I can’t imagine anyone nowadays saying American Express isn’t anything but a perfect name for a high class credit card. But in reality, this was originally a name for a freight company along the lines of other Pony Express services. Yes, they delivered packages between New York and Chicago or St Louis and all the stops along the way.
And many of these packages contained money or gold. So they had many holdups until they cleverly conceived the idea of travelers checks. This foiled the bandits and got American Express into the money business and eventually out of the parcel express business. But the name did not change. Goes to show you how continued good execution on a brand promise leads us to believe in a brand, regardless of the words in the name or the change in services offered.
Of course, today American Express is a mega big valuable credit card company known around the world, and most of us don’t need to move money explicitly or carry travelers checks. We can just whip out our gold cards.
In an ironic twist, what if you really do want to move hard cash money (or gold or diamonds) around the world? Before you jump to Federal Express, read their standard forms insurance statement: Maximum coverage for cash or jewelry is $500.
So what about UPS? Well they will carry any amount and insure it. Problem is the insured value is right their on the outside of the old shipping form – for any handler to see (and maybe salivate over).
Well there is a big secret here. Federal Express does move a fortune in cash and jewelry every day. They even have metal lock boxes that just happen to fit snugly inside their standard box sizes and in many cases only the receiver and the sender have a key to the lock (or know the combination). But you have to have a special account and be approved by FedEx before you can do so. Remember however, for money movement, call FedEx and not Amex. For credit cards, call Amex and not Fedex.
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