AmEx to pay $96M after offering worse card terms in United States territories

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 25, 2017

American Express (NYSE:AXP) will pay $96M to credit card customers in Puerto Rico and other US territories for offering worse terms, including higher interest rates, than those extended to clients in the 50 states, according to a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Cordray said that no civil penalties were being assessed because American Express discovered the problem, reported it, and "fully cooperated" with the CFPB's investigation.

The CFPB ordered the company to pay an additional $1 million on top of the $95 million and establish new guidelines to ensure the terms of its card offerings were not discriminatory in the future. The company said it reported the matter to the CFPB in 2013 and changed the terms and features of cards offered in US overseas territories to match its products elsewhere in the U.S.

The CFPB said its own review concluded that from at least 2005 to 2015, American Express' Puerto Rico cards "had different - and often worse - pricing, rebates, and promotional offers, underwriting, customer and account management services, and collections practices than its USA cards".

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that more than 200,000 consumers at two of the company's banking subsidiaries had been harmed by the practices, which also included stricter credit cutoffs and less debt forgiveness than offered to customers in U.S. states.

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