current year versus a reserve build in the prior year, due to improved credit performance and lower balances on non-card loans. The reserve build in the prior year was due to the previously mentioned deterioration of the global macroeconomic outlook.
12

Table of Contents

Marketing, business development, and Card Member rewards and services expenses decreased due to the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease in Card Member rewards expense was primarily driven by lower billed business. In addition, changes in redemption mix due to a decline in higher cost travel redemptions since the onset of the pandemic contributed to a decrease in the Membership Rewards WAC per reward point and expense. The decrease in Card Member services expense was primarily driven by lower usage of travel-related benefits. Those decreases were partially offset by an increase in Marketing and business development expense, primarily due to incremental marketing investments.

Salaries and employee benefits and other operating expenses decreased, primarily driven by lower technology and other servicing-related costs.
13

Table of Contents

Table 10: GCSG Selected Statistical Information
As of or for the
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021
vs.
2020
(Millions, except percentages and where indicated) 2021 2020
Billed business: (billions)
U.S. $ 89.0 $ 90.9 (2) %
Outside the U.S. 30.3 33.7 (10)
Total $ 119.3 $ 124.6 (4)
Proprietary cards-in-force:
U.S. 37.8 38.0 (1)
Outside the U.S. 16.7 17.6 (5)
Total 54.5 55.6 (2)
Proprietary basic cards-in-force:
U.S. 26.7 27.0 (1)
Outside the U.S. 11.6 12.1 (4)
Total 38.3 39.1 (2)
Average proprietary basic Card Member spending: (dollars)
U.S. $ 3,336 $ 3,366 (1)
Outside the U.S. $ 2,616 $ 2,777 (6)
Average $ 3,118 $ 3,183 (2)
Total segment assets (billions)
$ 81.3 $ 87.3 (7)
Card Member loans:
Total loans (billions)
U.S. $ 48.3 $ 55.6 (13)
Outside the U.S. 8.0 8.2 (2)
Total $ 56.3 $ 63.8 (12)
Average loans (billions)
U.S. $ 49.0 $ 59.3 (17)
Outside the U.S. 8.3 10.0 (17)
Total $ 57.3 $ 69.3 (17) %
U.S.
Net write-off rate - principal only (a)
1.3  % 2.6  %
Net write-off rate - principal, interest and fees (a)
1.6  3.1 
30+ days past due as a % of total 0.9  1.7 
   Outside the U.S.
Net write-off rate - principal only (a)
2.5  2.9 
Net write-off rate - principal, interest and fees (a)
3.2  3.5 
30+ days past due as a % of total 1.6  2.1 
Total
Net write-off rate – principal only (a)
1.4  2.6 
Net write-off rate – principal, interest and fees (a)
1.8  3.2 
30+ days past due as a % of total 1.0  % 1.7  %

14

Table of Contents


As of or for the
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021
vs.
2020
(Millions, except percentages and where indicated) 2021 2020
Card Member receivables: (billions)
U.S. $ 11.2 $ 10.5 %
Outside the U.S. 6.0 5.3 13 
Total receivables $ 17.2 $ 15.8 %
U.S.
Net write-off rate – principal only (a)
  % 1.7  %
Net write-off rate – principal and fees (a)
0.1  1.9 
30+ days past due as a % of total 0.4  1.5 
Outside the U.S.
Net write-off rate – principal only (a)
1.3  2.6 
Net write-off rate – principal and fees (a)
1.4  2.8 
30+ days past due as a % of total 0.9  2.2 
Total
Net write-off rate – principal only (a)
0.5  2.0 
Net write-off rate – principal and fees (a)
0.6  2.2 
30+ days past due as a % of total 0.6  % 1.7  %
(a)Refer to Table 7 footnote (b).
15

Table of Contents

Table 11: GCSG Net Interest Yield on Average Card Member Loans
Three Months Ended
March 31,
(Millions, except percentages and where indicated) 2021 2020
U.S.
Net interest income $ 1,421 $ 1,800
Exclude:
Interest expense not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (a)
60 46
Interest income not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (b)
(25) (60)
Adjusted net interest income (c)
$ 1,456 $ 1,786
Average Card Member loans (billions)
$ 49.0 $ 59.3
Net interest income divided by average Card Member loans (c)
11.6  % 12.1  %
Net interest yield on average Card Member loans (c)
12.1  % 12.1  %
Outside the U.S.
Net interest income $ 199 $ 283
Exclude:
Interest expense not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (a)
26 16
Interest income not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (b)
(2) (4)
Adjusted net interest income (c)
$ 223 $ 295
Average Card Member loans (billions)
$ 8.3 $ 10.0
Net interest income divided by average Card Member loans (c)
9.6  % 11.3  %
Net interest yield on average Card Member loans (c)
10.9  % 11.9  %
Total
Net interest income $ 1,620 $ 2,083
Exclude:
Interest expense not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (a)
86 62
Interest income not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (b)
(27) (64)
Adjusted net interest income (c)
$ 1,679 $ 2,081
Average Card Member loans (billions)
$ 57.3 $ 69.3
Net interest income divided by average Card Member loans (c)
11.3  % 12.0  %
Net interest yield on average Card Member loans (c)
11.9  % 12.1  %
(a)Refer to Table 8 footnote (a).
(b)Refer to Table 8 footnote (b).
(c)Refer to Table 8 footnote (c).
16

Table of Contents

Global Commercial Services
Table 12: GCS Selected Income Statement Data
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021 vs. 2020
(Millions, except percentages) 2021 2020
Revenues
Non-interest revenues $ 2,432 $ 2,788 $ (356) (13) %
Interest income 336 499 (163) (33)
Interest expense 116 200 (84) (42)
Net interest income 220 299 (79) (26)
Total revenues net of interest expense 2,652 3,087 (435) (14)
Provisions for credit losses (162) 762 (924) #
Total revenues net of interest expense after provisions for credit losses 2,814 2,325 489  21 
Expenses
Marketing, business development, and Card Member rewards and services 1,386 1,508 (122) (8)
Salaries and employee benefits and other operating expenses 763 798 (35) (4)
Total expenses 2,149 2,306 (157) (7) %
Pretax segment income $ 665 $ 19 $ 646  #
# Denotes a variance of 100 percent or more
GCS primarily issues a wide range of proprietary corporate and small business cards globally. GCS also provides payment, expense management and commercial financing products.
Non-interest revenues decreased, primarily driven by lower discount revenue and other fees and commissions.
Discount revenue decreased 13 percent, primarily due to a decrease in commercial billed business of 10 percent.

See Tables 5, 6 and 13 for more details on volume metrics.

Other fees and commissions decreased 33 percent, primarily due to a decline in late fees due to lower delinquencies and lower foreign transaction fees primarily related to decreased cross-border travel, partially offset by increased revenues from our alternative payment solutions.

Net interest income decreased, primarily driven by a reduction in benchmark interest rates and lower average Card Member loan volumes.

Card Member loans and receivables provisions for credit losses decreased and resulted in a net benefit due to reserve releases in the current year versus reserve builds in the prior year and lower net write-offs driven by improved credit performance. The reserve releases in the current quarter were driven by improving macroeconomic indicators, including unemployment and GDP, as well as improved credit performance. The significant reserve builds in the prior year were due to the deterioration of the global macroeconomic outlook, including unemployment and GDP, as a result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other provision for credit losses decreased, primarily driven by a reserve release in the current year versus a reserve build in the prior year, due to improved credit performance and lower balances on non-card loans. The reserve build in the prior year was due to the previously mentioned deterioration of the global macroeconomic outlook.

Marketing, business development, and Card Member rewards and services expenses decreased, as a result of the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease in Marketing and business development expense was primarily due to decreases in corporate client incentives, partially offset by increased proactive marketing for Card Member acquisitions and incremental marketing investments. The decrease in Card Member services expense was primarily driven by a lower usage of travel-related benefits.
17

Table of Contents

Table 13: GCS Selected Statistical Information
As of or for the
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change 2021 vs 2020
(Millions, except percentages and where indicated) 2021 2020
 Billed business (billions)
$ 104.0 $ 116.1 (10) %
Proprietary cards-in-force 14.5 14.8 (2)
Average Card Member spending (dollars)
$ 7,159 $ 7,836 (9)
Total segment assets (billions)
$ 42.4 $ 46.7 (9)
GSBS Card Member loans:
Total loans (billions)
$ 13.8 $ 13.8 — 
Average loans (billions)
$ 13.4 $ 14.1 (5)
Net write-off rate - principal only (a)
1.0  % 1.9  %
Net write-off rate - principal, interest and fees (a)
1.2  % 2.2  %
30+ days past due as a % of total 0.6  % 1.4  %
Calculation of Net Interest Yield on Average Card Member Loans:
Net interest income $ 220 $ 299
Exclude:
Interest expense not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (b)
93 145
Interest income not attributable to our Card Member loan portfolio (c)
(22) (64)
Adjusted net interest income (d)
$ 291 $ 380
Average Card Member loans (billions)
$ 13.5 $ 14.2
Net interest income divided by average Card Member loans (d)
6.5  % 8.4  %
Net interest yield on average Card Member loans (d)
8.7  % 10.8  %
Card Member receivables:
Total receivables (billions)
$ 24.8 $ 28.9 (14)
Net write-off rate - principal and fees (a)(e)
0.5  % 1.8  %
GCP Card Member receivables:
Total receivables (billions)
$ 10.5 $ 13.2 (20)
90+ days past billing as a % of total (e)
0.4  % 1.1  %
Net write-off rate - principal and fees (a) (e)
0.4  % 1.0  %
GSBS Card Member receivables:
Total receivables (billions)
$ 14.3 $ 15.7 (9) %
Net write-off rate - principal only (a)
0.5  % 2.2  %
Net write-off rate - principal and fees (a)
0.5  % 2.5  %
30+ days past due as a % of total 0.6  % 2.0  %
(a)Refer to Table 7 footnote (b).
(b)Refer to Table 8 footnote (a).
(c)Refer to Table 8 footnote (b).
(d)Refer to Table 8 footnote (c).
(e)For GCP Card Member receivables, delinquency data is tracked based on days past billing status rather than days past due. A Card Member account is considered 90 days past billing if payment has not been received within 90 days of the Card Member’s billing statement date. In addition, if we initiate collection procedures on an account prior to the account becoming 90 days past billing, the associated Card Member receivable balance is classified as 90 days past billing. GCP delinquency data for periods other than 90+ days past billing and the net write-off rate based on principal losses only are not available due to system constraints.
18

Table of Contents

Global Merchant and Network Services
Table 14: GMNS Selected Income Statement and Other Data
Three Months Ended
March 31,
Change
2021 vs. 2020
(Millions, except percentages and where indicated) 2021 2020
Revenues
Non-interest revenues $ 1,190 $ 1,346 $ (156) (12) %
Interest income 4 6 (2) (33)
Interest expense (17) (36) 19  (53)
Net interest income 21 42 (21) (50)
Total revenues net of interest expense 1,211 1,388 (177) (13)
Provisions for credit losses (10) 48 (58) #
Total revenues net of interest expense after provisions for credit losses 1,221 1,340 (119) (9)
Expenses
Marketing, business development, and Card Member rewards and services 345 324 21 
Salaries and employee benefits and other operating expenses 462 465 (3) (1)
Total expenses 807 789 18 
Pretax segment income 414 551 (137) (25)
Total segment assets (billions)
$ 13.9 $ 10.2 36  %
# Denotes a variance of 100 percent or more
GMNS operates a global payments network that processes and settles card transactions, acquires merchants and provides multi-channel marketing programs and capabilities, services and data analytics, leveraging our global integrated network. GMNS manages our partnership relationships with third-party card issuers, merchant acquirers and a prepaid reloadable and gift card program manager, licensing the American Express brand and extending the reach of the global network. GMNS also manages loyalty coalition businesses in certain countries.
Non-interest revenues decreased, primarily driven by lower discount revenue due to lower worldwide network volumes and a decline in the average discount rate, primarily due to a shift in spend mix to G&S categories, as well as decreases in other fees and commissions, due to lower foreign transaction fees primarily related to decreased cross-border travel.
For a detailed discussion on network volumes and the average discount rate, please refer to the “Consolidated Results of Operations.”

Net interest income decreased, reflecting a lower interest expense credit relating to internal transfer pricing, which results in a net benefit for GMNS due to its merchant payables.

Provisions for credit losses decreased, primarily driven by reserve releases in the current year reflecting improvement in the macroeconomic outlook, versus reserve builds in the prior year due to the deterioration of the global macroeconomic outlook, including unemployment and GDP, as a result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marketing, business development, and Card Member rewards and services expenses increased, primarily driven by higher Marketing and business development expense, as a result of increased spend on initiatives to support merchant engagement and increased payments to partners related to higher prepaid volumes, partially offset by lower network issuer expense, reflecting lower processed volumes from certain GNS partners.
19

Table of Contents

Corporate & Other
Corporate functions and certain other businesses are included in Corporate & Other.
Corporate & Other pretax loss was $210 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, compared to $349 million in the same period a year ago. The decrease in the pretax loss was primarily driven by net unrealized gains of $377 million in the current year related to our Amex Ventures equity investments, partially offset by higher deferred compensation expenses and higher incentive compensation.
CONSOLIDATED CAPITAL RESOURCES AND LIQUIDITY
Our balance sheet management objectives are to maintain:
A solid and flexible equity capital profile;
A broad, deep and diverse set of funding sources to finance our assets and meet operating requirements; and
Liquidity programs that enable us to continuously meet expected future financing obligations and business requirements for at least a twelve-month period in the event we are unable to continue to raise new funds under our traditional funding programs during a substantial weakening in economic conditions.
We are closely monitoring the changing macroeconomic environment and actively managing our balance sheet to reflect evolving circumstances. Our objective is to remain financially strong against a backdrop of an uncertain operating environment and outlook.
Capital
We believe capital allocated to growing businesses with a return on risk-adjusted equity in excess of our costs will generate shareholder value. Our objective is to retain sufficient levels of capital generated through net income and other sources, such as the exercise of stock options by employees, to maintain a strong balance sheet, provide flexibility to support future business growth, and distribute excess capital to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. See “Dividends and Share Repurchases” below.
We seek to maintain capital levels and ratios in excess of the minimum regulatory requirements, specifically within a 10 to 11 percent target range for American Express' Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) risk-based capital ratio.
We maintain certain flexibility to shift capital across our businesses as appropriate. For example, we may infuse additional capital into subsidiaries to maintain capital at targeted levels in consideration of debt ratings and regulatory requirements. These infused amounts can affect our capital and liquidity positions at the American Express parent company level.
We report our capital ratios using the Basel III capital definitions and the Basel III standardized approach for calculating risk-weighted assets.
20

Table of Contents

The following table presents our regulatory risk-based capital and leverage ratios and those of our U.S. bank subsidiary, American Express National Bank (AENB), as of March 31, 2021.
Table 15: Regulatory Risk-Based Capital and Leverage Ratios
Effective Minimum (a)
Ratios as of March 31, 2021
Risk-Based Capital
Common Equity Tier 1 7.0  %
American Express Company 14.8  %
American Express National Bank 15.6 
Tier 1 8.5 
American Express Company 16.0 
American Express National Bank 15.6 
Total 10.5 
American Express Company 17.5 
American Express National Bank 17.8 
Tier 1 Leverage 4.0  %
American Express Company 11.4 
American Express National Bank 10.0  %
(a)Represents Basel III minimum requirements and applicable regulatory buffers as defined by the federal banking regulators, which includes the stress capital buffer (SCB) for American Express Company and the capital conservation buffer for AENB.
The following table presents American Express Company's regulatory risk-based capital and risk-weighted assets, which are calculated in accordance with standard regulatory guidance as described below:
Table 16: Regulatory Risk-Based Capital Components and Risk Weighted Assets
American Express Company
($ in Billions)
March 31, 2021
Risk-Based Capital
Common Equity Tier 1 $ 20.0 
Tier 1 Capital 21.6 
Tier 2 Capital
2.1 
Total Capital 23.6 
Risk-Weighted Assets 135.1 
Average Total Assets to calculate the Tier 1 Leverage Ratio $ 189.3 
The following are definitions for our regulatory risk-based capital ratios and leverage ratio, which are calculated as per standard regulatory guidance:
Risk-Weighted Assets — Assets are weighted for risk according to a formula used by the Federal Reserve to conform to capital adequacy guidelines. On- and off-balance sheet items are weighted for risk, with off-balance sheet items converted to balance sheet equivalents, using risk conversion factors, before being allocated a risk-adjusted weight. Off-balance sheet exposures comprise a minimal part of the total risk-weighted assets.
Common Equity Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Ratio — Calculated as CET1, divided by risk-weighted assets. CET1 is common shareholders’ equity, adjusted for ineligible goodwill and intangible assets and certain deferred tax assets. CET1 is also adjusted for the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) final rules, as described below.
Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Ratio — Calculated as Tier 1 capital divided by risk-weighted assets. Tier 1 capital is the sum of CET1, preferred shares and third-party non-controlling interests in consolidated subsidiaries, adjusted for capital held by insurance subsidiaries. The minimum requirement for the Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio is 1.5 percent higher than the minimum for the CET1 risk-based capital ratio. We have $1.6 billion of preferred shares outstanding to help address a portion of the Tier 1 capital requirements in excess of common equity requirements.
21

Table of Contents

Total Risk-Based Capital Ratio — Calculated as the sum of Tier 1 capital and Tier 2 capital, divided by risk-weighted assets. Tier 2 capital is the sum of the reserve for loan and receivable credit losses adjusted for the CECL final rules (limited to 1.25 percent of risk-weighted assets) and $360 million of eligible subordinated notes, adjusted for capital held by insurance subsidiaries. The $360 million of eligible subordinated notes reflect a 40 percent, or $240 million, reduction of Tier 2 capital credit for the $600 million subordinated debt issued in December 2014.
Tier 1 Leverage Ratio — Calculated by dividing Tier 1 capital by our average total consolidated assets for the most recent quarter.
We elected to delay the impact of the adoption of the CECL methodology on regulatory capital for two years followed by a
three-year phase-in period pursuant to rules issued by federal banking regulators (the CECL final rules). As of March 31,
2021, our reported regulatory capital excluded the $0.9 billion impact to retained earnings upon the adoption of the CECL
methodology and 25 percent of the impact of the $0.5 billion increase in reserves for credit losses from January 1, 2020 to
March 31, 2021. We will begin phasing in the cumulative amount that is not recognized in regulatory capital at 25 percent
per year beginning January 1, 2022.
On August 10, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced our SCB requirement of 2.5 percent, and resulting CET1 capital ratio requirement of 7.0 percent. Failure to maintain minimum regulatory capital levels at American Express or AENB could affect our status as a financial holding company and cause the regulatory agencies with oversight of American Express or AENB to take actions that could limit our business operations. The Federal Reserve will notify us by June 30, 2021 whether the SCB will be recalculated.
We were subject to the Federal Reserve's supervisory stress tests in 2020 and are required to participate in the supervisory stress tests every other year thereafter. We are required to develop and submit to the Federal Reserve an annual capital plan and we have submitted our 2021 capital plan.
Dividends and Share Repurchases
We return capital to common shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. The share repurchases reduce common shares outstanding and generally more than offset the issuance of new shares as part of employee compensation plans.
During the three months ended March 31, 2021, we returned $0.7 billion to our shareholders in the form of common stock dividends of $0.3 billion, and share repurchases of $0.4 billion. We repurchased 3 million in common shares at an average price of $131.45 in the first quarter of 2021.
In addition, during the three months ended March 31, 2021, we paid $14 million in dividends on non-cumulative perpetual preferred shares outstanding.
For the first quarter of 2021, the Federal Reserve allowed bank holding companies participating in the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, like us, to pay common stock dividends and repurchase common stock provided (a) the dividends and repurchases, in the aggregate, did not exceed the average of a firm’s net income for the four preceding calendar quarters and (b) the firm did not increase the amount of its common stock dividends beyond the level paid in the second quarter of 2020. The Federal Reserve also permitted stock repurchases equal to the amount of share issuances related to expensed employee compensation. On March 25, 2021, the Federal Reserve extended these limitations through the second quarter of 2021.
Our decisions on capital distributions depend on various factors, including: our capital levels and regulatory capital requirements; regulatory guidance or restrictions, actual and forecasted business results; economic and market conditions; revisions to, or revocation of, the Federal Reserve’s authorization of our capital plan; and the supervisory stress test process. For the second quarter of 2021, we plan to repurchase shares up to our maximum capacity of approximately $0.9 billion authorized by the Federal Reserve.
22

Table of Contents

Funding Strategy
Our principal funding objective is to maintain broad and well-diversified funding sources to allow us to meet our maturing obligations, cost-effectively finance asset growth in our global businesses as well as to maintain a strong liquidity profile.
We meet our funding needs through a variety of sources, including direct and third-party distributed deposits and debt instruments, such as senior unsecured debt, asset securitizations, borrowings through secured borrowing facilities and a committed bank credit facility. We seek to diversify our funding sources by maintaining scale and relevance in unsecured debt, asset securitizations and deposits. Our direct retail deposits have become a larger proportion of our funding over time and we expect that will continue.
Our funding plan for the full year 2021 includes, among other sources, a limited amount of unsecured and secured term debt issuance. Actual funding activities can vary from our plans due to various factors, such as future business growth, the impact of global economic, political and other events on market capacity and funding needs, demand for securities offered by us, regulatory changes, ability to securitize and sell loans and receivables, and the performance of loans and receivables previously sold in securitization transactions. Many of these factors are beyond our control.
Summary of Consolidated Debt
We had the following consolidated debt and customer deposits outstanding as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020:
Table 17: Summary of Consolidated Debt and Customer Deposits
(Billions) March 31, 2021 December 31, 2020
Short-term borrowings $ 1.6  $ 1.9 
Long-term debt 42.0  43.0 
Total debt 43.6  44.9 
Customer deposits 89.2  86.9 
Total debt and customer deposits $ 132.8  $ 131.8 
We may redeem from time to time certain debt securities prior to the original contractual maturity dates in accordance with the optional redemption provisions of those debt securities.
Our equity capital and funding strategies are designed, among other things, to maintain appropriate and stable unsecured debt ratings from the major credit rating agencies: Moody’s Investor Services (Moody’s), Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch Ratings (Fitch). Such ratings help support our access to cost-effective unsecured funding as part of our overall funding strategy. Our asset securitization activities are rated separately.
Table 18: Unsecured Debt Ratings
Credit Agency American Express Entity Short-Term Ratings Long-Term Ratings Outlook
Fitch All rated entities F1 A Negative
Moody’s
American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
N/A A2 Negative
Moody's American Express Credit Corporation Prime-1 A2 Negative
Moody's American Express National Bank Prime-1 A3 Negative
Moody's American Express Company N/A A3 Negative
S&P
American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
N/A A- Stable
S&P American Express Credit Corporation and American Express National Bank A-2 A- Stable
S&P American Express Company A-2 BBB+ Stable
These ratings are not a recommendation to buy or hold any of our securities and they may be revised or revoked at any time at the sole discretion of the rating organization.
Downgrades in the ratings of our unsecured debt or asset securitization program securities could result in higher funding costs, as well as higher fees related to borrowings under our unused credit facilities. Declines in credit ratings could also reduce our borrowing capacity in the unsecured debt and asset securitization capital markets. We believe our funding mix, including the proportion of U.S. retail deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to total funding, should reduce the impact that credit rating downgrades would have on our funding capacity and costs.
23

Table of Contents

Liquidity Management
Our liquidity objective is to maintain access to a diverse set of on- and off-balance sheet liquidity sources. We seek to maintain liquidity sources in amounts sufficient to meet our expected future financial obligations and business requirements for liquidity for a period of at least twelve months in the event we are unable to raise new funds under our regular funding programs during a substantial weakening in economic conditions.
Our liquidity management strategy includes a number of elements, including, but not limited to:
Maintaining diversified funding sources (refer to the “Funding Strategy” section for more details);
Maintaining unencumbered liquid assets and off-balance sheet liquidity sources;
Projecting cash inflows and outflows under a variety of economic and market scenarios; and
Establishing clear objectives for liquidity risk management, including compliance with regulatory requirements.
The amount and type of liquidity resources we maintain can vary over time, based upon the results of stress scenarios required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as additional stress scenarios required under our liquidity risk policy.
We believe that we currently maintain sufficient liquidity to meet all internal and regulatory liquidity requirements. As of March 31, 2021, we had $61.6 billion in Cash and cash equivalents and Investment securities (which are substantially comprised of U.S. Government Treasury obligations). The increase of $7.0 billion from $54.6 billion as of December 31, 2020 was primarily driven by the decline in the balances of our Card Member loans and receivables and the growth in our retail deposits.
The investment income we receive on liquidity resources is less than the interest expense on the sources of funding for these balances. The net interest costs to maintain these resources have been substantial. The level of future net interest costs depends on the amount of liquidity resources we maintain and the difference between our cost of funding these amounts and their investment yields.
Securitized Borrowing Capacity
As of March 31, 2021, we maintained our committed, revolving, secured borrowing facility, with a maturity date of July 15, 2022, which gives us the right to sell up to $3.0 billion face amount of eligible AAA notes from the American Express Issuance Trust II (the Charge Trust). As the balance of Card Member receivables in the Charge Trust fluctuates over time in line with business volumes, our capacity to draw on the Charge Trust facility may be reduced when volumes decline. We also maintained our committed, revolving, secured borrowing facility, with a maturity date of September 15, 2022, which gives us the right to sell up to $2.0 billion face amount of eligible AAA certificates from the American Express Credit Account Master Trust (the Lending Trust). Both facilities are used in the ordinary course of business to fund working capital needs, as well as to further enhance our contingent funding resources. As of March 31, 2021, no amounts were drawn on the Charge Trust facility or the Lending Trust facility.
Federal Reserve Discount Window
As an insured depository institution, AENB may borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, subject to the amount of qualifying collateral that it may pledge. The Federal Reserve has indicated that both credit and charge card receivables are a form of qualifying collateral for secured borrowings made through the discount window. Whether specific assets will be considered qualifying collateral and the amount that may be borrowed against the collateral remain at the discretion of the Federal Reserve.
As of March 31, 2021, we had approximately $63.6 billion in U.S. credit card loans and charge card receivables that could be sold over time through our securitization trusts or pledged in return for secured borrowings to provide further liquidity, subject in each case to applicable market conditions and eligibility criteria.
Committed Bank Credit Facility
In addition to the secured borrowing facilities described above, we maintained a committed syndicated bank credit facility as of March 31, 2021 of $3.5 billion, with a maturity date of October 15, 2022. As of March 31, 2021, no amounts were drawn on this facility.
24

Table of Contents

Unused Credit Outstanding and Certain Contractual Obligations
As of March 31, 2021, we had approximately $319 billion of unused credit available to Card Members as part of established lending product agreements. Total unused credit available to Card Members does not represent potential future cash requirements, as a significant portion of this unused credit will likely not be drawn. Our charge card products generally have no pre-set spending limit and therefore are not reflected in unused credit available to Card Members.
We provide Card Member protection that covers losses associated with purchased goods and services. See Note 7 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.
Cash Flows
The following table summarizes our cash flow activity, followed by a discussion of the major drivers impacting operating, investing and financing cash flows for the three months ended March, 31:
Table 19: Cash Flows
(Billions) 2021 2020
Total cash provided by (used in):
Operating activities $ 2.3  $ (2.2)
Investing activities 4.8  21.9 
Financing activities 0.4  (5.4)
Effect of foreign currency exchange rates on cash and cash equivalents (0.2) (0.1)
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents $ 7.3  $ 14.2 
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
Our cash flows from operating activities primarily include net income adjusted for (i) non-cash items included in net income, such as provisions for credit losses, depreciation and amortization, deferred taxes and stock-based compensation and (ii) changes in the balances of operating assets and liabilities, which can vary significantly in the normal course of business due to the amount and timing of payments.
In 2021, the net cash provided by operating activities was primarily driven by cash generated from net income for the period and lower net operating assets and liabilities.
In 2020, the net cash used in operating activities was primarily driven by the significant decline in billed business in the month of March 2020 triggered by the sharp contraction in the global economy caused by the accelerating spread of COVID-19, resulting in lower accounts payable to merchants and other liabilities, partially offset by cash generated from net income for the period.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
Our cash flows from investing activities primarily include changes in Card Member loans and receivables, as well as changes in our available-for-sale investment securities portfolio.
In 2021, the net cash provided by investing activities was primarily driven by lower Card Member loan and receivable balances, as Card Members continued to pay down outstanding balances, combined with decline in Card Member spending as a result of the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the net cash provided by investing activities was primarily driven by a decline in Card Member loan and receivable balances and net maturities of investment securities. The decline in Card Member loan and receivable balances was due to the ongoing pay down of outstanding balances by Card Members combined with significant decline in spending that occurred during March 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Our cash flows from financing activities primarily include changes in customer deposits, long-term debt and short-term borrowings, as well as dividend payments and share repurchases.
In 2021, the net cash provided by financing activities was primarily driven by growth in customer deposits, partially offset by debt repayments and payments made for share repurchases and dividends.
In 2020, the net cash used in financing activities was primarily driven by debt repayments and payments made for share repurchases and dividends, partially offset by growth in customer deposits.
25

Table of Contents

OTHER MATTERS
Certain Legislative, Regulatory and Other Developments
Supervision & Regulation
We are subject to extensive government regulation and supervision in jurisdictions around the world, and the costs of compliance are substantial. The financial services industry is subject to rigorous scrutiny, high regulatory expectations, a range of regulations, and a stringent and unpredictable enforcement environment.
Governmental authorities have focused, and we believe will continue to focus, considerable attention on reviewing compliance by financial services firms with laws and regulations, and as a result, we continually work to evolve and improve our risk management framework, governance structures, practices and procedures. Reviews to assess compliance with laws and regulations by governmental authorities, as well as our own internal reviews, have resulted in, and are likely to continue to result in, changes to our products, practices and procedures, restitution to our customers and increased costs related to regulatory oversight, supervision and examination. We have also been subject to regulatory actions and may continue to be the subject of such actions, including governmental inquiries, investigations, enforcement proceedings and the imposition of fines or civil money penalties, in the event of noncompliance or alleged noncompliance with laws or regulations. External publicity concerning investigations, including those that are narrow in scope, can increase their scope and scale and lead to further regulatory inquiries.
For example, as previously disclosed, beginning in May 2020 we began responding to a regulatory review led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Department of Justice Civil Division regarding historical sales practices relating to certain small business card sales. We also conducted an internal review of certain sales from 2015 and 2016 and have taken appropriate disciplinary and remedial actions, including voluntarily providing remediation to certain current and former customers. Information regarding our investigation has been provided to our other regulators, including the Federal Reserve. In January 2021, we received a grand jury subpoena from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York regarding the sales practices for small business cards and a Civil Investigative Demand from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) seeking information on sales practices related to consumers. We are cooperating with all of these inquiries and have continued to enhance our controls related to our sales practices. We do not believe this matter will have a material adverse impact on our business or results of operations.
Please see the “Supervision and Regulation” and “Risk Factors” sections of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 (the 2020 Form 10-K) for further information.
Consumer Financial Products Regulation
In the United States, our marketing, sale and servicing of consumer financial products and our compliance with certain federal consumer financial laws are supervised and examined by the CFPB, which has broad rulemaking and enforcement authority over providers of credit, savings and payment services and products and authority to prevent “unfair, deceptive or abusive” acts or practices. In addition, a number of U.S. states have significant consumer credit protection, disclosure and other laws (in certain cases more stringent than U.S. federal laws). U.S. federal law also regulates abusive debt collection practices, which along with bankruptcy and debtor relief laws, can affect our ability to collect amounts owed to us or subject us to regulatory scrutiny. Other jurisdictions around the world are increasingly focusing on consumer financial protection.
For more information on consumer financial products regulation, as well as the potential impacts on our results of operations and business, please see the “Supervision and Regulation” and “Risk Factors” sections of the 2020 Form 10-K.
Payments Regulation
Legislators and regulators in various countries in which we operate have focused on the operation of card networks, including through enforcement actions, legislation and regulations to change certain practices or pricing of card issuers, merchant acquirers and payment networks, and, in some cases, to establish broad and ongoing regulatory oversight regimes for payment systems.
26

Table of Contents

The European Union, Australia and other jurisdictions have focused on interchange fees (that is, the fee paid by the bankcard merchant acquirer to the card issuer in payment networks like Visa and Mastercard), as well as the rules, contract terms and practices governing merchant card acceptance. Regulation and other governmental actions relating to pricing or practices could affect all networks directly or indirectly, as well as adversely impact consumers and merchants. Among other things, regulation of bankcard fees has negatively impacted, and may continue to negatively impact, the discount revenue we earn, including as a result of downward pressure on our discount rate from decreases in competitor pricing in connection with caps on interchange fees. In some cases, regulations also extend to certain aspects of our business, such as network and cobrand arrangements or the terms of card acceptance for merchants. There is uncertainty as to when or how interchange fee caps and other provisions of the EU payments legislation might apply when we work with cobrand partners and agents in the EU. Given differing interpretations by regulators and participants in cobrand arrangements, we are subject to regulatory action, penalties and the possibility we will not be able to maintain our existing cobrand and agent relationships in the EU.
Broad regulatory oversight over payment systems can also include, in some cases, requirements for international card networks to localize aspects of their operations, such as processing infrastructure and data storage, which could increase our costs and diminish the value of our closed loop. The development and enforcement of payment system regulatory regimes generally continue to grow and may adversely affect our ability to compete effectively and maintain and extend our global network.
For more information on payments regulation, as well as the potential impacts on our results of operations and business, please see the “Supervision and Regulation” and “Risk Factors” sections of the 2020 Form 10-K.
Surcharging
In various countries, such as certain Member States in the EU and Australia, merchants are permitted by law to surcharge card purchases. In addition, the laws of a number of states in the United States that prohibit surcharging have been challenged in litigation brought by merchant groups and some such laws have been overturned. Surcharging is an adverse customer experience and could have a material adverse effect on us if it becomes widespread, particularly where it only or disproportionately impacts credit card usage, our Card Members and our business. In addition, other steering practices that are permitted by regulation in some countries could also have a material adverse effect on us if they become widespread.
For more information on the potential impacts of surcharging and other actions that could impair the Card Member experience, please see the “Risk Factors” section of the 2020 Form 10-K.
Antitrust Litigation
The U.S. Department of Justice and certain states’ attorneys general brought an action against us in 2010 alleging that the provisions in our card acceptance agreements with merchants that prohibit merchants from engaging in various actions to discriminate against our card products violate the U.S. antitrust laws. On June 25, 2018, the Supreme Court found in favor of American Express in that case. We continue to vigorously defend similar antitrust claims initiated by merchants. See Note 7 to the "Consolidated Financial Statements" for descriptions of the cases. It is possible that actions impairing the Card Member experience, or the resolution of one or any combination of these merchant claims for damages, could have a material adverse effect on our business. For more information on the potential impacts of an adverse decision in the merchant litigations on our business, please see the “Risk Factors” section of the 2020 Form 10-K.
Privacy, Data Protection, Data Governance, Information and Cyber Security
Regulatory and legislative activity in the areas of privacy, data protection, data governance and information and cyber security continues to increase worldwide. We have established, and continue to maintain, policies and a governance framework to comply with applicable laws, meet evolving customer and industry expectations and support and enable business innovation and growth. Global financial institutions like us, as well as our customers, colleagues, regulators, vendors and other third parties, have experienced a significant increase in information and cyber security risk in recent years and will likely continue to be the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks, including computer viruses, malicious or destructive code, ransomware, social engineering attacks (including phishing, impersonation and identity takeover attempts), corporate espionage, hacking, website defacement, denial-of-service attacks and other attacks and similar disruptions from the misconfiguration or unauthorized use of or access to computer systems. For more information on privacy, data protection and information and cyber security regulation and the potential impacts of a major information or cyber security incident on our results of operations and business, please see the “Supervision and Regulation” and “Risk Factors” sections of the 2020 Form 10-K.
27

Table of Contents

Anti-Money Laundering
We are subject to significant supervision and regulation, and an increasingly stringent enforcement environment, with respect to compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) laws and regulations. In the United States, the majority of AML requirements are derived from the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act and the accompanying regulations issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (collectively referred to as the Bank Secrecy Act), as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the AMLA), enacted in January 2021, amended the Bank Secrecy Act and is intended to comprehensively reform and modernize U.S. AML laws. Many of the statutory provisions in the AMLA will require additional rulemakings, reports and other measures, the effects of which are not known at this time. In Europe, AML requirements are largely the result of countries transposing the 5th and 6th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directives (and preceding EU Anti-Money Laundering Directives) into local laws and regulations. Numerous other countries have also enacted or proposed new or enhanced AML legislation and regulations.
Among other things, these laws and regulations require us to establish AML programs that meet certain standards, including, in some instances, expanded reporting, particularly in the area of suspicious transactions, and enhanced information gathering and recordkeeping requirements. Our AML programs have become the subject of heightened scrutiny in some countries. Any errors, failures or delays in complying with federal, state or foreign AML and counter-terrorist financing laws or perceived deficiencies in our AML programs could result in significant criminal and civil lawsuits, penalties and forfeiture of significant assets, loss of licenses or restrictions on business activities, or other enforcement actions. For more information on AML regulation, as well as the potential impacts on our results of operations and business, please see the “Supervision and Regulation” and “Risk Factors” sections of the 2020 Form 10-K.
Recently Issued and Adopted Accounting Standards
Refer to the Recently Adopted Accounting Standards section of Note 1 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements.”
Glossary of Selected Terminology
Adjusted net interest income — A non-GAAP measure that represents net interest income attributable to our Card Member loans (which includes, on a GAAP basis, interest that is deemed uncollectible), excluding the impact of interest expense and interest income not attributable to our Card Member loans.
Airline-related volume — Represents spend at airlines as a merchant.
Asset securitizations — Asset securitization involves the transfer and sale of loans or receivables to a special-purpose entity created for the securitization activity, typically a trust. The trust, in turn, issues securities, commonly referred to as asset-backed securities that are secured by the transferred loans and receivables. The trust uses the proceeds from the sale of such securities to pay the purchase price for the transferred loans or receivables. The securitized loans and receivables of our Lending Trust and Charge Trust (collectively, the Trusts) are reported as assets and the securities issued by the Trusts are reported as liabilities on our Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Average discount rate — This calculation is generally designed to reflect the average pricing at all merchants accepting American Express cards and represents the percentage of network volumes retained by us from spend at merchants we acquire, or from merchants acquired by third parties on our behalf, net of amounts retained by such third parties. The average discount rate, together with network volumes, drive our discount revenue.
Billed business — Represents transaction volumes (including cash advances) on cards and other payment products issued by American Express. Billed business is reported as inside the United States or outside the United States based on the location of the issuer.
Capital ratios — Represents the minimum standards established by regulatory agencies as a measure to determine whether the regulated entity has sufficient capital to absorb on- and off-balance sheet losses beyond current loss accrual estimates. Refer to the Capital section under “Consolidated Capital Resources and Liquidity” for further related definitions under Basel III.
Card Member — The individual holder of an issued American Express-branded card.
Card Member loans — Represents the outstanding amount due from Card Members for charges made on their American Express credit cards, as well as any interest charges and card-related fees. Card Member loans also include revolving balances on certain American Express charge card products.
28

Table of Contents

Card Member receivables — Represents the outstanding amount due from Card Members for charges made on their American Express charge cards, as well as any card-related fees, other than revolving balances on certain American Express charge cards with Pay Over Time features. Such revolving balances are included within Card Member loans.
Cards-in-force — Represents the number of cards that are issued and outstanding by American Express (proprietary cards-in-force) and cards issued and outstanding under network partnership agreements with banks and other institutions, including joint ventures (GNS cards-in-force), except for GNS retail cobrand cards that had no out-of-store spending activity during the prior twelve months. Basic cards-in-force excludes supplemental cards issued on consumer accounts. Cards-in-force is useful in understanding the size of our Card Member base.
Charge cards — Represents cards that generally carry no pre-set spending limits and are primarily designed as a method of payment and not as a means of financing purchases. Charge Card Members generally must pay the full amount billed each month. No finance charges are assessed on charge cards. Each charge card transaction is authorized based on its likely economics reflecting a Card Member’s most recent credit information and spend patterns. Some charge cards have additional Pay Over Time feature(s) that allow revolving of certain charges.
Cobrand cards — Cards issued under cobrand agreements with selected commercial partners. Pursuant to the cobrand agreements, we make payments to our cobrand partners, which can be significant, based primarily on the amount of Card Member spending and corresponding rewards earned on such spending and, under certain arrangements, on the number of accounts acquired and retained. The partner is then liable for providing rewards to the Card Member under the cobrand partner’s own loyalty program.
Credit cards — Represents cards that have a range of revolving payment terms, grace periods, and rate and fee structures.
Discount revenue — Primarily represents the amount earned on transactions occurring at merchants that have entered into a card acceptance agreement with us, a GNS partner or other third-party merchant acquirer, for facilitating transactions between the merchants and Card Members.
Goods and Services (G&S)-related volume Includes spend in merchant categories other than T&E-related merchant categories.
Interest expense — Includes interest incurred primarily to fund Card Member loans and receivables, general corporate purposes and liquidity needs. Interest expense is divided principally into two categories: (i) deposits, which primarily relates to interest expense on deposits taken from customers and institutions, and (ii) debt, which primarily relates to interest expense on our long-term financing and short-term borrowings, (e.g., commercial paper, federal funds purchased, bank overdrafts and other short-term borrowings), as well as the realized impact of derivatives hedging interest rate risk on our long-term debt.
Interest income — Includes (i) interest on loans, (ii) interest and dividends on investment securities and (iii) interest income on deposits with banks and other.
Interest on loans — Assessed using the average daily balance method for Card Member loans. Unless the loan is classified as non-accrual, interest is recognized based upon the principal amount outstanding in accordance with the terms of the applicable account agreement until the outstanding balance is paid or written off.
Interest and dividends on investment securities — Primarily relates to our performing fixed-income securities. Interest income is recognized using the effective interest method, which adjusts the yield for security premiums and discounts, fees and other payments, so a constant rate of return is recognized on the outstanding balance of the related investment security throughout its term. Amounts are recognized until securities are in default or when it is likely that future interest payments will not be made as scheduled.
Interest income on deposits with banks and other — Primarily relates to the placement of cash in excess of near-term funding requirements in interest-bearing time deposits, overnight sweep accounts, and other interest-bearing demand and call accounts.
Loyalty Coalitions — Programs that enable consumers to earn rewards points and use them to save on purchases from a variety of participating merchants through multi-category rewards platforms. Merchants in these programs generally fund the consumer offers and are responsible to us for the cost of rewards points; we earn revenue from operating the loyalty platform and by providing marketing support.
Net card fees — Represents the card membership fees earned during the period recognized as revenue over the covered card membership period (typically one year), net of the provision for projected refunds for Card Membership cancellation and deferred acquisition costs.
29

Table of Contents

Net interest yield on average Card Member loans —  A non-GAAP measure that is computed by dividing adjusted net interest income by average Card Member loans, computed on an annualized basis. Reserves and net write-offs related to uncollectible interest are recorded through provision for credit losses and are thus not included in the net interest yield calculation.
Net write-off rateprincipal only — Represents the amount of proprietary consumer or small business Card Member loans or receivables written off, consisting of principal (resulting from authorized transactions), less recoveries, as a percentage of the average loan or receivable balance during the period.
Net write-off rateprincipal, interest and fees — Includes, in the calculation of the net write-off rate, amounts for interest and fees in addition to principal for Card Member loans, and fees in addition to principal for Card Member receivables.
Network volumes — Represents the total of billed business and processed volumes. Network volumes are reported as United States or outside the United States based on the location of the issuer.
Operating expenses — Represents salaries and employee benefits, professional services, data processing and equipment, and other expenses.
Processed volumes — Represents transaction volumes (including cash advances) on cards issued under network partnership agreements with banks and other institutions, including joint ventures, as well as alternative payment solutions facilitated by American Express. Processed volume is reported as United States or outside the United States based on the location of the issuer.
Reserve build (release) — Represents the portion of the provisions for credit losses for the period related to increasing or decreasing reserves for credit losses as a result of, among other things, changes in volumes, macroeconomic outlook, portfolio composition and credit quality of portfolios. Reserve build represents the amount by which the provision for credit losses exceeds net write-offs, while reserve release represents the amount by which net write-offs exceed the provision for credit losses.
Return on average equity — Calculated by dividing one-year period net income by one-year average total shareholders’ equity.
T&E-related volume — Represents spend on travel and entertainment, which primarily includes airline, cruise, lodging and dining merchant categories.
30

Table of Contents

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This report includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements, which address our current expectations regarding business and financial performance, among other matters, contain words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “aim,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “likely,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue” and similar expressions. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited to, the following:
our ability to rebuild growth momentum and improve our financial performance to pre-pandemic levels, which will depend in part on a recovery in consumer travel and therefore on how soon lockdowns ease, travel restrictions lift and the general public begins to feel comfortable traveling again; discount revenue recovering broadly in-line with billed business; credit performance and reserve levels; identifying attractive investment opportunities that help rebuild growth momentum and scale next horizon opportunities; our ability to control operating expenses; the effective tax rate remaining consistent with current expectations; and our ability to continue our share repurchase program; any of which could be impacted by, among other things, the factors identified in the subsequent paragraphs;
our ability to grow volumes, revenues and EPS, which could be impacted by, among other things, uncertainty regarding the continued spread of COVID-19 (including new variants) and severity of the pandemic and the availability, distribution and use of effective treatments and vaccines; a further deterioration in global economic and business conditions; consumer and business spending not growing in line with expectations, including G&S spending not continuing to grow and T&E spending not rebounding to around 70 percent of 2019 levels by the end of 2021; an inability or unwillingness of Card Members to pay amounts owed to us; insufficient government support and relief programs to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic; prolonged measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 (including travel restrictions) or premature easing of such containment measures, both of which could further exacerbate the effects on business activity and our Card Members, partners and merchants; health concerns associated with the pandemic continuing to affect consumer behavior, spending levels and preferences, and travel patterns and demand even after government restrictions are lifted and economies reopen, including domestic travel not continuing to recover in 2021; our inability to effectively manage risk in an uncertain environment; market volatility, changes in capital and credit market conditions and the availability and cost of capital; issues impacting brand perceptions and our reputation; the amount and efficacy of investments in share, scale and relevance; an inability of business partners to meet their obligations to us and our customers due to slowdowns or disruptions in their businesses, bankruptcy or liquidation, or otherwise; the impact of any future contingencies, including, but not limited to, restructurings, impairments, changes in reserves, legal costs, the imposition of fines or civil money penalties and increases in Card Member reimbursements; and the impact of regulation and litigation, which could affect the profitability of our business activities, limit our ability to pursue business opportunities, require changes to business practices or alter our relationships with partners, merchants and Card Members;
future credit performance and the amount and timing of future credit reserve builds and releases, which will depend in part on changes in consumer behavior that affect loan and receivable balances (such as paydown and revolve rates) and delinquency and write-off rates; macroeconomic factors such as unemployment rates, GDP and the volume of bankruptcies; the performance of accounts as they graduate and exit from financial relief programs; collections capabilities and recoveries of previously written-off loans and receivables; the enrollment in, and effectiveness of, hardship programs and troubled debt restructurings; continued government support for the economy; and governmental actions that provide forms of relief with respect to certain loans and fees, such as limiting debt collections efforts and encouraging or requiring extensions, modifications or forbearance;
net interest income and the growth rate of loans outstanding being higher or lower than current expectations, which will depend on the behavior of Card Members and their actual spending, borrowing and paydown patterns; government stimulus, liquidity and financial strength in our customer base and the availability of forbearance programs; our ability to effectively manage risk and enhance Card Member value propositions; changes in interest rates and our cost of funds; credit actions, including line size and other adjustments to credit availability; and the effectiveness of our strategies to capture a greater share of existing Card Members’ spending and borrowings, reduce Card Member attrition and attract new customers;
the actual amount we spend on marketing in the future, which will be based in part on continued changes in macroeconomic conditions and business performance; management’s identification and assessment of attractive investment opportunities and the receptivity of Card Members and prospective customers to advertising and
31

Table of Contents

customer acquisition initiatives; the pace at which we wind down our value injections efforts; our ability to balance expense control and investments in the business; and management’s ability to realize efficiencies and optimize investment spending;
the actual amount to be spent on Card Member rewards and services and business development, and the relationship of these variable customer engagement costs to revenues, which could be impacted by continued changes in macroeconomic conditions and Card Member behavior as it relates to their spending patterns (including the level of spend in bonus categories) and the redemption of rewards and offers (including travel redemptions); the costs related to reward point redemptions; Card Members’ interest in the value propositions we offer; further enhancements to product benefits to make them attractive to Card Members, potentially in a manner that is not cost-effective; and new and renegotiated contractual obligations with business partners;
our ability to control our operating expenses and the actual amount we spend on operating expenses in the future, which could be impacted by, among other things, management’s decision to increase or decrease spending in such areas as technology, business and product development, sales force, premium servicing and digital capabilities depending on overall business performance; our ability to innovate efficient channels of customer interactions, such as chat supported by artificial intelligence; restructuring activity; fraud costs; information security or compliance expenses or consulting, legal and other professional services fees, including as a result of litigation or internal and regulatory reviews; the level of M&A activity and related expenses; the payment of civil money penalties, disgorgement, restitution, non-income tax assessments and litigation-related settlements; impairments of goodwill or other assets; the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates on costs; and higher-than-expected inflation;
net card fees not growing consistent with current expectations, which could be impacted by, among other things, the further deterioration in macroeconomic conditions impacting the ability and desire of Card Members to pay card fees; higher Card Member attrition rates; Card Members continuing to be attracted to our premium card products and the pace of Card Member acquisition activity; and our inability to address competitive pressures and implement our strategies and business initiatives, including introducing new and enhanced benefits and services that are designed for the current environment;
a further decline of the average discount rate, including as a result of further changes in the mix of spending by location and industry (including the pace of recovery in T&E spending), merchant negotiations (including merchant incentives, concessions and volume-related pricing discounts), competition, pricing regulation (including regulation of competitors’ interchange rates) and other factors;
our tax rate not remaining consistent with current expectations, which could be impacted by, among other things, our geographic mix of income, further changes in tax laws and regulation, unfavorable tax audits and other unanticipated tax items;
changes in the substantial and increasing worldwide competition in the payments industry, including competitive pressure that may materially impact the prices charged to merchants that accept American Express cards, competition for new and existing cobrand relationships, competition from new and non-traditional competitors and the success of marketing, promotion and rewards programs;
changes affecting our plans regarding the return of capital to shareholders, including for the second quarter of 2021, which will depend on factors such as capital levels and regulatory capital ratios; changes in the stress testing and capital planning process and new guidance from the Federal Reserve; our results of operations and financial condition; our credit ratings and rating agency considerations; and the economic environment and market conditions in any given period;
our ability to increase Card Member acquisition activities, provide additional value to Card Members and refresh our premium products, which will be impacted in part by competition, brand perceptions and reputation, and our ability to develop and market value propositions that appeal to Card Members and new customers and offer attractive services and rewards programs, which will depend in part on ongoing investments in Card Member acquisition efforts, addressing changing customer behaviors, new product innovation and development, and enrollment processes, including through digital channels, and infrastructure to support new products, services and benefits;
our ability to grow commercial payments, including through cash flow and supplier payment solutions, which will depend in part on competition, the willingness and ability of companies to use such solutions for procurement and other business expenditures, our ability to offer attractive value propositions to potential customers, our ability to enhance and expand our payment and lending solutions, and our ability to integrate Kabbage's digital capabilities and continue the rollout of the Kabbage platform to our small business customers;
our ability to innovate and strengthen our global network, which will depend in part on our ability to update our systems and platforms, the amount we invests in the network and our ability to make funds available for such investments, and technological developments, including capabilities that allow greater digital integration;
32

Table of Contents

the possibility that we will not execute on our plans to expand merchant coverage and improve perceptions of coverage, which will depend in part on the success of the company, OptBlue merchant acquirers and GNS partners in signing merchants to accept American Express, which could be impacted by our value propositions offered to merchants and merchant acquirers for card acceptance, as well as the awareness and willingness of Card Members to use American Express cards at merchants and whether Card Members experience welcome acceptance for American Express cards;
our ability to introduce new and expanded digital capabilities, which will depend on our success in evolving our products and processes for the digital environment, developing new features in the Amex app and enhancing our digital channels, building partnerships and executing programs with other companies, effectively utilizing artificial intelligence to address servicing and other customer needs, and supporting the use of our products as a means of payment through online and mobile channels, all of which will be impacted by investment levels, new product innovation and development and infrastructure to support new products, services and benefits;
our ability to execute on our plans in China, which could be affected by regulation and local business practices; the success of business partners in continuing to acquire merchants and attract local customers on the network; macro-economic conditions; and competitors with more scale in the market and more established relationships with key industry participants;
a failure in or breach of our operational or security systems, processes or infrastructure, or those of third parties, including as a result of cyberattacks, which could compromise the confidentiality, integrity, privacy and/or security of data, disrupt our operations, reduce the use and acceptance of American Express cards and lead to regulatory scrutiny, litigation, remediation and response costs, and reputational harm;
changes in capital and credit market conditions, which may significantly affect our ability to meet our liquidity needs and expectations regarding capital ratios; our access to capital and funding costs; the valuation of our assets; and our credit ratings or those of our subsidiaries;
our deposit rates increasing faster or slower than current expectations and changes affecting our ability to grow retail direct deposits, including due to market demand, changes in benchmark interest rates, competition or regulatory restrictions on our ability to obtain deposit funding or offer competitive interest rates, which could affect our net interest yield and ability to fund our businesses;
our funding plan being implemented in a manner inconsistent with current expectations, which will depend on various factors such as future business growth, the impact of global economic, political and other events on market capacity, demand for securities we offer, regulatory changes, ability to securitize and sell loans and receivables and the performance of loans and receivables previously sold in securitization transactions;
legal and regulatory developments, which could affect the profitability of our business activities; limit our ability to pursue business opportunities or conduct business in certain jurisdictions; require changes to business practices or alter our relationships with Card Members, partners, merchants and other third parties, including our ability to continue certain cobrand relationships in the EU; exert further pressure on the average discount rate and GNS business; result in increased costs related to regulatory oversight, litigation-related settlements, judgments or expenses, restitution to Card Members or the imposition of fines or civil money penalties; materially affect capital or liquidity requirements, results of operations or ability to pay dividends; or result in harm to the American Express brand;
changes in the financial condition and creditworthiness of our business partners, such as bankruptcies, restructurings or consolidations, including of cobrand partners and merchants that represent a significant portion of our business, such as the airline industry, or partners in GNS or financial institutions that we rely on for routine funding and liquidity, which could materially affect our financial condition or results of operations; and
factors beyond our control such as resurgences of COVID-19 cases, whether and when populations achieve herd immunity, severe weather conditions, natural disasters, power loss, disruptions in telecommunications, terrorism and other catastrophic events, any of which could significantly affect demand for and spending on American Express cards, delinquency rates, loan and receivable balances and other aspects of our business and results of operations or disrupt our global network systems and ability to process transactions.
A further description of these uncertainties and other risks can be found in the 2020 Form 10-K and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
33

Table of Contents

ITEM 1. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(Unaudited)
Three Months Ended March 31 (Millions, except per share amounts) 2021 2020
Revenues
Non-interest revenues
Discount revenue $ 5,242  $ 5,838 
Net card fees 1,253  1,110 
Other fees and commissions 520  720 
Other 219  312 
Total non-interest revenues 7,234  7,980 
Interest income
Interest on loans 2,144  2,909 
Interest and dividends on investment securities 24  38 
Deposits with banks and other 24  99 
Total interest income 2,192  3,046 
Interest expense
Deposits 134  326 
Long-term debt and other 228  390 
Total interest expense 362  716 
Net interest income 1,830  2,330 
Total revenues net of interest expense 9,064  10,310 
Provisions for credit losses
Card Member receivables (10) 597 
Card Member loans (573) 1,876 
Other (92) 148 
Total provisions for credit losses (675) 2,621 
Total revenues net of interest expense after provisions for credit losses 9,739  7,689 
Expenses
Marketing and business development 1,766  1,705 
Card Member rewards 2,243  2,392 
Card Member services 317  456 
Salaries and employee benefits 1,550  1,395 
Other, net 870  1,289 
Total expenses 6,746  7,237 
Pretax income 2,993  452 
Income tax provision 758  85 
Net income $ 2,235  $ 367 
Earnings per Common Share (Note 14)(a)
Basic $ 2.74  $ 0.41 
Diluted $ 2.74  $ 0.41 
Average common shares outstanding for earnings per common share:
Basic 804  807 
Diluted 805  808 
(a)Represents net income less (i) earnings allocated to participating share awards of $15 million and $2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively, and (ii) dividends on preferred shares of $14 million and $32 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
34

Table of Contents

AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(Unaudited)
Three Months Ended
March 31,
(Millions) 2021 2020
Net income $ 2,235  $ 367 
Other comprehensive income (loss):
Net unrealized debt securities (losses) gains, net of tax (12) 57 
Foreign currency translation adjustments, net of tax (17) (322)
Net unrealized pension and other postretirement benefits, net of tax 26 
Other comprehensive income (loss) (3) (259)
Comprehensive income $ 2,232  $ 108 
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
35

Table of Contents

AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(Unaudited)
(Millions, except share data) March 31,
2021
December 31,
2020
Assets
Cash and cash equivalents
Cash and due from banks $ 2,662  $ 2,984 
Interest-bearing deposits in other banks (includes securities purchased under resale agreements: 2021, $119; 2020, $92)
37,405  29,824 
Short-term investment securities (includes restricted cash of consolidated variable interest entities: 2021, $46; 2020, $47)
213  157 
Total cash and cash equivalents 40,280  32,965 
Card Member receivables (includes gross receivables available to settle obligations of a consolidated variable interest entity: 2021, $4,221; 2020, $4,296), less reserves for credit losses: 2021, $202; 2020, $267
41,800  43,434 
Card Member loans (includes gross loans available to settle obligations of a consolidated variable interest entity: 2021, $24,088; 2020, $25,908), less reserves for credit losses: 2021, $4,467; 2020, $5,344
65,633  68,029 
Other loans, less reserves for credit losses: 2021, $143; 2020, $238
2,133  2,614 
Investment securities 21,270  21,631 
Premises and equipment, less accumulated depreciation and amortization: 2021, $7,800; 2020, $7,540
4,943  5,015 
Other assets, less reserves for credit losses: 2021, $67; 2020, $85
17,008  17,679 
Total assets $ 193,067  $ 191,367 
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity
Liabilities
Customer deposits $ 89,193  $ 86,875 
Accounts payable 8,585  9,444 
Short-term borrowings 1,578  1,878 
Long-term debt (includes debt issued by consolidated variable interest entities: 2021, $12,763; 2020, $12,760)
42,019  42,952 
Other liabilities 27,243  27,234 
Total liabilities $ 168,618  $ 168,383 
Contingencies (Note 7)
Shareholders’ Equity
Preferred shares, $1.662/3 par value, authorized 20 million shares; issued and outstanding 1,600 shares as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020
—  — 
Common shares, $0.20 par value, authorized 3.6 billion shares; issued and outstanding 803 million shares as of March 31, 2021 and 805 million shares as of December 31, 2020
161  161 
Additional paid-in capital 11,878  11,881 
Retained earnings
15,308  13,837 
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)
Net unrealized debt securities gains, net of tax of: 2021, $17; 2020, $20
53  65 
Foreign currency translation adjustments, net of tax of: 2021, $(373); 2020, $(381)
(2,246) (2,229)
Net unrealized pension and other postretirement benefits, net of tax of: 2021, $(225); 2020, $(236)
(705) (731)
Total accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) (2,898) (2,895)
Total shareholders’ equity 24,449  22,984 
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity $ 193,067  $ 191,367 

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
36

Table of Contents

AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(Unaudited)
Three Months Ended March 31 (Millions)
2021 2020
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
Net income $ 2,235  $ 367 
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:
Provisions for credit losses (675) 2,621 
Depreciation and amortization 422  337 
Deferred taxes and other (81) 333 
Stock-based compensation 98  43 
Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net of effects of acquisitions and dispositions:
Other assets 477  309 
Accounts payable & other liabilities (196) (6,229)
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities 2,280  (2,219)
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
Sale of investment securities 37  — 
Maturities and redemptions of investment securities 553  4,376 
Purchase of investments (366) (997)
Net decrease in Card Member loans and receivables, and other loans 4,869  18,883 
Purchase of premises and equipment, net of sales: 2021, $3; 2020, nil
(319) (335)
Net cash provided by investing activities 4,774  21,927 
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Net increase in customer deposits 2,327  4,701 
Net decrease in short-term borrowings (271) (2,880)
Payments of long-term debt (750) (5,849)
Issuance of American Express common shares 31