20 of 50
American Express
American Express
Top 50 rank: 20
Rank in Consumer Credit Card and Related Services: 1
(Previous rank: 2)
Overall score: 6.93
Why it's admired
As the economy crawls back, consumers are slowly starting to charge again. AmEx, the third-largest card issuer in the U.S. behind Visa and MasterCard, is poised to take advantage.

American Express Business Insights reported that customers are cautiously returning to department stores to buy luxury goods, and businesses are starting to spend more on travel -- two trends that are helping the company post double-digit quarterly sales increases.

The company has also taken strides to target its elite customers. AmEx recently added a service called Centurion, which helps members negotiate prices of luxury vehicles with dealers.

Still, American Express could face some daunting financial problems. AmEx disclosed in February that it could have to pay up to $500 million in losses from lawsuits, including a civil antitrust suit led by the Justice Department. --By Ashley Bush

Should American Express be admired, or what?
American Express stats
Nine key attributes of reputation Industry rank
Innovation 4
People management 1
Use of corporate assets 1
Social responsibility 1
Quality of management 1
Financial soundness 3
Long-term investment 3
Quality of products/services 1
Global competitiveness 3
Most Admired
1 American Express 6.93
2 Visa 6.87
3 MasterCard 6.82
4 Discover Financial Services 5.74
5 Capital One Financial 5.69
Rank Company Overall score
6 Total System Services 5.48
7 Western Union 5.40
8 Alliance Data Systems 5.15
9 First Data 4.67
From the March 21, 2011 issue
200 Vesey St.
New York, NY 10285
Show: Top 50 | All Most Admired: The Americas | Europe | Asia/Australia
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The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. Our survey partners at Hay Group start with about 1,400 companies... More