In 1914, millions of people and businesses across the world entered uncharted territory.
As tensions escalated between Europe's great economic powers, most local banks stopped honoring foreign letters of credit.
Having helped improve the security of foreign payments in the 1800s through the progression of travelers cheques and money orders, American Express was one of the few businesses to continue facilitating crucial International payments via cash drafts.
This service provided relief to nearly 150,000 travelers cheques and troops stranded on the continent without access to funds.
As the war raged on, the company was appointed an official agent of the British government, tasked with delivering relief parcels, letters and money to British prisoners in Bulgaria, Germany, Holland, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. American Express employees were authorized to access prisoner of war camps and to arrange for British prisoners to access cash drafts.
Today’s businesses that have international payment needs have options that include account-to-account wire transfers and foreign currency drafts.
For businesses that have foreign currency payment obligations up to one year in the future, American Express offers forward contracts.1
American Express continues to improve the security and efficiency of international payments and foreign exchange transactions for U.S. businesses looking to grow in the global marketplace.