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On the Call: American Express CFO Dan Henry

The Associated Press

In February, Visa Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. disclosed that they had agreed to partner up in a deal that calls for Chase to launch a payments processing platform powered by Visa.

Through that platform, Chase would offer discounts to its cardholders when they go to ring up a purchase from merchants who have signed up to join the Chase Merchant Network.

Wall Street analysts asked American Express Chief Financial Officer Dan Henry during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call on Wednesday if the Chase-Visa deal could pose a competitive threat.

But Henry didn't appear to be too concerned about the move by fellow credit card issuer JPMorgan Chase.

QUESTION: In terms of the Chase-Visa deal, I guess some have suggested that maybe that could be a competitive risk to AMEX because of the closed loop. I mean, is there anything specific that they could do that's incremental? Is there any sort of incremental competitive threat from that that you see today?

RESPONSE: Well, you know, they're trying to replicate our closed loop. I think people realize that that has value. But the number of customers that can actually operate within that space is limited, right? It has to be a Chase customer at a merchant that uses their merchant-acquiring process. And when you add that all up, I don't think that's a very large piece of the total universe. So, is it something that will enable them to achieve growth? I think it likely is, but I don't see it as a large threat, as our closed loop covers all our merchants and all of our customers.