KBW Talks Mobile Payments Trends, Including Recent American Express Reports

May 17, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Despite the fact that American Express is a major credit card label that does a lot of business, it’s commonly an afterthought in the market after the two major names in the field: Mastercard and Visa. It’s still a major presence in the mobile payments arena, though, and recently our friends at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) dropped word about American Express’ recent data releases. Turns out American Express has been busy, and generated plenty of discussion fodder.

The bottom line news for American Express, KBW noted, was overall decent. April credit data shows several positive signs and the trends are actually improved somewhat over even KBW’s own previous analyses. Year-to-year growth in both the NCO and DQ rates, it noted, are both stable and illustrating that credit trends and loan growth look reasonably well off.

Another big point for American Express was its acquisition of Resy, a restaurant reservation service. Adding Resy to the roster will likely be a welcome development, as it will provide another useful service for American Express to offer its cardholders. That ups the odds of retained users and increased spending.

American Express also picked up several other companies set to provide other advantages: there’s Mezi, a personal travel assistant, the UK restaurant reservation service known as Cake, the airport lounge booking service LoungeBuddy, and the Japanese restaurant reservation system Pocket Concierge.

Ultimately, what seems to be happening here is that American Express is positioning itself to become a better value to its current users and maybe try to pull some users out of other card markets. It definitely seems like it’s pursuing the business travel market about as aggressively as it can, with restaurant reservation services all over the globe and airport lounges besides. The problem, though, is likely to continue being its overall lack of use cases as compared to Visa and Mastercard. There are still quite a few places where American Express isn’t accepted, and that’s going to make any expansion efforts difficult.

Still, American Express is definitely working to improve its overall value, so that could give it a bump overall in the coming months. Only time will tell how it all works out, but American Express won’t go down without a fight, that’s clear.