Bank of Valletta has yesterday announced that consumers or businesses can now apply for an American Express Charge Card at any of the bank’s branches.
Charge cards differ from traditional credit cards in that the former allows a user to pay for products and services by means of direct debit at the end of the month without an interest charge.
BOV officials told Business Today that charges are only applied in case of late payments.
“There is no hard and fast credit limit, like with a traditional credit card,” a bank official said. “Clients use the card throughout the month and then pay off what they purchase by means of direct debit on a monthly basis, without being charged interest rates that normally apply to credit cards. Needless to say, upon failure of payment within the 39 days of credit, the client is charged a late payment fee.”
Asked whether the bank is now being exposed to new risks as it launches a card without credit limit, the bank told this newspaper that “American Express cards will be given out only to premium customers” and in any case, clients applying for the cards will give the bank an indication of how much their average monthly spend is. BOV will take the necessary action should there be any abuse.
During the press conference, BOV CEO Tonio Depasquale said: “Today marks an important milestone for Bank of Valletta. Indeed, the strong partnership that has developed between our Bank and American Express brings together the strengths of a world leader in premium financial services with the market reach of the leading financial services brand in Malta.”
Speaking about American Express’ presence in Malta, Seniot Vice-President and General Manager of American Express Michael Edwards said: “We are extremely proud to partner with Bank of Valletta to launch the wide range of American Express Cards in Malta. Our association dates back to 2003 when Bank Of Valletta became American Express’ exclusive merchant acquirer in Malta. We are now delighted to be extending this relationship to include the launch of the Green, Gold, Platinum and Small Business Cards that have been designed to meet the spending and lifestyle needs of local consumers and businesses, both in Malta and around the world.”
The bank will offer the Green, Gold, Platinum and Small Business American Express Cards from today. These American Express Cards provide a number of new advantages and services in the Maltese market, as well as basic privileges and services, which are an integral part of American Express brand and products all over the world.
The bank will provide support services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while American Express Card members can also enjoy service around the world the 2,200 American Express Travel Service offices.
“This will help card members feel like at home in any country assisting them in almost everything – from making travel arrangements to providing free, emergency card replacement or help in case of an accident,” Edwards said, “In addition, Platinum card members will receive concierge services from lifestyle specialists that can meet many unique requests, from making dinner reservations or sending a special gift to loved ones anywhere in the world.”
American Express Card members can access cash from more than 800,000 ATMs worldwide.
Card members can also take advantage of special travel booking services, including arranging business trip within Malta or a journey around the world. In addition, Platinum Card members can enjoy a number of privileges and special access services, such as free flight or hotel room upgrades and special treatment at top hotels around the world.
“These American Express Cards include an array of insurance programs that will provide coverage when Card members are at home or traveling abroad,” Edwards added. “Purchase protection can protect retail purchases in the event of theft or accidental damage; travel accident insurance can protect Card members and their families when traveling and travel inconvenience insurance can cover the cost of purchasing new clothes or a meal in the event luggage is lost or flights are delayed.”