American Express retains commitment
Financial service provider’s latest tie-up with Bangkok Bank is helping increase uptake of its cards in the premium and affluent segments
Thailand remains an important strategic market for global financial service provider American Express, said Marlin Brown, vice-president and country manager at American Express in Thailand, in an interview with the Bangkok Post.
He added that American Express’ latest collaboration with Bangkok Bank to accelerate its card acceptance across Thailand shows the company’s commitment to growing the business in the market. American Express and Bangkok Bank recently signed this partnership deal.
Under the partnership, Bangkok Bank will allow merchants to accept American Express cards in Thailand and provide American Express card members and merchants access to Bangkok Bank’s vast contactless electronic data capture (EDC) and point-of-sale (POS) terminal network.
American Express has partnered with Bangkok Bank since 1999 with the latter issuing three American Express card products in Thailand.
“Bangkok Bank is one of the top merchant acquirers in Thailand overseeing relationships with tens of thousands of merchants,” Mr Brown added.
He said that growing card acceptance globally is one of the company’s most important strategic priorities and it is committed to doing this in Thailand with Bangkok Bank.
Mr Brown is optimistic about consumer spending in Thailand and expects pent-up demand in both travel and retail industries when the pandemic situation improves. Affluent Thais will be in a strong position to spend and the company expects the return of foreign tourists.
He said he understands that due to the pandemic, some card members may be facing financial difficulties and challenges. Throughout 2020, the company implemented various financial relief programmes, including extending repayment periods and providing relief and support to card members.
He added that over the years, American Express has improved its products and services to ensure they continue to provide the best value and remain relevant as needs and lifestyles change.
In 2020, the company introduced a platinum card in a sleek all-metal form with added travel benefits and dining privileges. In the same year, it launched “Shop Thai Wear Thai” to support local Thai designers. Card members could earn up to 10,000 baht in credit when they shopped at 25 participating Thai brands, which helped drive spending during a period where businesses were not doing well.
“At American Express, we want to become essential to our customers by providing differentiated products and services to help them achieve their aspirations and that has not changed due to Covid-19. Our goal in Thailand remains to be the leader in the premium and affluent segments.”
He added that American Express in Thailand is making steady progress in gaining market share in the premium and affluent market, especially with the launch of its metal platinum card in May 2020.
As the needs of its card members evolve during the pandemic, the company has also adapted to provide relevant offerings to support their current lifestyle.
The company has provided its card members with new and enhanced benefits and offers that they can use during this time such as staycations and local vacation offers and membership rewards points or statement credits when they spend on hotels and resorts, groceries, and food delivery.
Knowing that its card members are increasingly digital natives or online more, the company introduced its first mobile application which is called “Amex Experiences” in Thailand in May of this year, making it easier for them to keep track of available offers and enjoy greater value from their cards.
The app also provides easy access to benefits and a link to manage your card account (MYCA), the company’s secure online portal for American Express card members, providing a seamless digital experience for its Thai card members. Amex Experiences is currently available for platinum and gold holders and will be extended to all card members soon.
Like most companies in Thailand, American Express has staff working from home during the pandemic.
“At American Express, the safety of our colleagues is our top priority and we’ve been fully virtual for the last 16 months. We’re all still working from home in Bangkok and closely monitoring the situation until it’s safe to open up,” he said.
“There is no question that working from home has had a profound impact on the daily life for me and my family. While it has come with challenges, I would not say the pandemic has made it ‘harder’. I would say the pandemic has made it different,”
“While we truly miss travelling to many special places Thailand has to offer, we have found new and special ways to appreciate our local neighbourhood, our neighbours, and focus on many of the ‘little things in life’ we might have otherwise missed,” said Mr Brown, who has been the vice-president and country manager of Thailand since 2016, which was the year he moved to Bangkok.