American Express (NYSE: AXP) has returned 19% year to date through the close on Mar. 26 — far outpacing the other major credit card companies. It’s also handily beating the S&P 500, which is up about 6%.
There are a few reasons why American Express has outperformed its peers this year — and one major reason why it will keep winning.
American Express is the third-largest credit card company, but its business model is different from the big two. Unlike Visa and Mastercard, American Express provides the loaned funds to its card users, and for most of its card varieties, requires full payment of the balance at the end of each month. In effect, it’s part bank.