Image courtesy of Andres Rueda

Each day that we are in this financial crisis, more and more companies are having to take extreme measures to limit themselves from losing more money. Fueled by rising levels of bad debt, American Express is one of the companies taking steps to manage the risk in their credit card portfolio.

In a move to reduce the number of customers who may be considered a risk, the company is offering select customers $300 to pay the balance owed and close the account. The customers that were selected will have until April 30, 2009 to pay the balance in full.

Unfortunately, the offer was not sent out to everyone. I am an American Express cardholder but the card has a zero balance and I haven't used it in months. It seems like I would be an unprofitable customer and they would want me to close my account. Since I pay my balance in full each month (when I do use the card) and don't pay any interest (anymore), I would be one of the people that they asked to close my account.

Customers who were chosen and pay off the balance before the due date will receive a $300 pre-paid American Express card.

Were you one of the customers given this option?


  1. Anonymous // March 12, 2009 at 10:34 AM  

    I wish I had an account with them! :( I wonder if these extreme measures will help them.


  2. Anonymous // March 12, 2009 at 12:32 PM  

    Nope. I had one of my accounts closed by them due to inactivity and they lowered my limit on another one so much I just had to close it.

    This was way before the pay to close program came out.

  3. Anonymous // March 12, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

    Within the credit card industries, different card companies make money in different ways. Amex is one of those companies that can be profitable by transactions alone, not necessarily balances.

    This comes from them owning their own network, and charging higher interchange fees then Visa and Mastercard. Discover is the same way which is why Discover was the first card company to start with cash back rewards back in the day.

    Capital One on the other hand, stays profitable by people holding balances and even more by late and over balance fees. They have a hard time staying profitable with just transactions.

    That's why they didnt offer for you to close your account.

  4. Anonymous // March 12, 2009 at 3:52 PM  

    i know right? would be awesome to get paid to close 'em down if we had little balances....although, if i had the card for 10+ years it wouldn't be worth losing that from your credit score in my opinion.

  5. Chris Holt // March 12, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

    After I paid off my $8k plus balance with them, Amex called me last week as they wanted to do a credit review. They did not communicate to me they were going to close my account. I checked my account today and found out they closed it without my knowledge. When I called, they told me a letter was mailed and the decision to close my account was explained in the letter. How is this supposed to help my credit score? And why would they make a B!tch move and mail a letter. They've been emailing me with a Delta card offer, but they close my current account with a snail mail letter?!!

  6. Anonymous // March 13, 2009 at 4:08 AM  

    Blackie - why so bothered about credit scores? Credit scores are only important if you need to borrow - and you don't sound like you do! I would stop fretting about it. Instead preen yourself on how much better placed you are to ride out this recession because you have no debt.

  7. Anonymous // March 13, 2009 at 10:20 AM  

    @ Blackie
    I understand how you feel. I had two Amex cards and they closed one without telling me and I got the same response that a letter had been mailed to me explaining the changes.

    They have also been emailing me to get some card with them....but I don't think I will deal with AMEX least not unless they PAY me to open the account.

  8. Chris Holt // March 13, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

    Silver Rose, I understand credit scores don't mean a whole lot, but if you ever need them, it's nice to know you have an Ace in your back pocket.

  9. Beth // March 14, 2009 at 8:06 PM  

    My husband and I have Amex and we only use them to buy Air Tickets , rent a car and a hotel. And paid off the balance when the bill comes. We have not use that card for almost a year now since we didn't travel lately. AMEX probably close our accounts now .. Oh well.

  10. Anonymous // March 15, 2009 at 2:59 PM  

    With people loosing jobs. The NPA fears of banks are rising and may fear the next will be credit card fiasco.. hence these schemes.. so if you dont really need your card use this opportunity.. Also will please suze orman if you cut your card and throw it

  11. Anonymous // March 17, 2009 at 9:52 PM  

    Tribute card offered a credit of 291 if i paid 449 by the due date...but i didnt have to close the account. They increased my limit too. That was unexpected