Tags: amex | currency | prices | raise | warning

WSJ: AmEx Raised Currency Prices for Business Clients Without Warning

WSJ: AmEx Raised Currency Prices for Business Clients Without Warning

Monday, 30 July 2018 08:53 AM

American Express Co. raised currency conversion rates for business clients without notifying customers in an attempt to boost revenue and employee commission, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The practice, mainly within the forex department, was occurring until early this year and dates back to at least 2004, the Journal reported.

The practice mostly targeted small and midsize businesses, where a salesperson would tell potential clients that AmEx would beat the price they were paying banks or other financial institutions to convert currency and send money abroad, the Journal reported.

The salespeople didn't inform customers that the margin, a markup that AmEx tacks on to the base currency exchange rate, was subject to increase without notice, the WSJ reported.

To spot the change, customers generally would have to log in to their accounts and compare the rate AmEx was offering to the market exchange rate at the time of the transaction, it added.

In response, AmEx spokeswoman Marina Hoffmann Norville said, "The client can see the rate online, and if the client agrees, we will complete the transaction as instructed."

AmEx's forex unit accounts for less than half of a percentage point of its total revenue and has a training, control and compliance oversight, the company said.

"(We) believe that our transactions are completed and reported in a fair and transparent manner at the rates which the client has authorized," Norville said. 

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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The forex division’s commissions-driven culture was cited by current and former employees as fueling the practice
amex, currency, prices, raise, warning
Monday, 30 July 2018 08:53 AM
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