American Express launches products for small businesses

NEW YORK (AP) — American Express is launching a suite of financial service products for small businesses as it aims build up its presence in the small business sector.

The services, called Business Blueprint, stem from the credit card giant’s acquisition of fintech Kabbage in 2020. American Express had been offering small business lines of credit and other services under the Kabbage moniker, but now it will replace those with a suite of products — from a cash flow management hub to business checking accounts and lines of credit — under the name American Express Business Blueprint.

Small businesses often have difficulty securing loans since they lack established credit scores and often don’t have a lot of capital on hand. Some fintech providers have stepped in to offer loans to small businesses, but often at steeper rates compared to traditional banks. Rates on AmEx Business Blueprint line of credit loans vary widely — from from 2% to 9% for a six-month loan to 15.75% to 27% for an 18-month loan.

AmEx said Business Blueprint is about more than just loans, however. It is designed to let small businesses conduct a wide range of tasks they might otherwise do separately — taking out loans, paying bills and vendors, and accepting card payments — all in one place.

AmEx aims to be a “digital one-stop shop for small businesses financial needs,” said Anna Marrs, group president of global commercial services and credit & fraud risk at American Express. “It really marks a new chapter for American Express, the chapter on which small businesses can not only do business with American Express, but also run their businesses with Amex.”

It’s free to sign up for Business Blueprint, and its digital financial products are available at varying rates. The service launched Jan. 31.

Alenka Grealish, principal analyst, emerging tech at research firm Celent, said the effort is part of a broader effort by financial service companies to move away from product-based offerings like one-off loans toward offering a more holistic suite of services.

AmEx has been trying to broaden its business beyond its traditional revenue sources: fees charged to merchants that accept its card and fees paid when a customer doesn’t pay off their entire charge card balance each month. On Jan. 27, American Express reported fourth-quarter profit fell 9%, as the credit card giant had to set aside more money to cover potentially bad loans.

 

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