American Express or Amex for short dates all the way back to 1850 as an express mail business in Buffalo, NY. The company was founded by Henry Wells, William Fargo and John Warren Butterfield. These men went on to found Wells Fargo four years later.
The company grew quickly as they had a monopoly on express shipments in New York. In 1880, they built a warehouse behind the Broadway Building.
In 1882, the company launched a money order business and in 1891 they created the Traveler’s Cheque.
By 1903, the company had assets of $28 million.
In 1950, the Diners Club card was launched. In 1958, the first “credit” cards were launched. Amex was the first to use a plastic credit card in 1959.
In 1966, the Gold Card was introduced, followed by the Platinum Card in 1984.
Today, American Express cards account for almost a quarter of the total credit card dollars transacted each year.