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AMERICAN EXPRESS SELLS 10 BILLIONTH TRAVELERS CHEQUE IN ITS CENTENNIAL YEAR

 AMERICAN EXPRESS SELLS 10 BILLIONTH TRAVELERS CHEQUE
 IN ITS CENTENNIAL YEAR
 NEW YORK, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- American Express, which this year starts its second century in the travelers cheque business, sold the 10 billionth American Express(R) Travelers Cheque in 1991 -- exactly 100 years after the company invented the product.
 Based on estimates from the company's Salt Lake City operations center, the 10 billionth cheque was sold on or around Aug. 5, 1991 -- 100 years to the day after the first American Express Travelers Cheque was cashed at the Hotel Hauffe in Leipzig, Germany.
 The product milestone caps a decade of strong growth for American Express Travelers Cheques, which experienced sales of more than $195 billion during the last ten years.
 "It will take a lot less than 100 years to sell the next 10 billion," said R. Craig Hoenshell, president of the American Express Travelers Cheque Group. "At our current rate of sales, we'll sell five billion in the 1990s alone."
 Strong consumer demand has been the catalyst for much of this growth, Hoenshell said. According to a survey in 1990 by the American Banker, nine out of ten consumers with a travelers cheque preference chose the American Express brand. Additionally, Conde Nast Traveler's independent test of three travelers cheque issuers in May 1990 rated American Express "the best check to lose."
 In the last ten years alone, American Express has spent nearly $600 million maintaining and improving its already high levels of customer service.
 "Consumers know that a travelers cheque is only as good as the service that backs it," Hoenshell said. "Our longstanding commitment to improving the quality of our service ensures that we will continue delivering on our core promise -- you lose it, for whatever reason and wherever you may be in the world, and American Express will replace it.
 "Over the past 100 years, we've seen a lot of travelers cheque issuers come and go. In fact, as recently as 1980, there were about 35 issuers in the marketplace. Today there are fewer than ten. Without outstanding levels of service to back it, you can't consistently deliver on the travelers cheque promise, and you won't be able to sustain success in this business."
 Despite predictions of the demise of the travelers cheque from prognosticators in the 1970s and early 1980s betting that cash machines and credit cards would put travelers cheques out of business, industry experts now predict that the industry as a whole is on a steady growth track. According to the Nilson Report, which is the only independent source that tracks travelers cheque industry sales, annual worldwide travelers cheques sales will increase more than 36 percent from 1990 to the year 2000, rising from $58 billion in annual sales to $79 billion, a 3 percent growth rate per year.
 "Meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations is what we've built our reputation on for 100 years," Hoenshell said. "And in preparation for our next hundred, we've spent the past 12 months identifying highly desirable product benefits to meet changing consumer expectations and evaluating exactly how we can expand our product line to satisfy them."
 American Express Travelers Cheques are a product of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a family of travel, financial, insurance, data-processing and communications businesses and a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company (NYSE: AXP).
 -0- 1/24/92
 /CONTACT: Peter Surace, 212-640-3902, or Brad Shaw, 212-536-8819, both of American Express Travel Related Services Company/
 (AXP) CO: American Express Travel Related Services Company Inc. ST: New York IN: FIN SU:


GK-SH -- NY011 -- 3142 01/24/92 09:08 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 24, 1992
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