American Express have started to broaden their horizons with the introduction of the new pre-paid American Express credit card.
The company hopes the new card, which customers will pre-load with cash, will open their doors to the less wealthy customers they have previously never dealt with.
Pre-paid credit cards have grown in popularity immensely over the last few years as consumers have liked the fact they can spend only what they have, but enjoy the benefits of having a Mastercard, Visa or now Amex.
With shrinking fees from credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts the banks are also fans of the cards, although their has been some criticism.
Various consumer groups have attacked the people who offer the cards, labelling the associated fees as ludicrous and excessive.
American Express on the other hand plan on offering the card without charging a fee, and will allow customers to make online purchases, monthly maintenance, activation, balance inquires, foreign currency transactions and have card replacements all free of charge.
Also free will be the first withdrawal from a cash machine each month, although subsequent withdrawals will cost around £1.50.
Dan Schulman, American Express’ enterprise growth chief explained, “This card will allow us to focus on serving new demographics.”
The card will be released in America to begin with but could soon see a worldwide release with Amex keen to deal with customers who may not be credit worthy.
Banks have slashed credit card facilities since the credit crunch as new rules make it harder to make money out of customers who run up large credit card bills.
American Express have already told a White House panel that they see it as their responsibility to make sure credit is available to low to medium earners now the banks have turned their backs on them, and to prevent payday loan sharks and other similar firms making extortionate amounts of money out of them.