Credit Cards

The iconic American Express ‘Green Card’ turns 50 – and gets a needed revamp


NEW YORK – For 50 years, the American Express “Green Card” has been everywhere its card members wanted to be.

Launched in 1969, the Green Card gave travelers a sense of importance they didn’t feel carrying travelers’ cheques. For many people, it was their first AmEx card. Over time, however, the Green Card became neglected in favor of its fancier siblings, the Gold and Platinum Cards.

Now, the Green Card is getting a much-needed revamp, with a new look and more travel benefits – and, yes, a higher annual fee.

In probably the most radical of changes, the card will no longer be a charge card, but function more like a traditional credit card with the ability to revolve a balance and pay over time. This is the final nail in the coffin for American Express’ charge card model, which defined the company’s image for decades.

Analysts say change was overdue. While American Express would not share details on how many Green Card customers there are, industry analysts say the card’s popularity has been on the decline. Popular credit card review websites generally do not recommend the card in its current iteration, citing its annual fee and lack of benefits.

“The Green Card is iconic. Often, it was the first product that our card members had with us, and it carried a certain cachet. Now we want to bring it back in a modernized way,” said Rachel Stocks, executive vice president of global premium products and benefits, in an interview…Read more>>