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International American Express

Reviewing: American Express Gold Card  |  Rating:
Cyn Bagley By Cyn Bagley on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 8 | Finances Expertise:

Lately, American Express has been advertising about their most prominent members such as Tina Fay. Even the talk-host Ellen and singer Beyonce have gotten into the act. So in honor of American Express, I want to tell you our story.

Around the early 1990's my husband was looking for a car loan when he was disapproved because of credit card bills. He has just gotten out of the Navy and just divorced. Prior to this time, he had never had a credit card. He either paid by cash or check. As you probably know--finding out that you have legal credit card dept that you didn't rack up can be quite a shock. And, yes it was the ex-wife.

So he ended up paying for the dept; however, he decided to look for a credit card so that he could get some good dept and good credit. By this time no one would give him a card except for American Express.

Again something you might not know about American Express is that this is one of the ONLY cards that you can use internationally. If you try to buy something with a Discover or Visa card, you can get quite a shock. When we were in Germany, I would use the visa card on base and the American Express card off base.

Anyway, he went to Panama soon after getting his first card. At that time the money and economy of Panama was in extreme disarray. The president, Noriega, had been captured by US troops. The money (balboa) was worthless and the American dollars circulating were actually white. You had to trust the person giving you the money... did they have a one, a five, or a twenty?

But, the Panamanians were taking American Express. So my husband was able to feed and house himself. Since he was a contractor he was not able to live on base.

I can tell tons of stories of why American Express is the only card to take with you if you travel outside the U.S. First, they are easy to contact. Second, they will investigate any problems you have with a merchant. Third, they will call and tell you if there are suspicious card activity... and on and on.

So even though I now use my other card more in the U.S., I still keep the American Express card handy.