American Express profit doubles as US shoppers spend at Xmas

CREDIT card company American Express’s quarterly profit more than doubled as customers spent more in the holiday season in the United States, its core market.

American Express said worldwide spending on its cards rose eight per cent in the quarter ended 31 December, the biggest jump in four quarters.

Net income rose to $1.31bn, or $1.21 per share, in the fourth quarter from $637m, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue, net of interest expense, increased five per cent to $8.55bn. Revenue at the company’s US card services unit rose eight per cent in the quarter.

American Express earned $1.25 per share, excluding expenses related to merchant litigation settlements reached last month.

US regulators fined the company in December over deceptive and misleading practices in selling credit card add-on products, and forced it to repay $59.5m to customers.